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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  • disappointed1 - Sunday, April 28, 2013 - link

    With all due respect, this testing methodology is now completely flawed:

    "For air coolers, I added a Noctua 140mm rear exhaust fan and used the ultra low noise adaptor to ensure it didn't affect acoustics in any meaningful way. This is in line with the usage cases air coolers are designed for, and should be representative of the kind of airflow most users will have from their exhaust fan."

    You FUNDAMENTALLY can't compare coolers on the same charts with different testing conditions. The closed-loop coolers are just as much designed, and will be operated, with proper/equivalent case ventilation. Just test them under identical conditions and let the liquid coolers pay any penalty with higher idle noise readings.
    Reply
  • epoon2 - Monday, April 29, 2013 - link

    I tried the article again, couldn't find where Dustin mentioned his testing method for Water. On the page where he shows the Seidon, it's clearly installed inside the case. I do not believe there is a strong bias towards either air or water coolers in this test. Reply
  • disappointed1 - Tuesday, April 30, 2013 - link

    "...I'm now using that exhaust fan for testing air coolers. Closed loop coolers continue to do without."

    He added an extra case fan for the air coolers, which was not present for the liquid coolers. This will have the effect of biasing the results and renders them void. This is readily apparent by the author's own admission that "the differences in performance were pronounced" and "now liquid coolers aren't the juggernauts they used to be" and cannot be compared with previous results.
    Reply
  • Alvar - Monday, April 29, 2013 - link

    Today we have something a little special on the table. If you have previously been reading our CPU Cooler reviews you probably saw our recent review for Silverstone. We reviewed the Silverstone Heligon Series – HEO1 CPU Cooler....
    more details:- http://tinyurl.com/c5czh4b
    Reply
  • bobbozzo - Tuesday, April 30, 2013 - link

    Spam link above goes to a site for a women's magazine, nothing about coolers. Reply
  • TheStranger81 - Tuesday, April 30, 2013 - link

    It would be a review if it actually had any charts....WTF is going on ? Where are the charts ? Reply
  • Wwhat - Saturday, May 4, 2013 - link

    Look at how this site does such things:
    http://www.computerbase.de/artikel/gehaeuse-und-ku...

    (language is irrelevant for the subject of graphs)

    You can deselect items in the list and when you select a line you can see the position and details as you move the mousepointer over it.
    And in their bargraphs it uses mouseover to show the percentage and relative percentage.
    Like shown here: http://www.computerbase.de/artikel/gehaeuse-und-ku...

    PNG's for data are a bit.. outdated really aren't they? (But perhaps you need to dumb down again for tablets and phones these days?)
    Reply
  • Death666Angel - Saturday, May 11, 2013 - link

    Can you adjust the air and clc results so that the x-axis is the same unit length? That way it is easier to compare between the two cooler types. :) Reply
  • hooner - Tuesday, July 2, 2013 - link

    Great review...thanks!

    I have a quick question...I am thinking of buying a cooler master N200 and is front or rear radiator cooling best? I am presuming the front fans are intakes, rear and top are out.

    My thinking is rear takes heat straight out the back from CPU, where as front means air is drawn in, cooled and then blow back through case. Surely venting the heat straight away is better?

    Cheers
    Reply
  • SloppyFloppy - Wednesday, September 17, 2014 - link

    You keep recommending the really well performing Swiftech H220, but after some research they appear to have server quality control issues with their pumps failing and/or making lots of noise as well as some of their fans being noisy.

    Now I don't know what cooler to buy that performs well without sounding like a lawn blower.
    Reply

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