Water cooling is the way to go if you're serious about keeping your CPU thermals in check, and the easiest way to dip your toe in the water-cooling pool is an all-in-one unit that bolts onto your case. You don’t have to mess with pumps, tubing, or fans, and the kits will work with any modern CPU and most chassis, so their appeal is maximum cooling with minimum effort. Thermaltake is on board with this concept, and offers three tasty all-in-one entrées in its Water2.0 series: a low-end “Performance” model, a double-rad “Extreme” model, and the mid-range “Pro” version we examined this month.
Note: This review was taken from the January 2013 issue of the magazine.
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).
The latest Zalman heatsink looks cooler than it is
THE CNPS12X MIGHT be Zalman’s most eye-catching cooler, with two arrays of black-nickel-coated cooling fins and three 12cm fans to push air through them. And it is massive. It’s 6.1 inches tall, 5.25 deep, and more than 6 inches wide, and weighs two pounds, four ounces. It’s so big it overhangs the inner four RAM slots on our Asus P9X79 Deluxe test motherboard, requiring the use of RAM without tall heat spreaders. The six direct-contact heat pipes rise into two sets of cooling fins, with the front and rear fans nestled into their respective fins, and the middle fan in between the two sets. All three fans are controlled via a single 3-pin power connector.
WHEN WE REVIEWED the first-edition Noctua NH-D14 back in April 2010, we praised its quiet performance, but our then-current test bed didn’t put out enough heat to best showcase its cooling chops. Fortunately, our new one does. This coincides nicely with Noctua’s release of the NH-D14 SE2011, which includes (gasp) LGA2011 support and updates the D14’s two fans to include PWM, or pulse-width modulation.