Silverstone AR07 & AR08 CPU Cooler Review

Introduction


SilverStone is back on eTeknix again today, with their new AR07 and AR08 CPU coolers. Both coolers are designed to be affordable, quiet, stylish and pack great value for money performance. We’re going to be putting both of them on our test bench today, and while we’re expecting the bigger AR07 to offer up better performance, we’re still eager to see what the smaller and more affordable AR08 is capable of.

“The Argon series coolers are designed to provide the best cooling solution for your CPU. To improve performance even further, unique and exclusive heatsink fin designs such as interweaving diamond edge and arrow guides are included. For users looking for a no-nonsense top performing cooler without the premium price, the Argon AR07 is the perfect choice.” – SilverStone

Both coolers come equipped with a triple heat pipe design and a high-quality fan tuned for silence. The AR07 has three 8mm thick pipes, a 140mm PWM fan and the AR08 uses 6mm pipes with a 92mm PWM fan.

Argon Series AR07

  • Great balance of silence and performance
  • Unique interweaving diamond edged fins for improved performance
  • Exclusive arrow guides distribute airflow evenly among heat pipes
  • Three Ø8mm heat-pipes and aluminum fins for excellent heat conducting efficiency
  • Heat-pipe direct contact (HDC) technology
  • Includes compact 140mm PWM fan for excellent cooling and low noise
  • Anti-vibration rubber pads included for additional noise dampening

Argon Series AR08

  • Great balance of silence and performance
  • Unique interweaving diamond edged fins for improved performance
  • Exclusive arrow guides distribute airflow evenly among heat pipes
  • Three Ø6mm heat-pipes and aluminum fins for excellent heat conducting efficiency
  • Heat-pipe direct contact (HDC) technology
  • Includes compact 92mm PWM fan for excellent cooling and low noise
  • Anti-vibration rubber pads included for additional noise dampening
  • Intel Socket LGA775/115X/1366/2011 and AMD Socket AM2/AM3/FM1/FM2 compatible

Both coolers come nicely packaged with all the main specifications detailed around the box, as well as lots of images showing the fan, fin stack, block, heat pipes design and more.

In the box, you’ll find fan clips, a universal backplate for Intel and an AMD bracket, mounting arms, 3M pads, as well as all the required screws and some thermal paste. Both coolers come with a very similar mounting kit, the only exception being that the AR07 comes with larger fan retention clips.

Gelid Antarctica Ultra-Quiet Tower CPU Cooler Review

Introduction


Gelid are one of the most legendary cooling companies in the world and while you may not think of them first when you’re looking at a new CPU cooler, they’re the top choice for many system builders, enthusiast overclockers, and all of us here at eTeknix for our test benches, when it comes to Thermalpaste. Gelid GC-Extreme has been a popular choice for many years, and it’s with that in mind that we know that Gelid has a fair bit of knowledge when it comes to thermal performance in the PC market.

“The Antarctica comes with a 3D optimized heatsink that offers best-in-class thermal performance. The engineers of GELID Solutions especially designed a set of 5 power heat pipes, aluminum fins with improved profiling and an additional smaller heatsink with a copper core. These elements provide exceptional heat transfer from the CPU to the heatsink. Both heatsinks were created using precise software simulation and calculation during the development stage to ensure efficient air flow distribution at the lowest fan speed possible. The result, the Antarctica fully supports heat transfer of TDP 220W being paired with even very low-speed, virtually noiseless fans.” – Gelid

Their latest CPU cooler, the Gelid Antarctica, comes equipped with support for a wide range of CPUs, features a slim cooling tower to ensure it doesn’t conflict with motherboard VRM cooling or large RAM heatsinks, while being tall enough to provide great cooling performance. This is backed up by a high-quality 140mm PWM fan, which is designed to operate at low RPM, providing great airflow while maintaining whisper quiet performance. To make things even more appealing, it’s also backed up by a reassuring 5-year warranty.

“A silent 140mm fan with the intelligent GELID PWM (Pulse Width Module) control compliments the heatsink. The fan blades are optimized to deliver high air flow at low speed, and the newly designed PWM IC eliminates any clicking noise. The intelligent GELID PWM curve operates the fan in an extended speed range of 450 RPM to 1500 RPM, it constantly keeps the fan silent but accelerates speed whenever additional cooling is needed. With 2 sets of fan mounts, a second fan can be installed to improve the cooler’s outstanding performance even further. Additionally, the multi-award winning high performance GC-Extreme thermal compound is already included in the package.” – Gelid

The packaging is pretty straight forward, nothing too fancy overall, but a nice image of the cooler as well as detailing support for Skylake CPUs.

Around the back, we can see that the cooler supports a huge range of CPUs, right back to 775 and old AMD sockets. There’s also 2011 support, but you’ll need to purchase a separate bracket for it.

In the box, you’ll find all the usual documentation, as well as a bag of fitting components.

There’s a backplate for both Intel and AMD motherboards, two mounting arms, four fan retention clips, high-quality screws, a sticker and a very welcome tube of Gelid’s award-winning GC-Extreme thermal paste; the same paste we use for all our cooling reviews!

Cooler Master TX3i CPU Cooler Review

Introduction


Picking the right cooler for your system can be a daunting task as there are virtually endless amounts of solutions out there. Every size, shape, colour, fan configuration and beyond that you can think of. It becomes more demanding when it comes to smaller system builds, where space is at a premium and budget is tight, especially if you’re running your system under load and the stock CPU cooler just isn’t up to the job; if your chip even came with one to begin with.

  • 3 direct contact heat pipes with a base that is engineered to minimize CPU contact gaps – providing excellent heat conduction.
  • Option for adding 2nd fan with quick-snap fan brackets to increase cooling performance.
  • All-in-one mounting solution supporting Intel® LGA 1150 / 1151 / 1155 / 1156 / 775
  • A mere 17 dBA (minimum speed) is accomplished by utilizing a silent 92mm PWM fan with a wide RPM range.

“The Hyper TX series has evolved along with the requirements of mainstream CPUs. The launch of Hyper TX3i marks another milestone with Cooler Master’s Improved Direct Contact technology, further improving cooling performance.” – Cooler Master

Taking inspiration from previous TX3 models, the TX3i is expected to be one of Cooler Masters most affordable and capable (relative to price) coolers to date. With a triple heatpipe design, low-noise 92mm fan, and support for all major Intel sockets, as well as a super compact form factor that should mean zero conflicts with memory modules, expansion cards or the vast majority of chassis designs.

The three heat pipes measure in at 6mm and make direct contact with the CPU, it’s a cheap way of doing things, but so long as it work, that’s not a problem. The fan if a 4-pin WPM model and can spin between 800RPM and 2200RPM, so it should be pretty quiet at idle, but may be a little noisy when pushed, but we’ll find out soon enough.

The packaging is pretty straight forward, with a clear image of the cooler and fan design, as well as a quick rundown of the main specifications.

Around the back and side, the full specifications, as well as dimensions of the cooler.

In the box, you’ll find the cooler (obviously), the usual documentation, a tube of thermal paste, screws, 3M pads, and extra fan clips to mount a second fan (not included).

Corsair Hydro Series H5 SF AIO CPU Cooler Review

Introduction


Picking the right cooler for your system can be tricky, but when it comes to sticking a high-performance CPU in a compact gaming system, your choices are often quite limited to a range of low-profile air coolers. Corsair is looking to solve this issue with the new Corsair H5 SF Hydro Series Low Profile Liquid CPU Cooler, an AIO unit that’s small enough to mount over the top of a mini-ITX motherboard! Unlike most AIO that must be mounted on a 120/140mm fan fitting, this cooler is a similar shape and size to a 5.25″ drive and comes with a special bracket that mounts it above the CPU like you would expect an air/tower cooler to install.

