Intel isn’t shipping stock heatsinks with Sandy Bridge-E CPUs, perhaps assuming that consumers of $600 and $1,000 CPUs are going to want performance a little better than Intel’s stock coolers have typically provided. Instead, Intel is offering a branded liquid-cooling loop as an optional accessory. The Asetek-built cooling loop features a glowing blue Intel logo and a bright blue LED on its single 12cm fan, but otherwise looks nearly identical to the Antec Kuhler 620, which was also built by Asetek (which also built AMD’s Bulldozer-branded liquid cooling loop).
Yet another single-fan all-in-one liquid CPU-cooling loop.
The RTS2011LC uses Asetek’s low-profile pump unit/heat exchanger and a 120mm radiator that’s less than an inch thick and mounts in place of a stock case fan (typically the rear exhaust fan). The heat exchanger mounts to the LGA2011 socket using Asetek’s standard barb-and-ledge mounting system, although with big solid posts instead of the flimsy screws and plastic clips Asetek used to use. The PWM fan plugs into the pump, which plugs into the CPU_FAN header.
Alas, the cooler’s single fan and radiator were no match for any of the air coolers in our roundup save one. The RTS2011LC tied with the Zalman CNPS12X for last place, and its 12cm fan was irritatingly loud at full speed. For stock-clocked chips, the Intel cooler is fine. It’s quiet when not fully ramped up, and it doesn’t block any RAM slots, unlike the Noctua and Zalman coolers. But for an overclocked Sandy Bridge-E CPU, the Intel liquid cooler is louder and hotter than the Cooler Master, Noctua, Xigmatek, and NZXT coolers, and more expensive than all but the Noctua, which is just $5 more. If you want a great liquid-cooling solution for an overclocked LGA2011 chip, keep looking.
Easy install; good build quality; quiet at low temperatures.
Loud at high temps; doesn’t cool as well as a $30 air cooler.
Dimensions HxDxW (inches, with fans)
1lb, 12.5 oz (total)
1x 12cm PWM
Add’l Fan Support
CM Hyper 212 Evo
NZXT Havik 120
All temperatures in degrees Celsius. Best scores bolded. All tests performed using an Intel Core i7-3960 at 4.2GHz, on an Asus P9X79 Deluxe motherboard with 16GB DDR3/1600, in a Thermaltake Level 10 GT with stock fans set to High.