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Ice Giant Prosiphon Elite Review: Catch the Biggest Air

It's lost some weight, but is still a mammoth

Ice Giant Prosiphon Elite
Editor's Choice
(Image: © Tom's Hardware)

Our Verdict

Performing as well as premium air cooling and costing less than expensive 360 AIOs, the IceGiant ProSiphon Elite makes for an interesting alternative for high-end performance builds. Standing tall as a monstrous, monolithic cooling solution with a commanding presence, the IceGiant ProSiphon Elite shows that big air really doesn’t get any bigger than this.

For

  • Retail version designed for HEDT for both Intel and AMD (incl. Threadripper)
  • Great cooling performance
  • Four fans allow for push+pull

Against

  • Huge and heavy
  • Premium price

Tom's Hardware Verdict

Performing as well as premium air cooling and costing less than expensive 360 AIOs, the IceGiant ProSiphon Elite makes for an interesting alternative for high-end performance builds. Standing tall as a monstrous, monolithic cooling solution with a commanding presence, the IceGiant ProSiphon Elite shows that big air really doesn’t get any bigger than this.

Pros

  • + Retail version designed for HEDT for both Intel and AMD (incl. Threadripper)
  • + Great cooling performance
  • + Four fans allow for push+pull

Cons

  • - Huge and heavy
  • - Premium price

Back in 2019 we were one of the few media outlets to get an early look at the prototype IceGiant ProSiphon, an innovative CPU-cooling behemoth that uses natural convection of warmer and cooler states of coolant to effectively ‘pump’ the energy-rich evaporated vapor through the cooler. The months since have brought us to the final version of the IceGiant ProSiphon Elite, and while it still maintains its massive stature, it is noticeably thinner due to a redesigned condenser, which improves upon the original prototype.

The new and improved IceGiant doesn’t break any records, but it does provide a great alternative for system builders who want big and bold, yet still opt to avoid large AIO liquid cooling. Currently available for order from the IceGiant website, it will soon be available for purchase at MicroCenter retail stores as well as available at e-tailers Amazon and Newegg.

Ice Giant Prosiphon Elite Specifications

Height6.5" / 165.1mm
Width9.88" / 251mm
Depth2.0" / 50.8mm (4.0" / 102mm w/ fans)
Base Height1.75" / 44.5mm
Assy. Offset1..0" / 25.4mm up
0.75" / 19.1mm forward
Cooling Fans(4) 120 x 25mm
Connectors(4) 4-pin PWM
Weight70.8 oz / 2007g
Intel Sockets1366, 115x, 1200, 2011, 2066
AMD SocketsAM4, TR4, sTR4x
Warranty10 years
Web Price$170

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The IceGiant ProSiphon Elite includes mounting hardware to accommodate current processor models for both Intel and AMD, including high-end desktop (HEDT) variants like Intel’s i9 Comet Lake chips and the multi-core behemoths that are AMD's Threadripper processors. The IceGiant makes use of four 4-pin 120mm cooling fans to allow for push+pull airflow configuration out of the box.

Mounting brackets, backplates and supports are incredibly over-engineered to account for the 2-kilogram (4.42 pounds) mass they must support. In fact, just about everything about the IceGiant feels industrial-grade, down to the syringe of high-performance Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut thermal compound included.

IceGiant covers the ProSiphon Elite with an unprecedented 10-year warranty, which includes the cooling fans.

For those who might have missed our original definition of how the IceGiant ProSiphon Elite thermosiphon cooler differs from a traditional heatpipe cooler, please allow us to gratuitously plagiarize our own coverage of the original ProSiphon Elite Protopype: 

Heatpipe coolers rely on the boiling and evaporation of a liquid (typically distilled water) within each individual heatpipe, which travels up the hollow center of the pipe, begins cooling and then fully condenses further up the cooling tower, while dissipating thermal energy in the process. Once that liquid has fully converted back to liquid form, a sintered wicking material along the heatpipe walls then draws the liquid back down to the base to begin the process once again.

