Typical Flow Diagram for Single Block Loop
All-in-one liquid coolers seem to be all the rage with several companies introducing expandable systems for integration of a system chipset or graphics cooling block to the loop. We will be exploring the performance of two of our previously reviewed coolers to see just how well those liquid coolers can handle the addition of an additional in-line graphics card block. Both the Koolance EXT-440CU Liquid Cooling System and the Cooler Master Glacer 240L Liquid CPU Cooler were used with the ASUS Poseidon GTX 780 graphics card placed in-line for testing.
Typical Flow Diagram for Multi-Block Loop
Several key factors come into play in a liquid cooling loop that the addition of a second block effects including:
- heat dissipation capacity of the radiator
- flow rate of the system
- resistance of the system components
Basically, additional liquid cooling blocks add more heat and longer tube runs to the system. This increases the amount of heat that the system must dissipate and introduces increased flow resistance to the system because of the increase of the loop size as well as the internal makeup of the added cooling blocks. The increase resistance and loop size directly effects the system flow rate and how hard the pump must work to keep the coolant flowing through the system.
For the purpose of this testing, we did not measure the liquid flow of the system directly. Rather, we measured the temperature of both components (the CPU and GPU) which directly correlates to the flow and heat dissipation capacity of the system. The ASUS Poseidon block adds little resistance to the system, besides the added length of the liquid channel, because of its simple U-loop channel internal to the block.
For additional information about the components used for this article, please see our review of the Koolance EXT-440CU Cooling System here, the Cooler Master Glacer 240L Liquid CPU Cooler here, and the ASUS Poseidon GTX 780 graphics card here.
Introduction: Budget Cooling Options and the Seidon 120V
The Seidon 120V is Cooler Master's newest 120mm all-in-one liquid CPU cooler, and its affordable price adds another option to anyone looking for an aftermarket cooler on a budget. But when we start comparing low-cost options it's valid to wonder just how much better a liquid cooler in this price range might perform over air. To find out we'll test the Seidon 120V against a popular budget air solution, and see how these aftermarket coolers compare against the stock solutions from AMD and Intel.
Image courtesy of Cooler Master
Cooling on a Budget
When you’re pricing out a new computer build these days it’s pretty easy to put together a solid group of components for $500 or so, and these will get you going on all the latest games at HD resolution. Sounds awesome! Of course, within that tight budget certain things are going to have to wait, and right up there on the list is probably some better cooling. It’s easy enough to change out a CPU cooler later, but if the stock cooler is doing the job within the thermal specs of the processor is it really needed? Clearly, AMD and Intel are not going to ship a cooler with their product that can’t keep it cool enough under stock workloads, but having better cooling can allow for overclocking as well as extend the life of not only the CPU, but the components around it on your motherboard. Aftermarket coolers are often able to cool more efficiently as well, producing less noise.
The selection of aftermarket coolers available is, well, ridiculous. As easy as it is to get lost looking at, say, every virtually identical stick of DDR3 memory, scrolling through product pages for CPU cooling is on another level entirely. Liquid cooling systems are much easier to navigate, as there are not only fewer of them, but the pricing segmentation allows for easier selection if you’re on a budget. For instance, the Seidon 120V at around $50 was the least expensive AIO option on Amazon when this review was started (actually coming in at 47.99 shipped, though this has been fluctuating quite a bit lately). Finding a suitable budget air cooler was not so easy, and it needed to be at least comparable to the performance of a liquid cooler, while coming in at or below the $50 mark of the 120V. (This might take a while…)
On the air-cooling side of things narrowing the selection to $50 or less doesn’t help much, as there are still (roughly) 50 million to choose from in that price range. There are going to be so many different preferences and opinions on these, so an easier alternative would be to simply follow the consensus pick, e-tail style. This intensive research project involved visiting Amazon and typing “cpu cooler” into the search box. (OK, that was pretty easy!) The plan was to put whatever came up first under $50 in the cart. Turns out the most popular air-cooler is also under $50 (not surprising). This top result was also from Cooler Master, their Hyper 212 EVO which was selling for under $34 shipped. Done.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | April 15, 2014 - 03:36 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: cooler master, Elite 110, mini-itx
The CoolerMaster Elite 110 can give your next mini-ITX system build a unique look. The squarish case is 280x260x208mm (11.1x10.3x8.2") and can house a GPU of up to 210mm in length and cooler with a maximum height of 76mm, somewhat limiting your choice of components but not ridiculously so. It can handle a 120 or 140mm fan or radiator in the front and two 80mm fans on the side and also has space for 3 HDDs or 4 SSDs. [H]ard|OCP encountered some difficulties when installing multiple HDDs but not enough to stop them from awarding this case with a Silver Award; with the caveat that you should only purchase it at the MSRP of $49.99.
