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Antec KUHLER H20 1250 All-in-One Liquid Cooler Review

Manufacturer: Antec

Included Accessories and Application Software

Included Accessories

Antec includes all mounting hardware and accessories necessary to setup and run the cooler in your system, including mounting hardware and screws.

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Antec includes a detailed foldout pamphlet for setting up the Kuhler H2O 1250 unit. They do a job of detailing out the installation of the cooler through illustrations and numbered steps. Additionally, Antec included a CD for installing their Grid monitoring software. The Grid software installer contains a USB driver for the unit as well.

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Antec includes a universal plastic backplate with hex nut inserts, spring screws for all socket types, rubber lock strips for the mount ring, tape for the backplate, eight radiator mounting screws, and adjustable mounts for the radiator. The adjustable mounts allow the radiator to move horizontally 1/4" in order to compensate for space contention with the motherboard or system components. The backplate and hex nuts are used in conjunction with AMD and most Intel socket types. Spring screws are also provided for use with the stock AMD backplate as well as the Intel LGA 2011 backplate.

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The aluminum mount ring mounts directly to the CPU block, held in place with the six metal tabs along the inside of the ring. The ring mount is for use with all AMD and Intel sockets. This is done by sliding the ring's arms to the outside for Intel CPUs and to the inside for AMD CPUs. The included rubber locking strips are used to lock the arms in place.

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The universal back plate is double-sided for Intel and AMD mounting. The AMD side is marked with the word AMD and has the hex nut inserts imbedded in the inner set of holes. The Intel side is marked with the word Intel and has has the four channels along the outside of the mount. The mount has separate cutouts for LGA775 (inside set), LGA115X (middle set), and LGA1366 (outside set). The hex nuts fit into the holes snuggly, held in place by form-fitted sections in the channel. The AMD side faces towards the motherboard for use with Intel CPUs, and away from the board when using AMD CPUs.

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One of the most frustrating challenges with this universal backplate comes in using it with an LGA115X board. The challenge comes from the fact that the hex nuts are aluminum and the baseplate is plastic. If too much force is used to install the spring screws, the hex nut will cut into the channel and become free spinning. You can see from the closeup picture of the Intel mounting holes how the hex nut has worn away the walls holding the hex nut in place for the LGA115X mounting position. In order to use the unit with an LGA115X system, I replaced the universal baseplate with a metal LGA115X baseplate from a different unit.

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The Kuhler H2O 1250's mounting cage is simple to use, but can be very challenging to install in a system. As shown, the mount cage is configured for use with an Intel LGA115X socket. The hex nuts slide upward through the baseplate with the spring screws going through the arms on the mount ring into the hex nuts in the baseplate. On a board with a wrap-around VRM heat sink, like the MSI Z87 MPOWER board, the spring screws can be a challenge to install because you must line up the spring screws with the hex nuts while applying pressure to the screw and attempting to screw it down.

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On an Intel board, the base plate bottom rests on the socket bottom plate with the arms the only direct contact point with the board. This design minimizes the potential for contact or crushing of any components in close proximity to the socket base plate. The all plastic construction of the base plate minimizes any contact related electrical issues with the board as well.

Antec Grid

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The Antec Grid application serves as a centralized utility for Windows-based performance configuration and tuning of the Kuhler H2O 1250 liquid cooler. The Grid application gives you the ability to monitor pump and fan speeds and cooler temperatures. You can also use preset or custom-created profiles to set fan and pump speeds as well as the color of the included integrated LED based on configured temperature thresholds.

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LED configuration

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Application settings

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Liquid temperature graph

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Fan speed graph

February 26, 2014 | 05:52 PM - Posted by pdjblum

Nice review. Thanks for not caving and giving it an unwarranted award. Now I know I can trust when you, Morry, give an award, it is warranted. Unfortunately, I cannot say that about many reviews on the site, though I generally think the reviews are excellent, nonetheless.

February 27, 2014 | 04:23 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

a small mistake on final page of the review. under pricing you guys talk about pricing of silverstone tundra aio rather than the antec unit reviewed here. please correct that. a good thorough review as usual.

February 27, 2014 | 03:10 PM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

Thanks for the feedback, this has been corrected...

February 28, 2014 | 09:38 AM - Posted by Pholostan

When I first saw this design, I thought it was pretty clever. Then later, I've been thinking about it and now I'm not so sure. Having the fans locked to the pumps isn't really an advantage, you can't regulate the fans alone, you can't switch fans, really bulky etc. Not having the pump in the CPU block, you actually loose head pressure at the critical part of the system, the CPU block. I think this is the biggest part of it having worse performance compared to the Corsair unit. I haven't seen the pumps taken apart (hint hint) but I suspect that they have had to take some short-cuts in the design there. For example, are they using a common axle for the pump and fan? Or are they compartmentalized (using permanent magnets) to prevent leaking seals? Pretty big in considering the longevity of the unit.

And the mounting thing is just poorly done on such an expensive unit. Inexcusable.

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