This Sketchy AliExpress Cooler….

by birtanpublished on October 4, 2020

– Most of the time when our viewers send us suggestions for videos, honestly, they're terrible. But when Kishorevenkat brought our attention to this little gem on AliExpress, my interest was piqued, my dander was raised, my desire to witness a train wreck reached an all-time high. What even is this? This (laughs) is a water cooling upgrade kit for the Alienware Area-51m gaming laptop that yes, my friends, seems to involve taking the included heat pipe slash vapor chamber cooler, screwing tubes onto it, and dremeling holes out of the back of your like, $4,000 gaming machine.

(Dremel whirring) Why would anybody create this- How many people on earth bought these, and then what percentage of them would have any interest in this? How many of you wanna hear about our sponsor? Blockudoku is the free mobile game that combines the fun of Sudoku and block puzzle games. Match blocks to complete lines and squares to get them removed. Click the link below and stay tuned to learn more at the end of this video. (upbeat music) Let's begin by taking a closer look at what we got in the mail here.

This right here appears to be two contact plates, so one for the CPU, I believe this is going to be- Mm, hard to say, actually. Ah, no, this will probably be CPU, yep. – Yeah, it's CPU. – And one for the GPU with a total of three, four, seven heat pipes running over to exactly the same kind of rear exhaust radiators, and sorry, side exhaust as well, that are included with the original cooler of this laptop. What they've added is that what might have originally been just a regular metal plate or a vapor chamber on the original device, instead, has two fitting locations here and here. And then they've actually included- These are similar to, but not the same as

Any fittings that I've seen before, so these are little tiny- What are these, one-eighth inch compressions? – Something like that. – These are tiny. So they've got a nice little collar on the tube there and a nice little O-ring. This seals up, and it appears to be that the idea is that you rip open the bottom of this machine, take the cooler off, (laughs) and put this on. There's a bunch of thermal pads, bunch of screws, no instructions, obviously. So had you figured out yet how we're planning to hook this up to anything? – No, it just came out of the box, what do you think?

It arrived like 20 minutes ago. – You didn't do any preparation? – I got some tubes over here. – Those are man tubes, these are boy tubes. – I didn't know they looked like that until now. – Oh, boy. Holy crap. Did I pay $650 for this? – I think it was slightly less than that, but yeah, basically like $400 and a bit. – You know what I'm really worried about though? Wherever this tubing runs, right? The heat pipes are on the backside of this, right? – Yeah. – So there's gotta be some kinda gap in here

Between where the CPU and GPU are actually contacting and where these heat pipes are. So our air cooling performance might be terrible. – Oh, probably, yeah. – So do I need to go try and find something we can adapt this tubing with? Like, you honestly have no plan or are you kidding? – No, I honestly have no plan. There's some gaff tape over there. – Oh my God, that's not going to work. (Alex laughs) New plan. We actually realized that our water cooled RED camera uses one-eighth inch fittings. So all we've gotta do is pop off these tubes, throw these new tubes on here, and then bleed the loop.

If I recall correctly, bleeding this loop was horrible. – Yeah, it's really horrible. – The good news is that we actually didn't do a great job of bleeding this in the first place anyway, so we don't really have anything to lose by accidentally un-bleeding it. (laughs) You know what? I don't even care. I'm just going for it here. You only live once, Alex. So I'm just gonna- – Okay, before you do that, let's get a bucket. – Oh, sure, yeah, that makes sense. (Alex laughs) I'm just gonna open it on the table, I'm even gonna drink this water. I'm not gonna drink the water.

Okay, you ready? And a one, and a two, and whoa! (Alex laughs) There you go, there it goes. (speaking gibberish) Okay, all right. As expected, a quick Shadow of the Tomb Raider benchmark had our CPU at 99 degrees and our GPU peaking at 75 degrees, so there's clearly a lot of room for improvement, and improve is what we will do. I can open it up now, right? For those not familiar, one of the cool things about the Area-51m is that it packs a desktop Core i9-9900K processor and a top tier RTX 2080Ti graphics card. Of course, that would be the reason that aftermarket- – These guys.

