Asetek Vapochill Lightspeed "Jin Mod"

11/6/2006

Author: Dominick V. Strippoli

"An introduction to modifying a Vapochill LS and a biography of Jin CPU Cooling, Inc."

 

Introduction

So you just cracked your piggy bank after years of contemplating and saving up for phase change cooling - The ultimate in extreme 24/7 overclocking. You splurge and buy that gorgeous Vapochill Lightspeed you have been eyeing in the classifieds. You turn on your rig for the firsttime and clock up that brand spankin new Conroe to 4 GHz without breaking a sweat. And to top it all off you're dual prime stable for 24 hours at over 4 GHz. You then kick back your feet and stare at the clear Liquid Crystal Display on the Vapochill reading -47*C and say to yourself: What more can I ask?

That's where Mr. Jin Park, of Jin CPU Cooling based in Riverside, California comes into play. Jin is a master of phase change cooling and if you ask him he is still only an apprentice. There is much knowledge to be gained and experience to be had in this game. Jin offers a service modifying your Vapochill LS or Mach units under his part time full production line in California. The service consists of taking a stock Vapochill LS and simply gutting and replacing the internals with more efficient and capable parts. This is finalized with a professional re-gas with “r402a” refrigerant and a custom tune based on the customers goals with the unit. He will follow the re-gas with extensive leak testing and load cycling while making sure the unit is tuned for maximum usage of the compressors capacity.

Jin will start his conversation with potential clients by asking them simply: What are your goals with this unit? What kind of system will you be cooling? He than compiles that data and custom tunes the gas in the new compressor based on that spec. For this unique and “one of kind”service be prepared to pay $375 for parts and labor. He is extremely honest and a downright pleasure to deal with. His claims are not exaggerated and right away he explains to potential clients that this mod will give you two benefits:
1. It will decrease noise substantially over the stock Vapochill LS.
2. It will decrease all around temperature by 5 to 15 degrees depending on how the new compressor behaves.

Packing Procedure

Before we get into details about our Vapochill LS modification I would like to disclose something that you do not see too often in business today. Extra special care and tedious attention to detail when packaging your product. From start to finish, the entire Vapochill LS modification takes approximately 2 to 3 weeks to complete. Jin ships DHL Insured and shipped out our unit from California on Friday, we received the unit surprisingly extremely fast on the following Monday morning. Upon receipt of your modded Vapochill, you will be shocked at how great it is packed. Jin uses a unique (and expensive) system called Instapak to ship all of his products. It is a form fit packing system that fills every box with the exact amount of Styrofoam. Not only does he use Instapak, but he double boxes and includes Instapak in both of them.

Here is our Vapochill upon receipt Original large box with Instapak material:

Here you can see Instapak within the first box!

Another box?

And finally, after more instapak material we can finally start to see our shiny new modded Vapo!


Stock Vapochill LS

Our stock Vapochill LS was a tad less efficient compared to Aseteks (www.asetek.com) general performance spec measured at the evaporator so a “Jin Mod” overhaul was definitely in line for this unit. To be fair to the readers and show a more realistic performance gain from Jin’s mod I chose to use Aseteks evaporator probed data on stock Vapochill LS Heat Capacity in wattage. This data is ultimately what every Vapochill LS should produce straight from the manufacturer in Denmark. Just for the record, our Vapochill test unit performed a few degrees worse across the board compared to Aseteks spec so releasing data from our test unit would give skewed “over promising” results. The results in this article will give you a real idea of what to expect from a “Jin Mod” based on Aseteks ideal specification with close to perfect ambient temperature.

The stock Vapochill LS was also a tad noisy. This can be blamed on the stock compressor that was actually louder than the two 120mm fans inside the unit. Jin claims the new compressor will reduce noise substantially over the original unit. He was right, there is no longer an apparent buzzing in my ears long after leaving the room where the stock Vapo was located. Now the fans actually drown out the noise from the compressor. ** Just a little side note for Performance Junkies: During a Jin Custom Build on a new unit he offers the ability to use an even larger compressor for more performance and colder temps. However, this will put your unit right back to the same decibel level, if not louder than the stock unit. ** The Vapochill LS “Jin Mod” will decrease noise level while increasing performance and capacity.

