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Acoustic Performance

We measured the noise from the Antec KÜHLER H2O 920 fans and pump and compared it against that of Thermalright HR-02 Macho. We took measurements in the entire supported speed range for both coolers according to the methodology described above. The results are summed up on the following graph:

The noise generated by the Antec KÜHLER H2O 920 fans is beyond any possible criticism. Moreover, they not only work loud at maximum speeds, but they produce very uncomfortable sound at the minimal speeds, too. Even at the moderate 1000 RPM these fans work louder than two TY-140 fans of the Thermalright HR-02 Macho cooler at their maximum 1290 RPM speed. Besides, at the minimal speed we can clearly hear the impellers beating and their motors crackling. I have to admit that these are the worst fans I have worked with so far.

As for the pump, it, on the contrary, was impeccable in terms of acoustics. You can hear it only during the first 1-2 minutes while the coolant flow hasn’t yet stabilized and the air isn’t completely gone from the impeller. After that it becomes virtually silent and doesn’t bother you at all with its barely noticeable noise of only 32.2 dBA. I can say that in terms of noise Antec KÜHLER H2O 920 components are two complete opposites: horrible fans and an excellent pump. This is a real pity.

Conclusion

As we have just seen the cooling efficiency of compact liquid-cooling systems has finally reached the efficiency level of the best air-coolers and even surpassed it to some extent. And Antec KÜHLER H2O 920 system is a great example. It just needs to make two little steps to ultimate and undisputed success.

The first thing is lowering the level of generated noise, which is totally doable and may be achieved by replacing an aluminum radiator with a copper one and using two 38 mm thick fans instead of the 25 mm thick ones. This will allow maintaining very high level of cooling efficiency at low fan speeds. The second thing is lowering the price or at least keeping it the same after the above suggested radiator and fan replacement. Otherwise, it will hardly be able to compete successfully against air-coolers.

I would also like to point out a very useful and easy to work with control and monitoring utility for Antec KÜHLER H2O 920, which could use manual fan and pump speed adjustment options. I am pretty sure that the first thing could probably be implemented in the next versions of the software, although I do not know if that could also apply to the second thing. Nevertheless, we sincerely wish Antec will improve and enhance their KÜHLER H2O 920 system on both: hardware and software levels. Today this system is highly efficient, ultimately universal, easy to install and work with, but at the same time quite noisy.

That said we are proud to award Antec KÜHLER H2O 920 with our Ultimate Innovation title:

 
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