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Cooling Efficiency Tests

Before we compare the cooling efficiency of Antec KÜHLER H2O 920 against that of Thermalright HR-02 Macho, let’s check out the difference between Silent and Extreme operational modes:

Silent mode

Extreme mode

As we see, in relatively silent mode the fans of the Antec system rotated in the interval between 1380 and 1620 RPM and the maximum temperature of the hottest processor core reached 80°C. In Extreme mode the fans were always working at their maximum speed of 2300 RPM, but the temperature dropped 12°C lower and stayed at 68°C.

Obviously, the cooling efficiency of Antec KÜHLER H2O 920, just like that of other compact liquid-cooling systems, depends a lot on the quality of the radiator cooling.

All other obtained results confirm the same thing. Check out the following table and diagram (the results are sorted out in descending order):

The cooling efficiency of Antec KÜHLER H2O 920 increases most impressively in the fan speed interval between 800 and 1000 RPM, when the peak CPU temperature drops by 14°C! It is easy to conclude that at 800 RPM the fans don’t have enough force to push the air flow through the thick radiator and therefore do not cool it well enough. That must be the reason why in the automatic Silent mode they never slow down below 1380 RPM under heavy load. During further increase in fan rotation speed in 200 RPM increments the temperature drops twice by 3°C and then by 2°C. With the fan rotation at 1800-2300 RPM (Extreme mode) the temperature gets only 1°C lower, which indicates that Antec KÜHLER H2O 920 doesn’t really need the fan speeds beyond 1800 RPM (for the current operational and testing conditions). We see the same from the coolant temperatures registered by Antec system:

As far as comparison between the Antec cooling system and a good air-cooler is concerned, the former will be more efficient if we do not take into account eh level of generated noise, which we are going to address later in our review. At the same time, Thermalright HR-02 Macho doesn’t really look weak at all and at 800 and 1000 RPM of its single fan leaves no chances for Antec KÜHLER H2O 920. At its maximum speed of 1290 RPM Macho is as efficient as the liquid-cooling system from Antec at 1400-1600 RPM fan speed. I am sure you have already figured out which product is going to win the acoustic test at this efficiency level.

Now let’s set an even more difficult task for Antec KÜHLER H2O 920 by overclocking our test processor to 4450 MHz at 1.45 V Vcore. At 800 and 1000 RPM fan speeds the system failed to cool out CPU properly, but at 1200 RPM and higher we managed to achieve stability:

2 x 1200 RPM

2 x 1400 RPM

2 x 1600 RPM

In order to overclock our processor sample to its maximum of 4500 MHz at 1.46875 V we had to speed up the fans of the Antec system to their maximum, although the peak temperature of the hottest CPU core in this case didn’t exceed 81°C:

2 x 2330 RPM

I have to say that this is an excellent result, if we leave the noise level out of it for a moment. I would also like to add that our processor overclocked a little more modestly with Thermalright HR-02 Macho – only to 4450 MHz at 1.45 V core voltage and 85°C maximum core temperature:

Now let’s add the results for Antec KÜHLER H2O 920 system in two default operational modes into our summary diagram and table*:

* - The peak temperature of the hottest CPU core is posted on the diagram
taking into account the difference from the current ambient temperature
and is reduced to 25°C.

In relatively quiet mode Antec KÜHLER H2O 920 occupies a middle position, and in extreme mode it takes the lead leaving behind such competitors as Corsair H80 and Thermalright Archon with two fans. These conclusions are made without taking into consideration the generated noise levels of the testing participants.

The next diagram and table sum up the maximum CPU overclocking results for each tested cooler. Besides the CPU frequency, they also show maximum CPU temperature (taking into account the room temperature delta) and the generated noise:

Again the compact Antec KÜHLER H2O 920 system shows the best cooling efficiency.

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