Thermalfins — a new contribution to watercooling

German made radiators of High performance are ready to be presented

Comments: 21

Practically all PC watercooling (WC) system can’t work properly without the help of radiator allowing efficient dissipation of heat and cooling down the heat carrier — water — inside the loop. Current WC radiator variety offers lots of models in different shapes and form factors (sizes). In general, WC radiators support installation of 1 to 4 on one side (2 to 8 for both side) while some models can have up-to 9 fans mounted (18 for both sides)!

Traditional WC radiator design features about dozen of tubes that are generally made of copper/brass with copper/aluminum fins located between it. All of this is put together in a solid radiator case (frame) with input/output ports arrange either on one or both ends of the frame. The ports have threads for fittings of appropriate size and attached tubing to be screwed into radiator. With fans installed and water running trough tube connected to rad, the last can now effectively transfer the heat from water in the loop into environment.

Despite the variety of available radiators, people using watercooling systems for their PCs, prefer models supporting 120mm fans. This is partially explained by a bigger availability of 120mm fans on market. However, during recent years the variety of 140mm fans and corresponding radiators have noticeably increased and already found its followers. Moreover, there are solutions capable of supporting both 120 and 140 millimeter fans at the same time, although the last one is a bit scarce. To change that situation, today, we are proud to introduce a totally different radiator line-up supporting 120 and 140mm fans and featuring some cool design options — Thermalfins (note: The web-page is under construction).

Thermalfins radiators are designed and made by German company Lötters Metallwaren GmbH that specializes in metalwork and heat-transfer. The company started nearly 30 years ago with the development and production of heating components, like convection-grids and burners, guide rails and ceran-units for heating and cooking industries. Now company can boast of orders placed by Viessmann GmbH&Co KG, Küppersbusch GmbH, Oranier Heiztechnik, and other firms, including well-known auto-giant Audi. Heat transfer was and still remains the main business area of the company. The company uses the latest laser technologies for high precision and top efficiency of manufactured products. Other manufacturing technologies used by Lötters Metallwaren GmbH are: welding of any type including 3D-Laser welding of materials up-to 4000mm long, pressing up-to 150 tons, sawing to a max length of 6000mm. This equipment is used for machining materials like extruded aluminum, stainless-steel, tubes, wires, plates and different profiles. Finally you can have you product anodized or power-coated for a nice finish look.

Thermalfins are the first ever radiators designed and produced by Lötters Metallwaren GmbH and experience in heat-transfer was the basic knowledge to develop this product. The material, these radiators are made of, is aluminum and stainless-steel. One of the reasons to do so is to get this rads compatible with ROHS-certificates that prohibit using lead (Pb) or no Cadmium (Cd) in manufacturing process. And there is no need to worry about electro-chemical erosion, since wetted parts are not made of aluminum but steel instead. Moreover, tubes have inner structure which allows an optimal thermal transfer to the outside aluminum-fins. Though copper is definitely better than steel in terms of heat conductance, the steel layer is so thin (only 0,2mm) that it only requires to provide a thermal breakthrough to the aluminum, which is mostly dependent on physical inertia, therefore, the heat of the coolant is moving right through to the alu-fins.

Thermalfins X3 radiator top viewThermalfins X3 radiator side view

Unlike traditional WC radiators with rectangular-shaped tubes that are a bit smaller in width than the actual thinness of the rad, Thermalfins radiators have narrow round tubes arranged in chessboard order. This is said to bring great cooling performance and reduce noise of the air stream generated by fans. As for fan speed, manufacturer claims these rads to operate well both with High and Low speed models. All tubes are laser welded to a basic-plate whereas the last one is covered with the waterchannels. Radiator frame is made of Aluminum to bring lots of design options. Anodized aluminum is a high grade surface, with the possibility of different colors and its lightweight too.

