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Enermax Recalls Clogged Liqmax III Liquid CPU Coolers in Korea

Enermax Liqmax III 360mm ARGB AIO Cooler
(Image credit: Enermax)

Update 04/28/2022 1:50am PT: Enermax responded with a few details, which we've added below. 

Enermax has issued a recall for three of the new Liqmax III AIO liquid coolers models due to impurities accumulating inside the water pump that reduce coolant flow, thus weakening the AIO's cooling capabilities. The issue only impacts certain batches. However, the issue does sound familiar — the Liqtech I and II series also developed a reputation for gunky pump-clogging deposits and leaks, leading to RMAs. The Korean distributor Cynex is handling the RMA process for all impacted coolers via the enermaxkorea.com website, and Enermax tells us that the issue is confined to coolers sold in Korea. 

The impacted models are confined to specific batches, including the Liqmax ARGB 360 black and white variants and the Liqmax III ARGB 240 models. All 360 black models with '2012' in the first four digits of the serial number and white versions with '2119' are possibly affected. In addition, potentially affected Liqmax III ARGB 240 models are marked with '2012.'

Cynex says the cooling problems are most likely to occur with these three models, and it will replace the existing units whether or not they are currently showing signs of reduced cooling performance. The problems are due to 'impurities mixed inside the radiator' during the manufacturing process, which then clogs the pump and reduces coolant flow. As a result, CPU cooling can be affected.

In the US, Enermax's Liqmax III AIO coolers are some of the most competitively priced units today. For instance, the 240mm is priced at just $70-$80 on Newegg.com and $85-$90 for the 360mm variant. That means plenty of value-seekers here in the US have likely purchased these products, but as mentioned above, it doesn't appear that any units in North America are impacted. 

The Korean product exchange period spans a year, from April 25th to April 30th, so all affected users should have plenty of time to get a replacement unit. 

Aaron Klotz
Aaron Klotz

Aaron Klotz is a freelance writer for Tom’s Hardware US, covering news topics related to computer hardware such as CPUs, and graphics cards.

  • tennis2
    Again!?
    If the first wave wasn't bad enough, they clearly haven't learned their lesson. Might as well close down their AIO division now.
    Reply
  • KananX
    These aio coolers are way too often clogged up like that, not only these ones, I see it frequently with various brands and models on YouTube videos, don’t buy it and use a good air cooler instead.
    Reply
  • blppt
    "hese aio coolers are way too often clogged up like that, not only these ones, I see it frequently with various brands and models on YouTube videos, don’t buy it and use a good air cooler instead. "

    Sometimes that is just not possible. Even the ultimate Noctua air coolers suffer from extreme reliance on excellent case flow. And with cooling nightmares like the 12900KS you would need your ultra air cooler to also have the absolute idea air flow for that Alder Lake special not to throttle under heavy load.
    Reply
  • Phaaze88
    But who is the OEM/ODM of Liqmax III? I couldn't seem to find that after 20mins of searching. Enermax seems to have that under lock and key... but seeing as their previous Liqtech and Liqmax still had problems, it may be Apaltek again.
    FYI:
    NZXT Kraken M22
    Msi MAG & MPG Coreliquid Enermax Liqtech
    Fractal Design Lumen ^All Apaltek, and have had, or still having issues with clogs. Some prebuilts, like Cyberpower, are rebranding and offering them amongst their selection of coolers.
    The clogging is going to happen eventually in these sealed coolers, but it shouldn't be as early as they have been popping up...
    Reply
  • javiindo
    Liquid cooling it's exotique but air coolers are much better no problems solution. The difference in temperatures it's not that much either.
    Reply
  • tamalero
    blppt said:
    "hese aio coolers are way too often clogged up like that, not only these ones, I see it frequently with various brands and models on YouTube videos, don’t buy it and use a good air cooler instead. "

    Sometimes that is just not possible. Even the ultimate Noctua air coolers suffer from extreme reliance on excellent case flow. And with cooling nightmares like the 12900KS you would need your ultra air cooler to also have the absolute idea air flow for that Alder Lake special not to throttle under heavy load.

    You still need airflow to cooldown the radiators bro...
    Reply
  • Cartrover
    Enermax/Apaltek appear to be really trying. If this clogging issue is similar to what happened on the MSI ones that just got recalled (also made by Apaltek) and investigated by Igorlabs, it's not the same as what happened on the Threadripper AIOs a few years ago. The Liqmax III would be a solid AIO if they have fixed this issue on newer units.

    There are a number of pump/clogging complaints in reviews on US retailer websites, so this recall may be extended to other countries.
    Reply
  • KananX
    blppt said:
    "hese aio coolers are way too often clogged up like that, not only these ones, I see it frequently with various brands and models on YouTube videos, don’t buy it and use a good air cooler instead. "

    Sometimes that is just not possible. Even the ultimate Noctua air coolers suffer from extreme reliance on excellent case flow. And with cooling nightmares like the 12900KS you would need your ultra air cooler to also have the absolute idea air flow for that Alder Lake special not to throttle under heavy load.
    Simply don’t buy inefficient CPUs, 12900k isn’t exactly a must buy, for people that need 16 core the 5950X is far better. For gamers there are 12700K, 12600K, 5800X3D.
    Reply
  • blppt
    "12900k isn’t exactly a must buy, for people that need 16 core the 5950X is far better. For gamers there are 12700K, 12600K, 5800X3D. "

    That's not the point. If you want the best gaming CPU on the planet, you need the 5800X3D or 12900KS, and neither one can be cooled by air unless you have great case airflow, and then yes, I agree, the D15 is the equal of any AIO water cooler. The 12900KS especially, but the X3D too runs very hot compared to other Zen 3 products.
    Reply
  • blppt
    tamalero said:
    You still need airflow to cooldown the radiators bro...

    Yes, you need some airflow for the AIO water coolers . But not anywheres near the great airflow you need for an air cooler of equivalent performance like the giant Noctuas.

    Plus, unlike the Noctuas, you can mount the radiator in multiple places on the case that get direct airflow from outside the case, or pushing directly outside the case. You do not have that flexibility with a top mount air cooler.

    Trust me, I've tried the Noctua solutions. I have never been great at maximizing airflow over a top CPU mounted air cooler from front intake out to the back, so they have never performed as well as a good 280mm double fan AIO like the Corsair H115i series (or other brands' equivalents). I'm sure if you got a great airflow layout, the Noctuas would cool just as well without the disadvantages of a water cooler, but you have to be GREAT at routing cables and components to allow for great airflow for those to reach their potential.

    AIO water coolers are much easier to get effective cooling, especially for those of us builders who are not great at the above.
    Reply