Home / Component / Cooling / CPU Cooler Roundup – 9 coolers tested w/ AMD Ryzen 9 5950X

CPU Cooler Roundup – 9 coolers tested w/ AMD Ryzen 9 5950X

Cougar Aqua 240 ARGB

The Cougar Aqua 240 ARGB uses a conventional 27mm-thick aluminium radiator with a 3200 RPM 12-volt DC SATA-powered pump unit and a copper cold plate. 400mm-long rubber tubing is used to carry the coolant fluid and Cougar spruces up the aesthetic appearance by adding black braided sleeving. The two 120mm, hydraulic bearing VA120 fans are rated for 600-2000 RPM operating speed with 4-pin PWM control.

RGB lighting is housed on the pump-block unit and the pair of fans. Cougar uses a proprietary RGB connection primarily, though the pump unit does feature a 3-pin A-RGB cable. Control for the RGB lighting is handled by a remote control which allows a user to easily adjust the more than 100 lighting effects without the need for software. And RGB sync through the motherboard is also supported if preferred.

Early pricing is currently a little over £100 on Amazon and our Cougar contact tells us that this is because of current high freight charges. Actual price is meant to be £89.99, but we do not know if this will be the reality any time soon.

Installation is fairly straightforward thanks to the use of the default AMD backplate and retention clips. Placing the hooks into the AMD retention clips and trying to lock them in position with the spring-loaded female thread is a little tricky and had me wishing for three hands. Other than that, the install is simple and rotational freedom at the pump-block and tubing interconnection point is very good and we did not notice significant resistance to our hand manipulation.

One area which is evidently annoying is the sheer quantity of cables that Cougar relies upon. This bundle seems oversized and needless and it does cause some cable management headaches, especially with three distinct cables exiting the pump-block unit.

If you want more details on the Cougar Aqua 240 non-ARGB version, you can search for James’ full review on the KitGuru YouTube channel and main website.

Silverstone IceGem 240P

The Silverstone IceGem 240P is a premium 240mm AIO liquid cooler that uses a 38mm-thick aluminium radiator to better equip it for higher TDP applications. This point is particularly true when factoring in the oversized 3000 RPM 3-pin DC powered pump unit and Threadripper dimension copper cold plate. Silverstone highlights compatibility with hefty HEDT chips as well as power-hungry mainstream parts including our 5950X.

It is worth noting that the physically large pump-block unit is 66mm tall and 76mm square. This means that interference with VRMs and heatsinks on mainstream platform motherboards will be rife. That’s especially true with the side-mounted tubing connections.

Aesthetics are strong in our opinion. The 600-2200 RPM 120mm PWM fans feature translucent white blades and smooth A-RGB lighting. And I like the diamond cut styling of the cover on the pump-block unit when lit up, though I know James was less fond.

RGB lighting is controlled via Silverstone’s daisy-chained proprietary connectors that require an adapter for motherboard 3-pin addressable header support. Or the lights can be powered by Silverstone’s own in-line adapter and 10-mode controller.

Pricing is around £120 on Scan, which is indicative of the high-TDP target audience.

Installation uses a proprietary backplate and screws, though this was easy to deal with as four plastic spacers on the front-side held it in place. The large pump-block unit is then positioned over the protruding mounting screws and locked into place by spring-loaded female thread screws. Overall, the installation is straightforward from an understanding perspective.

However, we found that the sheer dimensions and weight of the pump-block unit made it difficult to adjust into position and therefore limit the tubing and orientation flexibility. The overall design looks to be intended for front-chassis vertical mounting. But we prefer horizontal roof chassis mounting, hence our inflexibility experiences.

Thankfully, the side-mounted tubes just missed the VRM heatsink on both our Gigabyte and MSI B550 motherboards.

G.SKILL Enki 360 AIO

The Enki 360 AIO is a 360mm liquid cooler that represents G.SKILL’s first foray into the CPU cooling market. This 3x120mm unit features a conventional 27mm-thick aluminium radiator with a 5000RPM 4-pin powered pump unit and a convex copper cold plate.

G.SKILL highlights higher radiator density as one of the Enki’s key features. The horizontal radiator pipes are spaced approximately 6mm apart which is denser than the competing AIO coolers we are looking at in this test. To power air through this dense fin array are 3 120mm, 9-bladed fans that operate at up to 2100 RPM using a 4-pin PWM connector.

None of the fans feature any form of RGB lighting – that is reserved for the pump-block unit. A simple, braided 3-pin 5V RGB header allows for straightforward ARGB lighting control through motherboard software. Disappointingly, G.SKILL does not include any form of fan splitter. This is annoying for a triple-fan AIO cooler that needs 4 headers including the pump.

G.SKILL tells us that MSRP for the 360mm unit is $179.99 USD.

 

Installation of the Enki 360 was the most frustrating of all coolers on test in this piece. G.SKILL seems to add needless complexity for users with only two hands. 4 plastic spacers sit on the front side of the stock AM4 bracket. Two metal brackets are then screwed onto the spacers, which is an easy task with the motherboard on the desk, but tough when installed vertically in a chassis.

The pump-block unit then sits on the CPU and two screws are directed through its bracket to thread into the motherboard-mounted retention pieces. Annoyingly, though, G.SKILL opts for a metal washer, spring, and screw design rather than a straightforward spring-loaded screw. This makes it all more difficult as the small washer constantly moves about. Plus it looks very similar to the fan mount washers and is not segregated so it is easy to misidentify.

Once installed, the mount is secure. But the silver metal brackets are highly visible and they are not attractive. Plus, the G.SKILL logo means that the pump unit can only be installed in one orientation without looking silly.

Overall, this is not a great installation procedure and the orientation flexibility is limited due to the G.SKILL logo

Phanteks Glacier One 360MP

The Phanteks Glacier One 360 MP is a 360mm AIO system using the Asetek 7th Gen pump design technology and a conventional 27mm-thick aluminium radiator. A notable benefit of the 3600RPM pump is the 4-pin power connector that permits PWM speed control.

The key feature is the magnetically mounted pump cover with 14-LED D-RGB lighting system and tempered glass infinity mirror. The pump cover’s proprietary RGB connector is adapted into a 3-pin 5V RGB header but it can also be daisy-chained with other Phanteks RGB products.

The 120 MP fans feature 7 white blades for an aesthetically pleasing appearance but do not have any form of RGB lighting. Performance of the fans is 500-2200 RPM using a 4-pin PWM connector. Phanteks smartly pre-routes the short fan cables allowing them to be daisy-chained to one another. This is superb as it only requires one motherboard fan header (plus another for the pump) and it eases the cable management burden.

Pricing is around £155 from Overclockers UK. This is comparable to competing 360mm Asetek design solutions from the likes of NZXT and Fractal.

Installation is as straightforward as we would expect from an Asetek AIO. Four screw pillars are connected to the default AM4 backplate. The Asetek design pump-block unit is then sat over these pillars and hand-tightened using female threaded screws. The magnetic pump cover can then be snapped into position and the cables connected. Tubing flexibility is superb and this gives options with regards to mounting directions.

The pump cover is clearly large, so that’s something to bare in mind from an interference perspective. It does, however, look very good when lit up.

Become a Patron!

Check Also

Alphacool’s newest radiator is 60mm thick and fits 9x 120mm fans

Alphacool has today introduced four new radiators to its lineup. Most eye catching is the NexXxos …