We think Fractal took the right step when it came to entering the AIO game. Why compete head-to-head like all the rest with the sealed AIOs out there on the market, when customers have been modding AIOs since they first came onto the scene? Rather than coming forth with a pretty looking AIO that is just the same old hat dressed in a new wig, Fractal decided to tear out a page of the Swiftech handbook when they went to the drawing board.
Essentially, most of the components are standard AIO gear, but there are significant changes to this design that place it into another category entirely. These changes include a copper radiator so there are no mixed metals in the loop, going with swivel fittings that truly work, and the compression fittings that allow expandability. These are all things that only one other manufacturer is currently doing, which puts Fractal design in a much less populated market.
While we loved the concept behind the Kelvin T12, we feel that this may not be the best solution to try to add a video card into the loop with. While you could also add a reservoir to keep more fluid in the loop, with a highly overclocked system, you may find yourself saturating the loop. Of course, you could swap out fans for something stronger, but you do want to stay with similar, if not more static pressure than what these Silent Series HP 120 fans offer. We also did try to take off a fitting; in all honesty, we tried all four, but found they were screwed down very tight - well beyond what you can remove with hand strength alone. So, to open this loop up, we would have to opt for a rag and pliers, and hope we don't damage the fittings in doing so.
We did really like that both the radiator and the head unit have fill ports. Not only does that give you options to fill the loop, but it also offers a bleeder valve at both ends to be sure you don't trap air anywhere in the loop.
As an AIO, the Kelvin T12 performs on average with other coolers in its league, both with the thermal results, and the audio results. The Kelvin T12 placed pretty close to where we expected this design to end up long before we got to testing it. It really is just too bad that for now, in North America, we will not be seeing any of these coolers, because the $99.99 entry price is some $30 cheaper than the similar Swiftech 240mm. While we would opt for a larger radiator before we would start adding in more components to the loop, as it sits, the Kelvin T12 is worth the asking price.
Even if you don't have plans to mod it, the Kelvin T12 is still the most professional looking AIO out of the bunch, in the sense of a sealed AIO. Keep in mind, we will also be bringing you the 360mm version of this cooler to show the full spectrum on what the Kelvin series is all about. So, even if the Kelvin T12 isn't exactly what you were looking for, don't completely write off Fractal Design AIOs just yet - they do have more to offer.
Product Summary Breakdown
|Quality including Design and Build||98%|
|Bundle and Packaging||99%|
|Value for Money||94%|
|Overall TweakTown Rating||96%|
The Bottom Line: While it may appear to be a sealed AIO, Fractal Design offers expandability with their new Kelvin T12. While not our choice of expandable models, it contends with other AIOs in its class, and looks and feels better than 99% of the competitors.
PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.
United States: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon's website.
United Kingdom: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon UK's website.
Canada: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon Canada's website.
- Page 1 [Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing]
- Page 2 [Packaging]
- Page 3 [Fractal Design Kelvin T12 AIO CPU Cooler]
- Page 4 [Accessories and Documentation]
- Page 5 [Installation and Finished Product]
- Page 6 [Test System Setup, Thermal Tests and Noise Results]
- Page 7 [Final Thoughts]
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