“The Hydro Series H5 SF is a low profile liquid CPU cooler that provides efficient cooling for small form factor Mini-ITX systems. Building a small form factor system shouldn’t have to mean compromising on processor speed, and with the H5 SF you can provide reliable cooling for your system’s high-performance CPU.” – Corsair

While I’m not expecting huge performance from the new cooler overall, when it comes down to cooling a compact gaming rig, it’s very likely that it’ll still be better than most low-profile air coolers that would fit the same system. Corsair has some impressive figures of their own, but how do they hold up in the real world? That’s what we hope to find out.

“It has a pump assembly with a copper coldplate and flexible, low permeability tubing, just like our larger Hydro Series models. They’re matched with a one-piece blower which cools the circulated liquid by drawing cool air from the inside of your PC and exhausting it outside the case. So, in addition to keeping your CPU cool, the H5 SF provides additional cooling for the motherboard and other components by constantly pulling cool air across them.” – Corsair

Equipped with copper and aluminium construction, high-quality tubing and support for all major sockets, the H5 SF is certainly promising. So let’s move on and take a closer look.

The packaging is typical Corsair, with the usual black and yellow theme at work, as well as a nice big image of the product, showing us the design of the pump and radiator.

Around the back, a nice technical breakdown of the specifications, design and a little image of how the radiator looks when mounted on a mini-ITX motherboard.

The packaging is nicely done on the interior too, with lots of protective cardboard around all major components, as well as protective plastic bags and stickers to prevent any minor marks or scratches.

In the box, you’ll find everything you need to get the cooler installed on major Intel and AMD mini-ITX platforms. All the screws are really good quality with a nice dark nickel finish and there’ sa durable L-shaped support bar for mounting it above the motherboard.

Arctic Liquid Freezer 240 AIO Cooler Review

Introduction


Arctic are well-known for their air cooling products, but today we’ll be taking a look at one of their first entries to the high-end AIO water cooling market; the Arctic Liquid Freezer 240. Designed for high-performance cooling for gaming systems, overclocking, workstations and more, you’ll find a fairly thick 240mm radiator, backed up by four high-quality 120mm fans, there’s little doubt that it’ll be able to shift some serious heat from your system. With a max TDP of 300 Watts, as well as support for all major Intel and AMD sockets, the Freezer 240 can easily handle some of today’s fastest CPUs.

Water cooling is becoming increasingly popular, especially with many consumers now running overclockable processors. Being able to push your systems limits to get the most value for money out of your hardware is no bad thing. When you’re gaming, editing video, rendering and more, the CPU get’s pretty toasty, which in turn causes fans to spin faster and can result in more noise. Having a more powerful cooler should help ensure that not only do your temps stay nice and low, but you’ll also be keeping the acoustics in check too; let’s hope the new cooler from Arctic can tick both of those boxes.

The packaging is pretty straight forward, with a good image of the cooler on the front and a bit of branding.

Around the back, things get a lot more technical, with some relative performance figures and specifications. Of course, we’ll be doing our own independent testing, so I won’t focus on their figures too much.

The packaging is pretty crammed, with components and hoses next to each other and minimal padding around anything in here. I would hope then when shipped, the item comes in another box with bubble wrap around this one, as it doesn’t seem sufficient.

In the box, you’ll find all the usual nuts and bolts, a universal backplate, AMD and Intel brackets, as well as a small sachet of Arctic MX-4 thermal paste.

There are four high-quality fans included with this cooler. Each measure 120mm and are Arctic’s own design, promising high airflow and low noise. Each fan comes with a built-in fan header splitter, making it super easy to daisy chain them on a single fan header. Each fan has extra long cables, with black sleeving and a PWM header.

ID-Cooling Hunter VC-Twin CPU Cooler Review

Introduction


ID-Cooling are a name that are quickly growing in popularity. Having had many years of experience building CPU coolers of their own in Eastern markets, as well as working as the OEM for many popular brands, they’ve proven that they know a thing or two about CPU cooler production and design. We’ve seen some great products from them in the past here at eTeknix, and ID-Cooling have shown us that not only can they compete in terms of cooling performance, they can also do it as very affordable prices, so we’re eager to see what the VC-Twin has to offer today.

Equipped with support for all major socket types, new and old, as well as a max TDP of up to 200W, it’s certainly ticking a lot of boxes in terms of compatibility. The cooler has a vapor chamber design, with five incredibly thick 8mm heat pipes, as well as two aluminium fin stack cooling towers. On top of that, you’ll find two high-performance fans, a 120mm and a 140mm, which overall sounds like some pretty promising hardware for great cooling performance, so let’s jump right in and take a closer look at what’s on offer.

The packaging doesn’t give much away in terms of design, but the aggressive fonts certainly imply it’s a high-end product.

A good amount of care has gone into the packaging, with thick foam surrounding all major components.

In the box, you’ll find a universal backplate and mounting kits, all the usual bolts and screws, fan clips, fan Y-splitter, as well as a simple installation guide.

The two fans are very nice, and ID-Coolings own design. Both feature PWM connectors and anti-vibration rubber mounts on the corners.

The black and red theme looks quite cool too, and should match the plethora of black and red gaming hardware that’s already on the market.

Arctic Liquid Freezer 120 AIO CPU Cooler Review

Introduction


Arctic are well-known for their air cooling products, having made many great products over the years, but now they’re moving into new territory with the release of their first water cooler. The Arctic Liquid Freezer 120 is an AIO water cooler, which means its going to be super easy to install and will need virtually no maintenance, making it an accessible option for those who don’t want to tackle custom loop cooling. It may only be a 120mm radiator, but Arctic are promising big performance, which will no doubt come from the thick radiator design, the two high-quality fans and their high-end pump and block design.

“We fully designed the F12 fan with CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) software and optimized it for high airflow. From all fans tested in our air tunnel and anechoic chamber the F12 offers the highest airflow at a given noise level – by margin” said Arctic. “Dual low noise 120 mm fans mounted on opposite sides of the radiator provide a great airflow. First fan pushes air through the radiator, second fan pulls the air through it. Controllable with PST function to adjust the fan speed based on CPU temperature.” they added. “The Fluid Dynamic Bearing comes with an oil capsule that avoids lubricant leakage. Thus this bearing is as quiet as a sleeve bearing but comes with a significantly higher service life.”

120mm radiators are extremely compatible with a huge range of chassis products, but keep in mind that at 49mm thick, as well as two 15mm thick fans, you’re going to need good clearance to einsure a comfortable fit, although we suspect this will only be an issue for some SFF chassis types.

The cooler offers up support for all the latest socket types, and with an impressive max TDP of 300 watts, it’s going to be able to handy virtually anything you throw at it.

  • Intel Socket: 2011(-3), 1150, 1151, 1155, 1156
  • AMD Socket: AM2(+), AM3(+), FM1, FM2(+)
  • Max. Cooling Performance: 300 Watts
  • Recommended for TDP up to: 250 Watts

The packaging is nicely designed, with a nice clear image of the cooler on the front, as well as a good amount of technical data on the sides.

There are some performance figures here, but as is often the case, I’ll trust my own numbers in our benchmarks, which we’ll take a look at shortly.

In the box, you’ll find a backplate, Intel and AMD mounting brackets, the installation guide, and all the usual nuts and bolts for mounting the fans, radiator, and pump.

Both F12 series fans are Arctics own design, with FDB and PWM speed control. What’s interesting is that both fans have super long cables and each has a Y-splitter so that you don’t lose the use of a fan header.


Cooler Master Hyper 212X CPU Cooler Review

Introduction


The Cooler Master 212 series has long been regarded as one of the best CPU coolers on the market, making it an extremely popular choice for system builders. Is it the best performing cooler on the market? No, not really, but it’s been hard to compete with the kind of performance improvements it gives over stock CPU coolers, and it does it for a very reasonable price. Now, Cooler Master have taken their most popular cooler and made it better than ever, by improving the hardware, they’ve managed to give it a performance boost and reduce the noise from the cooler, and that’s obviously a very welcome improvement on a cooler that was already doing rather well.

