The Bottom Line
- + Affordable pricing
- + Easy to install
- + TF-PRO fan
- + Quietest version of its model
- + Old-school design
- - Lack of RGB/ARGB
- - Lacks some compatibility
Should you buy it?AvoidConsiderShortlistBuy
Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
At this point, we are quickly creeping up on twenty coolers that we have seen from ID-Cooling, in what feels like a short time. Over that span, we have seen a half dozen sealed loop systems under various names, but by far, ID-Cooling's SE Series is what keeps them in business. With one look at the SE-Series lineup and seeing the sixty-one coolers currently on offer, it is easy to understand why we made the assertion. Something to remember, though, is that many of the sixty-one SE coolers on offer are variations of previously viewed coolers. In this instance, we are returning to the SE-224 models, where this year, we get a new letter in the name that hopefully differentiates them enough not to cause too much confusion.
Typically, when it comes to a refresh of a cooler design, TweakTown requires at least three changes in the product even to be considered worth the time to have another look. In this instance, five changes are considerably different from what we saw in the SE-224-XT Black and gave our thoughts on it nearly two years ago. A new fan comes with the latest tower, which is lighter and shorter than the earlier models. The TDP has been increased, the amount of noise made has been reduced, and the price hasn't changed in the two years since we visited such a cooler, where everything else around it has increased, sometimes exponentially.
Please stick with us as we go over the latest SE-224-XTS from ID-Cooling. While at face value, it may seem like we are looking at a SE-224-XT without the fancy black coating, but it gets much deeper. We would completely understand your position if these coolers were the same size and came with the same fan to attach. However, with what we have seen from this SE-224-XTS that ID-Cooling has put in front of us, Somehow, whether through magic or voodoo, they have found a way to get more from less.
The S in the name is the only thing on the face that will differentiate this newer model from the older ones as we go from the older SE-224-XT to this SE-224-XTS. Sadly, even though we get time moves on, we lose the HEDT support the original has, but we do get all of the newer hardware needed for the latest gear on offer right now. The SE-224-XTS will support Intel sockets LGA 1700, LGA 1200, and any of the LGA 115X sockets. AMD is simpler, with support for AM4 and the newest AM5 sockets. Along with fairly decent modern CPU support, we also get an increase in the TDP rating. Where the SE-224-XT was offered with a 180W TDP, the SE-224-XTS offers this 220W TDP rating.
Dimensionally, this CPU cooler stands 151mm tall, some 3mm shorter than the XT, and both are 75mm thick, but the XTS is 75mm deep, 2mm deeper than the XT. Along with four 6mm diameter copper heat pipes utilizing H.D.T. 3.0, offering thirty percent more "contact intensity," we also get a single array of fifty-three fins left in their natural state while the pipes are nickel plated. We also see that the Se-224-XTS went on a diet compared to the XT, where the weight has dropped from 810 grams to just 650 grams.
The fan is said to be the TF-PRO Fan from ID-Cooling, but oddly it shared the identical part number with the one we saw in the box with the SE-224-XT. One look at the fans and there are obvious glaring differences in how they are made, but on a technical level, the specifications have changed. It is still a 120mm fan, but the speed has been reduced to a maximum of 1500 RPM, reducing the CFM to 70. Static pressure is similar to the XT at 2.15 mmH2O, as are the voltage requirements and its use of a hydraulic bearing.
Along with the two-year warranty coverage, we were sent the MSRP for the SE-224-XTS. We can say that we are pleased to see manufacturers can still get away with charging the same as when the OG Hyper 212 cooler showed up and not need to demand huge sums of money for even the most fundamental parts of a PC. At just $29.99, we are within reach of any user looking to improve upon the stock solutions with a bit of style and performance that may surprise you, considering that on paper, the SE-224-XTS should not be this capable but is still able to impress.
While ID-Cooling could improve on their shipping methods, we can still make out what the intentions were. At the top, to the left of the cooler's image, we find the ID-Cooling name and logo on the black backdrop. At the bottom, in the bright orange section, is where the SE-224-XTS name is presented.
Again, the name and logo top the panel, but with a lot of room on offer, ID-Cooling shows off its CPU socket support and iconography across the bottom half.
The back of the box is where we located the specifications delivered in nine languages. While the information is not all there compared to what we saw on the product page, it is plenty of information to find out if it fits the chassis or has a decent fan to help keep your system cool.
The remaining panel of the packaging offers up a list of features. We get PWM support, it uses heat pipes, has universal mounting, and has rubber on the fans to isolate them. This fan is 120mm in size and uses a hydraulic bearing. The last bit in the orange portion shows the addresses for the site and support, where to the right are addressed to Facebook and YouTube.
