Manufacturer: PC Perspective

New Components, New Approach


After 20 or so enclosure reviews over the past year and a half and some pretty inconsistent test hardware along the way, I decided to adopt a standardized test bench for all reviews going forward. Makes sense, right? Turns out choosing the best components for a cases and cooling test system was a lot more difficult than I expected going in, as special consideration had to be made for everything from form-factor to noise and heat levels.

Along with the new components I will also be changing the approach to future reviews by expanding the scope of CPU cooler testing. After some debate as to the type of CPU cooler to employ I decided that a better test of an enclosure would be to use both closed-loop liquid and air cooling for every review, and provide thermal and noise results for each. For CPU cooler reviews themselves I'll be adding a "real-world" load result to the charts to offer a more realistic scenario, running a standard desktop application (in this case a video encoder) in addition to the torture-test result using Prime95.

But what about this new build? It isn't completely done but here's a quick look at the components I ended up with so far along with the rationale for each selection.

CPU – Intel Core i5-6600K ($249,


The introduction of Intel’s 6th generation Skylake processors provided the excuse opportunity for an upgrade after using an AMD FX-6300 system for the last couple of enclosure reviews, and after toying with the idea of the new i7-6700K, and immediately realizing this was likely overkill and (more importantly) completely unavailable for purchase at the time, I went with the more "reasonable" option with the i5. There has long been a debate as to the need for hyper-threading for gaming (though this may be changing with the introduction of DX12) but in any case this is still a very powerful processor and when stressed should produce a challenging enough thermal load to adequately test both CPU coolers and enclosures going forward.

GPU – XFX Double Dissipation Radeon R9 290X ($347,


This was by far the most difficult selection. I don’t think of my own use when choosing a card for a test system like this, as it must meet a set of criteria to be a good fit for enclosure benchmarks. If I choose a card that runs very cool and with minimal noise, GPU benchmarks will be far less significant as the card won’t adequately challenge the design and thermal characteristics of the enclosure. There are certainly options that run at greater temperatures and higher noise (a reference R9 290X for example), but I didn’t want a blower-style cooler with the GPU. Why? More and more GPUs are released with some sort of large multi-fan design rather than a blower, and for enclosure testing I want to know how the case handles the extra warm air.

Noise was an important consideration, as levels from an enclosure of course vary based on the installed components. With noise measurements a GPU cooler that has very low output at idle (or zero, as some recent cooler designs permit) will allow system idle levels to fall more on case fans and airflow than a GPU that might drown them out. (This would also allow a better benchmark of CPU cooler noise - particularly with self-contained liquid coolers and audible pump noise.) And while I wanted very quiet performance at idle, at load there must be sufficient noise to measure the performance of the enclosure in this regard, though of course nothing will truly tax a design quite like a loud blower. I hope I've found a good balance here.

Continue reading our look at the cases and cooling test system build!


Introduction and Technical Specifications


Water cooling has become very popular over the last few years with the rise in use of the all-in-one (AIO) coolers. Those type of coolers combine a single or dual-fan radiator with a combination CPU block / pump unit, pre-filled from the factory and maintenance free. They are a good cooling alternative to an air-based CPU cooler, but are limited in their expandability potential. That is where the DIY water cooling components come into place. DIY water cooling components allow you to build a customized cooling loop for cooling everything from the CPU to the chipset and GPUs (and more). However, DIY loops are much more maintenance intensive than the AIO coolers because of the need to flush and refill the loops periodically to maintain performance and component health.

With the increased popularity in liquid cooling type CPU coolers and the renewed interest and availability of enthusiast-friendly parts with the introduction of the Intel Z97, X99, and Z170 parts, it was past time to measure how well different CPU water blocks performed on an Intel X99 board paired up with an Intel LGA2011-v3 5960X processor. The five water blocks compared include the following:

  • Koolance CPU-360 water block
  • Koolance CPU-380I water block
  • Swiftech Apogee HD water block
  • Swiftech Apogee XL water block
  • XSPC Raystorm water block


Technical Specifications (taken from the manufacturer websites)

Water Block Specifications
  Koolance Swiftech XSPC
  CPU-360 CPU-380I Apogee HD Apogee XL Raystorm
Block Top Material Nickel-plated Brass POM Acetal
Base Plate Material Nickel-plated Copper Copper
Water Inlet Jet Impingement Plate Straight Pass-Thru Jet Impingement Plate
Pass-Thru Channels Micro-channels Micro-pins Micro-channels
Coolant ports 2 4 2

Continue reading our CPU Water Block Comparison on the Haswell-E article!