“The latest in the extremely popular Hyper 212 series, Cooler Master’s Hyper 212X is based on the same patented CDC Quad heatpipe array as the 212 EVO but features several improvements that boost performance and further reduce noise. Thanks to our brand new Smart Engine and POM bearing, the 212X is incredibly durable and will virtually last a lifetime.” said Cooler Master

Equipped with four direct touch heat pipes, an aluminium fin array, improved fan blades, a new bearing and more, the 212 cooler has never been so good. So let’s jump in and take a closer look at what it has to offer.

  • High-performance Copper heatpipes with a fusion bonded copper powder wick.
  • Patented CDC technology – 4 direct touch heatpipes creating a gap-less contact surface
  • Aluminum Fin Array with New Tunnel Effect layout for improved heat dissipation.
  • 4th Generation Bearing – MTBF of 160,000 hours thanks to highly durable POM components.
  • Redesigned Fan-blades that create vortices to boost airflow without creating more noise.
  • Smart Fan engine – stops the fan when blocked to prevent damage, and automatically restarts the fan when it has been cleared.
  • Universal mounting system for all Intel and AMD platforms.

The packaging is nicely designed, with a clear image of the cooler and some of the main features detailed at the bottom.

Around the back, a quick run down of some of the main specifications, but nothing we don’t already know.

In the box, you’ll find the cooler, the universal backplate and a small box of components.

The component box is really nicely laid out, with the user manual, some extra fan brackets, the mounting support and a handy pack for all the screws.

This little sorter box makes it super easy to see the components you need and even comes with a full tube of thermal paste, allowing for multiple applications of the cooler.

Noctua NH-D15S CPU Cooler Review

Introduction


Noctua is one of the leading cooling manufacturers in the world. Time and time again they’ve proven that they can deliver the highest quality products, with class leading and award winning cooling and acoustic performance. Of course, more often than not, this premium performance and quality come with an equally premium price tag, but as the saying goes “you get what you pay for.”

Today, we’ll be taking a look at one of their flagship coolers, the Noctua NH-D15S. If the name sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the latest variant of their ever popular NH-D15. The key difference here, however, is that the “S” variant is designed to be extremely compatible, allowing fantastic support for motherboards with large VRM cooling, larger RAM modules and more, without sacrificing performance.

“Tailored to provide superior RAM and PCIe compatibility, the NH-D15S is an asymmetrical single fan version of Noctua’s award-winning flagship model, the NH-D15. Thanks to its asymmetrical design, the NH-D15S clears the top PCIe slot on most µATX and ATX motherboards. At the same time, the single fan setup and recessed lower fins guarantee 100% RAM compatibility with memory modules of up to 65mm height. Users who have sufficient room can also upgrade the cooler with either a 120mm or round 140mm fan on the front fin stack for further improved performance in dual fan mode. Topped off with the trusted, pro-grade SecuFirm2 multi-socket mounting system, Noctua’s proven NT-H1 thermal compound and full 6 years manufacturer’s warranty, the NH-D15S forms a complete premium quality solution that combines dual tower efficiency with excellent compatibility and flexible upgrade options.”

Let’s take a quick look at the product video from Noctua for a closer look at some of the cool features on offer.

Equipped with support for all major socket types, as well as the ability to mount 120 or 140mm fans, an included low-noise adaptor, the award-winning NT-H1 thermal paste and more, it’s certainly ticking all the right boxes. The cooler also comes with a fantastic 6-year warranty, so Noctua clearly has confidence in the build quality.

The packaging is typical Noctua, nicely laid out and plenty of technical information on the sides.

The cooler is very well protected with some durable card and thick foam around all major components.

There’s a small component box separate from the cooler too, which contains everything you need to get it installed.

A good size tube of thermal paste, additional fan clips, AMD and Intel kits, a universal backplate and even a special screw driver!

Antec Kuhler H20 H1200 & H600 Pro Water Cooler Review

Introduction


Antec is one of the biggest names in the PC component market, with many years of experience in creating chassis, cooler, power supplies and more.  With Antec having created so many products over the years, it’s more than likely you’ve owned a few of their components over the years, so it’s great to see them continue to push the limits. Antec has been a little behind in the cooling market recently, as their last range of Kuhler H20 products didn’t exactly capture the imaginations of the market, but their latest versions, the H1200 Pro and the H600 Pro look set to change that.

Maximum cooling thanks to large copper base plate and high-performance radiator

“To achieve the best results when used with overclocked processors, both Kühler H2O H600 PRO and H1200 PRO are equipped with a large copper base plate that efficiently transfers heat from any AMD or Intel processor to the radiator. For maximum performance, H600 PRO and H1200 PRO feature a precisely constructed radiator with a 0.2 mm fin interval. The dimensions of the radiator are 275 mm x 120 mm x 27 mm for the H1200 and 155 mm x 120 mm x 27 mm for the H600.” – Antec

The new range features a 120mm and a 240mm slim radiator design, with an AIO (all in one) water cooling setup that aims to deliver high-end performance, flawless designs and best of all, wallet-friendly prices. Spec for spec, the latest Antec products are often half the price of their next big competitor, so it’ll be interesting to see if they can keep up with some of the more established AIO coolers on the market, especially at such competitive prices. If they can, then Antec are about to win over a huge part of the PC system building market.

Extremely quiet operation meets tremendous power

“Despite their excellent cooling performance, H600 PRO and H1200 PRO operate extremely quiet. This is due to the high-quality blue LED 120 mm fans that can reach up to 2,400 revolutions per minute. In addition, the enclosed pump impeller is near completely silent while delivering a pressure of 2.3 meters of water. The pump achieves this exceptional pressure thanks to the higher rotational speed of the winding type three-phase motor, maximising cooling performance for any PC system. For clean cable management, the pump is powered by a SATA interface.” – Antec

High build quality for exceptional durability

All components used for the Kühler H2O H600 PRO and H1200 PRO systems impress with their outstanding build quality and durability. The oil-free lubrication graphite bearing has a service life of up to 150,000 hours. The service life of the carbon metal crystalline ceramic axis is also 50 times longer than that of common models.” – Antec

We’ve got both models in the eTeknix office today and will be putting them head to head with each other, as well as a wide range of aftermarket coolers from many other brands, so it’ll be exciting to see how they perform. As you can see, both coolers come in a stylishly designed box, with a nice image of the product on the front and the main specifications, although I don’t think that lightning effect on the H600 is a feature, obviously.

The H1200 comes bundled with two lovely 120mm blue LED fans, each fitted with a standard PWM connector, anti-vibration screw holes and clear fan blades. It also comes bundled with a Y-splitter, so you only need a single motherboard header to connect them. The H600 comes with just one of these fans, which also means it doesn’t include the Y-splitter.

The fans are certainly of a nice quality and they’re Antec’s own design; having personally used a lot of Antec fans in the past, I have high hopes for their performance.

Both the H600 and the H1200 come with the same set of components, with the exception of the extra fan and Y-splitter for the H1200. You’ll find a universal backplate, AMD and Intel mounting brackets, a small tube of thermal paste, and all black fittings for the screws and other mounting hardware.

Both coolers come nicely packaged in protective cardboard, with durable plastic bag coverings on all major hardware, as well as some thick air pockets to help prevent any of it moving around in transit.

Silverstone Tundra TD02-Slim AIO Cooler Review

Introduction


The design team at Silverstone are the masters of ergonomics, something we’ve seen time and time again with their revolutionary space-saving chassis designs. Not only have they created some masterful chassis, but they also have a great range of cooling products that are perfectly designed for tighter spaces, such as slim fans, low-profile air coolers and slim AIO radiators. Today, we’ll be taking a look at the Tundra TD02-Slim, a 240mm AIO water cooler with a total thickness of just 37mm, with the fans installed! This is going to be a great cooler for mini-ITX and Micro-ATX chassis designs where space is at a premium.

