The Bottom Line
- + Affordable pricing
- + Easy to install
- + All black aesthetic
- + Simpler styling
- - Loud
- - Lighting is nearly hidden
Should you buy it?AvoidConsiderShortlistBuy
Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
Thinking about many of the AIOs that have been sent over for testing, a few things ring true with the vast majority. Silence is key, almost above all else. Lighting is important, too, as the RGB and now ARGB craze is all the rage. And sadly, unless you are willing to spend nearly $200, it is almost as if AIO makers are happy being somewhere in the middle of the pack. If, like us, this is what you are used to, and you think this is just another brand with the same old thing, you would be greatly mistaken.
ID-Cooling has been sending over quite a few coolers as of late, and while many were air coolers, they also sent along one of their latest ideas in AIO cooling. However, pricing is most important with this iteration. Without diving to the bottom of our thermal charts, ID-Cooling cares little about much else once they get beyond the initial styling. If noise is an issue, you may want to move on, but for those who don't care about it, prepare for one of the most affordable AIOs we have ever tested, especially at this size.
While you may have seen the ID-Cooling Dashflow coolers of the past, this newest version, the Dashflow 240 Basic Black, takes on a new look. There is a sister model to what we have, as well as being able to locate them in various sizes potentially, but along with the black version, there will be a white version to come along. For those on a budget, please stick with us, as we cannot recall the last time we had a 240 mm-based liquid CPYU cooler that offers such a deal for what you get.
The Dashflow 240 Basic Black can be mounted to the current Intel sockets and the LGA115x motherboards. AMD is more limited, where only AM4 and AM5 sockets are supported. We next see the 260W TDP rating, which is quite good, and we move immediately into the radiator specifications. We are told that the radiator is 270mm long, 120mm wide, 17mm thick, and entirely made from aluminum. The radiator is painted black, and rather than leave the rivets exposed on the sides, ID-Cooling adds some plastic trim.
As we move away from the radiator towards the head unit, we first have to run down the 400mm length of the premium-sleeved tubes, which are gray rather than black. As they connect to the head unit via ninety-degree swivel fittings, we see the 72mm square plastic-covered head unit that stands 54mm tall. The base of the head unit is made of copper, but the pump inside the head unit can spin at 2100 RPM on a ceramic bearing to cycle the coolant up to 116 liters per hour. The pump is said to last for up to 50,000 hours of use and is shown to get no louder than 26 dBA.
To cool the radiator, ID-Cooling chose some serious fans. The pair of 120mm fans included in the box can spin at 1800 RPM while delivering 82.5 CFM, but there is no mention of the static pressure needed to get through the high-density fin array. We can see that the fans use a 4-pin PWM connector and spin on a hydraulic bearing and a bunch of power-related figures, but we are pleased to see a three-year warranty covering these AIOs.
When it comes to the price point, many will appreciate it. We are ahead of release as we write this review, and we are told these coolers should be in the wild as of December 8th. Even so, there is already an Amazon page for pre-orders. The best part about all of this is that not only does it show that ID-Cooling is on the ball and ready for the release date, but with the Dashflow 240 Basic Black listed at $69.99, we can almost see the eyebrows raising.
Even though the name of this cooler sports the name basic, one look at the front of this ID-Cooling packaging and that notion may get thrown out the door. While the tubes are not illustrated, the head unit looks very appealing with its white LED light shown around the shapes on top of it.
Both of the longer sides of this box offer up the same information. All we get on the sea of matte black is the Dashflow 240 Basic Black in white text.
Both of the smaller ends are identical in what is provided. We see the logo, the ID-Cooling name, and the tagline of "ideas to make a difference" printed on black panels. Each end is sealed with a sticker, ensuring the end-user that the product has not been tampered with since it left the factory.
The back of the box is presented in bright orange, which is a tad harsh on the eyes. On the left are renderings of the components with the dimensions provided, while the middle contains the specifications. To the right is the compatibility of this AIO, while the company information, notations, and product information are displayed across the bottom.