Report: No Stock Cooler Bundled with Intel Skylake-K Unlocked CPUs

Subject: Processors | June 26, 2015 - 12:32 PM |
Tagged: skylake-s, Skylake-K, Intel Skylake, cpu cooler

A report from Chinese-language site XFastest contains a slide reportedly showing Intel's cooling strategy for upcoming retail HEDT (High-end Desktop) Skylake "K" processors.


Typically Intel CPUs (outside of the current high-end enthusiast segment on LGA2011) have been packaged with one of Intel's ubiquitous standard performance air coolers, and this move to eliminate them from future unlocked SKUs makes sense for unlocked "K" series processors. The slide indicates that a 135W solution will be recommended, even if the TDP of the processor is still in the 91-95W range. The additional headroom is certainly advisable, and arguably the stock cooler never should have been used with products like the 4770K and 4790K, which more than push the limits of the stock cooler (and often allow 90 °C at load without overclocking in my experience with these high-end chips).

Aftermarket cooling (with AIO liquid CPU coolers in particular) has been essential for maximizing the performance of an unlocked CPU all along, so this news shouldn't effect the appeal of these upcoming CPUs for those interested in the latest Intel offerings (though it won't help enhance your collection of unused stock heatsinks).

Manufacturer: Noctua

Introduction and Technical Specifications



Courtesy of Noctua


Courtesy of Noctua

Noctua is a well known player in the enthusiast market for highly efficient, low-noise CPU cooling solutions. The latest additions to their lineup, the NH-D9L and NH-U9S, are smaller than the typical coolers we've reviewed here at PC Perspective in recent times. However, Noctua again proves their design prowess with the fact that these coolers held up to the rigorous demands of our testing at both stock and overclocking settings. And we all know that the Haswell and Haswell-E processors put major pressure on the cooling solution as the core speed and voltage is increased. Both coolers come standard with Noctua's SecuFirm2™ mounting mechanism, ensuring a secure mount between the cooler and CPU.


Courtesy of Noctua

The NH-D9L CPU cooler is a dual tower cooler with a single included fan sandwiched between the two cooling towers. The unit can support up to three fans if desired. Noctua designed the cooler with their typical hybrid approach, combining a copper base plate and heat pipes with aluminum finned cooling towers. The base plate and heat pipes are nickel-plated for looks and to prevent corrosion. At an MSRP of $59.90, the Noctua NH-D9L offers puts a premium cooler within reach of the majority of computer enthusiasts.


Courtesy of Noctua

The NH-U9S CPU cooler is single tower cooler with a single included fan, whose radiator is about double the thickness of a standard 25mm fan. The unit offers support for up to two fans if desired. Like the NH-D9L, the NH-U9S combines a copper base plate and heat pipes with aluminum finned cooling towers for an optimal hybrid cooling solution. The base plate and heat pipes are nickel-plated for looks and to prevent corrosion. The NH-U9S also retails at an MSRP of $59.90, giving potential users another affordable choice for cooling their processor.

Continue reading our review of the Noctua 9 series CPU coolers!

Nice rack! It would look better if you added a Noctua NH-U9S or NH-D9L

Subject: Cases and Cooling | March 30, 2015 - 07:32 PM |
Tagged: noctua, NH-U9S, NH-D9L, cpu cooler, air cooling

You might want to hold off reading this review as these coolers are very likely to grace our pages in the near future but if you can't wait then HiTech Legion is the place to go to check out these small coolers from Noctua.  The 125mm NH-U9S fits in 4U cases while the 110mm NH-D9L can fit in 3U spaces, making them perfect for not only rack mounted cases but also for SFF builds.   The weights are also smaller than usual, with the 92mm fan installed they weigh 618g and 531g respectively.  For small builds with processors with a moderate TDP these are certainly worth your consideration.


"While Noctua’s new NH-U9S and NH-D9L were designed to comply with rack mount system standards, their low profile and horizontal airflow make them a natural choice for SFF and HTPC systems where CPU cooler space is limited. The Noctua NH-U9S meets 4U standards at 125mm tall, while the NH-D9L takes it a step further to meet the 110mm requirement of 3U standard."

Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:


Manufacturer: Cooler Master

Introduction and Technical Specifications


02-17_Product_RL-N24M-24PK-R1_01 - Copy.jpg

Courtesy of Cooler Master

Cooler Master is known in the enthusiast community for their innovative designs with product offerings ranging from cases to desktop and laptop cooling implements. Cooler Master also offers their own line of all-in-one (AIO) CPU liquid cooling solutions for better system performance without the noise of a typical air cooler. With their Nepton 240M cooler, they enhanced the existing design of their previous AIO products, optimizing its performance with an enhanced pump and radiator design. We measured the unit's performance against that of other high-performance liquid and air coolers to best illustrate its abilities. The Nepton 240M's premium performance comes with a premium price, at a $139.99 MSRP.


Courtesy of Cooler Master


Courtesy of Cooler Master

The Nepton 240M AIO liquid cooler features a 240mm aluminum-finned radiator tied to a base unit consisting of a 120 liter per minute pump and a micro-finned copper base plate. Unlike the Glacer model, the Nepton 240M does not feature the ability to drain and refill the unit. Cooler Master designed the Nepton 240M with a 27mm deep, 2x120mm copper radiator with brass internal channels, bundled with two of its 120mm Silencio model fans. The Silencio fans are optimized for low noise and high pressure, perfect for use with a liquid cooling radiator. The radiator and unit base are connected by ribbed FEP (Fluorinated Ethylene Propylene) tubing, allowing for high flexibility without the worry of tube kinking.

Continue reading our review of the Cooler Master Nepton 240M CPU AIO liquid cooler!

Corsair Announces New H100i GTX and H80i GT All-in-One Liquid CPU Coolers

Subject: Cases and Cooling | February 10, 2015 - 12:05 PM |
Tagged: liquid cooler, H80i GT, H100i GTX, cpu cooler, corsair, All-in-One cooler, AIO

In the automotive world "GT" stands for Gran Turismo (or Grand Tourer), though it often connotes that a model will have more power and speed. Thus, in the parlance of PC components it makes sense that this would represent the fast version of a part - or in this case, a cooler version.


The Corsair H100i GTX

We haven’t reviewing one of the new "GT" all-in-one liquid cooler revisions from Corsair just yet (stay tuned, we will soon!) but we reported on the new H110i GT cooler during CES 2015, which is a large 280mm design. The two new coolers being announced will be the smaller 240mm and 120mm entries in the Hydro series of AIO coolers, and they presumably replace the venerable “i” versions of the well-known H100 and H80 liquid coolers in the lineup.


The Corsair H80i GT

Extending the same new colorful (and customizable) design options from the previously mentioned H110i cooler, the new H100i GTX and H80i GT share these features:

  • Improved coldplate and pump design
  • Dual SP120L PWM static pressure fans
  • Modular, tool-free mounting bracket for faster installation
  • Built-in Corsair Link support for configuring fan and pump speeds
  • Use Corsair Link to customize the RGB LED lighting and monitor multiple system temps
  • Support for Intel LGA 115x, 1366, 2011 and AMD AM2, AM3, FM1, FM2 coolers
  • 5-year limited warranty


The new H100i GTX water block design

There are a couple of important distinctions separating these new models (other than the obvious size difference). With the H80i GT this is the radiator thickness, which is a whopping 49mm thick, making its potential for heavy-duty cooling in smaller spaces a very interesting prospect. The H100i GTX on the other hand offers user-replaceable pump and radiator caps.


The H80i GT's 49mm thick radiator

The MSRP for the H100i GTX will be $119.99, with the H80i GT priced at $99.99. These will be available from the usual retail locations beginning this month.

Source: Corsair

CES 2015: Corsair Announces Hydro Series H110i GT 280mm Liquid CPU Cooler

Subject: Cases and Cooling | January 6, 2015 - 12:00 PM |
Tagged: liquid cooling, liquid cooler, cpu cooler, corsair, ces 2015, CES, AIO, 280mm, 140mm

Corsair has announced their newest Hydro Series all-in-one (AIO) liquid CPU cooler, the H110i GT. This new model has a 140x322 mm radiator and dual 140mm SP140L fans.