“Due to limited room in smaller cases, small form factor users are often left out of liquid cooling option, so SilverStone has released the Tundra TD02-Slim. Designed for small form factor PCs, this cooler has a radiator and fan combo of only 37mm thick, making it possible to fit into slimmer profile cases or giving more space in tight confines. By retaining many of the high-end features from SilverStone’s other liquid cooling models, the TD02-Slim also has great performance for the money and is a top choice for high performance but small PC builds.”

The cooler is well equipped, with a copper base plate, a 22mm aluminium radiator, high-performance pump, and two 15mm thick PWM fans. Of course, the cooler also comes with support for a massive range of socket types, ensuring compatibility with any modern system.

The packaging shows off a nice image of the cooler, as well as a quick rundown of the main spec, such as the slim form factor and the extensive socket support.

Around the back, much of the same information, just broken down into various international languages.

Virtually everything you need is included, such as a universal backplate, as well as a Y-split fan cable and a Molex adaptor should you not have any available fan headers on your motherboard.

The included fans look really nice, with a contrasting black and white theme. They’re obviously super slim, but with a large number of fins, they’re still going to be able to shift some serious airflow. The only minor gripe is the colour of the fan cables, but it’s hardly a deal breaker.

Noctua NH-D9L Dual-Tower CPU Cooler Review

Introduction


Notcua, the PC cooling markets masters of sublime build quality and ultra-quiet performance, are back on eTeknix once again today. I’ll be taking a look at their new NH-D9L cooler, and while it may seem a little small and not particularly special, it’s certainly got a few promising features that I’m looking forward to testing.

Despite the compact design, measuring just 111mm tall! The D9L features a dual tower design, yet still provides perfect clearance for RAM modules, as well as keeping clear of any PCIe expansion cards. It’s small enough to fit in a mini-ITX system build, but for the more professional hardware enthusiast, it’ll be perfect for 3U systems too. Noctua build quality is world-famous, and to support their confidence, the D9L comes with a whopping six-year warranty! That’s confidence in their products right there.

“The included NF-A9 premium fan supports automatic speed control via PWM for outstanding quietness of operation and a second, optional NF-A9 fan can be added for further improved performance in dual fan mode. Topped off with the trusted, pro-grade SecuFirm2 multi-socket mounting system, Noctua’s proven NT-H1 thermal compound and full 6 years manufacturer’s warranty, the NH-D9L forms a highly compact premium package for space-restricted applications.”

For a quick overview of the coolers features and design, check out this lovely product video from Noctua.

Equipped with support for all major sockets and then some, as well as a form factor that will support a vast amount of system and motherboard configurations, including some server deployments, high-quality build materials and a premium grade fan, this little cooler is already starting to sound quite exciting.

The box is typical Noctua, nicely designed, with a brown and white colour scheme, and technical/performance data plastered on every side of the box.

The box is nicely packaged, with lots of protection around the cooler and a separate box for additional components.

In the component box, you’ll find everything you need to get the cooler installed on all major Intel and AMD socket types. There’s a tube of high-quality thermal paste, extra fan clips and even a screwdriver, which are certainly welcome additions.

Noctua NH-C14S C-Type Premium Cooler Review

Introduction


Noctua, one of most respected names in the cooling industry, are back once again with their latest cooler, the NH-C14S. Those of you who follow Noctua products will notice that the name is rather similar to another very popular Noctua cooler, the NH-C14. The new “S” model takes the award-winning design of the original and improves on it, or at least we hope it has! You’ll find a deeper fin stack and an even more efficient NF-A14 PWM fan.

At almost £60, the NH-C14S is certainly one of the most expensive air coolers on the market, but if previous Noctua products are anything to go by, we can expect one the best in terms of build quality, cooling performance and acoustics. So let’s jump right in and take a closer look at what this new model has to offer.

Inside the very nicely packaged box, you’ll find absolutely everything you need to get yourself setup and ready to rock. Separate installation guides for each socket type, a collection of high-quality screws and bolts, AMD and Intel support brackets, a backplate, screwdriver, thermal paste, extra fan clips and a funky Noctua sticker.

First impressions of the cooler are certainly positive. It’s quite a large unit, giving it a massive amount of surface area, as well as allowing it to handle that lovely and big 140mm fan; both of which will help improve the cooling capabilities.

The fin stack is pretty tight, and the sides are bent to close them off, allowing the fan to better direct airflow right out the top of the cooler and over the heat pipes more efficiently.

The fan does come pre-installed out of the box, but keep in mind that you’ll be needing to remove it in order to install the cooler. The fan is typical Noctua, with the brown design that we’ve all come to love and/or hate. The fan clips are easy enough to use to mount and remove the cooler, and there’s a second set included should you wish to add another fan to the top side of the cooler.

The base plate is mounted directly below the fan and has a thick metal back section which should help further with cooling capabilities. The mounting screws are pre-fitted and sprung too, which should help greatly with the installation process.

There are seven heat pipes in total, all perfectly aligned to give full coverage of the CPU block, although the 7th comes from the thick metal backing on the top of the contact plate, which will help deal with even more heat.

The contact plate is huge and beautifully finished, which should give a fantastic covering over your CPU of choice.

The end of the cooler is nicely finished too, with a soft finish plate and a small Noctua stamp completing the design.

ID-Cooling Frostflow 240L AIO Water Cooler Review

Introduction


ID-Cooling is quickly becoming a common name in western markets, having launched several very interesting products this year, many of which you can expect to see reviews of here at eTeknix, and some we’ve already covered, such as the Frostflow 120L, T60-SFX Chassis, IS Series Coolers and the SE 204K Cooler. ID-Cooling has won a few awards from us here at eTeknix and I’m certainly eager to see how their 240L stacks up against their own smaller 120L model and, of course, their competitors products.

Equipped support for every popular socket type you can think of, a TDP rating of up to 200W, a 240mm aluminium radiator, two high-quality fans and a ceramic bearing pump, the Frostflow 240L is certainly seems like a capable piece of hardware, so let’s jump right in and take a closer look at what it has to offer.

The packaging is typical of what we’ve seen on other ID-Cooling products, keeping the same black and red theme that they often use, a nice image of the cooler, as well as some of the specifications on the front of the box.

Around the back, a little statement from ID-Cooling about the product.

In the box, you’ll find everything you need to get it installed, including mounting kits for both AMD and Intel, as well as a universal backplate.

There are two high-quality PWM fans included, which are ID-Coolings own design. We tested this fan model on the 120L review and they really are great fans, lots of airflow, very little noise. There’s also a Y-split fan cable in the box to help you save on motherboard fan headers.

The radiator is a slim-style 240mm design. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s not exactly unattractive either. Most radiators look the same these days and the 240L is no exception, although that’s not a bad thing.

The hoses are covered with a durable weave, this adds a little flair to the design, keeps the pipes flexible, but also increases their durability.

This is an AIO unit, so naturally the pump is pre-fixed to the radiator. The hoses are of a good length, making it ideal for those who have a larger chassis.

The hoses are mounted to the side of the pump with a pivot mount, giving them great manoeuvrability, something that should greatly improve the installation process. The top of the pump has LED lighting around the edge, giving your spinning red light effect that’s reminiscent of the Knight Rider Kit lighting.

There’s a large copper contact plate on the base of the cooler, which should provide excellent coverage over your CPU.

Cooler Master MasterGel Maker Nano Review

Introduction


Cooler Master went quiet for quite some time over the last two years, leaving many in the industry to wonder what was going on. Of course, Cooler Master hadn’t given up on the industry, they were working hard reinventing their entire product line, getting back to their roots and creating the “maker” series of products. We’ve already seen their incredible Master Case chassis, as well as their new gaming mouse, and there’s a huge amount of other products on the way, from headsets, chassis, power supplies, coolers and more.