We are glad to find dense foam surrounding the tower's four sides. Otherwise, that hit to the front of the box could have easily damaged the tower. To help keep the CPU cooler safe, the fan takes the impacts on the top side, where the hardware box is under the cooler, with the literature set at the top for easy access.
ID-Cooling SE-224-XTS CPU Cooler
Looking into the face of the SE-224-XTS, we start at the top with the thick black cover and the covered pipe tips. Below, we see fifty-three aluminum fins with four pipes running through them. Even further down, we find that the heat pipes are nickel plated.
Looking at the top side of the tower, we see that it is asymmetrical or offset from the center for added RAM clearance. The sides of the fins are tabbed at the front and back, but the middle, while it looks like a lot of aluminum, is the view of the pipes running up the tower through the open gaps.
From the back of the cooler, the view may seem like we reversed the first image, but that is because the leading and trailing edges of the fins are identical, combined with the fact that we cannot see enough of the crossbar mounting plate to judge the offset. We like that there are two defined trails of heat pipes, as keeping them in alignment would not help performance as much.
The bottom side of the CPU cooler is a mirrored image of what we found on the other side. Every detail is identical except for how the offset is showing itself in this image. We would mention the fan clip groove, but it is tough to determine where that is from this angle, and we do have a vantage of it in another picture.
The aluminum fins in the array are identical when looking at the leading and trailing edges, and this is what you will find. Virtually flat fins with three grooves and a couple of sawtooth blades on either side of the center, with a slim groove down the center, are the only areas for the fan to build up the airflow.
Unlike the plasticky feel of the top cover for the SE-224-XT, we get an upgrade in the aesthetics department with the SE-224-XTS. Much like what we see on their SE-207-XT Advanced, we get a black brushed metal cover surrounded by a thin plastic frame, and ID-Cooling makes sure to dress it up a bit further with the machined caps on the heat pipe tips.
At the other end of the fin array, we can see the heat pipes entering the tower behind one another, but with gaps between them to allow the airflow to get to all four of them. The fins are press-fit to the pipes, and as promised earlier, here is the better angle to show the grooves where the fan clips mount on the sides of the cooler.
The pipes enter an aluminum block which has been milled and presented as a bit of a pre-cooler to allow heat out of the cooler. However, air flows from the spring-loaded mounting screw to spring-loaded screw, and the steel plate isolates it from much of the airflow that runs under the fins.
What we see now is the H.D.T. 3.0 with its increase in intensity. There are two ways to take that. It's either 30% larger, which does not appear to be what it is, and our only other guess is mounting pressure, which is one way to gain performance, for sure. The surface is close to flat across the entirety, but we can make out gaps between the copper and aluminum. Not the worst we have seen, but we have seen better direct contact mating surfaces.
Accessories and Documentation
The main bits of hardware are starting things as we look at the Intel top brackets, the Intel backplate, and the set of AMD top brackets. The backplate has adjustable studs and isolating washers, while the brackets are left in a natural state of steel to match the coolers aesthetic.
What we have left is the rest of the mounting bits. On the left are the LGA115X and LGA1200 spacers, followed by a set of knurled nuts to lock the brackets from the previous image into place. In the middle are the LGA1700 spacers, while the four screws and red spacers for AMD sockets are on the right.
The SE-224-XTS ships with four wire fan clips, two of which are used on the TF-PRO Fan, but there is another set should you want to add a second fan. We also get a large Frost X25 thermal grease tube with enough paste for a couple of application attempts.
Here is where things get confusing. The ID12025M12S model number is identical to the fan that ships with the SE-224-XT, and it has different corners and only four stays in the frame at the back. This time, it is called the TF-12025-PRO 1500 RPM, and it is easy to see the ten louvers to help with the directionality of airflow, and the rubber pads at the corners have gotten much bigger.
The installation guide is the first thing you see when the box is opened, and it unfolds to deliver everything needed to get underway and install the CPU cooler. A parts list starts things off, ensuring you are ready to continue. There is a section for intel about bracket holes and how to adjust the backplate, and in four images, they show how to mount the tower. The same is found for AMD, followed by a bit on wiring before ending with support tips and an address should an issue arise.
Installation and Finished Product
After removing the factory bits on top of the motherboard and leaving the backplate in place, we followed the steps to get the hardware secured to the board. We set the red spacers over the threaded studs in the backplate, made sure to orient the brackets properly, and locked it all into place with the provided screws ID-Cooling sent along.
We applied MX-4 to the CPU, set the cooler in place after removing the sticker from the base, and alternated turns on the screws until we ran out of threads. After mounting the fan, we turned the motherboard to find this view. Most of what you see is the TF-Pro Fan, which covers most of the fin array and leaves you room to hike the fan up or lower it, depending on your needs.
One more spin of the board allows us to look at the RAM clearance, which is completely open. The offset design puts the fan farther away from the RAM than most coolers. This gap also ensures you have that room for the fan adjustment, but it also means you can use RAM with the tallest heat spreaders.
