Articles: Cooling

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Almost three years ago we upgraded our testbed built on an LGA 775 Intel Core 2 Extreme Q9650 processor with a new LGA 1366 platform with an Intel Core i7-920 CPU, which another 18 months later was replaced with a much hotter Intel Core i7-980X Extreme Edition. Back then in our review, which has become sort of a symbolic threshold, we tested thirteen highly efficient cooling products. Well, let’s continue with the good old tradition, and now that we have upgraded our platform yet again to the new LGA 2011 with Intel Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition CPU inside, we are going to see how five of the most efficient contemporary coolers will fight for the leadership. Besides that we are going to check out the cooling efficiency and acoustics performance of the default cooler that is bundled with extreme six-core Intel processors.

Testing Participants

Intel RTS2011LC Water Cooler

Some boxed Intel Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition processors were bundled with Intel RTS2011LC Water Cooler system. In fact, it wasn’t really necessary, because the power consumption of the new processors didn’t really increase compared with the power consumption of the previous-generation Extreme Edition modifications. However, in our opinion, they were primarily trying to respond to their eternal competitor – AMD, which was known for offering the users their top AMD FX processors in a bundle with a liquid-cooling system. Let’s meet Intel RTS2011C Water Cooler.

Inside the white cardboard box there is a special internal casing with section for all components of the cooling system:

Among the included accessories there are retention kits for all contemporary Intel platforms (even including LGA 775), installation instructions guide, two packs of thermal paste and plastic ties:

The system itself is built around the Asetek 570LC platform, which our regular readers should already be well familiar with. It is an exact copy of such liquid-cooling systems as Antec KÜHLER H2O 620 or Corsair H50:

The system consists of a copper water block, a pump with a ceramic bearing, two flexible tubes and an aluminum radiator with a plastic fan. Intel RTS2011LC Water Cooler is a very simple and relatively light-weight cooler. We didn’t find anything new about it, that we haven’t yet seen in the similar systems reviewed before.

The only difference is that the pump is marked with the Intel logo, though the logo of the true manufacturer is written right below it, too:


The thermal paste imprint on the base of the water block turned out incomplete and smudged:


It is in part because the CPU heat-spreader has a little bump in the center, and partially because you have to rotate the water block when removing it.

The system comes with one seven-blade fan with blue LEDs:

The fan rotation speed is automatically adjusted using PWM method in the interval from 1000 to 2200 RPM. We didn’t find any other useful information about this fan (the rotor sticker doesn’t have anything else of importance on it).

You can install Intel RTS2011LC Water Cooler water block using the universal retention frame with removable plastic caps in the corners:


The radiator is attached to the back of the system case with the fan installed between the radiator and the system case back panel. Its airflow is directed outside of the case:

The Intel logo and the message on the water block glow blue when the system is up and running:

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