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CritiCool Powerplant Relay Card

Manufacturer: CritiCool
Price: $29 

By Dean Barker (5/28/2003)


Over the past six months or so I have became a huge water cooling fan.  Iím a fan because of raw cooling performance and the near silence of water cooled PCs.  As I have gotten older, I have found I am intolerant of a single 60mm Delta, much less anything more.  If your sound sensitive self is like me, you may want to give water cooling a try.  However, one of the pitfalls for water cooling has always been forgetfulness.  Should you forget to turn your pump on before firing up your system, it wonít be long before the aroma of roasted almonds waft through the air while you are sitting there wondering why your machine wonít boot.  (Been there, done that.) 

CritiCool has put out a product that directly addresses the very problem.  The CritiCool Powerplant PCI Relay Card functions by a relay allowing AC power to go to your pump as soon as it detects the system is powering up.  Fairly straight forward concept Iíd say.    Before we move on to take a closer look at the Powerplant Card, we wish to extend our thanks to CritiCool for making this review possible.

What you get

The Powerplant Card package was not much larger than a small PCI card.  Upon opening the box and dumping out the contents, we found the CritiCool Powerplant Card and a proprietary power cable.  It was actually quite surprising that absolutely no instructions, guides or inserts were included with the unit.  Installation instructions were readily found on the CritiCool website in .pdf format.  However, I like to see paper instructions especially when lopping off part of my water pumpís power cable is involved.  Which by the way, pretty much ruins any chance of an RMA on the pump later. 

In looking closer at the card, on the slot cover side, we see a four-pin Molex connector, a larger power connector and a two position throw switch.  The switch allows power to flow to your pump on system boot OR for power to flow to your pump if your system is off.  This allows you to leak test your system with everything in place without the risk of shorting something out.  An externally accessible Molex connector is a nice plus should the need arise to mount lighting, an external radiator or whatever else you may need.  The larger power connector is for the included AC power cable.  On the reverse side of the card is your power connection for your pump.  We will be cutting our pumps power cable and stripping the three wires to hook them up here.


Iím going to mention this several times in this review as it bears repeating.  Remember you are playing with AC power which is traditionally 110 volts in most American households.  Under the right circumstances, it can kill you.  It is more likely you will scream SH-T!! and tingle for an hour.  You want to avoid touching wires or the solder points on the card at all times when it is plugged in.



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