Today I’ll be taking a look at something a little smaller, but still a very vital component in the building of literally every PC. The Cooler Master MasterGel Maker is the all-new thermal paste that looks set to take on the big boys in the high-performance cooling world and with the likes of Noctua, Gelid and a few others already dominating the market, CM has a hard battle to fight here.

The MakerGen is certainly promising in terms of specifications, at least as exciting as a tube of paste can be, of course. Made with nano-diamond particles, the MasterGel Maker should offer great conductivity, but I guess we’ll find that out in our testing.

“MasterGel Maker is developed for users needing the best thermal conductivity for high performance CPUs, GPUs or even chipsets. The non-curing and non-electrical conductive traits help avoid any short circuiting and provide protection and performance for long-term use. The non-abrasive added Nano Diamond particles allow the MasterGel Maker to be extremely lightweight and easy to spread or remove while avoiding auto-oxidation or erosion overtime.”

Going against the MasterGel Maker today are some of the best-known thermal pastes on the market, including the current top-dogs Gelid GC Extreme, Noctua NT-H1 and the also relatively new but very impressive Thermal Grizzly Kryonaugt.

  • MasterGel Maker
  • Thermal Grizzly Kryonaugt
  • Akasa Pro-Grade 460
  • Noctua NT-H1
  • Gelid GC Extreme
  • Arctic Silver 5
  • EK Ectotherm
  • Artic MX-4

The MasterGel Maker Nano comes nicely packaged with an easy to use syringe, as well as a spreader for easy application.

Even better, the paste comes with a grease cleaner, ensuring that you get a spotless CPU before applying new paste.

First, here’s a quick QA from Cooler Master to tell you a little more about the MasterGel Maker.

Q: Do the nano-diamond particles leave scratches on the cooler base or CPU IHS?

A: No, the particles in the MasterGel Maker are too small to leave any scratches.

Q: Why do I need to clean the CPU before applying the MasterGel Maker?

A: When removing a CPU cooler, the old thermal grease is left over. It needs to be removed to improve thermal conductivity, which leads to lower temperatures.

Q: Do I need to use the plastic brush for spreading the grease?

A: No, but it is recommended. You can also press the CPU cooler on the grease and twist it a bit to make sure it spreads over the IHS.

Q: How many applications does one tube last when using the pea size method?

A: It is difficult to precisely determine the number of uses one tube can have. However, if the amount for each time is very close to ‘pea size,’ users should at least be able to apply the thermal grease over 10 times.

Q: How long can the thermal compound be used once opened, but sealed correctly after use?

A: Every circumstance is different depending on various factors, such as the environment. Usually the thermal grease can be preserved for two years without opening. We highly suggest users keep thermal grease in a dry and clean place, and avoid direct sunshine once opened.

Fractal Design Kelvin T12 Expandable Pre-Filled CPU Water Cooler Review

Introduction


Fractal Design has won virtually countless awards over the years, many of them from us here at eTeknix. Their chassis products are some of the best made, best looking and best performing in the industry, and they continued that success with their power supplies, and more recently, their coolers. Their latest cooler, the Kelvin T12 looks set to take the AIO market by storm, not only is it perfectly suitable for AIO plug-and-play deployment, but it’s also expandable, much like a custom loop cooler.

The Kelvin T12 is certainly well equipped, with a thick-style 120mm radiator, high-quality Fractal Design branded fans, extensive socket support, a high-quality pump and much more.

General Specifications

  • Block/pump assembly measurements: 69*69*40 mm
  • Tubing Measurements: 320mm long, 11mm outer and 8mm inner diameter
  • Fitted with anti-kink coils for worry-free installation
  • Kelvin T12 Radiator Measurements: 46*132*163 mm
  • Thread class for fill port and all tube fittings: G 1/4″
  • Supported sockets: Intel: 775,1150,1155,1156,1366,2011,2011-v3; AMD: AM2,AM2+,AM3,AM3+,FM1,FM2,FM2+
  • Fans included: 2 pcs
  • Fractal Design Zero Thermal Paste ; 1 g syringe, sufficient for multiple mountings
  • Colors Available: Black
  • Net weight – Base unit only, not including mounting or fans: 1.1 kg
  • Net weight – Dynamic GP-12 PWM fan, per fan: 159 g
  • Net weight – Total excluding packaging and manual. Includes fans, mounting kit for all platforms, cooling paste (including packaging for the cooling paste) and adapter cable: 1.7 kg
  • Package dimensions – W x H x D: 350*250*151 mm
  • Package weight: 2.4 kg

Fan Specification

  • Fractal Design Dynamic GP-12 PWM fan
  • 500 – 2000 RPM
  • PWM control
  • Max air flow: 87.6 CFM
  • Max pressure: 2.30 mm H2O
  • Acoustical noise: 32.2 dB(A)
  • DC 12V, 0.20A

Pump Specification

  • Ceramic bearing
  • 2400 RPM
  • Voltage control
  • Maximum water flow: 72 l/h
  • Maximum pressure: 1.0 m H2O
  • Acoustical noise: 25.0 dB(A)
  • DC 12V, 0.27A

The packaging is the usual theme for Fractal and has a nice image of the cooler on the front of the box.

Around the back and the sides of the box, there are plenty of details on the main specifications and features, which we’ll take a closer look at in a moment.

In the box, you’ll find the user guide, a fan adaptor cable and Y-splitter, some high-quality thermal paste, as well as the Intel and AMD mounting brackets.

The fans are both Fractal Design’s own Dynamic GP-12 PWM fans; a very high-quality set of fans that should provide us with great airflow and low noise.

This may be an expandable unit, but it comes pre-built and pre-filled as an AIO unit. I wouldn’t normally look at a solution like this if I wanted a custom loop, but it’s certainly nice to have the option to expand it should you feel the need. The thick radiator looks great and its chunky design looks and feels durable. There’s a large copper base to the pump, which will provide excellent coverage to your CPU of choice.

The radiator is nice and thick, which will help it handle higher cooling loads. Along the base of the built-in reservoir, there’s a small stopper cap that can be removed to top up the coolant levels.

On the other end, we’ve got two G 1/4″ fittings, which are widely compatible with other cooling products, pipes, radiators, etc. The pipes themselves are very flexible and come with a coil that looks great, but also helps with overall durability and prevents kinks.

The pump is nice and compact and quite minimalist in terms of design; the gloss finish on the top is going to look great in any system.

The pump also features the same G 1/4″ fittings, meaning you’ve got more points you can expand the loop from and to.

You don’t have to look hard here to see that the build quality and finish on this cooler are exceptional, it looks stunning and everything looks premium-grade for every angle.

ID-Cooling Frostflow 120L AIO CPU Cooler Review

Introduction


I’m sure a lot of our readers haven’t heard of ID-Cooling before, as they’ve been a dominant brand in eastern markets for a while, even doing a lot of OEM work for other brands. However, all that is quickly changing and they’re new products have been pinging our radar for a while now and gaining interest in the PC building community, so we couldn’t wait to put them to the test. Their latest AIO water cooler is the Frostflow 120L, perfect for those who want to take an adventure into water cooling, without the headaches or the high-cost and maintenance of custom loop cooling.

The 120L is reasonably well equipped, with a 120mm radiator and fan design, which ensures compatibility with a huge amount of chassis products, a nice quality aluminium construction radiator, copper cold plate and a ceramic bearing pump.

The packaging is pretty straight forward, with a clear image of the cooler and the LED lighting on the front, as well as a quick run-down of the main specifications.

Around the back, a nice quote from ID-Cooling that gives a little more information about the product.

In the box, you’ll find all the things you need to get things installed. This includes high-quality mounting screws, a universal backplate, AMD and Intel brackets, as well as a small tube of thermal paste.

The included fan is one of ID-Cooling’s own designs, and that’s no bad thing as this is one great looking fan! The fins have ridges to help better direct the airflow and there are rubber anti-vibration pads on each of the mounting corners.

The fan comes fitted with a 4-pin PWM connector.

