Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
Even though it appears that Gamdias has been in the cooler game for a while now with the Boreas air coolers and the Chione liquid coolers, we honestly had no idea until now. However, since we look at the peripherals for Gamdias, it seems they felt it was time we looked at what else they are up to. With eleven AIOs and four air coolers, three of which are versions of what we have feels like Gamdias decided to go with a full assortment for all categories of buyers rather than settling for a couple in each segment and seeing how things play out. Hopefully, this bold tact on entering the cooling game pays off.
The Boreas Series offers four models. There is an M1-610, which appears to be the top-tier offering at the moment, but we were sent the mid-range offering, one of three versions. One is called the Boreas E1-410 LITE, which is left in its fully natural state of materials, and sports a round frame RGB fan. There is also the Boreas E1-410, again left in its natural state, but now sports a square frame ARGB fan. The last is the model we have for this review, the Boreas E1-410 WH, which is the best dressed at this party. Gone is the natural appearance, replaced with a white coating applied to everything but the mating surface, and to go along with the idea, a white square-framed ARGB fan sits in front of the tower. While we suggest, you pay close attention when looking at the first two models to ensure you buy what you intended to, with the cooler images being white for the one we have, locating the WH is much less complicated.
For over a decade now, we have had a few guidelines when it comes to looking for the next CPU air cooler; it comes down to price, performance, and noise. With what you are about to see in the following paragraphs, Gamdias kept the cost low, and the fan ratings tell us silence is not a priority here, and performance is still up for grabs. However, we also know that two out of three is never bad. From what it looks like so far, as long as this is not a cooling disaster, the Gamdias Boreas E1-410 WH could easily be one of the new budget-minded options that pokes at the likes of the Hyper coolers, or maybe even the popular Freezer coolers.
Using what was available on site with the information provided on the packaging to make the chart we see above. In it, we see that dimensions come first, and we are shown that this tower is 120mm wide, is 73.8mm thick (with the fan clipped on), and stands 154.5mm. Nowhere in any of their information did we find a weight. The tower is comprised of aluminum for the forty-seven fins and the chunky base. At the same time, copper is used for the four 6mm diameter heat pipes, which are milled along with the aluminum base, delivering a direct contact base.
Next in line is compatibility. For Intel users, you can use this cooler with anything since the introduction of LGA1366 and LGA115X, including all of the latest current mainstream and HEDT sockets. AMD support goes back to anything since AM2 and FM1.
Package contents are also listed. It is here that we can see Gamdias ships a tower heat sink with four heat pipes, thermal grease, universal socket mounting kits, and that is about it aside from some cardboard and plastic inside of the outer packaging.
The fan of choice is a 120mm PWM fan with a speed range of 800 to 2000 RPM/ At peak speed, this fan can deliver 70.2 CFM of airflow and is stated to push 2.7 mmH2) of pressure. The noise rating starts at ten and ends at thirty-one, but this is dB(A) scale, and 31 dB(A) to us is loud, no matter how you want to do the math, that is nearly 50dB as a quick estimate, so noise levels were not a thing Gamdias is worried about here. These fans use a hydraulic bearing to spin the seven-bladed around an ARGB lit hub. The fan and ARGB cables are eighteen inches in length, fan power is handled with a 4-pin PWM fan connection, and ARGB is done over 5V 3-pin ARGB headers. However, those without an ARGB header get a default mode which runs when the fan is powered, but the ARGB cable is left unplugged.
We scoured the internet for locations on this side of the pond with viable stock to sell us, and we came down to just one spot in the end, which gladly is at Newegg, if not at Amazon, as it is a safe location to spend your money. We also love that Gamdias is listed as the seller, not some random 3rd-party. However, while we see the current $32.99 pricing, there is a note that this deal ends in three days. However, with such little information available, the MSRP, even their press release, ignored this fact. We will draw a line in the sand as we go forward. The feeling is, as you will see on the box, which Gamdias has intentions on a specific market segment, and if this product sells for anything over $40, we cannot see how it fits into where Gamdias seem to want it to land.
The front of the box is quite busy, with much to look at and digest. At the top, we find the ZEUS logo and the Gamdias name to the Intel LGA1700 Ready sticker's left. An image of this all-white tower displaying its ARGB capabilities is a bit offset to the left. To the right of the cooler, we see all of the sync methods that the Boreas is designed to work with. That leaves us with the bottom portion, where we find the Boreas E1 410WH naming, next to a comparison chart which is an obvious shot at a certain competitor.
