ID-Cooling are a relatively new playing in the PC component market, having expanded from their China originals just two years ago to tackle the European market. A few weeks ago, we stopped by their booth at Computex 2015 to see what products they have on offer and I was pleasantly surprised to see they’ve got some competitive looking products to offer. Today, I take a much closer look as I test our first ever ID-Cooling sample, the SE 204K CPU cooler.
The packaging on the SE 204K is nicely designed, with an image of the cooler on the box, as well as a run down of the main specifications such as the 150W and its gaming theme; I think they’re referring to the black and red design.
In the box, you’ll find everything you need to get you started. There are two sets of fan retention clips, a universal backplate, Intel and AMD mounting plates, a fan and a small tube of thermal grease.
The fan is really nicely designed. The black body of the fan is given some extra flair thanks to the red highlights, which also double as anti-vibration pads.
The fan has a 7 blade design which are custom shaped to help better direct the airflow and reduce turbulence. The 120mm fan has a hydraulic bearing and a PWM 4-pin connector.
The cooling tower is nice and slim, so RAM compatibility should be very high, even with the fan installed.
The black nickel finish looks great and overall build quality of the fin stack is very good and feels durable, especially so for a cooler of this size.
There are four 8mm heat pipes which pass through the cooler in a “U” shape, so we should see some impressive heat transfer from the 204K
The four 8mm heat pipes are soldered to the polished copper base, which should help further enhance the heat transfer process. The base plate is nicely polished too, so it’ll be easy to get a clean fit over your CPU.
The backplate is nice and easy to install, just pop in on the back of the motherboard and put the four long screws through the required holes. There’s a thick padding on the back of the plate too, which will help prevent your motherboard from becoming scratched or damaged.
Four spacers and four red washers then need screwing down onto the longer screws, holding everything securely in place and ready fo you to mount the CPU cooler.
The whole installation process was about 5 minutes, a very easy process. Although, with the washers and screws used, I’d suggest mounting with the motherboard removed from your chassis or with the chassis laid flat on its side. I put the fan on this size of the RAM modules and as you can see, compatibility really isn’t a problem, although very tall models may block a tiny bit of airflow, you could always put the fan on the other side.
Test System and Methodology
We always use the same test system and tests with CPU coolers that we compare against each other. The full specifications of our test system are as follows:
- ASUS P8Z77-V, LGA 1155 socket, Z77 chipset
- Intel Core i5 3570K with Gelid GC Extreme under the IHS
- 16GB Kingston 1866Mhz DDR3
- 128GB Kingston HyperX SSD
- Antec High Current Gamer 620W
- Cooler Master Test Bench v1.0
- We always use Gelid GC Extreme thermal paste to make sure testing reveals the efficiency of the tested coolers not the efficiency of the bundled thermal paste.
- Prime 95 is run for 10 minutes and then the average maximum temperatures as recorded by CPUID HWMonitor are noted
- The average temperature across the four cores is taken on our quad-core processor
- Fans are mostly left to operate at default PWM profile speeds and with maximum fan speed for reference.If PWM functions are not supported then fixed fan speeds are used and sometimes a low noise adapter if appropriate/provided. If fixed fan speeds or low noise adapters are used it will be clearly pointed out either on the graphs or in the write-up.
- All default result entries on graphs are for PWM performance unless otherwise specified. A variety of fan speed results are done for a particular product review and then removed from the graphs in future reviews of other products to avoid clutter. If you would like to see more fan speed results for a particular product please check its individual review.
- For watercooling tests all pumps have been operated at 12 volts directly from the power supply
- Delta temperatures are always used (Observed temperature minus ambient temperature) and we keep the ambient at 22 (+/- 1) degrees for all testing . Delta temperatures should correct for any marginal ambient differences between 21-23 degrees.
- Acoustic measurements are taken 10cm horizontally away from the CPU cooler with the VGA fan disabled, hard drive in idle and power supply isolated. These are taken at desktop idle and Prime95 load.
- The cooling performance tests are run at stock 3.4GHz (with Intel Turbo up to 3.8GHz) and overclocked 4.5GHz (1.35v) settings. Voltages are fixed to prevent inaccuracy between comparisons.
- All other coolers in the graphs have been tested under identical settings so are fully comparable.
- Each test is repeated 3 times with 3 remounts for consistency of results
- There is approximately a 1 degree celsius margin of error in our temperature recording software CPUID HW Monitor
- There is approximately a 1.5dBA margin of error with our Benetech GM1351 decibel meter
In all these graphs we may have a few “reference” results of particular products that do not fit within that category for comparative purposes.
Stock performance is about where I expected it to be, nothing amazing, but certainly capable of keeping our CPU well within a safe margin and it’s on par with some better-known brand names in this price range.
Acoustic performance is good too, you can hear the fan, but it’s far from being noisy.
Overclocking didn’t fare as well as I had hoped. A constant overclock wouldn’t be ideal for this cooler, but those using a boost overclock rather than a 24 hour overclock should be more that comfortable with what this cooler has to offer.
One good thing is that even with the overclock, the fan only because 1dBa louder, still well within comfortable levels.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find reliable UK pricing information at the time of writing, hopefully, this will change in the near future and we will update this section. Those in the US can pick up the SE-204K from Newegg for $44.99.
ID-Cooling is still relatively new to the market, so stock availability is clearly still an issue, especially here in the UK. Of course, if you can find it at a decent price, it’s competitive enough, but that really depends on the price. In the UK, I wouldn’t hope to pay anything over £25 for this cooler.
The ID-Cooling SE-204K is a nicely designed cooler and it wouldn’t look out-of-place in most systems, especially since the black and red theme has proven a popular, if somewhat overused choice, for most component manufacturers motherboards and graphics cards.
Build quality is decent, the cooler feels robust and while not the easiest to mount, it’s far from being the hardest to work with either. One big advantage is that it doesn’t interfere with ram clearance, which is good news for those of you who have tall RAM modules.
Performance is average, but there’s no shame in that. Again, if you can find it at the right price and you don’t plan on overclocking your processor too hard, or at all, then the SE-204K has more than enough cooling performance for most systems. It’s also reasonably quiet and for any mid-range gaming system, it’ll do the job nicely.
- Good cooling performance at stock clocks
- OK acoustic performance
- Stylish design
- Excellent RAM clearance
- Limited availability in some regions
- Not idea for overclocking
“The ID-Cooling SE-204K is a reliable mid-range CPU cooler that would look great in most system builds. It’s not perfect for overclocking, but at the right price, it could be a competitive cooler for those on a tighter budget”
Thank you ID-Cooling for providing us with this sample.