Not all that long after CES, we received a very cool product from Swiftech: their H220. This was the world's first AIO that offered a warranty, even if you tore the loop apart. In fact, Swiftech sort of urged you to add your GPU or GPUs into the loop, and with all of the cool features that kit offered, it made installation of the kit as it was shipped very easy for those that don't want to tinker with high-end water cooling components. On the flip side, when the H220 released, the pricing was so good that even the extreme water cooling gurus were very pleased with what Swiftech had developed and offered to the world.
The issue with the H220 kit was that it may have possibly infringed on a patent or two, and another AIO company took offense to this revolutionary way of thinking about AIOs. Even though there is no way that this company would ever develop a kit such as this, since they are still stuck in the same tiny tubing, mixed-metal loops, that they have been relabeling for the past five or six years. That isn't to say that they have not made improvements to the head units, but the whole rest of their kits are still based on the same tubing diameter, same high FPI aluminum radiator, and they try to win you over with flashy lights, or killer software. It is just a shame they could not all just get along, and due to the pressure, Swiftech had to remove the H220 from the U.S. market.
This is where we introduce Cooler Master into the mix. They had seen what was going on when Swiftech released the H220, and they must have been impressed, since right around the same time that one variation was being pulled from the market, there was news everywhere of Cooler Master's new Glacer 240L.
This is the cooler that we are finally getting a chance to look at today. Only one change, the head unit (and the bulk of the lawsuit), are now different, and any remains of the Swiftech name has been removed. Even CM fans cool the radiator now. For those who missed out on the H220, the time to get the Glacer 240L kit from Cooler Master is now.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
The specifications chart for the Glacer 240L provided by Cooler Master has what I like to see: full disclosure of the entire kit. Things start off with the RL-G24L-24PK-R1 model number of this unit, and then they dive right into the radiator. Here, they cover the 269mm long, 127mm wide, and 29mm thick dimensions, explain that it has a G1/4 fill port, and that it is made of mostly copper, but also has some components made of brass. The fans used to cool this radiator are quite capable of delivering some good results. Each of the Blademaster 120mm fans will spin near 2400RPM, delivering 86.15CFM of airflow. The noise level of a rated 40 dBA is a bit high, but so is the static pressure, with an amazing rating of 4.16 mmH2O.
Moving on, we see the pump in the head unit is capable of speeds from 1200 to 3500 RPM, but has no way to monitor this. While it shows a 4-pin fan connection, and a SATA power connection, the 4-pin connector only offers power and ground; no sense wire for RPM. The pump draws 12V at full power, and sips only 13W while running during its 60,000 hour lifespan. This pump is capable of moving 165 liters of water per hour, and offers almost nine feet of head pressure, so even the tallest of cases won't be an issue with this kit. To connect the head unit to the radiator, there is black PVC tubing with a 5/8" O.D. and an I.D. of 3/8", and both tubes are 420mm from block to radiator.
Finding the Glacer 240L is really easy, just hop over to any of your favorite e-tailers, and you will find it listed. Cooler Master set the MSRP of this cooler at $139.99 when it was released, and it seems both Newegg and Amazon are playing ball and keeping that pricing. Amazon is offering free shipping for Prime members, but Newegg is also charging less than $7 to ship it.
For $140, this is not only a great deal, but is the only current offering keeping the mod-able AIO dream alive for those inside of the United States. It only takes a trip to a water cooling shop to price out the components, for even the most hardened water coolers out there to realize that this is a great deal, and an excellent choice at this price. Now, all that is left really is to test the Glacer 240L, and see just what it brings to the table.
The top of the box offers the Cooler Master name and logo at the top left, with a large image of the Glacer 240L behind it taking up most of this side. Along with the two-year warranty shown at the top, at the right, near the bottom, it states that this is tuned for performance, is modular and expandable, and is pre-filled, and ready to go out of the box.
This side is purple (like one panel on every CM product is), and contains a lot of information. It features a full list of the kit included inside of this box; everything from the major components, down to the hardware, and thermal paste supplied.
On what is technically the bottom of the box, there is a full specifications list with the socket compatibility beneath it to the left. At the right, there are dimensional renderings of the radiator from both angles, to show up front what sort of room is needed to house the Glacer 240L.
The smaller panel is more mundane, but still offers an image of the Glacer 240L, along with the white naming.
The last panel to offer any real information is what we see in this image. Here, Cooler Master offers two charts. To the left is a chart showing how flow rate and pressure are determined by the speed of the pump, and to the right is the pump performance curve.
To take this image, we did remove half of the recycled cardboard shell that covered the top of this kit when it was sent to us. It is easy to see that the kit is packed well, as there are no scrapes on the tubing, and with the radiator sandwiched in the middle, nothing has a chance to damage it.
