Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
As we all know, the AIO game is something more and more manufacturers are playing these days, and Asetek and CoolIt are not the only players any longer. There is now a third supplier of AIOs that we first saw with the Silverstone, and then with the Enermax submissions, and that supplier is Fractal Design. Now, Fractal Design has also gone to Apaltek for their AIO coolers. The thing is, Asetek, or "the Rambus of AIO coolers", has been knocking down anyone who tries to sell an AIO inside of the United States, which is why Fractal has made the decision right out of the gate to not release these coolers inside of the USA. Fractal even provided us with a statement pertaining to this, and here is what they have to say: "Due to the existing legal conflict and lawsuit surrounding water cooling, Fractal Design has decided not to make this product available for the North American market until the court has made the final decision."
While it is not hard to figure out why Fractal Design has made this decision, it is a bit of a downer for those who populate this side of the globe. Fractal has come forth with a really nice product, and in our opinion, has bettered the patent holder's design, offering up yet another finely polished product, and it is also expandable. Just like we saw from the previous two companies that also thought outside of the box, we get a much cleaner looking radiator, a head unit that is the latest generation of technology, and even things that are definitely crossed over from the full-on custom water cooling market. Such features elevate this latest cooler beyond what the typical offerings deliver.
The naming of this series, Kelvin, seems to fit very well since it is a measure of temperature, and you will find three versions currently in this series. Fractal offers a 360mm radiator version that comes along with a trio of fans, a 240mm radiator version that ships with a pair of fans, or you can opt for the 120mm version that we will be testing today. This Kelvin T12 AIO cooler features things like metal fittings, a copper radiator, and anti-kink coils covering the black tubing. But Fractal does not stop with the typical 27mm thick radiator. Like many of the dual fan cooled AIOs, this cooler's radiator is sandwiched between spacer plates to allow the fans to build pressure before running through this low-FPI radiator. This setup makes it more efficient than the standard design. While other Apaltek based systems were much classier than the standard offerings, everything Fractal Design has optioned for in their Kelvin series is stylistically and functionally a step above the rest, and you will see for yourself soon enough.
Fractal Design provides a ton of information on their coolers. In the general specifications, we find that the Kelvin T12 has a head unit that is 69mm square, and stands 40mm tall to stay clear of everything else on the motherboard. We see that the tubing is 11mm OD, and 8mm ID with anti-kin coils covering them to make sure there are no issues with installation. The 120mm radiator actually measures 46mm thick, 132mm wide, and 163mm tall with the extended headers on the radiator. All of the fittings on this unit are G1/4, metal, and those on the head unit swivel with ease, making this yet another expandable unit. There is pretty much full compatibility with any current processor, and even some support for EOL ones. We also get a pair of fans and a syringe of Fractal Design Zero paste, and the unit comes in any color you want, as long as you desire it in black. The last bits of the chart cover the overall weight of the unit, as well as the packaging dimensions and weight.
Getting back to the pair of supplied Fractal Design Silent Series HP 120 fans, we sense that these are silent of course, but the HP alludes to High Pressure as well. These fans can spin at speeds ranging from 800 to 1700 RPM via the four-pin PWM connection, and each fan is capable of delivering 62.4CFM. Most fans in this range would offer 1 to 1.5 mmH2O of pressure, but these fans are each rated to push 2.33 mmH2O of pressure, which is really good for silent fans. Speaking of noise, these fans will deliver up to 26.9 dB(A), and only require a maximum of 0.18A of power to get these specifications.
We can then move on to the head unit, or the pump specifications. Here we see the impeller is supported, and will spin up to 2400 RPM on a ceramic bearing. It can be voltage controlled via software or BIOS, but uses a three-pin connector for power. At that speed, this pump can move 72 liters of coolant per hour, with a head pressure of one meter. Fractal even goes as far as to give the head unit a noise rating, and here they show that it is slightly lower than the fans at 25 dB(A); all of this is accomplished with just 0.27A of power.
Inside of the USA, or any other country on the North American continent, it may be some time before we see these coolers on any shelf (it may never even show here depending on the outcome of the lawsuit), but we were given the MSRP. For the Kelvin T12 that we are currently looking at, Fractal has set an MSRP of $99.99. Over the pond, that equates to 74.99 GBP, or 89.99 Euros. We are also being told that these coolers will release in mid-February, but we have yet to see a hard date on the release. For those on this side of the pond, we apologize that we are about to make you drool, already knowing the cake is a lie, but even so, it is well worth a look. For those lucky ones not on this half of the globe, fully expect this cooler to be on shelves very soon.
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