Thermalfins radiator tube connection view

Another difference with traditional WC rads is waterflow. Traditional ones use parallel U-pass waterflow. That means, when water enters the rad the waterflow is then split into several parallel ones inside the rad. At the other end of the rad waterflows are collected in a small water chamber and again spitted into several parallel ones on its way back following U-shape water movement principle. This cooling design has several drawbacks that reduces the overall cooling efficiency of the rad. First off all, its is not a secret that water take the easiest way to move trough obstacles, that is, the rad. Therefore, water inside each tube of traditional WC rad does not move with an equal flow rate. On the other hand, Thermalfins radiators use sequential waterflow! with water running from one tube to another one thus providing one flow rate value for all tubes to improve the heat exchange significantly.

Now let us talk about the model we hare received in details. Thermalfins X3 is a triple radiator supporting both 120 and 140 mm fans (fan spacing 15mm). The “X” stand for eXtreme line-up as this rads are 105 mm thick. Twenty three watertubes with 14.8mm Outside Diameter (OD) and 8mm Inside Diameter (ID) form the cooling core of the rad. The tubes can hold pressure up-to 5 Bars (secure tested 10 Bars). The cooling core is a bit smaller than black anodized radiator frame. In fact, its is 418mm(H) x 80mm(W) x 75mm(D) for a radiator, sized: 445mm(H) x 144mm(W) x 105mm(D). That is quite unusual compared to traditional WC rads where fins cover almost all frame area. However, Thermalfins radiators have detachable side panels! that hide the reason for such a noticeable difference.

Thermalfins radiator baffle-plates view angle 1Thermalfins radiator baffle-plates view angle 2

Underneath it you can see two metal plates forming some kind of airflow collector which reminds me of a 140 mm to 120 mm fan adapters. Those plates work as baffle-plates to brings the airflow from fans in the right direction. We don’t know how will it effect radiator performance with 140mm fans but it should work quite well for 120mm fans. You can also notice that now, you won’t have a chance to puncture your rad tube accidentally, as with screws too long the last will hit those baffle-plates instead of watertube.

Some of you might already noticed that side panels are quite thin and have fan mounting holes larger than needed for M3 or M4 (or American equivalent of this thread sizes) screws. And there is a good reason for that: these radiators use what is called “thread-inserts”.

Basically it is a plastic insert that holds M4 metal thread inside. The insert fits mounting holes with a small pressure and sits there tight enough to properly install a fan. Since “thread-inserts” is about 9mm high this will effect the length of screws needed for fan mounting. Surprisingly, we have not found any mounting screws with the rad. This can be explained by the fact that this is an engineering sample. But we are sure, that first lucky owners of new Thermalfins X3 radiators will have all requiring mounting hardware in place. Back to inserts, there 24 of them, which is enough to mount up-to six fans (for push/pull setups). In case of a damage, “thread-inserts” can be replaced as these will also be available for purchase. As you see, the fans are not touching the radiator, but the inserts itself. This is said to reduce vibrations between radiator and fans. Further more, final product will include silicon-pads too.

Thermalfins radiator thread-inserts mounted

I have tried “thread-inserts” and i must say they work pretty well. For mounting 38mm think fans I used 50mm M4 screws. And as you will see in the picture below this is fairly enough. I must say that pulling out “thread-inserts” is a bit tricky, however, i managed to do it without damaging any of them.

Thermalfins radiator input/output portsThermalfins radiator input/output ports

The sample we have received has two G1/4 treated ports (upgradable to four on request) on the top of the rad which is yet another difference with traditional rads that mostly have inputs/outputs located on side. Top located ports provide direct tube connection, which sometimes is not very convents in terms of tube routing, however, Thermalfins X3 is about 40mm shorter than traditional 140×3 rads (ThermoChill PA140.3 is 480mm long). So with the help of angled fittings or tubing bent at 90 degrees you will have the rad of same or even less size as, for example, ThermoChill PA140.3 radiator.

Thermalfins radiator rubber feetThermalfins radiator rubber feet mounted

Another thing to note, Thermalfins X3 has feet! That right, the package contains four rubber feet that can be mounted to either of side panels. If you won’t use these with rad you can find them useful somewhere else, for example, silencing the pump or your noisy hard drive or even HDD cage.

