Test Methodology and Performance
|Cooler||HEXUS Review||Reviewed Price||Warranty||Product Page|
|be quiet! Silent Loop 240mm||October 2016||£115||3 Years||bequiet.com|
|Cooler Master MasterLiquid Pro 280||March 2017||£90||5 Years||coolermaster.com|
|Noctua NH-D15S||N/A||£70||6 Years||noctua.at|
|NZXT Kraken X52||November 2016||£130||6 Years||nzxt.com|
HEXUS CPU Cooler Test Bench
|Hardware Components||Product Page|
|Processor||Intel Core i7-6700K (overclocked to 4.4GHz)||intel.com|
|CPU Cooler||Noctua NH-D15S||noctua.at|
|Motherboard||Asus Z170 Pro||asus.com|
|Memory||Crucial Ballistix Sport LT 32GB (2x16GB) DDR4-2400||crucial.com|
|Power Supply||be quiet! Dark Power Pro 11 850W||bequiet.com|
|Primary Storage||256GB Samsung 950 Pro||samsung.com|
|Secondary Storage||512GB SK hynix Canvas SC300||skhynix.com|
|Chassis||Fractal Design Define R5 Windowed||fractal-design.com|
|Monitor||Philips Brilliance 4K Ultra HD LED (288P6LJEB/00)||philips.co.uk|
|Operating system||Windows 10 (64-bit)||microsoft.com|
Our test platform includes a quad-core Intel Core i7-6700K processor overclocked to 4.4GHz across all cores and 32GB of Crucial Ballistix Sport LT DDR4 memory set to run at 2,400MHz using the built-in XMP profile.
To get a feel for how the above coolers compare, CPU voltage is upped to an above-average 1.3V and temperature is logged while a large 4K video clip is encoded in multiple passes using the freeware HandBrake utility. The workload tasks all four cores/eight threads for a prolonged period and, in order to provide a stabilised reading, we then calculate the average temperature across all four cores from the last few minutes of encoding.
Actual CPU temperature is recorded and we also graph the delta temperature - that's CPU temperature minus ambient temperature. Last but not least, to give you an idea of cooler acoustics, we use a PCE-318 noise meter to measure overall system noise in both idle and load states.
Our Fractal Design Define R5 chassis is set to run with its two stocks fans - a 140mm Silent Series R2 front intake and a 140mm Silent Series R2 rear exhaust - both of which are set to low speed via the integrated fan hub. All CPU cooler fans are set to a 'silent' PWM profile from within the Asus BIOS, and when testing liquid coolers the pump is connected to the motherboard's dedicated water-pump header.
When a radiator is installed, the relevant top ModuVents are removed from the Fractal Design Define R5 chassis, and any bundled fans are configured to push air through the radiator and out of the chassis.
We now have a trio of all-in-one liquid coolers in our line-up and the Cooler Master MasterLiquid Pro 280 is sandwiched between the be quiet! and NZXT offerings. An actual temperature of 61ºC with all cores running flat-out at 4.4GHz is lovely and cool, though we're a tad surprised not to see even lower results from this 280mm unit.
Cooling performance was never really in doubt, however the MasterLiquid Pro 280 doesn't do as good a job as the rivals when it comes to keeping noise levels in check. The system is by no means vociferous, yet with the MasterLiquid Pro in situ fan noise is evident. Switching the fans from the default 'quiet' mode to 'silent' lowers noise output another notch, but NZXT's Kraken X52 is a tough act to follow.