A thermosiphon works on similar principles, as it also requires the boiling, evaporation and condensation of a liquid--in this case, a dielectric fluid. A thermosiphon instead makes use of natural convection of warmer and cooler states of coolant to effectively ‘pump’ the energy-rich evaporated vapor through the cooler. Using large, flat condenser cores, the IceGiant ProSiphon Elite utilizes greater surface area to effectively transfer thermal energy out of the fluid vapor, into the cooling fins and away from the cooler.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The primary heat exchanger features three condenser cores, which dissipate heat provided from the evaporator in the cooler’s base. The original ProSiphon prototype featured only two condenser cores, allowing the newer retail version of the cooler to have a thinner overall profile when compared to the original. Retention hardware is engineered into the cooler’s base pedestal, which provides an anchored mount once the cooler is installed.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The ProSiphon Elite makes use of four 120mm, 4-pin PWM fans rated up to 2300 RPM for push+pull operation. The front pair push cool, ambient air into the heat exchanger and over the condenser cores, while the rear fans pull the warmed air out and away from the cooler. This provides the IceGiant plenty of fresh air in which to breathe (or rather, cool) freely.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The entirety of the IceGiant ProSiphon is made of high-grade aluminum, including the precision-milled pedestal base and mounting contact which is large enough to fully cover an AMD Threadripper CPU. Tension screws are permanently affixed to the primary tension bar on the cooler base, which ultimately adds to your advantage later during the installation process.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The base of the ProSiphon Elite is milled perfectly flat; we are unable to see any residual light peeking beneath the face of a steel rule.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The thermal paste contact patch from our i9-10850k is dwarfed by the untouched backdrop of clean, remaining aluminum of the mounting base.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

By comparison, the thermal compound patch from our Threadripper 2990WX consumes the entire canvas of the cooler base.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Remember those tidbits about the rugged mounting hardware and the tension screws mounted into the cooler base?  Once the backplate and brackets are secured, the cooler base centers itself neatly into position atop the CPU, which aligns the tension screws with their sockets. Both Intel and AMD/Threadripper mounts benefit from this design.

To secure the IceGiant ProSiphon Elite, the front fans are removed and the tension screws torqued into place. Once secure, the front fans are added back and connected via PWM pigtail splitter to the other fans of the cooler to be managed by your favorite fan controller or motherboard header.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

We’ve tested some large coolers before (including the prototype predecessor to the current IceGiant), yet it always manages to bring a bit of a smirk to our faces seeing such a large piece of cooling hardware in operation. The base height of the IceGiant does allow for relatively tall memory modules to be used. But as usual, check for clearances for specific hardware as needed.

  • Lord Tyrion
    Outperformed on the i9 by the Noctua and barely better on the Threadripper, but twice the price, huge and loud! Not sure why you'd pay the extra over a Noctua or less for a regular water AIO. Strange conclusion imo.
    Reply
  • punkncat
    It's all fun and games until the weight of that ruins traces/lanes around your CPU. Motherboards aren't made for holding weight like that.
    Reply
  • helper800
    Lord Tyrion said:
    Outperformed on the i9 by the Noctua and barely better on the Threadripper, but twice the price, huge and loud! Not sure why you'd pay the extra over a Noctua or less for a regular water AIO. Strange conclusion imo.
    What this does outperform all traditional air coolers on is sustained cooling. There is so much more mass to transfer heat, coupled with a better method of exchanging heat leads to much longer heat soak times which means significantly longer sustained boost frequencies.
    Reply
  • rubix_1011
    The majority of the evaluation is relative to existing solutions. Also, stop to consider that this is a new cooling technology to the performance/desktop PC space in terms of utilization. Similar to heatpipes but with a potentially larger overhead.