Thermalfins radiator with grey side pannel
Manufacturer underlines that Thermalfins is a very customizable product and besides fixed-size versions there will be custom-made radiators with different dimensions and colors to meet particular requirements of customers. As an example, take a look at grey side panels that was sent to us with the rad.

Specification of Thermalfins X-series rads are as follows:

Model X 1 X 2 X 3 X 4
Tube material inner-tube: stainless steel | fins: aluminum
Cooling design 23 finned tubes | 14,6mm(OD) x 8mm(ID) x 0,2mm(wall thickness)
Input/Output ports 2 x G 1/4 threads
Weight, g 1000 2000 3000 4000
Liquid Volume, ml 185 347 508 670
Cooling Path, m | feet 3,3 | 10,8 7,0 | 23,0 10,0 | 32,8 13 | 42,6
Max pressure, bar 5 (securely tested at 10 bar)
Dimensions, mm
H x W x D
165,5 x 144 x 105 305 x 144 x 105 446 x 144 x 105 586,5 x 144 x 105
Fans up to 2×140/120mm up to 4×140/120mm up to 6×140/120mm up to 8×140/120mm
Mounting set M4 thread-inserts for both sides fan mounting, fan screws, silicon pads, rubber feet
Price N/A N/A ~185 EU (inc. VAT)* N/A

* -Subject to change

Besides eXtreme version of Thermalfins radiators, there will be a standard version of the product dedicated for 120mm fans only — Thermalfins Xs.

Specification of Thermalfins Xs-series rads are, as follows:

Model Xs 1 Xs 2 Xs 3 Xs 4
Tube material inner-tube: stainless steel | fins: aluminum
Cooling design 14 finned tubes | 14,6mm(OD) x 8mm(ID) x 0,2mm(wall thickness)
Input/Output ports 2 x G 1/4 threads
Weight, g 620 1240 1860 2480
Liquid Volume, ml 85 157 230 302
Cooling Path, m | feet 1,7 | 5,6 3,5 | 11,3 5,0 | 16,6 6,8 | 22,1
Max pressure, bar 5 (securely tested at 10 bar)
Dimensions, mm
H x W x D
145,5 x 124 x 60,5 265,5 x 124 x 60,5 386 x 124 x 60,5 506 x 124 x 60,5
Fans up to 2×120mm up to 4×120mm up to 6×120mm up to 8×120mm
Mounting set M4 thread-inserts for both sides fan mounting, fan screws, silicon pads, rubber feet
Price N/A N/A N/A N/A

X-series radiators are already in full-scale production and will be available from March 2011 at Thermalfins e-shop, followed by Xs line-up presented in April. As for future plans, manufacturer states to present passively cooled rads as well as combination of both passive and active systems.

As an exclusive partner of Thermalfins we will have a full-fledged line up of “X”-series radiators previewed soon. This includes some other products that are preparing to launch, for example, radiator grills.

That is all for now. The rad will be tested in our lab and results will be published as soon as possible. So stay tuned!

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Discussion

Leave a Reply

testomat, February 24, 2011 at 3:55 pm

testomat,

Sorry, looks like a TFC… The never outcoming new one…
Maybe The Fester Corp. is the real one behind this?!

p0Pe, February 24, 2011 at 4:02 pm

p0Pe,

#2 lol:D TFC will never release their “admiral” series. I´m glad to see that someone actually made a finished product, so we can see if the design sucks or not:)

Artem, February 24, 2011 at 4:03 pm

Artem,

testomat
No, just like the article says: Thermalfins are designed and made by German company Lötters Metallwaren GmbH.

Shayera, February 24, 2011 at 4:58 pm

Shayera,

Thermalfins are designed and made by German company Lötters Metallwaren GmbH.

There are several things which say TFC:
1. The Lötters Metallwaren GmbH is only 12 Km away from TFC.
2. The engineering samples of the Admiralseries look almost (aka ~95%) the same. The sidepanels are, markings aside, 100% the same.
3. TFC patented how their rads work – suddenly there’s a new company (very very close by) which makes the rads exactly how they are in the patent.