Our stock Vapochill LS was able to hold load on an E6600 Conroe processor for about 15 hours at 4.14 GHz and 1.62 vcore. But it was apparent that more MHz could be had on a 24/7 overclock because at 4.2 GHz Ortho's failed on Core 0 at 3 ˝ hours. With a max suicide clock of 4.41 GHz we definitely blame the 4.2 GHz 24/7 Ortho's failure on Heat which should easily be cured with our Vapo “Jin Mod”.

 

PERFORMANCE GAINS

With probed readings from the evaporator our Vapochill “Jin Mod” decreased temperatures
unloaded @ 0 watts by 13 degrees.
-60*C at 0 watts. UNLOADED
 




At 70 watts the modded unit held 13 more degrees over the stock Vapochill LS.
-47*C at 70 watts Heat Load
 



At 150 watts of load the “Jin Mod” unit held 10 more degrees over the stock unit.
-38*C at 150 watts Heat Load




And finally at 180 watts of load the modded unit held 7 more degrees over the stock unit.
-33*C at 180 watts Heat Load


 

Upon initial testing of our modded unit, a vcore selection of 1.4 and 3.0 GHz on the E6700 Conroe processor produced bios CPU Idle temperatures of -44*C so expect to subtract on average about 10*C to calculate your evaporator temp:

 

As you can see in the following chart the “Jin Mod” Vapochill LS decreases temps across the
entire board by an average of almost 11 degrees over the stock Vapochill LS. Considering
Jins very honest statement of a “5 to 15 degree decrease” in temperature I think its safe
to say that we are very happy with our modded unit, especially when temps on our unit were
even higher than the Asetek spec.

 

Overclocking Performance

System Specifications - E6700 Conroe Core 2 Duo Processor (L627A) Week 27, OCZ Titanium Alpha VX2 DDR2-1000 (2X1GB) 4-4-4-12 @ 2.35v, P5B-Deluxe Wifi w/711 Bios and Vcore and Vmch volt mods, Silverstone ST56ZF PSU

Now that we are aware temperatures are much better and the unit is much more efficient over the stock Vapochill LS we decided to give our Conroe E6700 a shot for the gold 4Ghz mark. This was easily attained, without even breaking a sweat. We ran SuperPi32m for just about 3 minutes to see how the compressor held load at 1.65vcore before really trying to bench the processor for high numbers:

 

Our next step was to try for a maximum overclock on 1.65vcore. This vcore is the so called "under the table" maximum recommended voltage on these processors if you are extreme cooling with Phase Change, Dry Ice, or Liquid Nitrogen. The chip maxed out at 4.49 GHz at 1.65vcore. Just a hair away from 4.5 GHz.

 

 

Being the overclockers at heart that we really are. We decided to push this chip to its absolute maximum and see theoretically how well it scaled on voltage. Luckily our P5B-Deluxe motherboard was already modded for a little extra juice on Vcore. We slowly turned the resistance on the potentiometer until we approached an exact 1.85 volts on the CPU. We than booted Windows at a staggering 4.61 GHz or almost a 75% overclock.

 

 

Extreme overclocking results like this just continue to confirm how happy we are with the modded unit. The unit is now substantially less noisy and much more efficient. I would like to thank Jin Park for allowing me to take the time to interview him and his company. Jin can be reached on OCForums.com with his username: Jinu117 or at his company website (www.vapoli.com).

 

Biography of Jin CPU Cooling, (VapoLi.com)

Jin Park is a 33 year old full time DBA/Systems Integrator and part time change builder. We went ahead and asked Jin some simple interview type questions: Where are you currently? and Where do you plan to be in 5 years? What do you do exactly in your product/service orders? and finally Who are you? and How did you get started in Phase Change cooling?

I will give Jin's response in an generally unedited quotation format:

"I have been using single stage units for over 3 years now. The first mach I unit was repaired and regassed by a local builder (I eventually learned not to buy used phase units over the internet) who doesn’t build anymore. My second unit was a modified mach II unit by Baker (whom is a very well known historic figure on phase change building) but rather recently has disappeared from scene."

"A year and half ago, I have decided to embark on phase change cooling again. I asked a local builder to make a custom single stage inside my Lian-Li V2000 unit and end result was not satisfactory. Noise level and cooling performance as well as the customer service just wasn’t what I was expecting. I felt stumped, frustrated and tried to look for some other options. Being rather stranded (no I didn’t want a regular phase change unit that sells out there when I know there can be colder/quieter alternative), I decided to make one myself."

