Danger Den DD12V-D4 Water Cooling Pump Review



In order to test this pump I setup a cooling loop with other water cooling components that I would normally use in one of my cooling systems. More specifically, the components in the water cooling loop were as follows:

• Danger Den RBX (the brass topped version with the #4 accelerator nozzle and 1/2″ fittings).
• Danger Den D4 12v pump
• Approximately 3.5 feet of 1/2″ ID Clearflex tubing.
• Weapon 302 Core and Shroud with two San Ace 120mm x 38mm fans to move air through the 302 core (fan model # 109R1212H1011 – approximately 102.4 CFM each at 12v).

Other system components used were an AMD XP2100 overclocked to 2.32ghz and 1.80 core voltage which produces something in the range of a 94 watt heat load (as estimated by OCTool), an EPoX 8RDA+ with all the possible voltage modifications, 512mb (256mb x 2, dual channel) of Buffalo Technology PC3200 (with Winbond BH-5 chips) set at 2-2-2-11 and an ATi 9800 Pro.

Before diving into installation and testing some general information is required regarding pump ratings and actual performance. The most common questions I see in forums related to watercooling pumps are usually something along the lines of “how much flow would this system need?” or “Does this pump have enough flow or too much flow for this cooling loop?” Flow rate is an important factor in selecting a pump and probably the most widely advertised specification for pump marketing but there is much more to a pump than just its rated flow.

First, the flow rates often quoted for pumps are the flow rates at zero feet of head. Basically, the flow rate for the pump when it does not have to fight any type of restriction. This number is often close to worthless when evaluating how a pump will perform in a watercooling loop because almost all modern CPU waterblocks have a good deal of restriction due to jet impingement designs. Additionally, other components like GPU waterblocks, chipset waterblocks, 90 degree fittings and heat exchangers add additional restriction to the cooling loop.

To determine the type of flow a pump will have in a watercooling loop, the flow rating and the maximum head rating have to be checked. The maximum head rating for a pump is important because it is a solid indicator of how much flow the pump will have with different levels of restriction. Some pumps that have really nice looking flow rate numbers turn out to be close to worthless for watercooling systems because they are designed to move a lot of water in an essentially resistance-free environment.

So, once any restriction is added, the flow rate of such pumps can drop down close to nothing. Most quality pump manufacturers will have a performance chart for their pumps that shows the pump’s flow rate across a range of head pressures. The performance chart is a much better indicator of how a pump will perform in a cooling loop than a gallon per hour rating at zero feet of head.

With that in mind, a quick check of the DD4’s performance chart reveals that even at around 8.5 feet of head, the pump is capable of moving around 106 gallons per hour which is more than sufficient for most watercooling loops.

Other factors that should be taken into consideration are the amount of heat the pump will add to the coolant and the amount of noise the pump produces. Depending on the design of the pump and the amount of power it consumes, water cooling pumps can dump some extra heat into the coolant.

While a pump’s wattage rating is usually a fair indicator of how much heat will be transferred into the water, different pump designs can lead to more or less heat than would be expected by the power rating. As a general rule of thumb, if the pump really heats up while operating and the housing on the pump is very warm or hot to the touch, the pump is adding some heat to the coolant.

However, pump-related heat issues are usually more of a fine tuning factor when trying to get the absolute lowest temperatures unless the pump is massively oversized and runs insanely hot. With most of the commonly used watercooling pumps, the heat from the pump will result in less than a 1-2 degree Celsius difference in coolant temperatures.

The amount of noise from a pump is somewhat of a subjective factor but noise can make a pump intolerable regardless of the pump’s performance. While dBA meters can provide a number for the raw volume of pumps, fans, etc., the tone and pitch of the sound is usually what determines whether or not the part is considered loud or annoying. Watercooling pumps can make a variety of annoying sounds such as impeller ticking or clicking, humming, vibrations noises, as well as others. So, how does all of this apply to the DD4?