"Many enthusiasts now days are trying their hands at minimizing their PC footprint. Mini-ITX motherboards have progressed a long ways in terms of stability and feature set in the last three years. Cooler Master has a new solution for those looking to minimize while not giving up cooling or features in their Mini-ITX enclosure."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- In Win 901 Mini-ITX Case Review @ Hardware Asylum
- Thermaltake Urban T81 Full Tower @ NikKTech
- Cooler Master HAF Stacker @ techPowerUp
- Zalman Z3 Plus White Mid-Tower Case Review @HiTech Legion
- Thermaltake Urban T81 Extreme Full Tower Chassis @ eTeknix
- BitFenix Prodigy M Case Review @HiTech Legion
- NZXT Source 530 @ Kitguru
- Coolermaster HAF Stacker 935, 315R & 315F Modular Chassis @ eTeknix
- Fractal ARC MINI R2 Computer Case Review @ Madshrimps
- NZXT H440 Silent Mid-tower Case Review @ Modders-Inc
- XSPC Razor R9 290/290X Full Cover Cooling Block Review @HiTech Legion
- ARCTIC Accelero Hybrid II-120 Air/Liquid Cooler @ NikKTech
- Cooler Master Glacer 240L AIO Liquid CPU Cooler @ [H]ard|OCP
- Enermax ETS-T40 Black Twister @ techPowerUp
- Thermalright Silver Arrow IB-E CPU Cooler @ NikKTech
- Deepcool Gamer Storm Gabriel Review @ Modders-Inc
- Dark Rock Pro 3 by beQuiet! Review @ TechwareLabs
- Cooler Master Nepton 140XL CPU Cooler Review @ Hardware Secrets
- SilentiumPC Fera 2 HE 1224 CPU Cooler Review @ Madshrimps
- Noctua NH-D15 Dual-Tower CPU Cooler Review @ Modders-Inc
Athlon and Pentium Live On
Over the past year or so, we have taken a look at a few budget gaming builds here at PC Perspective. One of our objectives with these build guides was to show people that PC gaming can be cost competitive with console gaming, and at a much higher quality.
However, we haven't stopped pursuing our goal of the perfect inexpensive gaming PC, which is still capable of maxing out image quality settings on today's top games at 1080p.
Today we take a look at two new systems, featuring some parts which have been suggested to us after our previous articles.
|AMD System||Intel System|
|Processor||AMD Athlon X4 760K - $85||Intel Pentium G3220 - $65|
|Cores / Threads||4 / 4||2 / 2|
|Motherboard||Gigabyte F2A55M-HD2 - $60||ASUS H81M-E - $60|
|Graphics||MSI R9 270 Gaming - $180||MSI R9 270 Gaming - $180|
|System Memory||Corsair 8GB DDR3-1600 (1x8GB) - $73||Corsair 8GB DDR3-1600 (1x8GB) - $73|
|Hard Drive||Western Digital 1TB Caviar Green - $60||Western Digital 1TB Caviar Green - $60|
|Power Supply||Cooler Master GX 450W - $50||Cooler Master GX 450W - $50|
|Case||Cooler Master N200 MicroATX - $50||Cooler Master N200 MicroATX - $50|
(Editor's note: If you don't already have a copy of Windows, and don't plan on using Linux or SteamOS, you'll need an OEM copy of Windows 8.1 - currently selling for $98.)
These are low prices for a gaming computer, and feature some parts which many of you might not know a lot about. Let's take a deeper look at the two different platforms which we built upon.
First up is the AMD Athlon X4 760K. While you may not have known the Athlon brand was still being used on current parts, they represent an interesting part of the market. On the FM2 socket, the 760K is essentially a high end Richland APU, with the graphics portion of the chip disabled.
What this means is that if you are going to pair your processor with a discrete GPU anyway, you can skip paying extra for the integrated GPU.
As for the motherboard, we went for an ultra inexpensive A55 option from Gigabyte, the GA-F2A55M-HD2. This board features the A55 chipset which launched with the Llano APUs in 2011. Because of this older chipset, the board does not feature USB 3.0 or SATA 6G capability, but since we are only concerned about gaming performance here, it makes a great bare bones option.
Subject: General Tech | April 3, 2014 - 01:30 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: video, Samsung, podcast, Mantle, Glacer 240L, GDC 2014, frame rating, dx12, cooler master, BUILD 2014, BF4, amd, adata, 4k
PC Perspective Podcast #294 - 04/03/2014
Join us this week as we discuss Frame Rating Mantle in BF4, DirectX 12, Sub-$700 4K Monitors and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
- iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the Store
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- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath and Allyn Malventano
Week in Review:
0:43:40 This podcast is brought to you by Coolermaster, and the CM Storm Pulse-R Gaming Headset
News items of interest:
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
Subject: General Tech | April 2, 2014 - 09:49 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: quickfire rapid, NKRO, mechanical keyboard, gaming, cooler master
Cooler Master has introduced a new mechanical keyboard to the QuickFire Rapid family. The upcoming QuckFire Rapid-i is a fully backlit mechanical keybard that offers up gaming-friendly features.
Cooler Master is keeping many of the detailed specifications under wraps, but we do know that it supports both PS/2 and USB, uses laser etched matte keycaps along with mechanical switches, and uses a 32-bit ARM processor to drive the various back-lighting profiles (a technology Cooler Master calls ActivLite).