CoolerMaster Glacer 240L CPU Cooler
Fresh out of the box, the Glacer 240L is ready to go for most Intel applications without doing a thing. Of course, you can add things and mod this loop to fit your needs, but it is tested, sealed, and ready to go if you wish to use it as-is.
The head unit gets a thick plastic top and has two grooves, one on either side of the engraved CoolerMaster logo. The center section is left simply textured, as we would find most plastic, but the sides are made to look like brushed metal for a bit of stylish trimming.
The Intel hardware is all pre-attached to the head unit, but we will cover that more in the accessories section. We see a newer design with the bottom of the block being open, and as you move back, you find the swivel fitting that is screwed into the head unit. The tubing also has a removable clamp on it for modification.
On what will be the top of the head unit if you have the logo reading correctly, there are two groups of wires that come from the middle section, and they are what supplies power to the pump and provide PWM functionality.
At the other end of these leads, you find a dual wire 4-pin fan connection (which will allow for PWM control via most motherboards), and a SATA power plug to deliver a solid 12V to the system. I would also like to say: thank you for not using a 4-pin Molex plug.
Getting back to the head unit, we flipped it over to look at the base. Here, we not only find a protective layer of plastic, but also a quality control sticker showing that it was tested, and is functional.
CoolerMaster Glacer 240L Continued
Removing the protective plastic, we find a very finely polished copper base to mate with the CPU. The bulk of this base is flat, but does deflect a bit near the edges; however, it is also flat where the TIM is left from making our test rounds.
Where most AIOs out there work in the realm of tiny tubes and shorter lengths of at most twelve inches, the Glacer 240L not only offers 3/8" inside diameter tubing, but from clamp to clamp, the tubing is over fifteen inches in length.
Just like how the head unit offers swivel fittings, so does the end of the radiator. This way, if you shorten the runs, or want to clean it up a bit, both ends of the tubing are easily adjusted for clean looking runs. There are also the same removable clamps on this end of the tubing.
Just to give some idea of the open fin arrangement on this radiator: most AIOs are at least double the 14FPI that we see here with this dual 120mm radiator.
There are also two 120mm Blademaster fans pre-mounted to this side of the radiator with short screws. These fans both use 4-pin PWM connections for power, and while they look pretty plain, their specs elude to good things to come.
Also, at the far left edge of the last image, there is the large reservoir and fill port added onto the end of these radiators. This means two things. It is a bit longer than other dual radiator solutions, but on the flip side, when making modifications, this is a simple way to drain and refill the loop.
Accessories and Documentation
The Glacer 240L comes with hardware to fit all of the current sockets as well. Here are the LGA 2011 thumbscrews that are sleeved with a spring; they run through the pre-installed Intel mounting legs on the block, and the washers slide on from the bottom to help keep the screws in the mounting legs. Since the LGA2011 socket is where the screws mount, there is no back plate for this installation.
They also send the full AMD kit too. I added the tube of thermal paste to the middle, but the Glacer offers new block hardware, and tiny screws to mount it. There are four metal washers, and three plastic washers. There are also the four AMD thumbscrews, but you borrow springs, and with only three plastic clip washers, you need to borrow one of them as well.
There is also a fan accessories kit of screws. Here, you are offered eight short fan screws as a mounting option, and they also give you eight long screws that go through the fans frame, and will mount this kit into a chassis. It also helps if you want to add a couple more fans to the radiator prior to its installation.
I did want to show the Intel back plate. This comes with four foam pads that have removable covers, to allow this to stick right to the back of the motherboard to ease the block's installation. Each end is also adjustable so that this will fit various sockets (except for LGA2011).
CoolerMaster also offers a user guide for the Glacer 240L, and right away they are congratulating you on the purchase. They also strongly suggest at least looking through this prior to any attempt at installation.
Inside, the first page offers a minimized specifications chart, and at the bottom, it offers the packing list. This will make sure right away if you have all the parts you need to get the build complete, long before you are elbows deep in the chassis.
This page then covers the installation for all of the Intel sockets. It shows how to adjust the back plate, to remove the pad covers, remove the block cover, and mate the two together. There are steps to swap out for LGA2011, but AMD users are left to fend for themselves. As you can see, the bottom states that the last page was mounting diagrams and instructions, which we just left out since the box images already covered this.
Installation and Finished Product
As the instructions showed us to, we adjusted the insert at the end of the legs on the plate, and then we removed the paper on the pad to expose the tape that will stick this plate to the motherboard, and keep it from falling out when trying to screw in the block.
When installing the plate to the motherboard, for certain sockets, you will need to make certain the orientation is correct to allow the top socket screws to pass by the plate.
