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Four New Closed-Loop Liquid Coolers Versus Noctua's NH-D14

Noise Results And Acoustic Efficiency

Cooler Master’s Nepton 280L has the noisiest fans of the four coolers being evaluated today, though the dubious honor of chart-topper goes to the previously-reviewed Corsair H100i at its maximum fan speed. The Seidon 240M was even noisier outside the case, which is one of the reasons we put most of our PCs into cases.

Back in the original AMD Athlon days, some companies sold inferior heat sinks with super-fast fans simply to win cooling comparisons. It was then that I decided cooling-to-noise was the true measure of a cooler’s performance. Noctua’s old air cooler is the one to beat, so it’s the basis of comparison.

Only Thermaltake’s previously-tested Water2.0 Extreme is able to beat the air cooler when we chart cooling-to-noise, and only when it's set to automatic mode. Higher-speed fans give many of the other configurations superior cooling, but only with a disproportionate increase in noise. Most of us prefer to let the motherboard control our cooling systems, but that also adds another layer of variability to a test that we’re trying to keep fair.

  • squirrelboy
    length, width and thickness in inches, fan size in mm, weight in ounces. can we just have mm everywhere, and preferably kg as well?
    Reply
  • razor512
    Seems they reduced their old BS claim of handling 400 watts of heat on the Reserator 3 MAX, it is now 350 watts, but even that seems unrealistic.

    Tomshardware should place some of these coolers on a resistive load of 300-400 watts and see if these coolers can actually handle the heat, or will the fluid boil and build up enough pressure to pop.
    Reply
  • xiinc37
    Isn't the whole point of watercooling to move the cooler far away from the cpu, so that there is more room to utilize a significantly larger radiator? The thermalright and zalman options look smaller than the noctua...
    Reply
  • rmpumper
    Grabbed a Dark Rock Pro 2 for my new setup. No regrets - looks a billion times better than D14, is less noisy, performs +-1C the same.
    Reply
  • ingtar33
    got an old corsair h100 for $50, which was less then the old heatsink i had on my phII x4 965 used to go for (thermalright ultra 120), Gained a solid 8C improvement in temps, lost some of the noise advantages (the ultra had two noctua's on it)... setting it to medium gave me a 5C improvement in temps, and about the same noise levels. overall i'm pretty happy with it. it looks cleaner, that's for sure.
    Reply
  • bigcyco1
    Thanks for the review.I always have said if someone is going to watercool they should go custom.IMO those all in one water cooling kits just are not worth it. They are no better than high-end air cooling like a Noctua D14, Thermalright Silver Arrow,Phanteks PH-TC14PE elect.If you want to go water cooling do a custom loop if not just go with top of the line air cooling.Better bang per buck!
    Reply
  • itzsnypah
    I wish there was some way to measure the DeltaT of the Ethylene Glycol used in these CLC's because truthfully I wouldn't be surprised to see >25c when using a overclocked 3960X.
    Reply
  • ChromeTusk
    I wonder how much the rear exhaust fan would have affected the Reserstor3’s results.
    In any case, I will wait for price drops or rebates.
    Reply
  • djorgji
    Is it so difficult to sort the results from best to worst? Lowest to highest etc?

    Like this it is impossible to read.
    Reply
  • nilfisktun
    Well, those stock fans all blows, in my optic. You might call it cheating, but try slamming in two noctua pwm fans in a H100i for instance. I run this at home, and those fans typically runs at 600-800 rpm, therefore being totally silent. My stock temps rest around 38C, with 22C ambient, and hit around 60C at full prime load. i7 2600K @ 4.2 ghz. 1.28v
    Reply