The keyboard supports 1ms response times in USB mode along with NKRO (N Key Roll Over) which allows simultaneous pressing of multiple keys which can come in handy when using the keyboard for gaming. The ActivLite technology supports five key backlighting modes with an additional five brightness levels in each mode. Cooler Master demonstrates one mode on their website where the keys being pressed light up and slowly fade in a trailing lighting effect as you continue typing. The keyboard has on board memory capable of storing four saved lighting profiles (users can program the backlighting of individual keys).
Unfortunately, Cooler Master has not stated which mechanical switches it is using in this keyboard beyond saying that they are both "tactile" and "quiet." Considering its predecessor used Cherry MX switches, those are a good bet though.
If you are interested in Cooler Master's latest mechanical keyboard, keep an eye on the product page the company set up for further information as it gets closer to a physical launch date.
Introduction and Technical Specifications
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. Like many other manufacturers, Cooler Master offers its own line of all-in-one liquid cooling solutions. Unique to their Glacer 240L cooler is the ability to easily add additional cooling blocks into the base loop. The Glacer 240L has an fill port integrated into the base of the radiator for drain and refill and uses removable clamps on all connections for easy maintenance and tube reconfiguration. To measure the performance of the Glacer 240L, we set it against several other high-performance liquid and air-based coolers. With a $139.99 MSRP, the Glacer 240L comes at a premium price.
Courtesy of Cooler Master
Courtesy of Cooler Master
Subject: General Tech | March 7, 2014 - 04:48 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: input, cooler master, CM Storm QuickFire Stealth, mechanical keyboard
As you can see in the picture the word refers to the lack of a numpad, which trims down the size of the QuickFire Stealth, though the 2.1lbs weight may surprise you. You can choose the Cherry switch colour of your choice, a nice touch for the typing purist and it comes with the standard Vengeance key removal tool for customizing your keyboard layout. The USB cord is completely detachable making this a relatively portable device and it even has a USB to PS/2 adapter if you are that type of person. Check out The Tech Report's full review here.
"With a tenkeyless design and "covert" lettering on the key caps, Cooler Master's QuickFire Stealth isn't your average mechanical keyboard. We take a closer look at how it differs from the masses."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- GAMDIAS HERMES Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review @HiTech Legion
- Thermaltake Tt eSPORTS POSEIDON Illuminated Keyboard w/ Cherry MX Brown Review @ TechwareLabs
- Mionix NAOS 7000 Optical Gaming Mouse @ NikKTech
- Mionix Naos 7000 Gaming Mouse Review @ Madshrimps
- Mionix Naos 7000 Gaming Mouse @ eTeknix
- Razer DeathAdder 4G (2013) Ergonomic Gaming Mouse Review @ Madshrimps
- SteelSeries Rival Gaming Mouse Review @ Legit Reviews
- CM Storm Reaper Mouse @ Benchmark Reviews
- GAMDIAS APOLLO Extension Optical Gaming Mouse Review @HiTech Legion
Subject: Mobile | February 25, 2014 - 06:24 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: video, laptop cooler, cooler master, CM Storm SF-17, CM Storm
When we were testing the ORIGIN PC EON17-SLX gaming notebook over the last few weeks we wanted to try out another component that high end laptop gamers might be interested in: notebook coolers. Obviously with a beast of a machine like the EON17-SLX, we couldn't just go with something you might find on the shelves at Best Buy. Instead, today we have a video overview of the CM Storm SF-17 Gaming Laptop Cooler by Cooler Master.
This cooler includes a 180mm fan, 4-port USB hub and a red LED light bar to give some style to your gaming setup.
You can find the Cooler Master CM Storm SF-17 cooler on Amazon.com for $59.
Subject: General Tech | January 31, 2014 - 04:28 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: QuickFire Ultimate, mechanical keyboard, input, cooler master
The Cooler Master Quickfire Ultimate has an unexpected claim to fame, at 3lbs it is probably one of the heaviest modern keyboards on the market. You can choose your preferred type of Cherry MX switches and there is even a Canadian model with a colour scheme perfect for Habs fans. The LED backlight can perform a number of tricks, from only lighting certain keys to having the lights pulse. Check out The Tech Report's full review here.
"With an embedded steel plate and a beefy body, Cooler Master's QuickFire Ultimate may be one of the sturdiest mechanical keyboards around. We take a closer look at this affordable backlit model to see how it holds up."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Logitech's K400 wireless keyboard and touchpad @ The Tech Report
- Tesoro Colada Mechanical keyboard @ Rbmods
- Attitude One Sturmovik Gaming Keyboard @ NikKTech
- CM Storm MECH Mechanical Keyboard @ Benchmark Reviews
- Zowie P-TF Rough mousepad @ DVHardware
- 12-Way Gaming Mouse Roundup @ Legion Hardware
- Logitech M560 Wireless Mouse @ Kitguru
- Mionix Naos 7000 gaming mouse @ Rbmods
- Feenix Nascita Gaming Mouse @ techPowerUp