After we set the screws for the block, it was time for a few more images. The head unit is a bit taller than the usual AIO offering, but much smaller than most other options you have that deliver the level of performance that the Glacer 240L brings.
In our installation, the fitting has the clamp turned out of the way already, which is nice, but I can see some heat spreaders rubbing up against it. You do have the option to turn the head unit ninety degrees on most boards, but then the logo is oriented funny.
Stepping back a bit, there isn't much left to do. The block is mounted, the tubing will go anywhere we need it to, and the fan connection is made for the pump, but we do still have to make the SATA power connection.
Sneaking the head unit in through the D-frame allows us to make a clean run to the CPU socket during testing. I know some will say the radiator is upside down, but we test with the chassis in multiple positions, and even like this there was no performance drop, they did a great job of topping this off with as little air left in the loop as possible.
The Test System and Thermal Results
I would first like to thank ASUS, InWin, Corsair and Fractal Design for supplying products for me to test with. To see our testing methodology, and to find out what goes into making our charts, please refer to our CPU Cooler Testing and Methodology article for that information.
As with all AIO testing, we set the pump to spin at full power, but there is no way to get an actual RPM reading, so we assume we were at the rated 3500RPM. With the voltage reduced to the fans, and the test run complete with them spinning at 1560RPM, the Glacer 240L gives results in the 48.5 degree average. While the Neptune is just ahead at this time, it does offer more surface area, and the fan's static pressure of the Glacer have yet to be set loose. For those interested, the CPU idled at 26.25 degrees during our runs.
Once the overclock was applied, the Glacer 240L shows up the entire crowd. While not by the largest of margins, it is still impressive that the Glacer 240L slightly outperformed its larger Nepton cousin. The fans were now running at 2300 RPM, and were delivering much more static pressure than almost any other fans I have tested, and allowed for the 67.58 degree average we seen here in this chart.
Noise Level Results
For our stock runs, we found the Blademaster fans were just slightly audible with a 35 dB reading on the meter. At this level, being inside of a chassis, there won't be much to hear, but in our open air test chassis, it was easily picked up from a few feet away.
When the fans are set free to give every bit of love they can deliver, the noise level jumps right up to 59dB. Inside of a chassis, or outside of a chassis, you are going to hear these fans at this level. But, considering the crowd of competing AIOs on the charts, it is right in the ballpark of "normal", only with this cooler, you get top tier performance too.
I am pleased to say that no corners were cut, no detail got overlooked, and Cooler Master was on their game when they decided to come out with this Glacer 240L cooler. Their partnership in this venture brings back of all the excitement we had destroyed right in front of us as the predecessor to this kit was pulled from the market. I know that left a lot of people angry, as they missed the chance to buy them when they were available. Cooler Master saw the hole in the market, and did what it took to fill that void as soon as possible, bringing us back to the new age of AIOs where you can modify the loop. You can change the coolant, you can change the tubing color, you can add radiators and blocks, and all while still keeping your warranty. You will find this sort of design nowhere else in the USA at this time. And, even if you did, and their warranty allowed for modifications, most of them don't have what it takes to still be efficient with additions anyway.
Everything from start to finish just worked. As long as you have the added length needed to fit the reservoir end of this radiator into the chassis, you should be good to go. Most AIO radiators are 27mm thick, and the 2mm difference to the thickness of the Glacer 240L's radiator isn't going to complicate much, if anything at all. The head unit may cause memory issues with the nearest slot, but the head unit can be oriented on its side to alleviate this issue, and with no fancy lights in the head unit, it is likely too dark in most cases to read the logo on the head unit anyway.
What struck me up front were the ratings of these 120mm Blademaster fans, specifically the huge static pressure reading, but in the end, it has to be real for the 240mm cooling solution to be able to outpace a similar 280mm loop, albeit the pump is not quite as good there either. Any way you want to come at the Glacer 240L, it just works. Mounting, performance, expected noise levels for said performance, and even the pricing makes this the obvious choice for the next AIO in your build.
The Glacer 240L took top honors on the thermal chart with the overclock applied, and top tier performance is always desired. When considering that the average AIO comes with what it comes with, and the limitations of what they offer (with $90 to $120 price tags for the usual suspects), when something like this comes along, it is what I like to refer to as: a market killer. While I have seen other companies trying new things, like Antec and Zalman for instance, with the patents that Asetek holds, it takes a giant to stand up and say "here we are," and we have a kit that will do exactly what they have been afraid of for years.
At $139.99, and readily available almost anywhere Cooler Master Products are sold, my suggestion is to get out there as soon as possible and get one of your very own before stock on shelves deplete. Don't miss the chance to have the best AIO on the market inside of the U.S..
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