Swapping the gray background for matte black now, the right-side panel of this packaging shows all of the naming at the top, with a smaller image, similar to what is found on the front, shown here in the middle. Gamdias uses the remaining room to cover all compatible ARGB sync systems.
Continuing with more matte black, but this time bringing back the orange-ish trim. We are told initially that this has smart PWM temperature control in a few languages, flanked by an image of the black version in a chassis, where it mentions the default rainbow mode displayed without any external control. Specifications, contents, and dimensions follow, with an idea of how to control the ARGB lighting, and shows the connection on a motherboard, noting its use of 5V 3-pin ARGB.
Many may say this is yellow, and we agree, but it does put off more of an orange cast like we saw on the front and back as the trim color. However, what is displayed matches the opposing panel, with nothing new to add.
Rather than opting for foam or cardboard for the interior protection, Gamdias surrounds the tower in molded plastic, which surrounds the tower snugly, keeping it in place for the ride to our door. Below the tower and its black plastic surroundings are where one will find the white cardboard box filled with all of the hardware and accessories.
Gamdias Boreas E1-410 WH CPU Cooler
With the WH designation at the end of the name, you are safe to assume you get a white tower, where everything seen while in use is as white as it gets. Our view from the front of this Boreas cooler is mainly of the 120mm, 7-bladed, Gamdias fan, which, as we can see, covers the bulk of the tower's fin array while also offering a bit of cooling under the tower as well. We also like the finer points of this image, where the rubber pads are kept white, the cables for the fan power and ARGB control are also white, and we cannot see the wire fan clips from here.
The side view of the E1-410 WH shows us an array of forty-seven fins stacked on four closely placed heat pipes, where all but the bottom fin use tabs to keep alignment and spacing correct. We can also see that the shorter fan clips attach the fan at the frame's back edge.
Aside from slight visual deviations near the inner edges of where the heat pipes pass through the tower, the fins appear flat and shapeless. Still, we like the addition of tabs near the edges, ensuring the fan has the best chance of heat removal as it passes through the tower, giving each fin an equal chance in the fight.
We are currently looking at the fin edge design at the back of the tower, but we have confirmed the front profile is identical. There is a bit of a valley in the center, which steps up twice as we move outward, creating a pocket where the fans can build airflow and pressure before passing over the fins, which also have pressed channels to help disturb airflow as it enters and exits the fins.
Since we covered most of what can be seen from the sides of the Boreas E1-410 WH, we can only point you towards the grooves found at the front and back of the tower, so a second fan on this tower is doable, but you need to supply said fan.
At the bottom of the tower is a chunk of aluminum, which has been machined into the rectangular shape, leaving "wings" to mount the hardware to for securing the cooler to the motherboard, while also leaving fins at the top so it can act as a pre-cooler with help from the portion of the fan that sits under the fin array.
We mentioned the proximity to each other as the pipes exit the base and stretch up into the fins, being press-fit as the fins are layered onto them. Even though they are close to each other, two of the four, 6mm diameter, heat pipes are curved a bit further, allowing for two rows of heat pipes on either side of the tower, rather than having them stacked one behind the other.
The base of the Boreas E1-410 WH comes with a protective sticker over the entire surface. After peeling it from the base, we can see how the copper pipes were fed into the aluminum base, and, once completed, are sent to be machined to a flat surface. While there are slight gaps seen here and there, it is one of the better direct contact base leveling jobs we have seen.
At the complete opposite end of the tower, we get to look at the top of the Boreas E1-410 WH. Using what is a rectangle as the shape of each fin, Gamdias presses each fin with the Zeus name, as well as the chevrons near the heat pipes and the grooves we saw earlier, leaving the tips of the pipes exposed through the top.
Accessories and Documentation
Inside the white cardboard box is where we found these four screws used to secure the mounting brackets to the cooler's base. The black and yellow backplate is for all mainstream Intel sockets, with the corners using yellow locks to adjust the spread of the studs to fit the socket. To the right is a packet of non-descript thermal grease. There is enough for an application, but a second may be asking too much.
