Enermax

The two AIO coolers from Enermax that we had the chance to look at share a similarly sized, 120mm x 120mm radiator, yet they are absolutely nothing alike. The Liqmax 120S is a product designed with value in mind, to compete with AIO coolers in the league of the Cooler Master Seidon 120V and the Corsair H75. Its thermal performance is unimpressive, slightly worse than that of the Seidon 120V, yet the noise levels of the Liqmax 120S are considerably lower. It is unable to compete with the dual-fan H75 though, at least not while maintaining similar noise levels.

The Liqtech 120X on the other hand is very impressive, especially in terms of quality and aesthetics. A simple inspection reveals that the radiator and block of the Liqtech 120X are much better made than those of most other kits. It delivers good thermal performance while maintaining very low noise levels, considering the size of its radiator and the use of 120mm fans. The downside is that the Liqtech 120X owes much of its good performance on the extra-thick radiator, which could lead to compatibility problems with some cases if there is not enough clearance.

The only great problem that all AIO coolers from Enermax have is the low availability, as they currently are not available in North America at all and few retailers stock them in Europe. They can be imported to the US from Asia or Europe but that is a financially unrealistic option.

NZXT

NZXT currently offers only two high performance AIO coolers, both with 140mm wide radiators, which limits their compatibility significantly. On the other hand, they are the only coolers with extended (≈ 40cm) tubing, allowing the radiator to reach the front panel of a tower case. Still, the number of cases currently capable of supporting a 140mm wide radiator is quite limited.

Both the Kraken X40 and the Kraken X60 performed well in our tests, offering thermal performance similar to other AIO coolers of the same class. Specifically, they offer lower thermal performance than Cooler Master's 140mm wide coolers but maintain reasonable noise levels, while they display about the same thermal performance as Corsair's offerings but are not as quiet. While better fans could have been selected, NZXT has a tremendous advantage over the competition; the Kraken X40 and Kraken X60 retail for about the same price as other 140mm wide AIO coolers but only NZXT's offerings feature a USB interface. The USB interface allows the user to monitor and fine-tune the performance/noise ratio of the cooling system directly from the desktop, as well as to program custom LED lighting colors and effects.

Silverstone

Silverstone currently offers only two AIO liquid coolers, the Tundra TD02 and the Tundra TD03, both of which we have tested in this review. They are both based on the same design, with their only difference being the size of the radiator. Although the design of the Tundra TD03 is similar to that of the Enermax Liqtech 120X, the aesthetic design of Silverstone's offerings is quite different, going with a white/grey/nickel color theme instead of Enermax's black/red. The OEM behind them might be the same, although that is a mere guess on our part, as the fin design and frame of the radiators are significantly different.

The appearance, feel and quality of the Tundra TD02 and Tundra 03 are outstanding, greatly superior to that of most other kits. On the other hand, the overall performance of these kits actually disappointed us. It is by no means bad, as both of Silverstone's AIO coolers deliver thermal performance comparable to that of other similarly sized kits at reasonable noise levels and are especially efficient under low fan speeds. However, we expected a lot more from kits with radiators this thick and with such a classy appearance.

The mediocre performance may be due to the narrow corrugated tubing, a weak pump, a wrong choice of fans, or any combination of the above, but the fact is that a performance upgrade is required in order to overtake the competition. Furthermore, we are unsure about the white/grey color theme, as it will most likely stand out way too much inside all-black cases and that is not always the desired effect. Still, the balance between quality, performance, and value is very good and Silverstone's AIO coolers will become a favorite among those who want to combine low-noise operation and good looks. Just make sure that the 45mm thick radiators will fit inside your system before purchasing one!

Conclusion (Cooler Master, Corsair)
POST A COMMENT

140 Comments

View All Comments

  • Connoisseur - Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - link

    It would be great to see a quiet system builder's guide with different components and form factors. My holy grail has always been a mid-upper range miniITX gaming system that's virtually silent 90% of the time. Something with a core i5 or i7 CPU and R9 270x or GTX 760 stuffed into a small case with quiet operation. Probably doesn't exist yet but one can always hope :) Reply
  • w1z4rd - Monday, February 17, 2014 - link

    I'm running a 4770k on an Asus Maximus VI Impact with a Corsair h100i and an EVGA GTX770 in a Corsair 250D that's sitting on my desktop. Unless I'm gaming I can't hear the thing. I don't hear it when gaming either, actually, as I have a headset on. Reply
  • Navvie - Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - link

    Ever think about asking Mike Chin at SPCR to do some noise testing for you? Reply
  • jmke - Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - link

    as with everything, the noise scale and extreme focus of SPCR does give a slightly twisted view.
    none of these AIO would qualify as silent, anything above 30dBA would be loud for him; his kitchen is <30dBA... ;-)
    Reply
  • EnzoFX - Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - link

    >30DB is loud lol. At least audible to anyone I would say, so can't we at least say it's not silent? Furthermore he'd provide at least a vast array of reference points, where Anandtech is severely lacking when it comes to cooling/cases/etc. Reply
  • E.Fyll - Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - link

    Definitely not loud and not even audible to most. 30 dB(A) is the lowermost threshold that the vast majority of sound level meters can take a reading from. I have provided a thorough explanation about this down below in the comments. I personally consider any test that I have seen stating that they got a valid reading below 30 dB(A) with sub - $30k equipment to be rubbish. Reply
  • Jon-R - Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - link

    So you're saying that the tests over at SilentPCReview are rubbish? What sound measurement equipment did you use? I couldn't find a mention of it. Reply
  • JlHADJOE - Thursday, February 13, 2014 - link

    30 dB is very quiet far as background noise goes.

    Whisper Quiet Library at 6' 30dB
    Sauce: http://www.gcaudio.com/resources/howtos/loudness.h...
    Reply
  • JlHADJOE - Friday, February 14, 2014 - link

    It's not so much that their tests are rubbish, just unrealistic.

    SilentPC tests in an anechoic chamber, so the noise floor when they test is near zero. Compared to that, an increase to 30dBA is very loud. But in a real-world environment, 30dBA is whisper quiet.

    I do agree though that use of the anechoic chamber keeps their tests consistent and repeatable. Just not necessarily representative of what a case will actually sound like in a real room.
    Reply
  • YazX_ - Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - link

    Thx for this thorough review, i have corsair H100i, its awesome AIO cooler, but the fans are piece of shit and very noisy, i replaced them with Bitfenix LED ones, although they operate at 1800 RPM, but i never had to see them operate on that speed, my CPU is OCed to 4.5Ghz and max temp is 65, so they work 50% most of the time and pretty silent. Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now