"Eventually, after spending quite a bit of money and time, I achieve my original goal of making a single stage unit that is colder and quieter than units that are out there. At this point, I get an idea that there are people like me out there stranded. People want colder temperature, people want a quieter phase change cooling unit, and people want someone reliable to do it for them. I carefully look into my flexible saving I had, write out a business plan and than decided to offer the service to people who are just like me."

"A lot of time has gone into finding the correct components, packing/shipping procedure, design and testing based on a few ideas I had on such a plan. And even more money went into acquiring proper tools, getting some prototype jobs done, etc."

"Now, let’s talk about how my units are made in general (some obvious steps will be skipped)"

 

1)      Order comes in.

2)      Evaporator is brazed (this is part where it contacts CPU).  It is to be leak tested for at least 2-3 days under 250psi.

3)      Evaporator is lapped than cleaned.  Flexible suction line gets brazed.

4)      Rest of phase change circuit (copper tubing) are prepared and cut, bent.  (lot of modification of pre-existing models gets desuperheater at this point)  In case of modification of unit, it means reclaiming gas used inside to proper recovery tank than filled with nitrogen at this phase to insure that no contaminant can get into unit as well as legally safe.

5)      Now, all loops are joined in brazed (while purging with nitrogen gas).  Purging while brazing is important process as oxidization inside circuit can leave carbon deposit which can result in unpredictable behavior.

6)      Once brazing is complete, it will be charged with 175 psi of nitrogen to be leak tested for 2-3 days minimum.

7)      When the system passes this test, it will be triple evacuated (getting rid of all nitrogen, moisture, air which can change performance as well as longevity of unit) down to below 40 micron from micron gauge.  Unfortunately, due to time consumed on doing this (takes 4-24 hours depending on condition of system) I find lot of people don’t enforce doing this.

8)      Once evacuation is done, I will charge the system with the refrigerant and start tuning the unit for load using my load tester.  Typical unit is tuned for 165w-175w best temp with holding capacity into 200w.  I use copper block load tester with heat cartridge inserted which seem to give very large amount of heat vs. some other design I have tried.  Each wattage will run for few hours to insure that compressor will reach it’s final balancing point. (sometimes left over night)

9)      After initial load tuning is done, it is time to go through what I call thermal cycling.  (sort of like 72 hours burn in they used to do for custom made computer).
It consist turning on the unit, putting various load to unit, and turning it off, waiting for cool down and repeating the cycle.  This helps me making sure that unit to be shipped will be working when it arrives to customer’s hand.

10)  Time for packing and shipping.  I use something called Instapak to insure additional safety in double box.  So far, I’ve had great success using this shipping method with no real failure due to shipping related damage.

 

"There seems to be an excessive amount of time spent on tuning, and testing for leaks in the system but it is my firm belief that spending those extra hours testing prevents any problems leaving my shop. This would ensure to have both the customer and myself very happy as an end result. (As you can imagine, any RMA can be a nightmare in this type of business when you are talking about 45-60lbs oversized package traveling through courier)."

"As a business, here are few rules I adhere myself to:"

1.      Building great customer relationship is crucial to success of my business

2.      Never rest in laurel.  System must keep evolve to get better until it physically is impossible to do so in manner that isn’t cost prohibitive.  For this, currently reinvestment of business on tools, R&D, and stock of components is 100% of net income.

3.      Always have open mind when dealing with customers.  I love getting feed back for some “what if I had this”, “what would have been cool” which only helps the quality and ease of use of unit further down the line.

"Where would I be in 5 years?"

"Who really knows J But here is current goal for year 2007."

1)      Improve product appearance, Improve ease of use of system and reliability of electronics that go with the system, and of course performance of system while reducing cost of such improvement minimal.  Yes people, there are more new things coming in future.  Starting end of this year.

2)      Once major production design is decided, start marketing the unit.  Also comes the need for better CRM tool.  I eventually plan to make a backend operated web site for all orders that came in that customers can log in and see where their build process is going for custom jobs.  For production models, I hope to have them pre produced and ready to be shipped sometime in 2007.

 

"There is more vertical and horizontal expansion of the business that I can see down the line from year 2008 and on but for now, I would rather get my customer happy, myself happy, and build my reputation as a solid business to deal with, and get toward establishing the company as the phase change cooling company that is “sought after” and “exceeding customer’s expectation”."

"Sincerely, Jin Park. Jin CPU Cooling. Riverside, CA."