Earlier last week we put Fractal Designs Kelvin S36 AIO Liquid cooler through its paces in various benchmarks and real world usage scenarios. The consensus? – The Kelvin S36 AIO CPU Cooler is a great piece of kit and well worth the price tag.
Up today we have an overclocking performance comparison of 3 popular AIO CPU coolers;
|Fractal Design Kelvin S36||Corsair Hydro Series H110 GT||Corsair Hydro Series H80i|
|Supported Sockets||LGA 115x, 1366, 2011, 2011-3, AM2, AM3, FM1, FM2||LGA 115x, 1366, 2011, 2011-3, AM2, AM3, FM1, FM2||LGA 115x, 1366, 2011, 2011-3, AM2, AM3, FM1, FM2|
|Radiator Construction||Full Copper||Aluminum||Aluminum|
|Fans||Fractal Design Dynamic GP-12 120mm PWM fans||Dual 140mm SP140||Dual 120mm Air Series SP120L|
|Provided Fans CFM||87.6 CFM||62.74 CFM||49.5 CFM|
All of these coolers for what they are and will do a great job at cooling your gaming pc but as with all things it really depends on what you want from your computer. If you want stupidly high overclocks then it comes as no surprise that the H80i is not the best choice although its going to enable you to achieve very mild overclocks, the radiator lacks the surface area to effectively dispel the extra heat.
Let’s take a closer look at each unit.
Fractal Design Kelvin S36 AIO Water Cooler
The biggest of the 3. The Kelvin S36 cooling unit support all modern CPU sockets and is also the biggest of the 3 coming with a full-copper constructed 360mm radiator, 2400RPM long-life ceramic bearing pump and 3 x 500 – 2000RPM GP-12 PWM fans.
What really sets this AIO CPU cooler apart from the others here is simply how quiet it is when under normal usage being near inaudible. What sweetens the deal is the 1/4″ threads allowing you to simply take it apart and throw some non-standard blocks on as well as the all-copper constructed radiator – it’s the only one in our comparison that has one and it shows.
Corsair H110 GT AIO Liquid CPU Cooler
The H110 GT is Corsair’s flagship liquid cooler coming equipped with an Aluminum 280mm radiator fitted with two Corsair SP-120 fans in a push configuration, all-copper cold plate and of course, Corsair Link compatibility. It’s well-known in the community that if you really must have an AIO cooler then the H100 GTX or the H110 GT is the way to go. As a result the H110 GT is the reigning champion providing ample cooling performance for the longest gaming session and will deal with mild to extreme overclocks well in short-runs just fine.
Corsair H80i AIO Liquid CPU Cooler
The baby of the bunch, The Corsair Hydro series H80i comes equipped with an Aluminum 120mm radiator that is slightly thicker than the other two. It used to be a great unit for older generations but over the years has started to lag behind in the overclocking department.
Let’s take a look at the test bed and performance testing.
Test Bed & Performance Testing
So I could make sure that all results were accurate, I made sure that the ambient room temperature was stable at 25*c using air conditioning and a thermal sensor attached to my other rig. Upon installation, 3 rounds of Intel XTU was run to get heat into the loop followed by 15 minutes at idle.
After 15 minutes at idle, a timed OCCT loop was run for 15 minutes to get things hot at which point load temperatures were recorded. All temps gathered with RealTemp.
Our Test Bed
- CPU: Intel 6700K (Skylake)
- Motherboard: Gigabyte Z170x Gaming 7 Motherboard
- Memory: G.SKILL Ripjaws 4 DDR4-3333mhz @ 16-18-18-38-1T
- GPU: EVGA 980Ti 6GB Superclocked ACX2.0+
- HDD: 500GB Samsung EVO 650 M.2
- Power Supply: Seasonic P-Series 1000W Fully Modular
- Case: Modified Fractal Arc XL
All of the closed-loop AIO coolers tested produced similar idle temperatures simply because of Speed step which dynamically reduces the processor’s VCORE and multiplier depending on load. The end result? lower power usage under normal conditions.
What’s almost instantly clear is the H80i cannot handle the heat output of Intel’s 6700K when overclocked. While 79*c is well within the TJmax for this CPU, safe operating temperatures for most modern Intel processors is 70*c.
The most surprising aspect of this test is how well the Fractal Design Kelvin S360 AIO does against the H110 GT which I believe *was* the king of All in one cpu coolers. Despite the smaller surface area, the H110GT has a higher fin density compared to the Alphacool inspired S36 and also comes with some well-known high static pressure fans, however I didn’t expect there to be a 6*c gap between the two!
The Kelvin S36 comes into its own and the extra surface area really shows across the board with temperatures considerably lower than the competition, showing its definitely not slouch despite being Fractal’s first venture into pc liquid cooling – The S36 is perfect for extreme overclocks without breaking the bank.
While not the most comprehensive of all-in-one overclocking comparisons, I had one goal in mind – show the potential and thermal performance of each of these coolers.
All of these coolers fit a different type of user and really depends on what you want to achieve from your computer. For the overclocking enthusiasts who wants to break away from traditional air-cooling and into the PC liquid-cooling scene without the hassle of a custom water cooling loop then both the Corsair Hydro Series H110 GT and the Fractal Design Kelvin S36 liquid cooler will both do you just fine with the Fractal Design performing the best overall and the most potential for expansion in the future coming with 1/4 threads and compatibility with 99% of fittings on the market.
The H80i unfortunately I don’t feel is up to the task of sustaining a mild overclock for very long but that doesn’t mean it not a good cooler. The Corsair Hydro Series is the perfect water cooler for gaming computers or servers that won’t be overclocked but you want to stand out a little, there is no denying the H80i still looks the part.
AIO Liquid Cooler Comparison Recap
- Corsair Hydro Series H80i – Good for stock gaming machines
- Corsair Hydro Series H100i GT – Good for overclocking but can be loud
- Fractal Design Kelvin S36 – Editors choice and our go to AIO for overclocking and bench marking.
What did you think of our comparison? Did we miss something out? let us know in the comments below