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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