– Liquid cooling thermal solutions might exist for it. Ah, I got a couple more screws there. Are you gonna know which screws go where? Like, have you disassembled this before? – I've disassembled it like seven or eight times. – Okay, so you're good then. – Yeah, it's pretty amazing that this isn't even like the worst thing that's ever happened to it. Yes, air will create condensation. So I would limit their access to components. – (zaps) Ow. That's fine. – I'll let you do that. – The very best that it could possibly be is equal. – It's not going to be. – And it's not going to be that.

– Until you water cool it and then hopefully, it's way better. Well, we obviously didn't finish this in time, and me and Linus both went on vacation, so (laughs) I need to figure out how the heck we do this picking up from here. I don't quite remember what we were doing, but this goes on here, it can't be that hard, I don't know. (clicks) Oh, yep. Okay. Yeah, you can see that Alienware's solution's definitely a bit more sophisticated. Well, I guess fans have to come off of this now. Fans go like that, which means, boop. On the OEM one,

It had a bunch of tape that sealed up the fans, I guess we're just reusing it. Don't line up quite as well. (laughs) Like, if you look right here, there's an additional- I'm not totally sure how many fins that is. The actual amount of fins probably isn't going to be the biggest issue. It's that we're going to lose a bunch of air (laughs) out the side here. This is probably a huge performance boost, just this little bit of tape. On the OEM heatsink here, you can see they have a bunch of different heights of the VRM coolers, whereas in this, all of this is the same height

And they just give you a thicker thermal pad. So the thermal resistance of this thing is gonna be a fricking lot. Getting very close. Decided to go for the Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut, I think that's what we used last time. Mm, no, that has a real Noctua paste-look to it, so let's apply some of this. Bigger the gob, better the job. But, legitimately, on the GPU, if you don't get all of this covered, it can be a really bad time. Wow, this does not spread as well as the Kryonaut, that is for sure. Well, this spreads pretty well

Under the weight of the heatsink, it's probably fine right now. Then again, how much do we trust that we're going to have good mounting pressure. I'd give it about a 6 out of 10. Well, (exhales) it's time. Ugh. This is not- Wait, what? So we've got four screws for the GPU here. (laughs) We've just got these four long, fully-tapped screws that go for the- You're just hard-mounting it. So the thing is, is that with something like this right here, you would only be able to screw in these a certain amount

Before either they bottom out, and I trust that these are the correct length for when they bottom out, 'cause the CPU socket's actually pretty sensitive to like, pressure variations. You'll get very different thermal results based on if you have like, 30 versus 60 psi of force pressing down on the thermal paste. And also if you press too hard, you can have just stability issues and kill something. (beep) This is going to be the worst part for sure. So if you look here, I need to press down on the heatsink and sort of line up this screw at the same time in order to mount the CPU. Oh, that feels gross.

You can kind of see the whole PCB flexing as I put that in. We're just gonna have to guess the mounting tension on these. So I think that feels about good, I guess, just guessing. It's really hard to tell what's mounting pressure, but also, not all of the thermal pads are the right size. So if you kind of look sort of like, right here, you can see that one of them's super squished down while the other one is like, barely touching. Not the best engineered thing I've ever seen. For better or for worse, that's on, and let's call Linus for the next bit. Get out the Dremel. Oh, they're so close to missing. With just a tiny bit of thought and care,

They could have made it so you could just stick it through one of the existing holes, yeah. – What a bunch of idiots. – (Dremel whirring) Ugh, why are we doing this Linus? – Yeah, seems pretty unnecessary, we all know that the answer is gonna be it sucks. – Wow, you didn't do a very nice job there. – What? What's wrong with it? Oh, you're being such a hater right now. – You only needed to take off a tiny bit on the top, you didn't need to get all this on the side here. – I was rounding it. (whirring) Eh, if we're gonna grind it away, we might as well grind it away all the way to there. Does that look good to you? – Yeah, looks good to me.

– Well, let me rephrase the question. Does that look like enough clearance to you? – Yes. (both laugh) I just got to put this on and we're good. – (bottle thuds) All right, step one, don't use this. – Yeah. – Let's see how it holds up as an air cooler. Oh man, this is gonna be so bad. – No faith. – No, my expectations are incredibly low. 350 bucks I paid for this thing, $350 of e-waste. (slaps table) – It was more like $450, but yeah. – Look at the original cooler compared to that thing.