The radiator is a slim design, which means it’s likely not as well suited to high-end overclocking, but it does mean it’ll be more compatible with compact chassis designs while only requiring a single fan to dissipate heat.

The radiator isn’t ugly, but it is a fairly standard all-black design and that means it should blend in with your build with ease.

The tubing is really nice, with a tight weave coating that leaves it flexible, but very durable.

The pump is nice and compact, with a stylish red LED array on the top and a small ID logo in the middle.

The copper base plate is very nicely finished, with a large and flat contact surface that should fit nicely over your CPU of choice. The pipes are mounted using pivot fittings, allowing you more maneuverability and this should ease the installation process.

Alpenföhn ATLAS Mini-ITX/Micro-ATX CPU Cooler Review

Introduction


Picking the right CPU cooler for your system can be a tricky task as you have to balance your budget, the ergonomics of your chassis, the TDP of your chip, aesthetics, what kind of system performance you want to achieve and acoustics too. That’s a lot to consider and there’s certainly a huge amount of choice out there to find something that suits your needs, but it’s still a bit of a minefield. The latest cooler from legendary manufacturer Alpenföhn has been designed for the increasingly popular Mini-ITX and Micro-ATX system build market. People are making a lot of compact gaming PCs for their living room, bedroom, LAN gaming events and more, so it’s only right that we should have more coolers that are suited to building a gaming system in smaller chassis.

The ATLAS may be tiny, but it still packs an impressive 5 x 6mm heat pipes into a twin-tower and dual-fan configuration, which gives it an impressive max TDP of 200W! That’s a lot of cooling potential from a small form factor cooling. Of course, a lot of people are jumping on the AIO market for cooling these days, but there are a lot of benefits to air cooling too and even more so, there are some people who just don’t want to move to water. Either way, it’s going to be interesting to see what this little powerhouse can do on our test bench.

As you can see from the specifications, the cooler sits nice and low, at the cost of being quite wide and fat for its form factor. The cooler is just tall enough to house a pair of 92mm fans, and while this form factor of fan is often associated (in my experience) with higher RPM and a noisy output, these promise to go as low as 400RPM, but still manage good airflow and low noise, which is something we’re eager to test.

The box is quite large, which I found funny as when I first opened it, I was expecting a much bigger cooler. There’s a nice stylish picture on the front of the box, as well as details of the main spec (see above) around the box.

The size of the box quickly becomes apparent, there’s quite a treasure trove of bits and bobs to be found inside. The mounting kit includes AMD and Intel brackets, a support bar, fan clips, back plate, retention screws and rubber caps, a tube of thermal paste and Molex to fan adaptors; literally everything you’ll need and more!

Both of the fans are of a very nice quality, which all black fittings and cables, as well as some durable black rubber braiding on the cables.

Both fans come with 4-pin headers, as well as built-in Y-splitters, handy if you’re short on fan connectors on your motherboard. Even if you are short on connectors, at least you’ll also find Molex adaptors in the box.

The Cooler is really nicely designed, with a very cool looking fin-stack that is full of aggressive angles and shapes. Sure, these shapes do add to the aesthetic, but don’t be fooled, as they’re primary purpose is to increase the surface area and push the airflow around the heat pipes, helping to better dissipate heat.

The cooler is very nice to look at and it’s impressive to see those heat pipes packed in so neatly while maintaining such a short form factor. There’s room to mount one of the fans on either side of the cooling towers, allowing you to best suit the fan configuration to the space within your chassis.

There’s sturdy and quite thick block on the base, giving plenty of room to hold all five heat pipes together and this gives a good even coverage of heat pipe over the entire CPU block too, which should help cooling performance a lot.

The heat pipes stick out at the top of the cooler, but the top plate has been given a good polish, giving it a shiny and appealing look.

The bottom of the block is finishing to a mirror shine and is super flat and smooth; this should ensure a clean and even fit across your CPU of choice.

NZXT Grid+ V2 Digital Fan Controller Review

Introduction


Building a PC can be a fairly simple task, most of the parts to together in a format that’s no less complex than a Lego set. Of course, picking the right components, putting them together in the best way and getting the best performance out of them, that’s where a little more effort is sometimes needed. One thing that can be quite easy is picking a bunch of great hardware, but keeping it running cool, quiet and efficiently, that’s a whole different ball game. Your chassis comes with fans, most likely that your CPU cooler does too, be that a water or air cooling solution, your GPU no doubt has fans and the list goes on. One thing you’ll be familiar with about fans, other than the fact that they blow air, is that they can often get a little noisy, especially when your system is running a little hot.

NZXT had great success with their GRID fan controller, a simple device that hooks up multiple fans and gives you control over their RPM via some desktop software. The new GRID+ V2 follows the same concept, but this time the unit is even better than before. Being able to take control of your fans is a great addition to your setup, as it allows you to turn them down to a whisper when watching movies or performing less intensive tasks. However, when you’re gaming, overclocking and more, being able to dial-up the fans to a suitable level gives you more control over the airflow, noise and hopefully the performance of your system.

Equipped with six fan headers, the Grid+ V2 should be able to drive all the fans in your system, and you could always invest in a couple of Y-splitters if you need to connect more per-channel. With up to 30W maximum output, the V2 shouldn’t have any trouble powering a whole bunch of fans.

The packaging is nicely designed, with just a simple image of the product and some branding on the front.

Around the back, we’ve got a slightly more detailed run down of the CAM software that is used to control the fans.

In the box, you’ll find a comprehensive setup guide. Honestly, it’s all pretty self-explanatory, but it certainly never hurts to have a helping hand.

In the box, you’ll also find a good selection of cables that you’ll need to set up the Grid+ V2. This includes a USB cable, Molex power cable, some handy cable ties and two 3-pin female to 4-pin/3-pin Y extension cables.

Finally, we’ve also got two dual-lock 3M velcro pads with adhesive backs.

ID-Cooling IS 50 & IS 40 Low-Profile CPU Cooler Review

Introduction


Picking a good CPU, GPU and motherboard is often where people put most of their focus, as well as the majority of their budget. Picking a good CPU cooler is important too, especially since an overheating CPU can lead to reduced component life expectancy, more noise from your system and even reduced performance. Of course, you don’t all need a high-end enthusiast cooler that costs north of £100, but it’s always worth finding the best cooler that’s suitable for your needs and budget.

The two latest coolers from ID-Cooling are not only budget friendly, but their low profile design also makes them extremely versatile, especially for those building small form factor systems such as LAN gaming PCs, HTPCs and much more. The IS 50 is the bigger of the two, offering up 130W TDP, as well as a larger fan to deal with more powerful hardware, which the IS 40 is designed for up to 95W TDP, features a smaller fan and a slightly lower price; we’ll be testing them both today. I think it’s obvious which is going to perform better, but keep in mind they’re not both designed to compete, but rather offer more options for those with compact system builds.

In the box, you’ll find a fairly straightforward mounting kit for AMD and Intel CPUs, as well as a spanner and a tube of thermal grease that’s handy for re-installations and maintenance. The mounting kit for both coolers is identical, so there’s no need to show you each separately.

Thermal Grizzly Thermal Paste Vs 6 Major Brands Review

Introduction


Finding the right thermal paste for your system is no easy task, as there are quite a lot of brands out there and from my experience, one person says “X is better than Y” the other says “Y is better than X”. In all honesty, pretty much any thermal paste on the market will likely be “enough” or give you reasonable performance, but that’s not what we’re looking to find out today. When it comes to squeezing every drop of performance out of your system, a few degrees can be the difference between a failed or a successful overclock. It can also be the difference between your PWM fans running in low or high RPM mode and a whole host of other factors.

We’ve been told that Thermal Grizzly was to up and coming king of the thermal paste market, and I’ve been a loyal user of the mighty Gelid GC Extreme for a long time now, so I’m eager to see if this new kid on the block can really perform better. Although, if it’s just as good as Gelid, I will not be disappointed. Putting one thermal paste head to head with another wouldn’t make for an interesting review though, so I’ve picked up some other popular favourites, from budget friendly to the premium choices; let’s find out which one is king!