    You are correct - it's incredibly difficult to beat the Noctua NH-D15, even though its an older cooler. It shows you how good it is and why EVERYONE is quick to recommend it if you can fit it into a case (and budget). It is also still $100, so again, we're looking at a market segment where someone is already spending large sums of money and 'wants to know what else is out there'. Not everyone wishes to opt for the same cooler just because it's been the benchmark for like....forever. This is also the same reason we have millions of flavors of ice cream, different car models in the same classification and why your local Foot Locker sells Nike, as well as Adidas .

    Also have to consider that opinion is not the same as fact. Perspective is everything, and that all depends on your budget and goals. There is a huge trend in internet searches and inquiry about 'what is the best' (intersect of 'x', for example) when in fact, the question is 'what is the best but for minimal budget', making these types of questions not one of just being 'best' but also of 2-axis of evaluation ('X' against 'Y'). This does not apply to all, nor does it apply to all as a constant in every situation.

    In terms of Threadripper usage - let's take for example our test system of a 2990WX and Gigabyte Aorus X399 Xtreme: The CPU is nearly $1900 alone. The motherboard is nearly $880. These are today's prices - March 31, 2021. High end TR4 system builders spending $2600+ on CPU/MB and would rather not have an AIO have options of only a real solid handful of powerful air-cooling options.

    The IceGiant is large, but in terms of how large it is vs. the NH-D15, the IceGiant is more rectangular while the Noctua is more 'square' overall. Both are still huge.

    And yes - it is heavy. By design it is significantly well-built and to be industrial-esque overall due to the roots of the parent company - one in which they've been applying this tech to large/heavy industrial and commercial machinery for quite some time. The prototype I tested was even larger (link to that is also listed) in the first paragraph. Always remember that there are backplates which distribute stress as well as the possibility that you can opt to have the motherboard horizontal if you'd prefer. No one is 'forcing' anyone to use a traditional/vertical case.

    For noise - having a 360 AIO running fans at 100% can get pretty noisy, I have experienced this a lot in testing coolers over the past 4 years. This is why PWM curving is very important if you want to control noise levels.
    Reply
  • g-unit1111
    Seriously, just buy a 280mm at that point, there's absolutely no need for this thing. It's bested by a tried and true cooler (the D15) and 280mm coolers aren't that much more expensive. Like... what's the point of this thing?
    Reply
  • mdd1963
    Clearly, spreading the stacks out sideways is of little consequence just yet, based on not even meeting D15's cooling capabilities....
    Reply
  • Jake Hall
    Running it on my 5900x and I'm happy with the performance so far, but I also haven't pushed the CPU for extended periods and it's not summertime yet. It really should have copper, instead of an aluminum contact. I got it for $120 and I hope to see more from the company.
    Reply
  • Phaaze88
    Oh yeah, I was waiting to see the review of this thing here - I'd already seen the review over at Kitguru.
    Looks like the same result: This cooler can't really stretch its legs at anything below HEDT.
    Reply
  • deesider
    helper800 said:
    What this does outperform all traditional air coolers on is sustained cooling. There is so much more mass to transfer heat, coupled with a better method of exchanging heat leads to much longer heat soak times which means significantly longer sustained boost frequencies.
    Except that is not what is shown in the results for the i9. The results were from running Prime95 for two hours, during which the Noctua had significantly lower temps. Nothing to suggest that the Ice Giant would get better boost frequencies. That could be possible, but not from these results.

    The Threadripper temps were higher on the Noctua due to saturating the heatpipes. That could be overcome by using thicker heatpipes; then the cooling is effectively limited by the ability of the fans to eliminate the heat. That can be achieved without all the extra weight of the Ice Giant.
    Reply
  • HideOut
    g-unit1111 said:
    Seriously, just buy a 280mm at that point, there's absolutely no need for this thing. It's bested by a tried and true cooler (the D15) and 280mm coolers aren't that much more expensive. Like... what's the point of this thing?

    Most 280's and 360's are cheaper, especially on sale. Im confused as to why the Darkrock pro was on part of the review then disapeared. That thing is $85 at newegg today in fact.
    Reply