All packed in various individual bags; we also located the top mounting brackets that mount to the "wings" at the tower's base. We have the AMD brackets from the left, followed by the mainstream LGA sockets brackets, and the last set is for HEDT Intel socket usage.
We covered the specifications that Gamdias presented for this white 120mm fan. When looking at the back for additional information, we do not find much. There isn't a fan model number, only a reference to the cooler's name, but we see the 0.28A and 3.36W draw this fan will use. As to the cables, both the 4-pin PWM and 3-pin ARGB leads are eighteen inches in length.
Rather than waste the paper on a manual or guide, Gamdias is following others, where a code is provided to access it. We did so, and what you can see on our phone is a look at two of the twelve pages. However, the instruction is only images and no text to guide the user. That being said, special attention needs to be paid to the pictures for orientations and components used in each setup, which may confuse novice buyers.
Installation and Finished Product
The first thing we are shown to do to prep our AMD system for the Boreas E1-410 WH is to remove the socket screws lift off the chunky plastic latches on the motherboard, leaving the backplate in place to accept the mounting hardware.
We see no need in showing the hardware attached to the base on its own, as we show how it all comes together in this one image. The brackets that screw to the base need to be oriented, with the bumps of the brackets facing outward. Then, you alternate between the four screws, applying a few turns each, until the spring-loaded screws run out of threads, as they screw directly into the factory backplate.
When it came time to mount the fan back onto the tower, we did raise it just a touch, staying beneath the height of the heat pipe tips, allowing for more of the upper fins to get airflow while still leaving the fan below the tower to cool the base of the Boreas E1-410 WH, as well as provide a bit of airflow to the VRM heat sinks surrounding the socket.
Due to the thin design of this tower, with a fan on the front of it, there are no issues when it comes to RAM access. We have a few millimeters of a gap before having problems running taller kits than what we show.
As we step back a bit, we can see the same applies to the back of the tower. Should you want to add a second fan to boost performance a couple of degrees, it will not interfere with anything on HEDT systems with RAM on both sides, nor would it impede the 8-pin access.
The contrast between the ASUS gear and the bold white Boreas E1-410 WH puts all of the focus on the cooler in this setup. Even without power, we have no complaints about the appearance, and we love that it stays away from the video card as well, allowing us room to access the fan clips or the GPU release without the need for pliers or a screwdriver.
The default mode that Gamdias offers is a tad flashy for us. The colors are nice, but the speed and way the mode transitions could trigger some people. So rather than deal with that while testing, we allowed AURA Sync to take over, which gives us a much better flow and mix of colors.
Even though all of the lighting is contained within the hub of this semi-translucent fan, we have no complaints of how the flood of light looks, reflecting off the black surfaces, and even though there are defined hotspots, the overall display of ARGB lighting supersedes this small disappointment.
Test System Setup, Thermal Tests, and Noise Results
Chad's CPU Cooler Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII HERO [Wi-Fi] (AMD X570) - Buy from Amazon
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600X - Buy from Amazon
- Memory: Corsair Vengeance LPX 4000MHz 4X8GB
- Graphics Card: ASUS GeForce RTX 2060 6GB OC - Buy from Amazon
- Storage: Galax HOF Pro M.2 1TB SSD
- Case: Hydra Bench Standard
- Power Supply: ASUS ROG Thor 850W - Buy from Amazon
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64-bit - Buy from Amazon
- Software: AMD Ryzen Master, AIDA64 Engineer 6.25.5400, and CPU-z 1.92.0 x64
To see our testing methodology and to find out what goes into making our charts, please refer to our 2020 CPU Cooler Testing and Methodology article for more information.
While the midrange placement of the green bar in our chart seems to imply average performance from the Boreas E1-410 WH, we need to look closer. With an average package temperature of 60.1-degrees, we are closer to the front of the pack than those at the bottom. This single-tower design falls in line with the likes of the NH-D14 and D15S, which says a lot. Considering the cost, we see it outpaced the Freezer 34 Duo, and it has two fans, or look at the fact that the Boreas passes the H150i Elite Capellix when in quiet mode. It may not seem so, but performance-wise, so far, things look great.
Falling into a similar location on the chart of overclocked results with PWM fan control, we see that the Boreas E1-410 WH flounders a little, as the company it keeps now has changed. Still better than the Freezer 34 and Corsair AIO, but the Noctua coolers it was keeping pace with moved further up the chart than Gamdias does. Even so, we have to keep perspective in check, and beating many of its direct competition like the Hyper 212 and Freezer 34, Gamdias did the job they needed to.