Thermal Grizzly Kryonaugt

The newest thermal paste brand on our list and also one of the most expensive, clocking in at £15.95 for 11.1g. This brand is targeted at the enthusiast/overclocking crowd.

Akasa Pro-Grade 460

Akasa is a common choice for a lot of system builders and with just 3.5g in the tube and an average price of £6, it’s still expensive, but appeals to those building a few systems or for maintaining their own.

Noctua NT-H1

Notcua is known for their high-end engineering and their NT-H1 thermal paste has proven many times before that I can offer exceptional performance. It’s obviously targeted at the high-end and enthusiast market and will cost you around £7-10 for a small 3.5g tube.

Gelid GC Extreme

The popular choice for enthusiast overclockers around the world, Gelid is highly regarded for being able to deliver lower temps with their GC Extreme. You can pick up a smaller 3,5g tube for around £8 and a 10g mini-tub for about £22, making it noticeably more expensive than Thermal Grizzly.

Arctic Silver 5

This is one of the go-to brands of thermal paste for many system builders, it’s not “the best” but it’s still very good and has been on the market for many years. More often than not, you can pick up a 3,5g tube of this for just £5, making it very appealing to a lot of people.

EK Ectotherm

This one is new to me, I have heard of it, but I’ve never used it. It’s surprisingly affordable and will set you back about £5 for a 5g tub, making it a very attractive option and EK have a rock solid reputation in the cooling industry already.

Artic MX-4

Another budget friendly option from the legendary Arctic, costing just £6 for a 4G tube and much like Arctic Silver, it has long been a popular choice for system builders.

So there’s the competitors, a nice range of budget friendly options from a wide range of manufacturers,  some new, some old, some that have been around longer than time its self. There’s going to be some interesting competition here in terms of performance and prices, so there’s only one thing left to do, let’s fire this up on our eTeknix test bench and see who takes first place!

Xilence Performance C Series CPU Cooler Review

Introduction


Finding the right cooler for your system can a tricky process. Do you stick with the stock cooler that came with your processor? Unless you got an OEM one that came without a cooler of course. Do you invest a small fortune in water cooling, a high-end air cooler, AIO unit or something specialist for a low-profile build? There are a lot of options out there and quite frankly, it’s easy to forget that many coolers are complete overkill for your needs, but it’s often still nice to have a great cooler regardless.

The latest coolers from Xilence are targeted at the budget friendly end of the market, perfect for workstations, desktops and essentially any system that isn’t overclocked to high heaven. That’s not to say they’ll be incapable of running on overclocked hardware, but we’ll find that out for ourselves in a short while.

In the eTeknix office today we have the Intel-compatible I402 and the Intel and AMD compatible M403, both offer a 92mm fan, the 402 will handle up to 130W TDP (despite the typo that reads 13W in the image below) and the M403 will manage 150W TDP. So let’s jump right in and see what these coolers have to offer.

I402 Features

  • Silent hydro bearing 92mm fan
  • Two 6mm copper heat pipes for better air flow
  • Fin Design for high airflow and efficient cooling of the CPU and surrounding components
  • Slight overhang of the fan avoids hotspots
  • Possible mounting of the fan on both sides of the heat sink
  • Suitable for all current LGA 115x INTEL sockets

M403 Features

  • Silent hydro bearing 92mm fan
  • Three 6mm copper heat pipes for better heat flow
  • Fin Design for high airflow and efficient cooling of the CPU and surrounding components
  • Slight overhang of the fan avoids hotspots
  • Possible mounting of the fan on both sides of the heat sink
  • Suitable for all current AMD and INTEL sockets

Both come nicely packaged with their main specifications detailed on the front of the box.

Same around the back, with each coolers full socket support listed; nothing worse than buying something which wouldn’t be compatible with your hardware!

Since the M403 is AMD and Intel ready, you’ll find a retention bracket, for AMD, as well as a pair of screw on mounting arms with pre-fitted screws. There’s also a mounting backplate and a small tube of thermal paste.

The Intel only I402 comes with a bracket and a tube of thermal paste.

Enermax Liqmax II 240mm AIO CPU Cooler Review

Introduction


Enermax are one of my all time favourite brands, as they’ve created some really unique chassis designs over the years, some stunning power supplies and most importantly to myself, their AIO water coolers still dominate the top of our charts, giving us some truly incredible cooling performance that would make you think twice about needing a custom loop. Their latest cooler, the LiqMax II 240mm All-in-One Liquid CPU Cooler is certainly something I’ve been looking forward to testing, especially so given the performance of their LiqTech coolers and I’m eager to see how this one compares.

As you can see, the ELC-LMR240-BS as it is technically known, comes well equipped with a ceramic bearing pump, an aluminium radiator and a pair of high quality 120mm fans, which can operate right up to 2000RPM.

The packaging is really nicely designed, keeping in theme with many other Enermax products and features a nice image of the cooler, as well as a quick rundown of the major features and socket compatibility; you’ll also notice that this cooler is rated to handle up to 350W+ TDP, which is way more than you’ll likely ever use.

In the box, you’ll find two very high-quality fans, something I suspect will give the LiqMax II an edge over the competition. They come with very funky shaped blades, as well as rubber anti-vibration mounts on each side of all four corners.

Each fan comes with a slim black cable and a 4-pin PWM connector.

There’s a universal mounting plate included, as well as an arrangement of high-quality and rather nice looking screws and fittings. What’s also nice to see is that we’ve got a tube of thermal grease, rather than a sachet, which is handy for multiple applications, as well as a Y-split fan cable to help connect the two 120mm fans to your motherboard, as you’ll still need another header for the pumps 3-pin connector.

The radiator is pretty straight forward, with a standard 240mm design and a slim form factor.

The cooler is equipped with 300mm hoses, which should make it compatible with most large cases. The pipes are quite thick, so they’re not as flexible as some other coolers and that could make it tricky, although not impossible, to mount it in small chassis.

The radiator is nicely finished with a plate on the edge, as well as a small Enermax logo, so it should blend in with most system builds easily enough.

The pump is very nicely styled with a cool design on the top and a small Enermax logo in the middle.

The hoses are mounted on a swivel joint to allow easier fitting into your system.

There’s an Intel mounting kit pre-fitted here, but with just a few small screws you can remove it and fit the included (in the box) AMD mounting kit. There’s a huge copper contact plate on the bottom which is nicely polished; this should provide a good fit over your CPU of choice.

SilverStone Tundra TD03-Lite AIO CPU Cooler Review

Introduction


We first reviewed the Silverstone TD03 just over a year ago, and I was thoroughly impressed with its build quality, performance and overall design. The TD03 is one of the best coolers in its class, but the only downside that I can see is that it was a little expensive; although you get what you pay for. Today, I’ll be taking a look at the TD03-Lite, a cooler that takes what we knew about the original, but for a much lower price and to reflect that, a few of the design features have been cut back to keep the cost down, offering the product to a much wider market, but has this had an effect on the performance? Let’s find out!

The specifications from the TD03-Lite are promising and the cooler comes equipped with a high-quality 120mm PWM fan, an aluminium 120mm radiator and copper contact block.

The packaging reflects SilverStones budget intentions, a brown box with printed decals, nothing fancy, but a box is just a box after all.

Everything comes neatly packaged in a custom shape carton, with separate compartments for all the major compartments and protective plastic over all sensitive hardware.

The included fan is a 120mm x 25mm design, with a black flat 4-pin PWM cable.

The fan features a 9-blade design and shaped edges to help better direct airflow, reduce noise and improve overall performance.

The included mounting kit supports Intel and AMD, comes with a universal backplate, Molex adaptor, all the required screws and a syringe of thermal paste.

The cooler is nothing too fancy, but it’s certainly presentable. It’s appearance isn’t much different from most 120mm AIO water coolers, with a black radiator, two thick hoses and of course, the CPU block/pump.

