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ID-Cooling Frostflow 240L Closed-Loop CPU Cooler Review

Id-Cooling's dual-120mm-radiator liquid cooler comes to us at a lower price than most competitors, but does it have the performance to make it a better value? Let's find out.

Our Verdict

ID-Cooling's Frostflow 240L delivers better performance and superior value among closed-loop coolers of its size. While the expense of added components prevents liquid-cooling from reaching the price-to-performance highs of Big Air, the Frostflow 240L gets us close to that mark without putting a bunch of weight on the CPU socket.

For

  • Full-speed temperature
  • Low-speed acoustic efficiency
  • Low price

Against

  • Motherboard-based controls

Introduction, Specifications & Features

Closed-loop coolers offer the low temperatures of Big Air coolers, without the big heat sink blocking access to components or the extra weight flexing the motherboard. That last "Big Air problem" routinely damages machines in shipping, and is the reason I try to put closed-loop coolers in the machines I build for others. On the other hand, the higher price of closed-loop coolers is rarely offset by increased performance, which is the reason I often fail to incorporate these into my System Builder Marathon machines. I'm always looking for the best performance-per-price, and ID-Cooling is trying to help by selling its two-by-120mm cooler direct to the public for less than $100.

Specifications

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Features

Two sets of mounting brackets allow the Frostflow 240L to fit both square ILM Intel platforms (LGA 775 through 2011-v3) and AMD motherboards with four-bolt brackets. AMD users are required to remove the motherboard's original "clip" bracket, and everyone except LGA 2011 users must then install the universal support plate to the back of their motherboards using the included screws and standoffs.

ID-Cooling doesn't polish the base of its Frostflow 240L, but instead leaves a very flat machined finish, which is almost perfect for keeping thermal paste in place without requiring too much of it.

Installation begins by securing either the Intel or AMD brackets, which are added to the water block/pump base with a single screw on each side.

Since LGA 2011 has its own threaded mounting plate, the Frostflow 240L includes a special set of standoffs with those threads. Unlike its generic standoffs, which accept screws on both sides, the LGA 2011 standoffs use nuts.

Using a two-fan splitter cable in the installation pack, the Frostflow 240L requires only two motherboard fan headers to power its single pump and twin fans. Fan control is the responsibility of the motherboard, which really means that the Frostflow 240L doesn't require any cumbersome software or its own firmware.

A ring of LEDs slowly circle the pump body as the Frostflow 240L does its cooling duties.

  • The original Derfman
    Well, it would be nice if we could buy this, but it is no longer available at the link provided.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    17267605 said:
    Well, it would be nice if we could by this, but it is no longer available at the link provided.
    id-cooling is selling these directly from the factory through an eBay store: http://www.ebay.com/itm/181842957385?rel=ugc]http://www.ebay.com/itm/181842957385]http://www.ebay.com/itm/181842957385
    Reply
  • The original Derfman
    17267605 said:
    Well, it would be nice if we could by this, but it is no longer available at the link provided.
    id-cooling is selling these directly from the factory through an eBay store: http://www.ebay.com/itm/181842957385?rel=ugc]http://www.ebay.com/itm/181842957385]http://www.ebay.com/itm/181842957385

    Thanks
    Reply
  • The original Derfman
    Now as for the article, I kind of like the simple solution of having the motherboard control the fans, but understand that some may want a more robust solution. Very good article.
    Reply
  • cknobman
    This looks impressive for the price.

    Probably my first choice (for the time being) when I upgrade (or do a new) my gaming rig build this year.
    Reply
  • thundervore
    I am waiting for the review on the CPU GPU combo model.

    https://smallformfactor.net/news/id-cooling-announces-all-in-one-liquid-cooler-with-cpu-and-gpu-blocks
    Reply
  • jkhoward
    This is an excellent piece of hardware. I have the Corsair H100i now and the software controlled fans are extremely buggy. I'd love to be able to control everything with the motherboard.. Definitely my next buy if they prove to be reliable.
    Reply
  • gilbadon
    Yay, do more aliexpress reviews! I love all my Chinese stuff. ID_Cooling makes some great radiator fans. For $8 a pop on newegg they pack a bigger punch than most of corsair's lineup.
    Reply
  • ykki
    Great! About time we saw some new cpu coolers that actually disrupt the current recommended lineup.
    Reply
  • SuperVeloce
    I don't understand why motherboard fan control qualifies as a "con" in 2016. When you get a picture of the temperature range from your cpu under this cooler, you go to UEFI and set an appropriate custom/auto PWM curve for your needs. Then you just forget about it.
    Reply