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No Power Limits Thermal Results
Without power limits enforced on Intel’s i7-13700K, the CPU will hit its peak temperature and thermally throttle with even the strongest air coolers. When the CPU reaches its peak temperature, I measured the CPU package power to determine the maximum wattage cooled to best compare their performance.
The general exception to this comes with the strongest AIOs on the market, of which only the strongest are able to keep Intel’s i7-13700K under TJ Max. This is no small task, most 360mm AIOs fail this test.
The thermal results of Enermax Liqmaxflo here are good, especially when you consider its relatively budget price of $129 USD. The result of 68C over ambient is 1-3C better than its predecessor, a respectable improvement.
The thermal improvements are alright, but where Enermax’ new AIO really shines is noise levels – it’s the quietest AIO I’ve tested that’s capable of keeping Intel’s i7-13700K under it’s peak temperature! The measurement of only 42.4 dBA is extremely impressive.
Thermal Results With Noise Normalized to 38.2 dBA
Finding the right balance between fan noise levels and cooling performance is important. While running fans at full speed can improve cooling capacity to some extent, the benefits are limited and many users prefer a quiet system. With this noise-normalized test, I’ve set noise levels to 38.2 dba. This level of noise is a low volume level, but slightly audible to most people.
Enermax’s latest AIO does extremely well when noise levels are set to a low 38.2 dBA, with the second-best result we’ve recorded thus far of any cooler tested with Intel’s i7-13700K.
175W Cinebench Results
Most coolers on the market can keep Intel’s i7-13700K under its peak (TK Max) temperature if the power consumption is limited. So for this test, we’ll be looking at the CPU’s actual temperature.
The result of 51 C over ambient is good, in the middle of the road for AIOs we’ve tested with Intel’s i7-13700K. It doesn’t really look like much of an improvement compared to its predecessor, at least not until you consider the noise levels. With volume measured at only 38.9 dBA, Enermax’ Liqmaxflo is again the quietest AIO I’ve tested with Intel’s i7-13700K thus far. What this means is that you don’t need to tune the curve of the fans with Enermax’ latest offering. Only running at 38.9 dBA while cooling 175W is impressive, it means you can run all but the most demanding tasks while keeping your PC quiet.
125W Cinebench Results
The lowest power limit I test with Raptor Lake CPUs is 125W. This is a high enough limit to allow the CPU to maintain its base clock speeds even in the most intensive tests, and most coolers should be capable of keeping the CPU below TJ Max (the max temperature before throttling) – even low-end coolers.
Thermals don’t really matter in this scenario. Even Intel’s stock cooler can handle a load like this with ease. Noise levels, rather than CPU temperature, are the most important factor here. Enermax Liqmaxflo again delivers chart-topping results here. At 37.3 dBA measured, the Liqmaxflo runs quieter than the sound of my system fans.
Enermax Liqmaxflo 360 might be a tongue twister of a model name, but it’s a very strong offering in today’s crowded and competitive market of liquid coolers. It’s able to keep hot CPUs like Intel’s i7-13700K under their peak temperature while running quieter than the competition. And what pushes this cooler over the top is its price. At only $129.99, it’s cheaper than many coolers that don’t perform as well.
Albert Thomas is a contributor for Tom’s Hardware, primarily covering CPU cooling reviews.
I hope you keep this system running to see if it gunks up in 6 months.Reply
Enermax stuff is not reliable at all.
I'm curious if this new line is from the same OEM/ODM that had massive qc issues with the fluid. I hope that these thicker radiators become an industry wise trend as they have all been rather good (Arctic and Lian-li were the first AIOs I believe). Performance here seems pretty good, and I'm curious how it'd do with better fans.Reply
This review was a real money-saver, I suppose. Not particularly interested in the Enermax AiO, but seeing relative performance of all the different solutions tested, it really made me re-think my plan to upgrade my AiO.Reply
I run a 240mm Lian Li Galahad (rev2, I *think* - but not *gen* 2) which I had bought when I built this PC last year. Originally it was cooling a 12600K - but I just upgraded to a 14700KF.
I don't have experience with more high-end CPUs (never had anything bigger than an i5), so I was a bit taken aback when that i7 drew more than 300W peak in Cinebench and, after a minute or two, reached 100°C on some of the P-cores. That was with my Z690 Tomahawk's default settings, BTW which have open PL1 and PL2 and pushed VIDs into mid 1.4V territory.
After reading up on how to configure these things in the BIOS (not just PL1/2 but also MSI's auto Vcore offset function), it now will stay between 200 and 250W in CB and temps are very manageable with my 240 Galahad. While gaming in more CPU-heavy titles, peak temps will be in the low to mid 50°C-range and CPU-power draw is never higher than 75W.
Seeing that this AiO is pretty close to (or, in some cases) even better than some of the 360mm products, I don't really feel like I need to spend even more money to go 360 and throw out a ~15 month old, kinda, sorta "premium" 240mm AiO. Seems to me that a few degrees temp-reduction is all I could expect from replacing the 240 with one of the better 360 AiOs.
Since the setup as I run it now will still let the CPU hit max boost frequency, while temps on all P-cores are staying in the high 70s to mid/high 80s *and* manages excellent benchmark results ... I don't think I will be spending money on a larger AiO anytime soon.
What I will say is that another factor that really helped the 240 being able to cope with the i7 (I think) is that I did change my case from a bequiet Pure Base 600 to a Fractal Design Pop Air XL RGB. Not only is the Fractal's front *much* more open than the bequiet's, its added internal space and "cleaner" interior seems to really benefit airflow and temps. My chipset heatsink for example is covered almost completely by my graphics card, but: In the bequiet-case, chipset temps would reach the low 60°C-range while gaming - on the Fractal with only the 240mm in the front, they never exceeded the low/mid 50s and since I added a third 120mm fan to the front, they're staying in the mid to high 40s. And that's with the same number of fans and all of them mounted in the same spots on both cases except for the added front 120mm intake I just threw in (2x140 top exhausts, 1x120 rear exhaust, AiO mounted in the front as an intake).