Skip to main content

Cooler Master's Nepton 120XL and 240M Promise Silence

The world of all-in-one liquid cooling is already populated enough as is, so when we see a new unit come along we sometimes find it difficult to get excited. Still, one problem that seems to persist is that a lot of these all-in-one units don't live up to their promise of being quiet, so when Cooler Master came along today and announced the Nepton 120XL and the Nepton 240M, we had to have a look at the spec sheet before we could consider it interesting.

The in-house developed pumps of the Seidon all-in-one units from Cooler Master responded very well to adjusting their speed through voltage regulation, but the fans were noisy. While you could, of course, replace them yourself, that does add cost.

With the new Nepton coolers, Cooler Master promises a quiet pump and silent fans. The pump resides right above the copper cold plate, and it's powered by a 3-pin fan connector. It is rated to pull about 4.8 W, making it rather powerful, yet it should make less than 15 dBA of noise when running at full speed.

Although Cooler Master might not want us to, there's really no reason to run the pump at full speed all the time, and if it responds to voltage regulation as well as the older Seidon units did, that can be a very effective way to silence it even more. (Just make sure that it is actually spinning when you reduce its operating voltage.)

The fans on the Neptons are also different than those on the Seidon units, having just five blades with a high-pressure design. They can spin between 800 and 2400 RPM, pushing between 16.5 to 76 CFM and making between 6.5 and 27 dBA of noise.

As far as appearances go, the Nepton series are fairly unremarkable. The tubing is made of FEP, which is very robust and prevents evaporation, but it doesn't look especially pretty. The pump unit does have an LED-lit Cooler Master logo, though, and the fans are certainly unique.

Considering the powerful pump and fans, the Cooler Master Neptons are certainly capable of cooling with a lot of oomph if you run everything at full speed, at the cost of noise. With the right fine-tuning, though, you can probably get them to operate very silently, which somehow is not something we see often in the all-in-one water cooling world.

There's no word on pricing yet, although we expect both the Nepton 120XL and the Nepton 240M to be priced below $100. Cooler Master ships the units with a five-year warranty.

Follow Niels Broekhuijsen @NBroekhuijsen. Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.

Niels Broekhuijsen is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He reviews cases, water cooling and pc builds.

  • dovah-chan
    I guess it's neat to see someone release a unit that tries to be quiet. If you've ever heard the stock fans on the Corsair H100i (which I hypothesize were made loud on purpose to get you to buy SP120's; which I did) then you know how loud stock AIO fans are compared to something like a Cryorig R1 Universal.

    It's good that they are trying to be more quiet, but those who are in the know are going to purchase Gentle Typhoons or some other premium silent fans. (which have extremely high static pressure for their noise level, being able to push a lot air through radiator fins)
    Reply
  • vagrantsoul
    are these rads aluminum to conflict with the copper heat plate? Corrosion isn't fun:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galvanic_corrosion

    http://martinsliquidlab.org/2012/01/24/corrosion-explored/
    Reply
  • universal remonster
    After using my H240-X from Swftech for a few weeks now, I'll never look at another companies AIO unless major improvements take place. Such a huge difference from the H100 I previously owned... it makes everyone else's coolers look and feel like toys.
    Reply
  • alextheblue
    are these rads aluminum to conflict with the copper heat plate? Corrosion isn't fun
    That's the typical setup.. effective and affordable. There are things you can do to prevent corrosion such as using coolant consisting of distilled water and corrosion inhibitors (and is nonconductive or as close as possible), and plating internal surfaces if needed. But you know, it's not like Cooler Master et al have any engineers or anything. They're clearly a two-bit garage operation with no clue, and you've just rocked their world.
    Reply
  • alextheblue
    I guess it's neat to see someone release a unit that tries to be quiet. If you've ever heard the stock fans on the Corsair H100i (which I hypothesize were made loud on purpose to get you to buy SP120's; which I did) then you know how loud stock AIO fans are compared to something like a Cryorig R1 Universal.

    It's good that they are trying to be more quiet, but those who are in the know are going to purchase Gentle Typhoons or some other premium silent fans. (which have extremely high static pressure for their noise level, being able to push a lot air through radiator fins)

    I'd say they made them loud so they'd bench well at a low price. The fan(s) can be replaced easily enough, but what drives me nuts and in the past has turned me away from AIO kits is issues with pump noise. I would hope all of the modern kits have pumps that play well with PWM, are generally quiet, and don't rattle... but I'm still loathe to drop a pile of cash on one. Especially if you don't have a very good reason to go water, since there are many capable aircoolers on the market.

    About Gentle Typhoons... weren't those retired? I'm sure they have a replacement though. If quiet is your thing there's also the Noctua NF-F focused flow 120mm unit. But that one is definitely not cheap.
    Reply
  • vagrantsoul
    not calling them a two bit operation, i've just had to fix /replace parts in two computers now from AIO corrosion leaks.

    and isn't the point of an AIO to be cheap and hands off? the only ones I've seen that i would consider have been the two most recent swiftech ones (h220x and h240-x)... otherwise i just use air cooling
    Reply
  • akula2
    I must replace dozens of Nepton 140 and 280 stock fans due to noise at high loads in Z97 workstations (lab environment). My Q is:

    Are Nepton 120XL fans quiet at hi loads? Should I go for them but I didn't check whether CM sells them or not?

    I'm pondering to go in favor of Swiftech 220 or 240 (new model) against CM Nepton 280 in the upcoming ten extreme X99 workstations (holiday season build schedule).

    Please reply, thank you.
    Reply
  • universal remonster
    Indeed, H220x/240x or nothing. If you are thinking of buying any AIO and then paying more money to replace the stock fans, there is absolutely no reason to not go with the Swiftech. I have my 240X on a 5820K @ 4.1ghz all cores, and I get a 19 degree delta when running 12 threads of Prime95 with fans at ~850 RPM and the pump at ~1950 RPM. Stock fans are most definitely good enough/quite for a CPU only loop. Perhaps if you opened the loop to include a GPU you might look into something else, but even then, I don't think it would be needed.
    Reply
  • akula2
    I edited my previous post for better clarity.

    I already bought many CM Neptons, and built machines (Asus Z97 WS) a few months ago. Neptons are excellent but noise at high loads (scientific/biotech/computational purposes) is the big issue. Some of my employees didn't like it at all.

    Hence I plan to drop them in the upcoming X99 builds (five 5960X and five Xeon E5 v3) unless I find Nepton 240M to be really quiet.

    Folks like me must need very quiet machines; don't mind just a bit temp sacrifice because lab environment takes care of it.

    I do understand why many hardware companies, sites and reviewers focus mostly on gamers, and enthusiasts who do mostly OC and nothing much significant, say software development or whatever.

    I'd love to see more from sites like TH for professionals or business folks like me.
    Reply
  • vagrantsoul
    Akula, any particular reason you went with aio vs straight air cooling? considering noise?
    Reply