We initially found a layer of cardboard over everything you see inside. All bits are kept away from one another with the help of dense foam, cut to fit the components. The head unit and tubing are at the top, with the hardware and fans in the middle, leaving the radiator next to the fans. There is an extra bit of cardboard between the fans and the radiator, and with all of that combined, the Dashflow 240 Basic black we have is in stellar condition.
ID-Cooling Dashflow 240 Basic Black CPU Cooler
Starting things with a close look at the head unit, at the top, we see a mix of textured, shiny, and hairline sections of black plastic. Around the angled bits on top, there is lighting, but it is delivered outwards towards the sides and almost entirely hidden.
To the right of where we just were, we can see the hexagonal-shaped covers where the gray sleeve and tube are connected to the swivel fittings. A three-wire lead from the head unit between the fittings is used to power the pump.
That three-wire lead can be powered via a fan header on the motherboard. However, it is shipped with a SATA power connector, which, just as the 3-pin fan connection would, runs the pump at full speed all of the time.
Opposite the fittings side of the head unit, we find within the expanse of textured plastic there is a stripe of shiny black. ID-Cooling printed their name there, which almost makes us think it is designed specifically to have the tubes left of the head unit once installed. We also like the way the hairline finish wraps over the top and down two of the sides.
Under the head unit, we did find a protective sticker covering the mating surface. Once removed, we can make out a semi-circular pattern of machine marks left in the exposed copper base. The surface is slightly convex, which helps ID-Cooling increase the socket pressure for these newer models.
The sleeved tube terminates at the radiator under the same hexagonal covers we saw at the head unit. The tubes are a touch longer than fifteen inches, but we also ran the head unit power cable to show that it is twelve inches to the 3-pin connector, and with the SATA power adapter, it is twenty-four inches in overall length.
It is easy to see that ID-Cooling uses a high FPI radiator, which needs a lot of pressure from the fans to cool. When we randomly picked and counted, we got to 23 fins per inch. The fan mounting is standard for 120mm fans, and the entire thing gets the matte black treatment.
Moving around to the side of the radiator, in many instances, we see the dip in the middle of the side rails, with the rivets exposed for all to see. ID-Cooling chose to dress things up with the shiny black plastic cover on either side, with the ID-Cooling name painted white at the left ends.
As far as a product sticker being on the 27mm thick header of the radiator, all we get is a barcode and what we assume is the serial number, as it matches what we found on the sticker at the back of the box.
Accessories and Documentation
ID-Cooling not only sends along the universal, mainstream Intel backplate, but they also include one for LGA1700. It ensures that adjustments and sloppiness in the hardware are not issues with this mounting hardware.
We were sent three pairs of brackets to work with the backplates. On the left are the typical Intel socket brackets used for HEDT and many mainstream ones. In the middle are the AMD brackets, while to the right, we get a set specific to LGA1700 sockets.
On the left are the standard Intel standoffs, with the screw-in standoffs for HEDT boards to the right. Next are the knurled nuts to secure the Intel top brackets, with the AMD standoffs and screws next to them. At the right are the LGA1700-specific standoffs, which are shaped to set themselves apart.
There will also come the point in the installation process where you will need to mount the fans and radiator. The long eight screws are used to secure the fans to the radiator. If the side of the radiator that attaches to the chassis does not have the fans on that side, you will then use the short set of screws to secure them together.
A large tube with a few applications worth of Frost X25 thermal grease is supplied, as is the Y-splitter fan cable adapter, allowing users to power the fans from one header for better PWM control.
The 120mm fans of choice are all black, nine-bladed, ID12025M12S fans. They come with rubber pads on all corners, are powered via 4-pin PWM connections, and have no lighting.
The installation guide is folded up and printed on one side only. For reference, what you see on the right half has been exposed to show what sort of guidance to expect for the various mounting situations. The parts used are highlighted red to help you understand what is happening, while text explanations can be found under the renderings, should it not make complete sense at first.
Installation and Finished Product
To get underway, we left the factor backplate and dropped the red AMD standoffs over the studs protruding through the motherboard. Once that is done, we set the brackets in place as told in the guide and used the provided screws to lock everything into place.
