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Antec Kühler Vs. Corsair Hydro: Sealed Liquid CPU Coolers Compared

Benchmark Results: Temperature, Noise, And Acoustic Efficiency

Because liquid cooling systems are designed to be mounted in a case, we closed our side panels before taking thermal and noise readings.

Voltage regulator cooling is always a big concern whenever fans are moved away from the processor. Fortunately, Asus’ Maximus IV Gene is designed specifically for this type of build. As a result, we only see important differences in CPU temperature, where Asus' “Auto” fan control mode isn’t adequate for our overclock. Thermal throttling forced us to give up on automatic controls for the H₂O 620, so we tested it only at its maximum fan speed.

With a wide dual-fan radiator, the H100 easily tops our thermal charts. Meanwhile, Evga’s SuperClock tower-style heatsink and single fan prove the adequacy of cooling without pumps.

Automatic modes require a hot processor for evaluation, so isolating the cooler noise could only be achieved at maximum speed settings by connecting the fans directly to a silent 12 V power supply. Full system noise is far more pertinent however, and this is where hot temperatures give way to quiet measurements with the Kühler H₂O 920.

We calculated the average temperature and noise level for all coolers and developed a cooling-to-noise-ratio chart by simple division, which made the average 100%. Subtracting one from the result gives us a 0% average, where the charted results show gains or losses compared to the average of all coolers in this test.

Bold claims by Corsair and CoolIT about their new cold plate design are proven true in our Accoustic Efficiency calculations, which partly cancel out the benefits of super-fast performance- or super-slow silence-oriented fans. The Hydro H100 tops the chart, followed closely by its shorter/fatter H80 sibling.

  • compton
    You would have a hard time convincing me that my Noctua NH-U12P SE2 was anything but quiet and effective, but I know that many prefer sealed water solutions. My opinion is that for 1155 SB processors, even overclocked ones, you're better off with a high end air cooler.
    Reply
  • soccerdocks
    comptonYou would have a hard time convincing me that my Noctua NH-U12P SE2 was anything but quiet and effective, but I know that many prefer sealed water solutions. My opinion is that for 1155 SB processors, even overclocked ones, you're better off with a high end air cooler.
    I completely agree. Pretty much the only reason to go with these sealed water coolers is to say that you water cooled your PC.
    Reply
  • gmcizzle
    Yes for SB processors, air is fine because they don't really get that hot. Now SBE, on the other hand, gets extremely hot and you need the best cooling you can get.
    Reply
  • cmcghee358
    soccerdocksI completely agree. Pretty much the only reason to go with these sealed water coolers is to say that you water cooled your PC.
    I agree 100%. And I do, in fact have an H70. And when I'm at work describing the epic beast of computers I build, and I show off some pics of mine; I always point to the H70 and go "Theres the radiator for the water cooler" /gasp!
    Reply
  • joytech22
    I still have my H50 so reading this bummed me out a little. Haha.
    Reply
  • drumsrule786
    High end air is probably better than most sealed liquid coolers except for the H100. My H50 is alright but not nearly as good as I thought it was going to be when I first got it. Next build im definitely gonna go full custom water cooling though :D
    Reply
  • aznshinobi
    These coolers are terrible cooling/value, it's sad that consumers see "Water-cooling" (IMO this is "fake" water cooling in that it's all in a closed loop) and they think it'll cool the best. However the temps speak for itself, a $50 air cooler can practically, if not beat, a $80 closed-loop WC solution with the dBA being similar. Sad.
    Reply
  • Lutfij
    did anyone else notice that the author as well as manufacturer's of these pseudo WC loops rerfer to the cpu contact plate as a cold plate...last time i checked a cold plate is what is used in a Peltier unit...:/
    Reply
  • compton
    cmcghee358I agree 100%. And I do, in fact have an H70. And when I'm at work describing the epic beast of computers I build, and I show off some pics of mine; I always point to the H70 and go "Theres the radiator for the water cooler" /gasp!
    I think that's a perfectly good reason to buy any product. I like that I have a choice. But Noctua's tower coolers look pretty sexy too.
    Reply
  • Darkerson
    Was thinking about getting the 620 for a future SB/IB build, but now Im not so sure. Anyway, thanks for the reviews!
    Reply