Spec Tables

Today we're looking at six closed loop liquid coolers from NZXT, Corsair, Swiftech, and now Cooler Master. Representing Asetek are the Kraken X40 and X60 from NZXT as their packages are ultimately more feature rich than Corsair's curiously barebones implementations of the 140mm and 280mm Asetek coolers in the H90 and H110. Corsair's H80i and H100i are both popular models, so they fill in on 120mm and 240mm duty. As the best performing 240mm cooler I've tested, owing at least partially to the copper and brass radiator, the Swiftech H220 demanded to be retested. This time we're using a retail kit as well, instead of the preproduction press model we tested with before. And finally there's Cooler Master's Seidon 240M, which we discussed earlier.

  Corsair H80i Corsair H100i Swiftech H220
Type 120mm 240mm 240mm
Dimensions (in mm) 120x152x38 120x275x27 127x269x29
Fans (Supported) 2 (2) 2 (4) 2 (4)
OEM CoolIT CoolIT N/A
MSRP (NewEgg) $109 ($89) $119 ($105) $139 ($139)

  NZXT Kraken X40 NZXT Kraken X60 Cooler Master Seidon 240M
Type 140mm 280mm 240mm
Dimensions (in mm) 138.4x172.5x27 138.4x312.5x27 120x273x27
Fans (Supported) 1 (2) 2 (4) 2 (4)
OEM Asetek Asetek N/A
MSRP (NewEgg) $99 ($99) $139 ($136) $99 ($109)

The competition is interesting. Corsair's H80i, at least for now, doesn't have to directly compete with anything on our charts except similarly priced air coolers. At 240mm, though, we have the H100i and Seidon 240M squaring off against each other, while the Swiftech H220 is more expensive owing to its higher quality radiator and vastly more powerful pump. Meanwhile the Kraken X60 is the definition of niche, though 280mm radiator mounts are becoming increasingly common in modern cases.

For the Kraken X40, I decided to try something different during testing. The X40 performed pretty poorly in our last roundup against competing 120mm kits, and I wondered if NZXT and Corsair hadn't hamstrung themselves by only including one fan. To even the odds, I swiped a fan from the X60 and attached it to the X40 in a push-pull configuration, and you'll see it made a huge difference.

Meanwhile, for air coolers, I elected to drop all of the DeepCool coolers as well as the Noctua NH-L9i. The Intel stock cooler also wasn't tested. I actually used the Noctua NH-L12 with just the 92mm fan as an upper heat bound; this is a notably more powerful solution than Intel's stock cooler, but it still had trouble keeping our overclocked i7-2700K under 100C.

  Noctua NH-D14 Noctua NH-L12 Noctua NH-U12S Noctua NH-U14S
Dimensions (in mm) 158x126x120 93x128x150 158x125x71 165x150x78
Fans (Supported) 1x 140mm & 1x 120mm (3) 1x 120mm & 1x 90mm (2) 1x 120mm (2) 1x 150mm (2)
Weight 1240g 680g 755g 935g
Rated Noise in dB(A) 13.2~19.8 13.1~22.4 Up to 22.4 Up to 24.6
Price at NewEgg $81 $69 $65 $75

  SilverStone Heligon HE01 be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 2 CM Hyper 212 EVO
Dimensions (in mm) 140x119x160 147x138x166 120x80x159
Fans (Supported) 140mm (3) 1x 120mm & 1x 135mm (2) 120mm (2)
Weight 926g (w/o fan) 1250g 580g
Rated Noise in dB(A) 18~41 13.5~26.4 9~36
Price at NewEgg $75 $99 $33

The two new Noctua coolers were included, but they don't have listings on NewEgg for pricing as of this posting. They're expected to be available soon. What will be interesting will be seeing how the addition of even a low-powered exhaust fan affects this group of coolers.

The Noctua NH-U12S and NH-U14S Testing Methodology
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  • Rogerdodge1 - Friday, April 26, 2013 - link

    are these really the delta temps in Celsius above room temp? if they are then even at a room temp of 21.11C (70 F) you have gone way beyond the temp spec on the processor(72.6C at the heat spreader) with several of your air coolers....even if these are absolute temps Celsius some of the air coolers are dangerously close to max temp. I understand pushing the overclock to test the coolers, but subjecting the chip to those temps is bound to kill it a lot quicker. i suppose if this is all you use it for it doesn't matter much, but damn i would hate to do that to a chip i paid for. Reply
  • Bobs_Your_Uncle - Friday, April 26, 2013 - link

    I've remained extremely intrigued with both the design & the potential efficacy of a prototyped cooler noted within Anandtech ( http://forums.anandtech.com/showthread.php?t=21782... ) & elsewhere ( http://www.tomshardware.com/news/cpu-cooler-sandia... --- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWQZNXEKkaU ). It's been quite some time since initially publicized & I wonder if you might know where to research for an update on it's status?

