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Thermal Performance

Testing methodology

Everything needed (monitor, peripherals, motherboard w/CPU and GPU, radiator, PSU and so forth) was placed in a sealed climate controlled box at 25 +/- 0.05 ΒΊC. Each radiator was connected by Koolance QD3’s for easier changing of fans and radiator. The flowrate was held at 1 GPM constant. The CPU, an Intel i7 4770k at 4.6 GHz and 1.3 Vcore, was held at a constant load using a custom XTU profile and the GPU, an EVGA GTX 780 Ti Classified KPE under load from Unigine Heaven 4.0 at 1080p/extreme HD settings, was overclocked and overvolted such that the total system power draw was 650w as measured by a power meter. A near constant heat load into the liquid loop helped achieve stable liquid loop temperatures (as measured by 3 separate in-line temperature sensors hooked up to the AQ6) pretty quickly. The tubing and fittings were insulated by a heater sleeve with the heat function not being utilized. Every single measurement was done twice to be sure. Any possible effects of running a fan outside of a static max speed was minimized as much as possible by using a comprehensive series of fans to cover a broad RPM range.

Results and discussion

Please note that lower is better here.

For those viewing on mobile devices or having difficulty seeing the interactive charts above, please click for the respective RPM charts: 600 RPM, 800 RPM, 1200 RPM, 1500 RPM, 1800 RPM, 2000 RPM, 2200 RPM

Here’s a condensed look at those results:

The Black Ice Nemesis GTR 480 is not low airflow optimized, let’s get that out of the way. If you want that, look at the Black Ice Nemesis GTS/GTX or XSPC RX V3 radiators instead. What the Nemesis GTR 480 is, is a mid-high airflow optimized radiator that scales like nothing else I have seen past 1000 RPM or so. The closest competition is the EK Coolstream XE480 that is another such radiator that EK intends customers use with their high performance EK Vardar fans. The Nemesis GTR 480 overtakes the Coolstream XE480 on these NB-eLoop fans at just above 1500 RPM and the difference then continues to grow. Hardware Labs says these really shine with average performing radiator fans at a whopping 3000 RPM but that’s simply too loud for anyone with this setup a few feet away in my opinion unless you are going to have closed/noise isolating headphones on. Note also that the NB-eLoops in the 120 mm size are now average at best from an airflow/noise basis and so the scaling of these Nemesis GTR rads will be faster/at lower noise with better radiator fans. These are apologetically marketed for max performance with not much regard for noise, and I will myself use these with fans in push-pull to get that thermal dissipation scaling at lower noise levels compared to a single set of fans. 38 mm thick fans are also an option, although they tend to be either expensive or hard to get or cheap- not a lot of good middle ground options here.

For those who want an even simpler way to look at where the Nemesis GTR stands, I feel this graphic from Hardware Labs is pretty fair in accuracy:


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