Cooling, Fan Speed, And Noise
As a general rule, our charts are sorted by performance. On the other hand, many readers have instead asked for consistency between charts. Being a rebel, I arranged the first chart in order of sealed-liquid thermal performance, but then retained this order consistently throughout the remaining charts.
Thermaltake’s huge radiator cements the Water2.0 Extreme at the top of our charts, at least at maximum fan speed. Since following Corsair’s instructions by mounting the rear-panel exhaust fan as an intake violates the thermal design of our chassis, we’re calling second place for the more consistent NZXT Kraken X40.
Slow fans at default settings explain how the Water2.0 Extreme dropped from first place to third in our thermal charts. In light of this result, some users may wish to disconnect its USB interface entirely and instead use the motherboard-based fan controls, which rely actual CPU temperatures.
The Kraken X40 is surprisingly noisy for its size, though it also produced surprisingly low CPU temperatures. The H90’s low fan speeds help reduce its noise profile when mounted in the exhaust orientation, though it can get noisy when mounted as an intake. You see, reversing a fan places its blades next to the vent holes, and each hole can make a tiny whistling noise as the blade passes; the cumulative effect is quite noticeable.