EVGA’s closed-loop liquid cooler, named “Closed-Loop Liquid Cooler,” will begin shipping this month in 280mm and 120mm variants. We’ve fully benchmarked the new EVGA CLC 280mm versus NZXT’s Kraken X62 & Corsair’s H115iV2 280mm coolers, including temperature and noise testing. The EVGA CLC 280, like both of these primary competitors, is built atop Asetek’s Gen5 pump technology and primarily differentiates itself in the usual ways: Fan design and pump plate/LED design. We first discussed the new EVGA CLCs at CES last month (where we also detailed the new ICX coolers), including some early criticism of the software’s functionality, but EVGA made several improvements prior to our receipt of the review product.
The EVGA CLC 280 enters the market at $130 MSRP, partnered with the EVGA CLC 120 at $90 MSRP. For frame of reference, the competing-sized NZXT Kraken X62 is priced at ~$160, with the Corsair H115i priced at ~$120. Note that we also have A/B cowling tests toward the bottom for performance analysis of the unique fan design.
Relatedly, we would strongly recommend reading our Kraken X42, X52, & X62 review for further background on the competition.
EVGA CLC 280mm Tear-Down
We’ve got a full tear-down video going live tomorrow, but some photos from the process are embedded below. The EVGA CLC 280mm cooler uses the expected Gen5 Asetek pump with minimal internal customizations, beyond the usual LED plate and diffuser. Internally, the pump block consists of the impeller, the coldplate and its densely packed microfins, and a foam noise damper between the top of the pump block and the pump plate.
Two PCBs exist internally and are oriented in an outer/inner layout. The outer PCB is for the LED management and controller, the inner PCB is for pump control and is provided by Asetek. This is similar to the Corsair H1XXi series PCBs, but significantly different from the NZXT X42/X52/X62 series. You can view our NZXT tear-down here for a comparison.
EVGA’s cooler comes with the usual Intel and AMD brackets, and will offer free AM4 brackets for those who purchase a unit prior to the Ryzen launch. Nothing is new with regard to mounting – it’s using the same trivial-to-install Asetek cap screws and standoffs as always, which we’ve come to appreciate for their simplicity and strength.
A mini USB cable runs to a USB2.0 header on the board to provide RGB LED control via software. The software wasn’t ready for us to fully dig through prior to this review’s publication, but we’ve worked with the basics and can go through a few features that are noteworthy: EVGA plans to offer user-upgradeable firmware are major, we think, as is their intent to synchronize GPU and cooler LEDs through the software. It’d be interesting if EVGA also explored this for their motherboards.
At CES, we criticized EVGA’s initial plans to rely on liquid temperature for the fan speed adjustment, as we’ve proven that liquid temperature is hugely disparate from actual core temperature. This is particularly true with Kaby Lake, where it is neither unreasonable nor uncommon to see a ~29-33C liquid temperature while pumping a 95C package temperature. For this reason, building fan speed based upon liquid temperature is inadvisable, but EVGA was responsive to criticism and (as we understand it) has updated the software to function with greater sense.
The software offers usual fan speed control options and relies on an internal thermocouple for liquid temperatures, which we show in our tear-down video that goes live tomorrow. As expected, the cooler is an assemblage of plastic and a coldplate comprising the pump housing, with densely packed copper microfins for increased surface area.
Color tuning and profiles are more limited than what you’ll find with NZXT, but also more advanced than what Corsair offers on the H115iV2. EVGA strikes a mix and lands dead center in terms of price-to-customization, with regard to visuals.
Continue to Page 2 for CPU cooler testing methodology.
Corsair Hydro Series H115i vs NZXT Kraken X62
Type: ATX Mid Tower
Includes Power Supply:
External 5.25" Drive Bays: 2
External 3.5" Drive Bays: 0
Internal 2.5" Drive Bays: 0
Internal 3.5" Drive Bays: 4
Motherboard Compatibility: ATX, Micro ATX, Mini ITX
Front Panel USB Ports:
Dimensions: 471mm x 200mm x 430mm
Max VGA length allowance: 275.00mm
Max VGA length allowance (w/o HDD cage): 414.00mm
Expansion Slots: 7
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So I have had a h115i for about a year and a half just replaced it when the pump failed last night. When it was working it was keeping at load my Ryzen 7 1700 at approximately 70 degrees Celsius.
I was thinking about getting the Noctua NH D15S, which would keep it as cool if not cooler than a AIO. But what was on the website wasn’t on the box and I would have needed to purchase a bracket for it from their website. So that was out of the question unless I went a few days without a computer.
So I decided to purchase a NZXT brand asetek cooler instead of Corsair this time around. I had a h80 OG, and the pump on that failed and rmaed it and got a replacement and that pump too failed. So I got a h115i and that also failed. My NZXT keeps my cpu at load around 62 degrees Celsius.
So the NZXT is nearly 10 degrees cooler while looking sleeker. One thing I thought of to explain the discrepancy between the two AIOs, is that I mounted the Kraken to the front of my chassis and the H115i to the top. Anyways, I am happy with the Kraken so far and am wanting to just say I don’t think it is worth the premium of being 20 to 30 dollars more than the corsair offering. However, I heard somewhere it uses a custom pcb whereas corsair uses the asetek one. This might justify the premium price?
I did create an online accouunt, I know it is not exactly harmful to me, but the more control I have of the privacy settings of a certain program, the better to me - I would prefer not to send usage data, or if have the option to enable or disable it to my own liking, and not partially forced into accepting it, since the Cam software is fairly limitid in guest mode.
What's the concern with Cam? It works well. I just stuck mine on silent mode and apart from fixing the startup every time windows did a major update, forgot about it.
Most people are freaked by it sending your pc hardware data to nzxt, no idea why, it's already sent to Microsoft, Google and half a dozen other places.
Click to expand...
EDIT :I'm not completely against sharing usage data, and I have it turned on for a selcted few programs I currently use.
I don't like the available privacy options in Win 10 using an online account either, so it isn't just this specific piece of software.
I did say, that I prefer NZXT Cam over Corsair Link
However, I personally felt that the manual fan curve settings were unituitive and a bit "clumsy" to manipulate. I don't like the failure to automaticllay log into Cam when performing a reboot shortly after initially loading into Windows - for example after a software update, or consecutive driver installs.
And on some occations, for no reason really, the software just didn't launch with Windows, even if the setting was correctly applied in the software. Not a big issue, but when adding things up, these little things is what I personally dislike about NZXT Cam.
The way to apply program settings in preferences was poorly implemented, there was an (in my opinion) unneccessary extra step to actually apply changes to the program settings on each tab, which would reset the changes just made when swtiching to a different tab, if you accidentally missed this step - you were not asked if you wanted to discard or apply changes (in case one forgot) - and it was easy to miss.
I know, I just had to pay extra attention, so admittedly the error is on my part - this is however, not something I've run into elsewhere, which is why I don't feel like the software menu layout is optimally designed. This is down to personal preference though. But these are the reasons I can't say the software felt well designed to me personally.
But creating custom fan curves was even more unintuitive in Corsair Link - especially the silly way you apply same settings to the second fan.
But I know some people will have different personal preferences than mine, who actually really likes Link or Cam - and that's perfectly fine by me
Personally, I feel like there's room for improvement - but it also had features I liked.
Corsair h115i vs nzxt kraken x62
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