Well, you can call a duck anyway you like, but it still remains a duck.

Artem, February 24, 2011 at 5:07 pm

Artem,

This only indicates that TFC could have placed orders at Lötters Metallwaren in the first place. But Thermalfins is not a product of Feser!

Munchkinman, February 24, 2011 at 5:31 pm

Munchkinman,

I think you will find Mr F took Mr Investors money to give to the factory so the factory could make the goods but not all the money got there… So now the factory sells it to cover prduction.

Artem, February 24, 2011 at 5:36 pm

Artem,

The factory never started the production of product by Mr F. So it is not a sale to cover financial losses.

Shayera, February 24, 2011 at 5:42 pm

Shayera,

Then explain this to me:

It makes no sense to patent something, advertise it everywhere, always saying ‘the rads come soon’, and then – surprise – there’s a new company using the patent of TFC for their own rads.

You do something like this here in Germany and you’ll really soon get a letter from a lawyer. There are more than enough ‘specialized’ lawyers for exactly this sort of thing…

TFC made sure that no one can simply copy how these rads work, but now we have a copy.

Artem, February 24, 2011 at 5:52 pm

Artem,

I am not 100% sure but if you ask me, i believe TFC never owned that patent! That can explain a lot

Tom, February 24, 2011 at 7:26 pm

Tom,

Artem is right…
TFC tried to twit me on the worst way…! There´s no patent owned by TFC…because…a contract has to be signed ( this contract was done by the patent attorney )…this contract should arrange the cooperation between TFC and me…and after all was done, TFC didn´t sign it !

WatercoolingFan, February 24, 2011 at 8:10 pm

WatercoolingFan,

@Tom: Are you Th. Lötters ? If so, please give us more details about the behaviour of the feser guys

Tom, February 24, 2011 at 8:50 pm

Tom,

Yes I am…but…I´m sorry…I don´t like to talk about the Feser-guys…at time our advocates are doing this way :-) …

Heinrich, February 24, 2011 at 9:22 pm

Heinrich,

Tom, schreib uns doch mal bitte ein paar Details in deutsch über die Radis und warum ihr das Sample ins Ausland geschickt habt und nicht erst in Deutschland habt testen lassen. Am besten im größten deutschen Wakü Forum:

http://www.hardwareluxx.de/community/f137/wakue-quatsch-thread-31-a-788493-23.html

Ist nur ein Direktvetrieb geplant oder wird es die Radis auch in dt. Shops geben ? Werdet ihr renomierten Testern wie z.B. bundymania Radis senden, damit er die für uns testen kann ?