We applied thermal paste, set the head unit onto the CPU, and alternated between the two mounting screws, a couple of turns each. We continued that until the screws stopped spinning, and you may also notice that the head unit's design looks the same when inverted, leaving the tubes on the left.
With the Dashflow 240 Basic Black running, you can see why we infer it's designed to be this way rather than tubes on the right. How else would one ever see the ID-Cooling name on the side of the head unit? No matter your choice on how the head unit goes, we love the similarity of the names on both ends of the tubes, and the angles go well with the ASUS motherboard design.
To be blunt, we like the look of this mounting style. Not only can we see the shiny plastic on the head unit this way, but we also remove the tubes from our view of the rest of the bits. While the lights in the booth are bright, the lighting on the head unit is barely noticeable in a dark room. You have to be on an angle from the front view ever to appreciate it.
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 ever so slightly edged out by the much heavier AK620, the ID-Cooling Dashflow Basic Black shows well in the chart. At 57.9°C, we could complain about it not making it to the top of the chart, but this ID-Cooling solution is nearly a third of the cost it took to get first place.
With the overclock applied, ID-Cooling stays within five degrees of the top of the chart. Again, all things considered, we feel that the 65°C result is respectable.
For those looking for the most the Dashflow 140 Basic Black has to give, there is another 2.8° C left in the tank. At this point, the gap to first is closer than ever, but man is there a metric ton of noise that comes along with this level of performance.
Noise Level Results
When it comes to noise, ID-Cooling does not hold back. At 37 dB for the stock run, with the fans at just 1229 RPM, we can only expect things to get worse as we go. However, under normal use, while gaming, we are not that upset with the amount of noise, as a chassis and a headset make it virtually inaudible.
Applying the overclock ramped the fans to only 1410 RPM, which is not that big of a leap from the previous test. However, the noise coming from the fans has jumped to 49 dB, which could be heard from the next room over.
59 dB is not the worst in the chart; some are much louder, but not many. If you choose to run the fans at full speed, we suggest informing the rest of the house or office, as it will quickly get annoying when it is this loud, not far from your ears.
While ID-Cooling may not have delivered an AIO with all of the latest bells and whistles, they have shown astonishing amounts of bang for the buck with the Dashflow 240 Basic Black liquid CPU cooler. For the money invested, you get a stylish, and while not done well, it is backlit with white LEDs. You do have to hunt them down visually, but it is there. On top of that, even though plastic, ID-Cooling takes the time to mix textures, and with white paint, bodly puts their name in plain sight. Otherwise, you get an AIO that performs well thermally, and it will blend in with the rest of the build and not stand out like some of the rainbow-puking unicorns we see many times.
The choice of fans is good; if they chose anything else, the thermal results would have taken a hit. While it makes us think back to five or ten years ago when AIOs first became the next big thing, we can deal with the noise they put out. The Dashflow 240 Basic Black is not a quiet cooling solution by any means, but with PWM in control for most users, noise levels do not get out of hand.
At the same time, we got everything we needed to use the AIO, and the installation process was a breeze. It took us maybe ten minutes to get the bits laid out, install the Dashflow 240 Basic Black, and be underway with enjoying what we had. We also like the ability of the head unit to spin, which is nothing new to the market, but with this model, it almost eggs you on to install it as we did. It feels like we get the most out of the aesthetic choices if we put the tubes on the left of the head unit.
At this price, something had to give, and it wasn't thermal results or style. The fact that we have to take a hit to the ears sometimes while saving a bunch of money compared to the chart-topper, we are good with those decisions. Because all you have to pony up is $69.99 to obtain the Dashflow 240 Basic Black liquid CPU cooler, we could not ask anything more from ID-Cooling, as they offered quite a bit more than we expected of this cooler.
While the Dashflow 240 Basic Black may not be the choice for everyone, it has the performance to get many interested. While the cost is low, the noise levels are not, but this ID-Cooling product delivers huge in the bang for the buck category.