Cooler Master Nepton 280L Review

Performance and Testing

 

Cooler Master Nepton 280L Review

Performance and Testing

The test set up consisted of the following

Intel i7 3960X Stock@ 1.1v (undervolted) 4.0GHz @ 1.25v 4.4GHz @ 1.35v 4.6GHz @ 1.45v Gigabyte X79 UD3 Corsair Vengeance LP Memory Corsair HX850 V2 Corsair Force GT 60GB Coolermaster Storm Trooper. 

The graphs are now in jpeg format for all the mobile device users out there and are placed in order with the best performing at the top so as to help better visualise where the cooler we're testing comes in the pack.

As usual we'll be testing our coolers at varying levels of overclock and increasing levels of voltage.  This in turn of course means increasing levels of heat which the coolers need to dissipate.  To begin with we start with the undervolted stock speed.  Why undervolted? well if you have things set on "Auto", you may well be using more volts than are actually required to run at the chosen frequency, for example our 3960s will run quite happily at just 1.1volts, solid as a rock, 24/7, and as such we use this as our starting point.

Continuity is very important in testing, and for this reason we keep as many of the potential variables as locked down as possible.  We will be using OCCT in Linpack X64, AVX compatible with all logical cores tested and 90% free memory utilised. The test is set up to run automatically with just a few clicks to set it going.  A 10 minute idle followed by 30 minutes of testing and a 5 minute cool down is the order of the day and brings the total test time per clock speed to 45 minutes.  So as to remove subjectivity in determining whether a CPU has failed, OCCT is set to stop the test and register a fail should the max temp exceed 80 degrees.  In testing we noted that if even just one of the cores exceeds 82 degrees OCCT halts the test and a fail is recorded.

Well it's safe to say the Nepton 280L gets off to a cracking start, topping the charts at Stock CPU speed with reduced volts.  Onwards and upwards as they say.

Cooler Master Nepton 280L Review

 

 

Turning now to the 4GHz test we up the voltage to 1.25 volts, this is what is deemed normally as stock volts. Something we are always harping on about on the forums is AUTO does not mean stock volts, and normally if you overclocking with "auto" volts the motherboard will be upping the volts much more than needed if you were to do it manually. By whichever means it happens, upping the volts (especially from our 1.1v undervolt) does have a big impact on temps, with an average increase of 10-15 degrees seen in the results.

At the higher levels of heat generated by the increase in voltage required for the 4.0GHz overclock, fan performance, although still a factor becomes less critical, replaced instead by a coolers ability to conduct the heat up the heat pipes and more crucially the total surface area of the fins enabling convection to the atmosphere.  In the case of AIOs and water cooling the surface area of the radiator and the efficiency of the contact plate begin to play more of a factor. 

The Nepton 280L is still out in front of the X60 but only by  the smallest of margins. 

Cooler Master Nepton 280L Review

 

 

 

Upping the volts still further we achieve a stable 4.4GHz overclock at 1.35 Volts. It's here we start to separate the wheat from the chaff, with lesser coolers not able to disperse the increased heat effectively. Again we see a jump of 10 degrees or so from the figures at 4GHz. Both the H100 and the well-respected D14 are creeping into the 70s here, indicating that only the cream of the crop will excel at this level. 

At 4.4GHz the Nepton is still out in front but only by a few fractions of a degree.  Could we have a new winner on our hands?

Cooler Master Nepton 280L Review

 

Only the most effective coolers are capable of making it into the hallowed 4.6GHz club and as you can see in the graph below there isn't a single air cooler in this graph, even the NH-D14 does not have enough cooling potential to be featured here. So all that has made this graph so far are the AIO big players and dedicated custom watercooling kits.

For a minute there we thought the X60 had lost it's crown, however the 280L is pipped at the post like just about every horse I've ever bet on.  We'll have a full analysis of these results in the conclusion.

 Cooler Master Nepton 280L Review

 

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Most Recent Comments

28-03-2014, 07:22:07

tinytomlogan
http://www.overclock3d.net/gfx/artic...114305931l.jpg

Having seen what the 140XL could do we thought we'd summon up its big brother and see if the Nepton 280L could top the Cooling charts


Continue Reading

28-03-2014, 08:10:04

Xploited Titan
No idea if I missed it, but I don't recall seeing anything about sound levels.

How loud is that assembly?

28-03-2014, 08:18:58

Tripp
great review, its nice to see a really well performing coolermaster AIO on the market

28-03-2014, 08:31:08

barnsley
Good job coolermaster. Nice to see how much of an improvement over the seidons they've made.

28-03-2014, 08:41:21

Wraithguard
Great review! Just wish I had a case that would take a 280 rad I'd love to push this FX4100 past 4.4Ghz until the lid popped off, gives me a reason to buy a new one.

28-03-2014, 10:40:57

MeatWeed
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xploited Titan View Post
No idea if I missed it, but I don't recall seeing anything about sound levels.

How loud is that assembly?
Depends on what fans you use
The orginal fan noise is listed on the front page of the review in the specs
"Fan Noise Level (dB-A) *21~39 dBA"

28-03-2014, 11:40:09

Xploited Titan
Quote:
Originally Posted by MeatWeed View Post
Depends on what fans you use
The orginal fan noise is listed on the front page of the review in the specs
"Fan Noise Level (dB-A) *21~39 dBA"

Doesn't help to make comparisons with other AIO coolers though
Constructor specs are one thing, real life emissions are the other.
Some quiet fans are not so quiet in the end. Hence my question.

Having my computer next to my desk, with the top in the open, sound levels perceived will be higher than if the case was under the desk. Meaning a balanced H100i is still not quiet enough for home cinema purposes.

28-03-2014, 18:14:58

G-Dubs
We talk about the noise levels towards the end of the second paragraph in the conclusion. The Nepton, like a good many other AIOs is quite noisy at the full 12V we perform all our stress testing at, but no where near as noisy as the Antec Kuhler1250 for example. In reality if you were to use an AIO you would probably balance the speed with the level of desired cooling.
Reply
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