External Photos & Information
A nice all matte black theme with the acetal and matte black hold down as shown below. The screws are also painted black to match. The acetal machining looks well done, with subtle logo and port in/out notes. First the intel hold down:
Followed by the AMD hold down:
Looking at the base after peeling the protective sticker reveals a nicely lapped copper base. It appeared to be of good quality without any visible marks from buffing or polishing.
Putting a straightedge with backlight to the base reveals a nicely bowed base in both directions.
I don’t see any reason to touch the base, it was nicely lapped and finished right out of the box…very nice!
Moving on to looking more closely at the mounting system, there are several features to see. The top stud head actually has two areas of threading. The tip threads into the back-plate as you see below, and the larger nut above the spring is also threaded into the stud allowing further refined tightening. Another helpful feature is how the springs fit snug withing this inner tightening nut reducing the number of loose parts.
And this is how it looks working together with the washers placed under the springs.
The back-plate installation is about as easy as it gets with the peel and stick method and works well. The thumb-stud system works pretty good, but a bit more challenging due to parts being loose. There is significantly fewer smaller parts to deal with however there is still some patience required and care needed to prevent loosing the washers.
There is also not a stop system for mounting pressure, so you’ll need to go by feel and simply snug the four corners as evenly as you can by either measuring or by feel. It took a little practice for me to get used to, but after a few mounts it worked well and I had a sense of pressure needs. The indicator I use for mounting success is the TIM contact patch spread. If the thin area of contact is to one side or the other, that’ll tell you that the block wasn’t level.
The current system requires that you hold the block with one hand and line it up to the holes while you insert the studs into the backplate and start the threads. When tubing is pulling on the block, this can be a bit of a balancing act, although most users will likely install the block before any tubing which would be easier. In the process of 5 mounts, I had one time where my finger slipped and a washer fell off the stud when installing it. Generally I thought the mounting system is a good improvement over the previous generation Delta V3 system that was all loose parts, but still not quite as easy as some systems out there. I would like to see an e-clip to hold the stud on the block and metal washers to replace the nylon types. After 5 mounts, my nylon washers were seeing signs of wear from the smaller springs and larger hold down slot. I ended up replacing the nylon washers with some small chromed steel washers which worked well and matched the chrome springs better as well. I also wouldn’t mind seeing some sort of stop system to ensure proper and even mounting pressure on all four corners.
In order to evaluate large barb compatibility, I did some trials of fittings I had on hand. I found the Koolance 3/4″OD compression fittings worked just fine with about 1mm of space in between as you can see here:
However, larger fittings such as TFC or Bitspower 3/4″ OD fittings are very tight fit and slightly rubbed as they screwed into place:
I was generally happy with the exterior of the block, quality was very good, the mounting system is a fair amount improved over the previous generations, and the barb compatibility is also good.