Cooler Master

It would seem that Cooler Master simply wanted to create the best performing AIO coolers available. In that respect, they certainly managed to do so, as their Nepton series coolers are constantly at the top of our high load thermal performance charts. On the other hand, one would have to be at least partially deaf in order to use these coolers with the fans anywhere near their maximum speed. Even with their voltage reduced down to 7V, both kits are rather noisy. It is not possible to run these kits quiet even if you reduce the voltage even further, as the fans are clearly audible from 1 meter away even at just 4.7V, the minimum voltage required to start them. Therefore, we simply cannot recommend them to anyone seeking a quiet cooling solution.

The Seidon 120V however is an entirely different product. Priced at just $49.99, it is more of an alternative to an average air cooler than competition for liquid cooling solutions. It fares relatively well at lower loads but its performance diminishes with thermal loads greater than 150W. With an average thermal resistance slightly above 0.014 °C/W, it will most likely be unable to compete with most extreme performance air coolers, and it has a particularly noisy pump, making it noisier than other 120mm AIO coolers. However, it has other merits, as it does not stress the motherboard with its weight and it requires very little space around the CPU area, making it ideal for special builds and/or systems that are moved around a lot.

Corsair

Corsair has such a vast selection of AIO cooling products that we could make a roundup just for them. Each of the five coolers that they shipped us for this roundup displays entirely different behavior; thus, each of them is suitable for a different type of user.

With the H75 Corsair is offering a compact 120mm AIO cooler but with two 120mm fans for extra performance. The H75 performs relatively well, although it generally does better at thermal loads lower than 150W due to the low capacity of its small radiator. The use of two fans however increases the noise of the system, giving the advantage to Enermax's Liqmax 120S if low-noise operation is the top priority.

The 140mm H90 on the other hand displays great all-around performance and very low noise levels. Even with its fan constantly running at maximum speed, the H90 can be considered fairly discreet and is comfortable for everyday use. If quiet computing is what drives you, the H90 deserves a very strong consideration.

Corsair informed us that the H100i is their most popular AIO cooler and we can see why. Despite its size, the H100i easily competes with coolers using significantly larger radiators. The stock fans have a wide operating range and the USB interface allows the user to adjust the performance/noise ratio to meet his or her exact needs. Furthermore, the size of the radiator makes the H100i compatible with a relatively wide array of cases.

After looking at the performance figures of the H100i, we felt disappointed by the performance of the newly released H105. The H105 hardly performs much better and it only does so when the thermal load is very high. Unfortunately, the thicker radiator can create compatibility issues and it also is more expensive than the H100i, all while lacking the USB interface that the H100i has. It is hard to recommend the H105 over the H100i for the slightly better thermal performance alone, unless of course maximum thermal performance is virtually the only concern of the user and a larger radiator cannot fit into the system.

Finally, the last AIO cooler from Corsair that we have tested, the Hydro H110, possibly stands as the performance winner of this roundup. Although it does not have the best thermal performance, it is very close to the top of the charts and manages to do so while maintaining very low noise levels. However, the size of the radiator limits the compatibility of the cooler with only a handful of cases currently available and, considering that the retail price of the H110 is over $125 at the time of this review, it is a costly thermal solution.

Testing Results, Low Fan Speed (7V) Conclusion (Enermax, NZXT, Silverstone)
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  • HisDivineOrder - Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - link

    It's reprehensible that you guys are not reviewing the Swiftech option that allows you to use the closed AIO part or switch to a more open config if you like, too.

    If you say, "That's because it's not on the market now!" I'll say it's because of Asetek trying to basically own the market and are using litigation to destroy competition. Was it any wonder that when the Swiftech was on the market, we had Corsair and NZXT AIO's all dropping down to sub-$100 for even their highest of the high end? The value you got for that $130-140 was so outstanding, no one would touch a single one of these coolers.

    So to my eye, I don't see why you'd bother reviewing such subpar products that are at ludicrous pricing and reward Asetek and their twin from another mother for not bothering to compete.

    Not going to reward patent trolls.
    Reply
  • E.Fyll - Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - link

    Copy-paste from above:

    "I know. I actually tried to acquire all AIO coolers in existence, including Intel's, Thermaltake's and others. Not everyone is happy to cooperate and/or willing/able to supply samples at a give time, for whatever reason."

    I cannot test what I cannot have access to. I would love to test Swiftech's products but the company needs to be willing to ship me samples first.
    Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - link

    "Reprehensible" is an awfully strong word, isn't it? There's a lot of logistics that go into just trying to put together a roundup like this, and respectfully, you don't have the full picture of Asetek's patent or what's going on in the AIO market. Reply
  • Laststop311 - Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - link

    noctua d14 runs cooler and quieter. These all in 1 coolers all suffer from the same problem. The pumps used are cheap loud and not very powerful. You need to build you own water cooling loop using high quality waterblocks radiators pumps and tubing then and only then can u take the noctua d14 down, And I'd still use high static pressure noctua fans on the custom water cooling loop because noctua fans are awesome Reply
  • theNiZer - Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - link

    E. Fylladitakis : I like the theme of the article and the approach, BUT did you use the same fan-type for all coolers? If not, that explains the lov efficiency of Coirsair H105 - it has more low noise tuned fans.
    You should test the units with the same fan as well to really tell the effect of the individual watercoolers.
    Reply
  • E.Fyll - Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - link

    No and I will never use any other fan than the ones supplied with the kit. I explained why thoroughly in the comments above. I cannot perform tests with a fan of my choice, as the characteristic performance of the said fan will favor some designs over others, creating misleading results. And I cannot possibly perform testing using dozens of fans either.

    It also increases the cost. Most people simply want to buy a cooler, not half the store. If someone wants to use different fans for whatever reason, I cannot possibly foretell how each kit will react. RPM, CFM, sound pressure levels are all next to irrelevant when a fan is going to be mounted on a heat exchanger, therefore any comparisons between fans that "look similar" are a massive mistake.

    I performed noise testing, you know. If you would look at it, it is one of the noisiest kits in the roundup. So that could not have been further from the truth.
    Reply
  • Hxx - Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - link

    Why no thermaltake? I managed to snag a thermaltake performer 2.0 from Microcenter for $5 after a rebate lol last BF. It was too good to be true. They also had the extreme 2.0 for $35. Great cooler too (both of them although i kept the little one). Reply
  • E.Fyll - Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - link

    Copy-paste from above:

    "I know. I actually tried to acquire all AIO coolers in existence, including Intel's, Thermaltake's and others. Not everyone is happy to cooperate and/or willing/able to supply samples at a give time, for whatever reason."

    I cannot test what I cannot have access to.
    Reply
  • Dizey - Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - link

    I normally don't comment, but I just have to say that I'm also really disappointed that the Swiftech H220 isn't in this review. In all fairness, one could argue that the H220 isn't a close loop cooler, but the lack of its presence in this article does give it a fowl stench. Reply
  • E.Fyll - Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - link

    Copy-paste from above:

    "I know. I actually tried to acquire all AIO coolers in existence, including Intel's, Thermaltake's and others. Not everyone is happy to cooperate and/or willing/able to supply samples at a give time, for whatever reason."

    I cannot test what I cannot have access to.
    Reply

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