    While the concept has many possible applications, the thought of it's implementation for PC component cooling is enough to excite one into debilitating nervous ticks. (Well, maybe it's not quite that exciting, but ..... I'm still interested on where it is in development!)
    Reply
  • politbureau - Friday, April 26, 2013 - link

    Hey Dustin, where's the H110? I understand you'd like to limit the test to 'current' coolers, but the H110 is still readily avaialable at retail, and it seems coutnerproductive not to include what should be the top performaing CLC is this roundup... Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Friday, April 26, 2013 - link

    The H110 and Kraken X60 are almost the exact same product, just different fans (understanding that Corsairs fans are superior) and different control (the Kraken X60 uses USB and software, the H110 relies entirely upon your motherboard). But they're the same Asetek radiator and I suspect the same pump. Reply
  • Guspaz - Friday, April 26, 2013 - link

    I recently tried to replace my Shuttle's 92mm fan with a Noctua NF-B9 PWM, which was a very disappointing experience. Yes, it was quiet, but it also spins extremely slowly at max speed, with a low static pressure and a very low airflow. The end result was an increase in CPU load temperatures of 40 degrees (celcius) or so, which is pretty damned massive. Since the CPU fan in a Shuttle doubles as the case fan (the CPU has a heatplate which connects via heatpipes to a large heatsink on the rear of the case, onto which a 92mm fan blows air through it, cooling the CPU and exhausting air from the case at the same time).

    The problem is that the stock fan, while decently quiet up until 35-40% speed, has this point around 40% speed where it very quickly gets very loud (motor noise, not airflow noise). Some research showed that there are only a tiny handful of fans on the market that spin anywhere near as fast (Delta had one, that's about it), and they're a tad pricey to buy on a "hope it's quieter at medium speeds".

    Is it really so much to ask for a fan that is quiet at lower speeds, but can still spin fast (loud if required)? I don't care how loud the thing is at max speed, because if I'm gaming I've got headphones on anyhow. But during normal use (or while trying to sleep) the occasional CPU spike pushes it just past the 40% mark and even the 5% speed bump causes an audible revving.
    Reply
  • epoon2 - Friday, April 26, 2013 - link

    to your point on quiet at lower speeds, but can still spin fast (loud if required) -

    It would be more expensive, and the fan may be larger, and the original target audience would flock because their original wish was getting a quiet fan at all times.
    Reply
  • FH123 - Sunday, April 28, 2013 - link

    I'm a bit out of the game, but I think the Noctua fans that only have 6 blades, spaced quite far apart, have a reputation for low air pressure and don't work well when the CPU heat sink has lots of closely spaced fins. I also use a Noctua fan (see below), but it's a model with more blades and more closely spaced ones.

    In general I agree with you. Fans that run at low speeds by default are a silly marketing phenomenon, which are only useful when you don't have a fan controller, no motherboard fan headers or can't get to grips with the freely available Speedfan program. What you really want is a fan that will still actuate and won't stall at low speeds (say 600RPM), but can ramp up to (much) higher speeds, if needed.

    Another phenomenon I find with my own fan / case combination is that there are certain speeds where the fan noise takes on a distinct and annoying pitch. I don't think it's motor whine, but perhaps some sort of whistling effect produced by the fan holes in the case. This happens at 1,300RPM and around 1,050RPM for me, but neither at 900RPM nor 1,200RPM. I therefore find it very important to be able to regulate the fan speed.
    Reply
  • StitchExperimen - Sunday, April 28, 2013 - link

    I would like to see the replacement of fans with 9 blade fans and see if a lower rpm and higher air flow makes a difference. I took two 9 blade fans in push pull on a Corsair 80i on a i7 3770 because the stock fan noise was so loud/bad. Possibly with this is what I used in push pull from newegg >>> COUGAR CF-V12HPB Vortex Hydro-Dynamic-Bearing (Fluid) 300,000 Hours 12CM Silent Cooling Fan with Pulse Width Modulation (Black) Reply
  • FH123 - Sunday, April 28, 2013 - link

    Are there any fan ducts still on the market? I built my PC years ago using a Thermalright HR-01 with the optional fan duct that connects the heatsink to the rear 120mm case fan. This arrangement seems to work very well, which perhaps ties in with your observation that the case fan is very important for air coolers. Fan ducts also seem to be common in commercial designs from the likes of Dell. I don't even use a CPU fan, only the case fan.

    If it's of any interest, my system is built in an Antec Solo case, optimised for low noise. The only fans are the rear case fan, the power supply fan (at the top of the case) and the GPU fan (ATI 5850 radial fan). There is no front intake fan. The Q9650 CPU has a mild overclock from 3 to 3.6GHz, while remaining at stock voltage. The case fan, at 1,200RPM, keeps the CPU within 45 to 50C over ambient during a Prime stress test. It runs at merely 900RPM during lighter loads.
    Reply
  • flemeister - Sunday, April 28, 2013 - link

    You can easily make your own with cardboard and tape. I've found a three-sided duct to be the best for connecting a CPU heatsink to a rear fan (with the open side facing the motherboard). It still pulls plenty of air through the CPU heatsink, but also allows air to be pulled over the motherboard VRMs. Reply

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