Kaby Lake 7700K 5GHz AIO Cooler Mega Test
Published: 3rd January 2017 | Source: Various | Price: |
Wow, what an epic! We've looked at 17 AIO coolers from 7 manufacturers, which are, in no particular order, Corsair, CoolerMaster, Cryorig, Akasa, bequiet, Silverstone and Alphacool. We've also looked at a whole range of sizes, from slim 120mm fan based coolers like the SilverStone TD-03 Slim, all the way up to the massive 280mm units like the Cryorig A80, and of course the Corsair H115i. But we didn't stop there, we tested these on the brand spanking new Kaby Lake architecture from Intel, so as to give you bang up to date and spot on relevance with regards to how these coolers perform on the very latest CPUs. Did we just test at one overclock? Did we heck as like, we tested at a decent enough 4.8GHZ with 1.25v, and then, to separate the men from the boys a simply scorching 5.0GHZ at 1.3v. Did the added volts make much of a difference? Well if you've looked at the performance charts you'll see that the small bump in volts has thinned the herd quite significantly. We didn't stop there either, in response to comments on the last set of tests we did, we thought we'd try to obtain an objective data set for the noise an AIO system generates. We did this my obtaining a calibrated Sound meter and undertaking our own measurements. What has to be remembered though is that although our measurements aren't comparable to those given by the manufacturers, they are definitely comparable to each other, and so serve to provide a good metric for the basis of comparative noise output for any given system. Was that the end of it? Nope, we went on to test each of the set ups with the Excellent EK Vardar fans. The first test being run at the full 12v as per the stock fans, and the second test with the Vardars stepped down to 7v. The aim of this testing being to see which systems performed well as a result of their radiators, and which systems only performed well as a result of the stock fans. We have to say, the results of this were quite interesting, as can be seen in the charts at the beginning of the review. Finally we looked at performance and compared it the price of the unit. Basically looking to see which of the AIOs represented the best bang for your buck. All of which means that each cooler underwent three hours of testing. Now throw in the 30 or so minutes it takes to strip a cooler off and mount another one and multiply the whole lot by seventeen and you're looking at a smidge under sixty hours of testing, never mind the time it takes to get all the results graphed and written up. But hey, you're worth it!
So how do make sense of the results? Well let's start as we always do by acknowledging the best performing AIO cooler in the test. Ladies and Gentleman, we give you the Cryorig A80. The A80 is a 280mm rad based AIO, with 2x140mm fans rotating at 1850rpm. It beats the only other 280mm AIO, the Corsair H115i v2 by a margin of 2.75 degrees, no mean feat considering the Corsair's faster fan speed of 2400rpm, something that is well reflected in its elevated noise score. The performance advantage of the A80 can also be seen to hold when we look at the relative systems thermal figures when paired with the EK Vardar fans. In fact, the A80 actually improves on it's performance slightly with the EK fans, whereas the H115i actually drops 0.25 of a degree.
The performance award for 240mm radiator based units has to go to the Cryorig A40 Ultimate. This plucky 240mm AIO actually beat the 280mm Corsair H115i v2 by a small margin and came damn close to the record set by its bigger brother, the A80. Most of this performance can be attributed to the chunky 38.5mm thick rad that A40 is blessed with. So lads, the old saying appears to be true, "Never mind the length, feel the width"
When we turn to the babies of the AIO world, it's the Corsair H80i v2 that takes the crown. Again, we're dealing with a chunky monkey here, in fact, with a radiator some 49mm thick, and two fans in push pull going like the clappers at 2435rpm, the H80i v2 actually has an assembled thickness of 99mm. This thickness does though enable it to make it into the 5.0GHZ club where some lesser 240mm AIOs fail to.
So that's the performance crowns sorted, but as you know that's not where we finish. Let's look at how that performance compares to cost, and in particular, being as it's the most heavily populated area of the market, the 240mm rad based AIO sector. Take a look back at the Price vs Performance graphs and you'll realise that one of the best deals to be had out there is the SilverStone Tundra TD-02E. It has a performance that sees it lodged firmly into the big boys club, and a price which at just £79.99 quite frankly knocks spots of the rest of them. So, if you're pushed for cash and still want decent performance, the TD-02E is the cooler of choice.
But what about aesthetics? Well, some might argue that if you want aesthetics you need to go down the custom loop route, and whereas that me be true in general terms it doesn't preclude having an AIO that looks sexy and does the job. From this stand point hands down biggest head turners in the group were the CoolerMaster Liquid Pro 120, and 240 models. God those things are sexy, and to be honest, although not chart topping, their performance isn't too bad either. especially when you consider that the Pro 240 has a sonic signature which only two places away from the top of the sonic charts, being beaten only by the Akasa Venom and the TD-03 Slim.
So chaps, there you go. There's a little something for everyone here. which ever one you choose will be down to you and the specific set of criteria you want to meet. If we were to have the perfect AIO we think we'd go for the looks of the Pro 240, the perofrmance of the A40 Ultimate and the price and silence of the TD-02E. But being as that fantasy AIO doesn't exist we'll have to make ourselves content with the wonderful offerings that are available to consumers today. In closing, we hope you've had as much fun reading the review and watching the video we've had making them. They really are a lot of work, and they do make the suppliers sweat a little bit, but ultimately these Mega Tests show you where your money should be spent and as such we think they're worth the wait.