The radiator is a slim design, so it should be compatible with a wide range of system builds.The aluminium radiator is pretty straightforward in terms of design and the all-black design means it should easily blend into your system with ease.

The pump is the biggest changes here, the TD03 had a metal housing, while the Lite has plastic. It’s nicely finished and features a nice logo on the top with some small blue LED indicators just behind the logo for some added flair.

The Intel brackets are pre-fitted for a quick and easy installation, but a few screws are all that need to be tweaked to remove it and install the AMD brackets which were included in the box. The pump comes with a 3-pin header, so you’ll need two fan headers on your motherboard; one for the pump, one for the fan.

The copper contact plate is huge, so it should offer lots of coverage on a wide range of CPU types. It’s also well polished and this should help you get a nice uniform fit.

Noctua NH-U9S U-Type Tower CPU Cooler Review

Introduction


Noctua is one of the most recognisable cooling brands around and for those who don’t recognise the name, you will most likely recognise the colours. Noctua are famous for two things, extremely high-quality products and that beige/brown colour scheme; love it or hate it, you can always pick a Noctua out of a crowd.

“Continuing the renowned legacy of Noctua’s award-winning NH-U9 series, the NH-U9S is a premium quality quiet CPU cooler in classic 9cm size. Its asymmetrical design with 5 heatpipes not only provides even better cooling performance than the previous generation but also improves compatibility: Thanks to its 95x95mm footprint, the NH-U9S clears the RAM and PCIe slots on all Intel and most AMD based mainboards, including µATX and ITX. Combined with its 125mm height, this makes the NH-U9S a highly versatile solution with excellent case, RAM and PCIe compatibility. The included NF-A9 premium fan supports automatic speed control via PWM for outstanding quietness of operation and a second, optional NF-A9 fan can be added for further improved performance in dual fan mode. Topped off with the trusted, pro-grade SecuFirm2 multi-socket mounting system, Noctua’s proven NT-H1 thermal compound and full 6 years manufacturer’s warranty, the NH-U9S is a deluxe choice through and through.” – Noctua

It’s no secret that Noctua has made some truly amazing coolers over the years, offering products that are virtually as good as you can get before taking the leap up to a water-cooled solution; which isn’t ideal for every kind of build anyway. Their latest cooler certainly is set to take on the world of water cooling, but it does promise to be a premium quality solution for those who need a more compact cooler. Equipped with a 95mm fan, a compact cooling tower and a tight bundle of heat pipes, I’m eager to see how this little cooler performs!

Nicely designed packaging with all the major specifications you’ll need to know clearly labeled.

In the box, you’ll find everything comes meticulously packaged, with separate pouches for both Intel and AMD mounting kits, as well as the general components, extra fan clips and a syringe of Noctua’s award-winning thermal paste.

You’ll also find some nicely formatted and easy to follow instruction booklets for each socket type.

The cooler is very compact, yet surprisingly heavy; it may be small, but there’s a lot of metal here.

There’s a single 95mm Noctua fan included with the cooler, which comes pre-installed, although you will have to remove it to install the cooler. It’s a fairly typical Noctua fan in terms of design and naturally, it’s of a very high quality.

The 95mm fan mounts using two simple metal clips and comes with rubber coated corners to help reduce any vibrations.

The fin stack is tightly packed and the individual fins are quite thick and strong compared to most coolers. Since this is the “S” version, it clocks in with 95mm dimensions, compared to the “B” model, which is 120mm, this means that it’ll provide you with improved compatibility with chassis, motherboards and other components.

Despite its tiny size, the NH-U9S packs five copper heat-pipes to help move heat through to the aluminium cooling fins.

The copper base plate and the heat pipes come with a gorgeous nickel playing and the CPU contact plate is polished to a mirror shine.

Thermaltake Water 3.0 Extreme S CPU Cooler Review

Introduction


Thermaltake have created some fantastic coolers in recent years, with a range that covers everything from air, to water, budget to premium, including their new and rather stunning custom loop water cooling gear. The model we’re looking at today covers several categories, it’s an AIO water cooler, which promises the high-end cooling thrills of their other water coolers, with a more affordable price tag, making it very attractive to those investing in their first water-cooled setup.

Check out the quick overview video below to find out why Thermaltake stripped down some of the features on this cooler and why that’s a good thing for (most) consumers.

The packaging is colourful and has all the major specification information on there that you will need.

The interior is pretty much what we see with all AIO coolers, a carton with protective bags overall smaller hardware components to keep them safe.

A pair of double curved fans, which can operate between 1200 and 2000 RPM, each fitted with a standard PWM connector and a black braided cable.

There’s no shortage of mounting options on offer, with separate rings and backplates for both Intel and AMD, 2011 screws, fan and chassis screws and even a Y-split PWM cable for the fans.

The radiator and pump are nicely designed, but also pretty standard. Those looking for something unique may want to look elsewhere, but it’s certainly presentable.

The radiator is a slim design, maximizing compatibility with most systems, while the 240mm length provides a good amount of surface area to dissipate heat from your CPU.

Two slim and long hoses mean that it’ll be easy to fit the pump inside your system, whether you have a small chassis, or a large one. The back of the pump has a Thermaltake logo on it, which looks pretty cool.

Pre-applied thermal paste is great for a quick and easy install, but there is no extra paste included, so you’ll need more if you plan to re-install in the future.

We won’t be using the stock paste of course, so I’ve cleaned it off. As you can see, we’ve got a good size copper contact plate and lots of screws providing a snug fit for the pump housing.

Reeven Okeanos RC-1402 CPU Cooler Review

Introduction


Today I’ll be taking a look at the Reeven Okeanos RC-1402 CPU cooler, which I’ll admit straight away, it doesn’t have the catchiest name ever, but then again, I don’t know many people who’ve heard of Reeven, let alone Okeanos. Of course, all that could change soon enough, as this certainly isn’t our first Reeven review and it was only a few months back that we awarded our Editor Choice Award to the Reeven Brontes RC-1001 Low-Profile CPU cooler. We’ve seen a few products from Reeven over the years, some won awards, some didn’t, but that’s nothing out of the ordinary for any brand and, of course, I’m hoping to see an award-winning performance from the Okeanos today.

The Okeanos certainly comes well equipped, with support for most major socket types, a dual fan/dual tower design with a 140mm and a 120mm included in the box, six heat pipes in a unique 2 x8mm + 4 x 6mm layout. Hopefully, that mass of heat-pipes and fans will deliver some great performance during our overclocking tests.

The packaging is quite colourful and will no doubt appeal to a gaming crowd. Plus, the bright colours should look great in most gaming systems.

As I said before, the Okeanos comes equipped with two high-performance fans. The largest is a 140mm and the smallest a 120mm.

both fans come with black sleeved cables, a 4-pin PWM connector and a nine-blade design. The 140mm operates at up to 1100 RPM and the 120mm at up to 1200 RPM.

In the box, you’ll also find a universal backplate, a universal mounting bracket, two fan speed adapters for lower RPM/noise levels, six fan clips for up to three fans, the mounting screws, a spanner to help with any installation issues and a retention bracket for the cooler.

The design of the cooler is very nice, with two durable fin stacks that should provide an excellent amount of surface area to dissipate heat.

The stylish top plates add a premium quality to the cooler and it’s certainly a lot tidier looking than most towers, which just have the heat pipes jutting out of the top.

The cooler supports up to three fans. Of course, there’s a 140mm and a 120mm included, but there’s nothing stopping you from adding your own fans, or an extra 140mm on the other side for extra cooling performance.

There’s a total of six heat pipes on the Okeanos, with two 8mm thick in the middle and four 6mm pipes, all of which pass through each of the cooling towers and provide enough contact on the CPU block to cover the full surface of the CPU.

The contact plate is of a good size and has a bright and smooth surface to provide excellent contact with your CPU.