The Vantec Stingray STG-100 is supplied in separate parts, so it’s up to you to assemble and install it in your computer. This procedure involves the following:
- Put the water-block on the CPU and, if necessary, on the GPU and the chipset’s North and South Bridge
- Place the radiator with the fan outside and the pump with reservoir inside the system case
- Cut up the pipes and connect the system components
- Fill the system up with liquid
The kit includes all the necessary components, so you’ll only need a cross-head screwdriver and a knife for the pipes. This cutting up of the pipes may prove to be troublesome because you need six lengths of pipe to install the system in full (with all the water-blocks), and the manufacturer hasn’t provided any means to prevent the pipes from bending. It means you have to measure the pipes up very carefully.
Other operations can hardly be problematic. The pipes attach to the system components without difficulty; the water-blocks are easy to mount on the respective chips; the filling up of the system goes without problems.
The manufacturer recommends connecting the components in the following way: radiator – pump – CPU – GPU – North Bridge – South Bridge. The liquid you pour into the expansion tank easily goes through the whole system thanks to the high-performance pump. The Vantec Stingray STG-100 can take in about 1 liter of liquid in total.
A bottle with an ethylene glycol based liquid is included into the kit. There’s just enough of it for filling the system up just once. Vantec doesn’t disclose what exactly this coolant is made of, but we can tell you that it has an acid green color and shines in ultraviolet light.
In order to test the Stingray STG-100 we assembled a Socket AM2 platform on an ASUS M32N-SLI Deluxe mainboard (Nvidia nForce 590 SLI chipset) and an AMD Athlon 64 FX-62 processor, and we found some drawbacks of this liquid cooling system when we were installing it.
First, you need to remove the mainboard’s standard cooling system before you install the Stingray STG-100. It’s not difficult, but removing the heatsinks from the chipset also involves removing them from the CPU power circuit. So, the use of the Stingray STG-100 on the ASUS M32N-SLI Deluxe creates a problem – you have to take care about cooling the mainboard’s power elements. Although this mainboard has an eight-channel CPU voltage regulator, this regulator becomes hot at work. So, we had to use small heatsinks that were meant to cool memory chips on a graphics card.
The second problem is that on this mainboard, and on many other mainboards of this class for that matter, the chipset’s North Bridge is located in front of the PCI Express x16 slot. The mainboard comes with this Bridge covered with a low-profile heatsink which barely but allows installing a graphics card. But our putting a water-block on it made it impossible to install a long graphics card, i.e. the fastest and most advanced graphics card models for today.
We had to give up the idea of installing a fast graphics card due to one more reason, though. The GPU water-block included in the Vantec Stingray STG-100 kit cannot take heat off the graphics card’s memory chips, so you should only use it with graphics cards that do not require cooling of the memory. These are entry-level and mainstream cards that are generally short. So, in the end we decided to install an Nvidia GeForce 7300 GS into the test system.
And if you want to use a high-performance graphics card and a Vantec Stingray STG-100, you will probably have to use water for cooling only the CPU.