The Alphacool Eisbaer 240 CPU AIO Liquid Cooler Reviewby E. Fylladitakis on August 1, 2016 9:00 AM EST
- Posted in
- Water Cooling
When liquid cooling became a trend in the 90’s, many companies were founded focused on the design and supply of PC-specific liquid cooling systems. One of these companies was Alphacool, a German manufacturer that diversified into producing liquid cooling systems for industrial and medical applications as well.
Perhaps the biggest issue of liquid cooling is complexity, requiring quite a bit of extra effort and attention from the user. For custom loops this was certainly true, even when complete kits were supplied by most manufacturers, as the installation alone is much more complex than that of a simple air cooler. The relative safety and simplicity of all-in-one (AIO) liquid cooling systems does lure those who want a liquid-based cooler with the installation straightforwardness of an air-based cooler. However, AIO solutions are relatively inflexible, and some hardly perform better than high end air-based solutions.
In this review we are having a look at Alphacool’s latest product, the Eisbaer. The Eisbaer, which stands for “polar bear” in German, is a modular AIO liquid cooler that Alphacool designed for those that wish to combine performance and simplicity with future upgrades and flexibility. Alphacool has designed four versions of the Eisbaer that all share the same block/pump assembly but have different radiators and fans. The Eisbaer 120, 240 and 360 come with one, two and three 120 mm fans respectively, while the Eisbaer 280 comes with two 140 mm fans. For the means of this review, Alphacool supplied us with the Eisbaer 240, the dual 120 mm fan version. Although the concept of modular AIO liquid coolers is not new, Alphacool’s liquid cooling parts have had a good reputation, leaving us curious about how their first AIO liquid cooler will perform.
Packaging & Bundle
Alphacool supplies the Eisbaer in a dark cardboard box with relatively simple artwork printed on it. It is very sturdy and the cooler is protected inside a cardboard shell and covered in nylon bags, providing more than enough protection during transport.
The bundle accompanying the Eisbaer 240 is almost typical and limited to the necessary mounting hardware, two “Eiswind” 120 mm fans, an adapter for connecting both of the fans onto one 4-pin header and two doses of thermal compound. It is interesting to point out that the thermal compound is Gelid GC Extreme, a relatively premium thermal paste. The Eiswind fans are PWM compatible, with a sleeve bearing engine and a maximum speed of 1700 RPM.
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MobiusPizza - Monday, August 1, 2016 - linkThe author says this cooler has best noise/thermal performance ratio, but looking at the graphs the CoolerMaster H110 seems to have both lower noise level and lower thermal resistance?
retrospooty - Monday, August 1, 2016 - linkYeah, I am really not getting the need for water cooling these days. Today's Core i5/i7 CPU run extremely cool... Even if you are overclocking, there are little to no benefits of using water. It adds complexity with no benefit. I have a Core i5 Skylake with a BeQuiet shadow rock 2 cooler, and I dont even plug in the fan at all. I can run prime - 100% CPU utilization for hours and hours with no fan at all and it doesn't even get warm, not even a little... and I live in Arizona and its summer. There just isnt a need for water anymore, even if you are overclocking the hell out of it.
nightbringer57 - Monday, August 1, 2016 - linkThink about people still rocking a good old FX8350 like me ;)
And AIO watercooling still happens to be competitive in high perf / small cases (typically mini ITX) setups, where clearance around the CPU is often very limited (typically, the PSU is in the way and forbids anything but very low-profile coolers), but can fit 1 or 2 12cm fans.
retrospooty - Monday, August 1, 2016 - linkAgreed, if you have an AMD CPU, you can benefit from water cooling. Some high end video cards as well... but AMD CPU's and high end video cards get hot as hell. My comment was on Intel CPU's. I would have a hard time recommending anyone buy an AMD CPU these days, regardless of the cooling used. Hopefully the upcoming Zen processor changes that. It would be great to go AMD again if they can be competitive.
nightbringer57 - Monday, August 1, 2016 - linkedit: and Intel power consumption climbs up if you get into the more high-end platforms (like the X79/X99 platforms). Especially on tinier mainboards (think: mini ITX X99 ones) where you don't have standard cooler mounting holes but the special I-can't-remember-the-name ones. In those cases, big coolers don't fit. But a waterblock happily does.
retrospooty - Monday, August 1, 2016 - linkI dont know... My core i5 6600k cooled as described above is a Mini itx case. Even if it were a smaller case, with no room for a huge tall cooler, there are options that work great.
nightbringer57 - Monday, August 1, 2016 - linkIt depends on your case.
And as explained, your i5 is not realy an "enthusiast" CPU, even if it's a great CPU in itself.
And the options that work great in more confined cases... Do not work quite as great as your typical AIO watercooling system, even if those have difficulties getting significantly better results than average-to-high-end aircooling systems.
It's a niche, yes. But I wouldn't say this niche doesn't exist.
retrospooty - Monday, August 1, 2016 - linkAgreed, in some cases water would be better, AIO cases is a good example... But if you buy an AIO with water cooling, it comes pre-built and you dont do anything with it... The product above would not be for that. Also, if you have an older system you want to keep and improve the old air cooler, it might be good too depending on what you have... I guess what I am getting at, is if you were putting together a new system as of today (as opposed to upgrading an older one) you would be better served to by a case and an air cooler. They have tons of options of all sizes. Let me put it another way, if were building a new system as of today and you chose parts (case and CPU) that would benefit from water cooling, you probably chose badly.
nightbringer57 - Monday, August 1, 2016 - linkWhen I say "AIO", I mean "AIO liquid cooler" (such as in this review), not "AIO computer" ;)
And no, cases that cannot fit a good air rad (so limit the choice to either low profile rads or AIO liquid cooler) simply allow you to have a more compact PC, so they are not a bad choice, they answer different needs.
retrospooty - Monday, August 1, 2016 - linkGot it... I am paying attention LOL ;) I do see your point, I just dont think alot of people have that need. Like I said, if today (and that today part is a key thing here) were building a system, I cant see picking any case and CPU that would require something like the product above. If you are into massive overclocking, a tiny mini ITX case that cant fit a normal size air cooler probably isnt the best choice. There are plenty of mini ITX cases that can fit air coolers of any size and need. If you are overclocking and need something really small that cant fit a full size air cooler, OK... But if that is the case someone chose, where would they put the radiator? I know there are answers to that question and ways to do it, but extreme niche is what I am hearing.