Welcome to my review of the 1997 Pontiac Bonnie Heatercore. I would like to give special thanks to Dryadsoul from OCnet for donating this heatercore for testing
Sorry for the poor heatercore condition, this heatercore is used and no longer representing what you might buy new. The brass barbs were soldered into place myself, but like any of these heatercores, if you wanted them to look nice and painted, you'll need to plan on painting them yourself.
This makes these heatercores similar to the more dense and double thickness radiators like the HWlabs BIX and GTX series in that they will be optimal with higher pressure 38mm and higher speed fans (>2000RPM).
Bonnie Heatercore- 2" (50mm) thickness left. Vs. (MCR220) .83" (21mm) thickness right.
The heatercore is 2.4X as thick as a normal slim radiator core.
Unfortunately the heatercore doesn't come with a premade radiator shroud or fan mount, so you'll have to make your own.
Hydraulics and Pressure Drop Testing
The most scientific way to determine a blocks hydraulic resistance is to test pressure drop. Pressure drop is a measurement of pressure loss across a radiator that varies with flow rate. This is basically a measurement of energy loss, and directly influences how much flow rate you will have.
- Dwyer Digital Manometer 477 Mark V - Accuracy .5% of Full Scale. Range 0-20.00 PSI range, Resolution .01 PSI
- King Instruments 7520 Series 0-5GPM, 250mm scale - Accuracy 2% of Full Scale. Range 0-5GPM, Resolution .1 GPM (can be interpolated to .02GPM)
- Water Source - Household water pressure - 50PSI at >5GPM - Because flow rate readings are instantaneous, household tap water and water pressure are a good and powerful source for pressure drop testing.
Previously tested on old test setup and very low pressure drop, but retesting on newer equipment for consistent data.
TESTING IN PROGRESS
First are my tabular results which includes additional data like the air in and air out, etc.
And this is the estimating chart where you can select a heat load in watts and get an estimated water temperature. For example assuming I was running a 200 watt quad core setup using Ultra Kaze fans at 2930RPM, I would get about a 2.5C delta. So if my ambient temperature was 20C, my water temperature would be around 22.5C.
To estimate a heat load you can use the following tools:
Also worthy of noting, like any radiator, there is a significant performance increase between the ultra slow and ultra high fans, in this case you get about 3.6X the performance using 3000RPM 38mm fans vs 1000RPM 25mm fans.
These are the c/w values plotted over the fan range, more than anything this just shows you the overall testing is following a fairly controlled trendline which is good. The heatercore is a bit different than many radiators in that the trendline still has a good slope to it at 3000RPM fans meaning it would still gain a good amount with even more fan power. Unfortunately it also looses performance rapidly under 1350RPM fans.
And everyone wants to know what heat dissipated is and for that you have to assume a delta (Water temperature out vs Air temperature In). This is what I call the 10C "Average Performance" delta where, where it's still good, but not an extreme setup where 5C deltas are desired. While most radiators start to drop off past 2000RPM, the heatercore appears to not only gain linearly, but curve upwards...it really likes strong fans.
And this is the high performance 5C delta chart where water temperatures are very cool and would provide extreme cooling performance. Even though it's extremely strong with the ultra high speed fans, it's still doing ok with low speed fans. A single C2D processor overclocked might produces as much as 125watts between processor and pump, and this shows you could cool that down to a nice cool 5C delta with only 1350RPM fans. And with ultra high speed fans you could cool nearly 400watts of heat down to this high performance level.
Bottom line, if you have the skills/time to do a little handy work and fabricate your own barbs and your own shroud, the heatercore is an exceptional value and an impressive performer with high speed fans. Overall it performs somewhere in between a double and triple slim radiator with lower speed fans and on par or better than a slim triple radiator with high speed fans. The key to this is you have to build your own shroud and if you don't buy one with preinstalled barbs, you also need to have the necessary soldering skill to do that. It is what is it, a heater "Core" so you have to build the rest of what we consider a standard PC radiator.