As a measure of how much performance is left on the table, opting to set the fans free rather than tying them down with PWM control, we see a nearly two-degree gain in performance. Not something we would write home about, but it does show that Gamdias could have tuned the PWM curve a bit more, as sound levels could not have been the reason for waiting so long to get the fans to peak speed under the testing we supplied.
Noise Level Results
If you are looking for a CPU air cooler with the conveniences of the current market, the Boreas E1-410 WH has some, but while giving you lights, a white tower, and sufficient cooling, keeping noise at bay is not a concern. At the complete opposite end of the tower, we get to look at the top of the Boreas E1-410 WH. Using what is a rectangle as the shape of each fin, Gamdias presses each fin with the Zeus name, as well as the chevrons near the heat pipes and the grooves we saw earlier, leaving the tips of the pipes exposed through the top. Idle, our fan would slow to 975 RPM, which sits at 25 dB. When tests were running, the fans maxed out with the PWN curve at 1398 RPM, delivering 36 dB of noise into the room while at that speed.
Again, when at idle, the fan slowed to 975 RPM before kicking off the overclocked version of testing with PWM control, and the fan stopped at 1717 RPM, keep in mind we are at nearly 70°C package temperatures at this point, and the fan is already delivering 43 dB into the office. There are louder in this chart, but less than a dozen and two of those are stock CPU coolers!
Looking at the results of this chart, where we let the fan run free, at its maximum RPM. We found that while rated for 2000 RPM, our fan turned at 2102 RPM. While inside the margin of error of ±10%, we have to note that the cooler had its best chance with this fan attached. At this time, we saw the 51 dB noise level, but in our minds, if you are cool as a company with 43dB under load, why not unleash the fan sooner?
This entire exercise has felt like a blast from the past while reviewing the Gamdias Boreas E1-410 WH CPU coolers. We mean by this that even when initially looking at the front of the box, it felt like those "hey look at me" packaging layouts we used to see on older Scythe coolers. No offense to anyone, the nostalgia was enjoyable, as it seems most of the market is into stealth black packaging these days.
Opening it, finding it in a plastic container, and while on the box poking Cooler Master, the irony of the look at that stage was not lost on us. The cooler's performance is not great, but then again, it isn't horrible either. While it runs in the middle of the pack, if the color, lighting of the fan, or the busy packaging doesn't get your attention, the amount of noise will, which is something that takes us back to the $50 Xigmatek days. If anything, we have to give Gamdias points on delivering a trip back in time, giving us a perspective of where the standard affordable cooler stacks up to the others today.
In reality, there is not much about the entire process that we did not like or found an issue with. The hardware has been simplified for AMD users and is a lot like HEDT has been for years. The base of this cooler is done very well, and again, at this price point, we expected much worse and have seen worse on more expensive solutions. We like the bold white contrasting against the rest of our build, and while we feel the default ARGB mode while not under motherboard sync control may not be pleasant to view for the long term.
The issue we will say was unexpected was that both sides of the tower had been rubbed, where bare aluminum has been exposed through the white coating. Here is the rub (no pun intended); it happened before it was boxed. The damage occurred in an area where the box and plastic inner packaging do not make contact. We get that the Boreas E1-410 WH is affordable. But that does not mean people will willingly take something sub-par, even if it is not visible when used.
As pricing is reduced, many things can be overlooked. However, you must have the fundamentals together before being gentle while scoring Gamdias on certain aspects of our awards. Thermal performance is there. It is not amazing, but it does not cost an arm and a leg either. It offers ARGB to help coincide with the motherboard, offering another location to flood the interior of the chassis.
Is it on the level of the top-tier ARGB fans with twenty, thirty, or more LEDs? No, but it is a nice addition to a very affordable CPU cooler. The trend that comes up most as we try to close things up is that low pricing. For just $32.99, especially in the current market, it is hard to go wrong with this as a solution to your needs, as long as you are not afraid of noise.
The Bottom Line
The Boreas E1-410 WH is stunning to view, and does compete where Gamdias intends. However, it is loud, ours wasn't in terrific condition, and as long as cost is kept close to current findings, we feel it has a place for many.