Stepping back to obtain a better view of what is going on, we find a lot of room around the tower. Plenty of room under it to hide the fan cable and space behind for RAM, but no socket support, although, even with a second fan, 8-pin EPS cable connectivity can still be easily accomplished.
Against the rest of the components, the brushed metal top fits right in with the HERO look, and black on black is always a good color theme. You may notice that our installation resulted in the tower being slightly askew. Before testing, we addressed this, but we had to loosen the bracket screws at the motherboard and adjust the hardware to square up the appearance.
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.
Even though the results are quite far down the list, the 61.2Â°C is just over seven degrees from the top of the chart, with a cooler that costs five times as much. Compared to the SE-224-XT at 61Â°C, they run neck and neck. Compared to the coolers around the SE-224-XTS, there are few in the same price segment.
With the result of the overclocked run being 67.7Â°C, we cannot complain, as we are still that same seven degrees from the top of the chart. However, this time we pull ahead of the SE-224-XT Black by a degree. Compared to what surrounds it, it is by far the most economical solution there.
ID-Cooling left roughly three degrees on the table to play with beyond what PWM demanded from our TF-Pro 120 fan. While it may not make or break an overclock, the gap from the top of the chart decreases to only about five degrees.
Noise Level Results
When it comes to noise levels, we were very pleased to see that we could run the test comfortably temperature-wise, and the fans averaged 911 RPM during the test and peaked at 1055, all while never going past 26 dB. We are glad it isn't buzzing our eardrums into insanity at this price.
Applying the overclock did make the fan increase speed, but the average at this time was still low at 1024 RPM, peaking at 1241 RPM. Even though 34 dB is into the audible range of most users, it could be much worse, and with anything going on in the room, you will be hard-pressed to single it out as being the SE-224-XTS.
To obtain that near three-degree advantage over the PWM curve, you do not have to pay a steep penalty as one might expect. Noise levels jumped to 43 dB while our fan spun at 1511 RPM, and that is just a drop or two in the bucket compared to many other offerings.
We got some information on this cooler ahead of time, like the Amazon link and such, and even though pricing was included in that conversation, it somehow alluded our eyes at that time. When the box showed up, and it was dented, we sighed and said we hope this isn't damaged. Opened it up, found it was fine, and moved on with the picture-taking. When we got to testing, we saw the results and wondered if we hadn't done something wrong, as coming from three AIOs that kind of crushed it last month, our mind was looking for more.
It wasn't until we checked everything over and returned to the emails that the bright shining light made it to our eyes. To us, this is one time you should not judge a book by its cover. What may look basic and possibly ordinary is not just a dressed-up turd. It is here to compete and perhaps change the minds of those who feel you need to spend nearly $200 or more to have sufficient CPU cooling.
Is the performance spectacular or chart-topping? No, it isn't. but does it have to in order to be considered in the right circumstances? We think not. ID-Cooling has something here with the SE-224-XTS. They surpassed the predecessor, the SE-224-XT from a couple of years back, with less noise and what certainly feels like less cooler. It is lighter and shorter, and the fan does not boast specs as high as what shipped with the original.
Still, ID-Cooling waved their wand and delivered a product that could very well reach the status of coolers like the Hyper 212, anything Xigmatek from before 2016, maybe even reach the heights of many ARCTIC coolers of the past and present.
There were no surprises regarding the installation, connectivity, and use from beginning to end. It is all there in front of you in the guide, and all you have to do is follow along. Once installed, the noise level is well under control, the fans never making it to 700 RPM, with a 23 dB noise level at idle.
Even when loading the system, unless you are using this in a dead zone, the noise from the cooler is a breeze compared to what we see from most other makers. With a set of headphones, a GPU fan spooling in a game, or even the slightest bit of music from the PC, you will likely never hear the SE-224-XTS working for you.
Whether you are a system builder looking for the latest best bang for the buck in air cooling, ID-Cooling may have what you are searching for. For those on a budget, there are a few offerings with similar costs, but with all things considered, we prefer the sleek styling of this SE-224-XTS over the likes of the Freezer 34 or the other slim pickings that ship to your door at $30. One could argue that there is no lighting, or it should be black, not silver, well ID-Cooling has thought about that too.
We have that to come soon enough, but as it stands, the ID-Cooling SE-224-XTS is hands down the solution for many situations that will not break the bank and may allow you to buy better things like faster RAM or more storage when it comes to compiling a new system. Any way you look at it, ID-Cooling has something here, and it is well worth the attention of the masses.
The Bottom Line
The SE-224-XTS may feel like the same old thing, but reality shows it to be a whole new beast. Limited noise, great performance with all things considered, and with such an affordable price, you'd be silly not to buy one as it fits so many needs of the everyday users.