Unboxing and Overview
Cooler Master does operate a web shop in the USA, however this arrived from their marketing department and thus we begin directly with product packaging itself:
The box is fairly long for a 140 mm CLC, but not as tall so perhaps the accessories are adjacent to the cooler unit itself here. It comes with a plastic wrap, and the packaging is black with blue (and white writing too) on a matte wrapped cardboard box. All 6 sides are adorned with some information or the other, be it just the company and product name, product illustrations or product features and specifications. There is a single flap on a side but no seal, although the plastic wrap does help with that.
As suspected, the accessory box is next to the cooler unit which itself is further packaged separately. Let’s take a look at the accessories first:
Included here is the user manual, which is really just a series of some diagrams with next to no text and could do well with improvements, as well as a warranty guide. Also here is a 2:1 4-pin PWM adapter cable to help power and control the two included fans off a single header. This works as expected, however the sleeving is pretty shoddy here. On the flip side, included also are two soft rubber gaskets for square frame 140 mm fans which will help decouple the fans from the radiator or case after installation and in operation. These are ~2 mm thick so they will not impact installation compatibility with standard length radiator screws. All these are separately packaged, as is the Intel/AMD cooler backplate and the mounting brackets for Intel (left) and AMD (right) sockets.
The actual mounting hardware comes very neatly packed in a plastic clamshell that is also marked and has cutouts for the components inside. There is a piece of tape holding everything together, and in my case that did not do a good job as a lot of pieces were loose and strewn inside the accessory box. Good thing then that the box itself was fine and it took a couple of minutes to set everything back in place. Inside here, and let’s take the bottom picture now, from left to right and top to bottom are 4 Intel/AMD mounting posts that go through the backplate seen previously, a tube of their MasterGel Nano thermal paste, 4 plastic post holders that help keep the mounting posts in place once through the backplate and motherboard PCB, 4 Intel LGA 2011 (-3) mounting posts, 4 locking nuts, 4 mounting bracket screws, 4 short radiator screws and 8 long radiator screws. The radiator screws are to help install two 140 mm fans with or without the provided rubber gaskets onto the radiator and through the case in push-pull, or simply in push or pull (intake or exhaust) depending on your particular situation. We will get to installation on the next page. But before that, let’s take a look at the cooler unit + fans now:
Packaging is really good here, with separate compartments for the pump + block as well as the radiator and fans all with soft foam around. There are also plastic wraps on everything including the two 140 mm fans:
Take these off, and we get to see some familiar fans:
Ahh, these are the MasterFan Pro 140 Air Pressure fans we saw separately before. Here’s a quick look at them:
These 140 mm fans adopts a black frame, translucent brown rotor color scheme which will go well with nearly all DIY builds. The frame is rounded, and the rotor has 5 very curved blades with a polished edge on each blade. There are rubber inserts on the corners to help dampen
any vibrations transmitted to/from the radiator/case/heatsink and held in place by steel threads keeping it secure. The corners are open, so if you were so inclined you could purchase aftermarket soft rubber mounts to use with this as a case fan as well.
There is nothing on the front of the hub- no sticker or logo, just the translucent rotor carrying through. The hub itself is slightly bigger than average for 140 mm fans coming in at 1.78″, but not to the point where a shroud is a must have. As we saw before, there are 3 modes available on this fan and a small switch on the back helps select them. The fan was in S mode here out of the box, and a small, flat object is needed to move the switch to the other positions as of course it can’t extend past the surface of the hub itself. As such, there are 3 sets of specifications listed to cater to the 3 top speeds available. Power draw accordingly also increases as you go from S mode (1.08 W) to Q mode (1.8 W) to P mode (3 W), with these rated power draws quite less considering the speed ratings for a 140 mm fan. In practice, the max operation power draw was 0.84, 1.44 and 2.28 W respectively. The motor seems to be fairly efficient, but we will see soon how the fan performs. There is a discrepancy here though. The fan sticker rates 0.4 A max current draw at max speed which translates to 4.8 W and does not match Cooler Master’s data sheet. In general, it is best to account for numbers on the fan hub rather than the product page, so account for 4.8 W each (in P mode) when working out power delivery for these fans.
The fan cable is 12″ long, and is a flat ribbon style which is then sleeved from the edge of the frame in a heatshrink style application. So not only is the wire insulation black, the heatshrink and fan header is all black too.
Now, finally, on to the cooler unit:
More plastic wraps here, but remove them and you see a more or less unique looking CLC- particularly with regard to the pump/block unit(s):
You see, Asetek has IP preventing any other non-Asetek company from selling commercially in the USA products intended as CPU coolers that have a pump directly on top of a base plate. Cooler Master found that out the hard way with a lawsuit effectively taking their Seidon series of coolers out of this market, and this is their solution- a dual chamber design that has an integrated pump to base plate connection. The pump is powered by a separate cable coming off the side as seen above, and this is sleeved while also ending in a 4-pin fan connector for power and presumably also control. There is also a transparent window on top with their logo etched on it so you can see how the pump works albeit the coolant itself is not seen so this is basically just for aesthetics and results in a height increase. On the flip side, there is an LED:
Again, not much to see here aside from the logo itself. With everyone going RGB, perhaps Cooler Master missed out? Or perhaps they wanted to keep costs low due to the implementations of the new parts here? There is no way to turn off the LED without turning off the pump too. Either way, it must also be noted that they went with a split flow akin to CPU waterblocks that helps lower liquid flow restriction and a more uniform heat transfer from the base plate to the coolant itself all other things being equal. While doing so, they have also increased the skived fin surface area from ~32, 000 mm^2 in the previous flagship Nepton series to > 47, 500 mm^2 here. So they have decided to go take advantage of that lowered flow restriction by increasing the surface area (which generally helps with heat transfer up to a point) and raise it back up again. It comes down to how powerful the pump is then. No word on that yet, although they did say that the pump has an MTTF of 175,000 hours with an L-10 of 50,000 hours which is ~2-2.5x that of direct competitors. The pump is rated for 6 W of power draw, and in practice it drew a max of ~4 W making it more power hungry than most other CLC pumps.
The base plate is made of copper, as with just about every other CPU liquid cooler today, with a slight convex bow that helps mate this surface to a CPU IHS after installation, and a relatively smooth finish- not enough to have a polish though.
The tubing now has braided sleeving as mentioned before, and is 14″ long from the top of the pump to the radiator itself. Cooler Master is using FEP tubing which will help keep tube permeability low. The radiator in turn is a typical single row, dual pass 27 mm thick aluminum CLC radiator. The dimensions of the radiator itself are 311 x 138 x 27 mm and in this height of 138 mm (even less than that of the 140 mm fans it uses) they have managed to fit 20 coolant tubes which will further help keep liquid flow restriction of the loop low. Note also the extra port with a “Warranty void if removed” sticker. It is a fill/drain port used by Cooler Master to aid in pre-filling and air bleeding of the cooler. The fins are different too in that it is a more square design than the serpentine design we see used, and Cooler Master says this was done to increase the contact area of the fins with the coolant tubes to aid in heat transfer and also to allow more space for air to circulate through the radiator thus keeping airflow restriction lower than if using serpentine fins. But then they went and had these thick aluminum fins at 19 FPI so any real benefits are negated at this fin density. Besides, in the overall scheme of heat transfer in a radiator, the particular step of tube to fin is not a bottleneck and will not impact overall performance much. A sound concept, but unconvincing execution yet again here.
Let’s now take a look at the cooler installation on the next page.