Corsair points out the "striking new look with logo inserts on the block and radiator" which add style, but more importantly part of the design changes with the H110i include a new cooling block to make potential performance gains over existing designs an interesting possibility. Certainly the larger radiator surface area and 140mm fans suggest lower noise.


Corsair Link support is also provided to allow "monitoring and customization of built-in logo lighting, fan speed, pump speed". 


  • 140mm x 322mm x 27mm aluminum radiator 
  • Two SP140L 140mm high static pressure fans 
  • Corsair Link support for customization and monitoring 
  • Sleeved wide diameter, low evaporation rubber tubing
  • Support for Intel LGA 115x, 1366, 2011 and AMD AM2, AM3, FM1, FM2
  • 5-year limited warranty
  • MSRP: $129.99


The H100i GT Liquid CPU Cooler will carry a $129.99 MSRP and availablity is set for a February release.

Coverage of CES 2015 is brought to you by Logitech!

PC Perspective's CES 2015 coverage is sponsored by Logitech.

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Source: Corsair

PCPer 10 Days of Christmas: Day 8 - Corsair Hydro Series H100i Liquid CPU Cooler

Subject: General Tech | December 21, 2014 - 11:00 AM |
Tagged: liquid cooler, H100i, h100, cpu cooler, corsair, AIO, 10 days of christmas

Are you still hunting for that perfect gift for the hardware and technology fan in your life? Or maybe you are looking for recommendations to give to your friends and family about what to buy for YOU? Or maybe you just want something new and cool to play with over the break? Welcome to PC Perspective's 10 Days of Christmas where we will suggest a new item each day for you to consider. Enjoy!


When the Corsair H100i was released two years ago it was an advancement over the original H100 in both cooling and features. The 240mm all-in-one (AIO) liquid cooler features a thicker radiator than the original H100, along with high performance SP120L fans, Corsair Link technology, and many other changes.




Originally selling for $119.99, the H100i is now selling for as little as $89.99 on Amazon which puts it closer to the middle of the AIO market in price for a very high performance part. And the H100i boasts higher convenience than other AIO liquid coolers, with software control provided by Corsair Link and a magnetic mounting system to help keep things in place during the waterblock installation.


You can check out our Corsair AIO liquid cooler roundup here to see how the H100i stacks up, and if you are looking for a nice upgrade for someone with the space for a 240mm radiator this would make a great gift idea!

If you are having trouble picking out a gift for a loved one, consider buying an gift card! Amazon has basically every product on the planet for your gift recipient to order and purchasing gift cards through these links directly sponsors and supports PC Perspective! And hey, if you were to buy gift cards for yourself to do your own Amazon-based Christmas shopping...that wouldn't exactly be a bad thing for us either! ;)


Did you miss any of our other PCPer 10 Days of Christmas posts?

Manufacturer: be quiet!

Introduction and Technical Specifications


be quiet! is a relative new comer to the US computer component market with an award-winning reputation for high quality power supplies and components in their native Germany. Recently, they have branched out into the highly competive cooling space with their Dark Rock and Shadow Rock cooler lines. The Dark Rock Pro 3 is the newest member of their Dark Rock cooler line, featuring a massive dual tower radiator and dual fan design. The Shadow Rock Slim is a recent addition to their Shadow Rock line, featuring a smaller footprint single radiator design to maximize motherboard compatibility with the cooler. The Dark Rock Pro 3 comes with a premium MSRP of $89.99, while the Shadown Rock Slim is available at an MSRP of $49.99.


Courtesy of be quiet!


Courtesy of be quiet!

As a flagship solution, the Dark Rock Pro 3 cooler has most of the nice to haves to find on top-end coolers from other manufactures - copper base plate and heat pipes, nickel plating on all copper surfaces, thick dual radiator construction, dual fans, and a massive amount of heat pipes to wick the heat away from the CPU surface as fast as possible. be quiet! developed the cooler using dual fans, a 120mm front fan and a 135mm inner fan. Heat is transfered from the copper base plate to the dual aluminum radiators by a dense array of seven copper heat pipes. All surfaces are nickel coated for corrosion protection and scratch resistance with the nickel plating black colored to give the cooler a sleek and menacing appearance.

Continue reading our review of the be quiet! CPU air coolers!