It's like quality, you know? – It was so scary, like you see how those have like, the nice springy screws and stuff? – Mm hm. – Yeah, it was just a hard mount. – Just all hard mount? – Just hard mount. – Oh, that's not good. – No. – That's not good for the kind of tolerances you have on things like a laptop circuit board. Okay, and the fan is already low ramping. Did you just run it like, right away? – Uh, yeah. – That does not- We already peaked at 100! (laughs) Oh man, my expectations are so much lower than they were before. (laughs)

It's not just way worse in terms of average FPS, like, it's unplayable, because it's like, hitching and stuttering all over the place. But of course, you don't downgrade your air cooling so that you can have better water cooling, if you're not gonna water cool. So let's go ahead and give this thing a hit of adrenaline, shall we? Courtesy of lttstore.com. (bottle thuds) I mean, hey, they included pretty good quality tubing, so that's a plus. – Yeah. Unless you happen to like, have a water cooled RED around, it'll be pretty hard to adapt to anything else, but yeah. – Do we have a power source for this? – Yes. – Oh my God,

Do we have to use that? Can we please just use one of those wall adapters? – I couldn't find them. (Linus groans) Okay. – Firing the laser. – I need to plug it in. – Yep, that'll help. Confirmed. There are air bubbles. (Alex laughs) Just come out! There it goes, we have circulation. So we just need to not breathe on it too hard. – Oh, did we check for leaks? – No. – Oh, it's leaking a bit. – Oh, snap. Just give it a little wiggle waggle. – I also have a really good solution for this. We just tilt it up a bit,

Then the water's just going to fall out of the laptop, don't have to worry about it. – Brilliant. Okay, so we're idling at 30 degrees, 30 to 35 degrees now, we just dropped 10 degrees at idle. Mm, that's really stutter-y still. – Yeah, it's not looking great. Geez, that's not great. That's bad enough that I want to see if there's something else on the go here. Yeah, the CPU is a maximum of 79 degrees. – Wow. – And the GPU got up to 71. – That's really good. – So yeah, that is really good. So I quit Tomb Raider, we're gonna just restart it.

I'm going to make sure that everything on the system's working. Like, we didn't do anything last time and it just worked. – Yeah, I wonder if it was just from how heavily it was thermal throttling before or something. – Yeah, I don't know. It kind of invalidates our earlier results, but it has been a week and I'm gonna just update everything. – Okay, sure, fine. – Maybe Tomb Raider updated and it doesn't like the old drivers or something, I don't know, computers are stupid. Okay, we're back. We've installed the Alienware Center and the Windows update. Hopefully, that makes all of this make sense.

– Okay. – We're aiming for 129. – Okay, sounds good. That looks good. – Yeah, that's much better. – That looks very promising. – 'Cause before it was like 70 FPS and a hitching mess before here. – This is dead smooth. Yeah, with it not throttling, the water is (clears throat) substantially hotter. So we go all the way from 26 and a half degrees at the outlet to 45 at the inlet. I think this is going to crush the stock numbers. – It seems like it. Although, also like, when it's looking at the sky there, you always get a lot of FPS.

– I know, but it still looks really good. – It does, yeah. Okay, that's not as much better as I had perhaps hoped, (Linus laughs) given the- – Given the expense and inconvenience. – 82 degrees on the hottest core and the GPU is at 71. – Nice. – Neither of them throttling. – So I guess what you're trying to say then is that any throttling that this laptop did on its air cooler was negligible. – Yeah. Marginal. (laughs) – Okay, well, let's go ahead and drain the water out of it and get a new air cooled with the aftermarket cooler run.

– Yeah, 'cause that's close, or the same, I guess. – With water in it. Maybe the issue we were having with performance was related to how hard it was throttling before. Fans definitely ramped up earlier this time. They're going, they're going, boys. Just trying to keep it under control. 127 FPS. (Alex laughs) So it's anywhere from marginally worse to marginally better, and you get to spend $450 plus several hours of your time, and have a bunch of stuff hanging out from your laptop. Yeah! Not recommended. But you know what I do recommend? Checking out this segue to our sponsor!

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So thanks for watching guys, if you enjoyed this video, you might also enjoy the one where Steve from Gamers Nexus and us take this very laptop for a subzero overclocking adventure. Poor thing, it's been through so much. (laughs)

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