Liquid Cooler Lineup: Intel, Corsair, MainGear Tested - HotHardware

Liquid Cooler Lineup: Intel, Corsair, MainGear Tested

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Intel's RTS2011LC liquid cooler debuted simultaneously with the company's Sandy Bridge-E and retails for ~$80.



From our review of the Intel Core i7-3986X:
The RTS2011LC features a custom designed 120mmx25mm fan (74 CFM, 21 dBA@ 800 RPM, 35 dBA@ 2200 RPM), a 150mm x 118mm x 37mm radiator, a high efficiency cooler block, and a new heat exchanger design that differed from other Asetek LCLC solutions. According to Intel, at equivalent acoustic levels and at full processor power (130W) the RTS2011LC can achieve a 7°C cooler CPU core temperature than Intel’s highest performance air cooling thermal solution. In addition, the RTS2011LC runs 10 dBA quieter than the high performance air cooling solution when running in performance mode.

Maingear's EPIC-Sized Cooling Solution:
Here at Hot Hardware, we're used to high-end cooling solutions, but Maingear's new liquid cooler is in a class of its own. Maingear calls this behemoth the EPIC 180, presumably because Coolersaurus Rex was already taken. At 7 inches wide, 9 inches tall, and 2.5 inches thick, this is the Hulk Hogan of CPU radiators.


It's hard to get a sense of how big this thing is,
partly because we can't find a way to squeeze a pony into the frame



Mounted in Maingear's SHIFT case, you can see the real estate consumption but the motherboard area is tidy



Despite its size, the Epic 180 uses the same Eco 2 pump as the Corsair models, making this comparison an interesting example of how increasing total radiator size impacts cooling capability. According to Maingear's self-published data, using a much larger fan can have a marked difference on cooler performance even when the same pump is used.


Chart and Data Source: Maingear Computers

Unlike the other coolers listed here, the Epic 180 isn't available for separate purchase. Considering even our Corsair 800D quailed at the thought of trying to contain it, that's likely just as well. We could only test the Epic 180 by rigging a spot beside the case for the radiator to sit on.

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Good review. I almost bought the H50 last year when i was building my new rig, the only thing that stopped me was that i read a review in which a H50 busted and leaked out into a system. That scared me off, so i went with a corsair A50 air cooler. It keeps my Phenom II x6 around 30C under full load.

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These factory sealed water coolers do a great job of cooling. They still have fans attached to them, so the noise is not much different than an Air Cooler is.

I have an H50 and an H60 here now. They do a great job of cooling my i7-870 (H50) and my i7-2600K (H60).

I've read about problems that have cropped up with some lot numbers of the H100 coolers, but I suspect that Corsair is getting that fixed and under control by now.

I really like the H100 a lot, and would certainly appreciate having one to use on my next build, if that ever happens. If I can't afford the H100 at the time, I'll go for the H80 because it's a fine cooler too.

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I like the closed system but I think should give options for video cards also a tee caped off in line and a water block for card would work out nice but then maybe you would need a better pump?? so maybe just a small closed system for cards

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i really like the look of the H-80, but  am with Compte if there is a chance that it will leak into my system i would rather go with an air cooler.

 

What i the cost of air coolers, and how well do they cool?

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The H-100 is alot bulkier than the H-80 where does the rest of sit? is it an external cooler?

 

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H100 is only compatible with certain cases that have mounting locations at the top for a large radiator.

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Thanks for the review Joel. These coolers are definitely the way to go if you are building a new system. I really wish I would have gotten the epic 180 with my system! That thing is awesome.

What thermal paste were you guys using? I know maingear uses their own blend, it would interesting to see if the corsair stock paste or the maingear blend worked better for these coolers.

Also when are these companies going to start testing stock shrouds, most of the forums I've read see decreased temps with a push/pull configuration with a shroud.

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Good read! I have a Corsair H50 on my i7 920 and a Antec Kuhler on my 2600k. Both work great, low temps and volumes, but my Antec has developed a dripping sound since I have my Lanboy Air standing up "tower" style (no leaks just the sound).

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The H100 looks quite nice. I will be defiantly looking at these enclose systems on the next rig I build.

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There's no reason to think these systems have a tendency to leak. With the H50 you refer to, I'm guessing it was either bad luck or a bad installation--possibly a configuration that put too much tension on one of the coolant lines.

I used the thermal paste that shipped pre-installed on all of the coolers in question. What, exactly that is, I don't know. Paste matters less than it used to, and most of the advantage comes from having it vs. *not* having it. Apart from the tendency of some low-quality pastes to dry out, you'll see similar results from using the silicon compound from radio shack vs. the high-end AS.

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