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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  • killer14 - Thursday, February 13, 2014 - link

    no swiftech sets.. to bad... Reply
  • killer14 - Thursday, February 13, 2014 - link

    to bad no swiftech sets where tested, like the H220 Reply
  • coachingjoy - Thursday, February 13, 2014 - link

    Great topic, good job.
    Validates my usage of Corsair products.
    In the minds eye H90 would work better than thinner solutions.
    It does! Good for Corsair.
    Thanks
    Reply
  • zodiacfml - Thursday, February 13, 2014 - link

    Nice job. I like the various loads given to the coolers. Unfortunately, my interest in liquid coolers becomes less as Intel has been lowering the TDP of their CPUs. Reply
  • prateekprakash - Thursday, February 13, 2014 - link

    I only wished they'd included Swiftech's H220 and H320 (Even though they aren't available in the US, but I've have been using H220 in my system here in India) Reply
  • buffhr - Thursday, February 13, 2014 - link

    Why wasnt the swiftech H220 included in this list? Would of been really nice to see it stack up against 340W and well it is an AIO and meets up with the same price range as well. Reply
  • Rob94hawk - Sunday, February 16, 2014 - link

    Because the H220 is a piece of crap due to mass pump failure. I'm on my 3rd one within warranty and I haven't even put it on yet. I have the stock cooler on my 4770k. That's how much confidence I have in the Swiftech H220. Reply
  • Suuave - Thursday, February 13, 2014 - link

    A very interesting article but I have a suggestion of one thing would have definitely made it better - a chart. Give us a simple visual reference of "potential cooling performance" vs "noise level" vs "unit size" vs "price" that would give everyone a quick reference of the overall values for the features they are looking for in a sealed system. Reply
  • vgray35@hotmail.com - Thursday, February 13, 2014 - link

    What we sorely need is a table of computer cases with a list of water coolers that fit into each case. A valuable reference that does not exist anywhere as far as I know. The reviewers are in the best position with their knowledge to provide such a table. Reply
  • Hrel - Thursday, February 13, 2014 - link

    Would have been great if you guys could have included 1-3 air coolers in this review. For comparison.

    If you don't overclock and primarily care about noise liquid coolers make no sense at all. My air cooler never exceeds 16db. Apparently 36db is the lowest any of these go. That's simply TERRIBLE.
    Reply

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