seal, February 25, 2011 at 1:41 pm

seal,

Hallo Heinrich,
natürlich wird es diese Radis auch in Deutschland geben…ganz sicher (!) Die Frage, in welcher Vertriebsschiene diese Radis in D auf den Markt kommen ist zum heutigen Zeitpunkt noch nicht 100%ig geklärt…ich bitte daher um Verständnis, daß ich hierzu jetzt noch keine Auskünfte geben kann.
Bundymania kann jederzeit mit mir Kontakt aufnehmen und wird auch Teile zum Testen erhalten.
Und hier sind wir auch gleich bei Deiner Eingangsfrage…warum Ausland (?)
Das war keine böse Absicht :-) …HW-Lab war mein erster Kontakt und ich hatte mit Artem ausgemacht, daß er einen Radiator aus der Fertigung zum Testen bekommt… Ich stehe mit meiner Zusage bei HW-Lab im Wort…und daran halte ich mich. Daher möchte ich auch darum bitten, daß wir zuerst die Tests bei HW-Lab abwarten.
Details über die Radis…
Vielen ist die Vorgeschichte der Radiatoren bekannt…und ich möchte auch nicht weiter auf dieses
“düstere Kapitel einer Kooperation” eingehen. Die Ähnlichkeit der Radiatoren kommt also nicht von ungefähr…haben ja schließlich ein “Elternhaus” :-)
Die gesamte Fertigung dieser Radiatoren ist auf Qualität ausgelegt…vom Materialeinsatz ( ich weiss…Edelstahl )…über die Oberflächenbehandlung, bis hin zum Service. Warum ausgerechnet Edelstahl ?
Wer sich die Preisentwicklung von Kupfer ansieht, wird feststellen…hier geht´s nur Richtung Norden ! Edelstahl hat zwar nicht die besten Wärmeleitwerte im Vergleich zu Kupfer aber…und hier kommt das Entscheidene: wenn ich um ein 0,2mm dickes Edelstahlrohr ein Aluminiumrohr lege…dann ist bei einer Materialstärke von 0,2mm die Legierung, bzw…das Material des Innenrohres an sich vernachlässigbar. ( Hat schon ´mal jemand ein Edelstahl-Brötchenmesser aus einer gerade abgelaufenen Spülmaschine genommen ??? …verdammt heiß das Ding ! ) …es kommt hier zu einem thermischen Durchbruch dessen Wärmeleitung an das Aluminium weitergeleitet wird…und das funktioniert einwandfrei.
Soweit mal kurz zum Edelstahl…
Hinzu kommt, daß nicht gelötet wird! Alle Bereiche werden mit dem Laser geschweißt…kein Verzug…und vor Allem…keine Zusatzstoffe. Daher absolut RoHS-konform.

ich hoffe, daß ich dir einige Fragen erklären konnte
viele Grüße
Tom / thermalfins

testomat, February 25, 2011 at 12:54 pm

testomat,

Hi Mr. Lötters,
ich weiss wovon du redest, wenn du über Feser redest… Viele Grüße und viel Spaß noch im Rechtsstreit!

Ich bin gespannt auf die performance!

German, March 2, 2011 at 2:44 pm

German,

´mal jemand ein Edelstahl-Brötchenmesser aus einer gerade abgelaufenen Spülmaschine genommen ??? …verdammt heiß das Ding ! )

weil es die wärme vielleicht speichert???

lool. man will ja auch die wärme speichern und nicht abführen. nee ist klar.

Thisted, June 9, 2011 at 6:21 pm

Thisted,

Already June, and the radiator is still not available. What has happened?

hw-lab team, June 11, 2011 at 7:30 am

hw-lab team,

The reason of delay is a non-satisfactory performance of the first batch of Thermalfins rads. Therefore, rads are being redesigned as we speak. Here is a official statement from Tom / Thermalfins (Translated with Google Translate):

Good morning @ all
Bundymania has already announced that I will make a statement here to the radiators.
I must tell you at this point that I am not convinced the performance of the radiators. ??… Why is what we can learn a lot and intense philosophies …
It may be that the time required temperature ranges were much too high … the Druchbereiche not been defined clearly are … or simply that I have made in the construction of a “tick ” …
anyway … cheese …
It is certainly not easy here in this forum “the pants’ let down” and recognize that the measured values ​​are not the “screamer” is … at least not as a developer and manufacturer … and for this reason I have my homework this time made and I can say at this point …
The new X3 is ready Thermalfins not just on paper … but is being produced in prototype!
This is a “hybrid radiator” (…) of a “mix” of conventional (good …) and new technology represents. The flow behavior of the medium was changed it significantly and adapted to the printing requirements (the compressive strength is there to 5 bar) … the cooling surfaces were increased by a factor of 3 … the channeling of air flow was maintained …

I have decided not to bring the current Thermalfins in the market … (Possibly only to the manufacturing cost are interested …) I would not sell these radiators to 3 weeks later to push an update to the market that would annoy the buyers of the “old” Radiators and rightly so. I will not do that to my customers and the product.
I beg your indulgence at this point and hope that will continue remains interested in this product. I will keep you on the “date” …

Thank you,
greetings
Tom / Thermalfins

The release date for “Hybrid radiators” is not revealed.