2022 Cooling Buyer’s Guide: High End
High end: theArctic Liquid Freezer II 240
It is in this high-end sector that we are going to start talking about watercooling in the form of AIO. Indeed, before that, it was difficult to find anything except models with 120 mm radiators. And as they say: “better a good thing than a bad thing”. As you can see, we prefer to advise you to buy a good cooling unit rather than a bad AIO.
For the time being, this segment, the range of kit that stands out the most, remains in our opinion the Liquid Freezer II series from Arctic and more particularly the 240mm model! So, for about 80 €, we find a well finished cooler with a sober design. This model also has a 38 mm thick radiator for better temperature control. At low speeds, it does particularly well.
Finally, the ventilation, provided by two P12 fans remains extremely quiet. In fact, you could run them at full speed and they would still be very quiet. In addition, the pump has a small fan to help cool the power stages of your motherboard. In short, a very complete solution at a reasonable price. It is also ready to use thanks to its pre-wired fans already mounted on the radiator. All that remains to be done is to attach the pump to obtain a functional unit.
According to this price range, this is THE watercooling kit to watch out for… At least, if your case can accommodate it since the thickness of the radiator + fan becomes consequent.
High end “-“: DeepCool AS500 Plus
If you are a strong supporter of the aircooling cause, there are several interesting solutions in this price segment. The first and cheapest one we have chosen is the AS500 Plus from DeepCool.
Compared to the fans of the previous price segments, the rise in range is clearly felt. First of all, its dimensions are more imposing since it has a structure able to receive two 140 mm fans. This translates into a significant height of 164 mm. As you can see, the exchange surface is still important, especially since the five heat pipes allow a good heat distribution through the network of aluminum fins.
Moreover, if the noise pollution is going to scare you, don’t panic, during our tests, we found that there was no need to worry. This model offers an excellent temperature/noise ratio. With this, we will keep in mind its slim format facilitating the compatibility with the memory, the little touch of RGB on the top and its simple and efficient mounting system.
Again DeepCool stands out with a very good heatsink, but it will remain relatively expensive. For that, you can turn to the “non-plus”AS500 available for a few bucks less.
High end “+” : the Noctua NH-D15S
Now we’re going to see what there is to watch out for on the high end of the high-end sector. And there, we start to find real monster in aircooling. One model catches our attention: the NH-D15S from Noctua.
With this reference, we have the right to a very large model with two cooling towers and many heat pipes. The copper base is eccentric in order to limit the impact on the connectivity around the socket, we think especially of the first PCIe port of the motherboard. Moreover, compared to the more classic NH-D15, this model offers a reduced height of 160 mm to fit more easily in your case.
On the other side, the ventilation is provided by a single fan of 14 cm x 15 cm, the NF-A15. This fan will be able to generate a powerful airflow with a controlled noise level. Not to mention the Noctua-like mounting system that is very efficient and quick to set up.
OCC’s advice for the high end (watercooling)
- Arctic Liquid Freezer II 240
OCC tips for the top of the range ( aircooling)
- High End “-“:
- DeepCool AS500 Plus
- High-end “-” alternative:
- DeepCool AS500
- High-end “+”:
- Noctua NH-D15S