Performance and Conclusion
The Mini and the regular Aquagate use the same radiator and similar fans, but the Mini lacks a dedicated reservoir and, because of that, holds a lot less water. Less water of course means less cooling power which ultimately leads to higher temperatures. As you can see in the charts below, the performance of the Mini is respectable, but it can't keep up with the regular Aquagate. However, at the highest speed, the fan on the Mini is much quieter that the one found on the regular Aquagate.
|Aquagate Mini Performance
Lowest Fan Speed
The performance is ok, but I think that more water in the kit would help it a lot. Acoustically, the fan is very quiet at its slowest setting and even at its highest setting is not annoyingly loud. The pump makes a slight hum, but not the gurgle that makes you want to go to the bathroom every five minutes like some other water pumps I've heard. Overall it's a very quiet setup.
The Mini isn't as versatile as the regular Aquagate is, but then again it's a lot smaller and a whole lot easier to install and maintain. The only real problems I ran into are with clearance on my case. In the Thermaltake Xaser III case I tested with the radiator wouldn't fit on the 80mm fan opening directly, but it was easy to solve by mounting the fan first which acts as sort of stand-off for the radiator. It clearly won't fit in all PC cases though, no matter how hard you try. I also had some minor clearance issues with the pump on my motherboard, but because the mounting bracket can be turned any which way on the base of the pump, those issues were easily solved for me as well.
Users with some level of experienced with water cooling should look to better performing kits or do-it-yourself options, but because there are no fittings, clamps, or barbs to fiddle with and no filling and bleeding of the system or maintaining water levels, and because there's little hassle when it comes to installing, it's clear that the Mini targets new users just getting interested in water cooling. For these users CoolerMaster has removed the pain of water cooling and left the door open with an easy first step.
4 out of 5
- Easy water cooling for everyone
- Respectable performance
- Zero maintenance
- No external power requirements
- Versatile, it supports most common PC platforms
- Clearance concerns with some cases and motherboards
- Install manual is skimpy and has some errors
- Nothing done aesthetically