Re-engineering computer hardware is an expensive and time-consuming process. That’s why the technology usually evolves gradually, rather than in fits and starts; great leaps are risky. When you do something novel, it needs to be for a good reason. When Antec recently introduced two new types of coolers, the Kuhler 1250 and the 950, it did something pretty different. In a closed-loop liquid-cooling (CLC) system, the pump is customarily integrated into the heatsink that sits on top of the CPU. But with this new series of Kuhler units, Antec has moved the pump on top of the fan, which it uses to power the pump. The 950 ups the ante even further by putting a fan on each side of the radiator, making it a truly bulky piece of equipment. Always happy to see an innovative design, we hoped that perhaps the 950 would excel where the 1250 (reviewed last issue) was just OK for the price.
Ever since closed-loop liquid coolers (CLCs) arrived on the scene, hardware manufacturers have been scrambling to get a slice of the pie. On paper, CLCs can achieve better performance than even the most expensive air coolers, and more quietly. Because PC technology is always evolving, it’s rare to see a genuinely new and interesting war front appear—if you’re not participating in it, you might get left behind. Silverstone has stepped into the game with its Tundra series of CLCs. Last month, we reviewed its 240mm TD02, and now it’s time for the TD03, which is the 120mm version.
Note: This article was originally featured in the December 2013 issue of the magazine
If you’ve been following the CPU-cooling market over the past year or so, you’ve probably noticed some stagnation. Multiple vendors license a design from a few manufacturers, resulting in a roughly identical product. Sometimes the fan control software is the same program with a different skin. Wouldn’t it be nice to shake things up a bit? Silverstone seems to think so, and it seems to understand that it’s not just about looking fancy.
Note: This review was originally featured in the November 2013 issue of the magazine.
Although 280mm radiators and 140mm fans are becoming all the rage in closed-loop coolers, Corsair is showing that we shouldn’t count out 240mm rads just yet. The H100i cools admirably, installs relatively easily, and inspires confidence in its longevity. What more can a gearhead ask for?
Note: This review was originally featured in the July 2013 issue of the magazine.
Zalman has a well-earned reputation for high-quality air coolers. The “flower” design of its older all-copper heatsinks was eye-catching and distinctive, and its large (for the time) fans ran quietly even under load. Lately, though, liquid cooling has been all the rage. Closed-loop units from companies such as Corsair and NZXT are packaged with the cooling tubes and pump pre-attached to a radiator—referred to as an “all-in-one” (AiO) design. These units are much less expensive than cobbling together separate components, and there’s little maintenance required. The LQ-320 marks one of Zalman’s first forays into the AiO market, and it’s a respectable part, though arguably priced too high for its performance.
Note: This review was originally featured in the June 2013 issue of the magazine.