Introduction, Specifications and Pricing
ID-Cooling is not exactly brand new to CPU cooling, as it just takes one look on their website to realize they have amassed a seriously large arsenal of CPU coolers, it is just that this is the first that we are able to deal with them and review said products. The last we saw from ID-Cooling was when we got our introduction to them with the oddly shaped, but well thought out T60 SFX chassis. Even being from a completely different market, we do have some idea of the quality control used, and the extent to which they will go to make a product that, while it may not be for everyone, it will remain in the back of your mind, sort of like that 80s TV show theme song that keeps rearing its head every once in a while.
We see that ID-Cooling likes to run a series of coolers that all share a similar name. We found the FI or Finland series, we see the IS or Iceland series, the DK or Denmark series, and lastly there is the SE or Sweden series of cooler, and is the series to which our sample belongs. Even when it comes to this series of coolers, we find that there are also six other styles of the SE 2xx series that we are looking at today and it appears there is one other cooler that shares the name almost identically as well. So, if you do go looking around at what they have to offer, pay very close attention to the model numbers, as it is easy to get confused and a bit lost as to what is going on with so many options.
Specifically why we are all together at this time is due to ID-Cooling sending us the SE 214X CPU cooler to test. The main idea here was to use the KISS principle of design, and offer the masses a cooler that is fully capable of the demands of today's PCs, and at the same time, a very affordable price point. That is in no way to say that this is some old tech slapped together with a pretty fan and sent to pass it off as something new. There are actually some design elements that many will appreciate, and one strange one, that while we can see how it works and why it is there, we just don't get the overall point. If a wallet friendly pricing doesn't already have your interests piqued, we can say that what you are about to see is pretty impressive considering what we are given to work with.
The chart provided by ID-Cooling shows us basically what it is we are dealing with in this design. Things get rolling with a huge list of compatible sockets that this cooler will mount to without issue. This includes all current Intel sockets, and everything AMD post socket 939. The SE 214X that we are given offers a 130W TDP rating, and stands only 159mm tall, is 85mm deep with the fan on it, and is 123mm in width totaling 770 grams. This chart does not cover the direct touch base design or the aluminum base component, but they do mention the four 6mm diameter heat pipes used to transfer the heat. They also make no mention of the 48 fins in the stack, or that they and the heat pipes are left in their natural state.
In this chart, there are more lines dedicated to the ID-Cooling NO 12025 120mm fan included with the tower. This fan frame is 123mm square, and while basically all black in color, there are red rubber isolation pads built into it as well. This fan will spin in the range of 800 to 1800 RPM delivering a maximum of 60.7 CFM of flow and 1.81 mmH2O of pressure. While this fan needs 7V to start, it can run beyond 12V to 13.2V and still be within operational voltage range, and will deliver up to 29.2 dB(A) of noise. Other than the current and power demands of the fan, we also see that the hub of the translucent blades of this fan is supported on a hydraulic bearing. There is no mention on the charts, but digging deeper allowed us to find that the entire SE series of coolers offers a three-year warranty.
Budget friendly coolers always seem to have a soft spot in many potential customers' hearts. Not everyone can afford to lay out $100 on top tier air cooling, or even more for a top end AIO, they just need the basics. With this cooler, it fills a couple of voids. Of course, the $34.99 pricing we are seeing across the board is a great way to check off the box for low cost. The thing is though, at the same time, it is able to keep up with a few more expensive coolers, and even holds on well enough to compete with the be quiet! Pure Rock we just looked at with a very similar price point.
Realizing this is all a lot to digest, allow us to break it down for you as we get up close and personal with the SE 214X CPU cooler, and see if ID-Cooling has a good grasp on what it takes to compete in this market.
Using black for the backdrop, ID-Cooling has their name at the top followed by the TDP and product name. We also see a large-ish image of the cooler in the center, and even below, they make note to point out nine features of this design.
Along with the bold yellow bit at the top covering what is inside, the lower section offers features again. This time there are images of the actual cooler presented, and test following to explain about the base, clearances, the fan, the Aluminum Stick Support, and all metal hardware.
On to the back of the box is where we find the specifications. Eleven languages first cover the specification titles for each line, and then you match that line to the numbers given in the bottom right corner.
To cover just about everything we did on the page previous to this, right on the box of the last panel, we find not only the socket compatibility at the top, but also three renderings of the cooler with dimensions of all aspects needed.
Opening the box, you end up finding that the paperwork and hardware box. At this time, we slid everything out to see how the cooler is shipped. Under the hardware is very dense foam used to hold onto the top of the cooler and keep it centered. At the base, there is a lesser dense foam used to sort of cradle the base. While this worked well to get the cooler here, there is a bit of fin bending that occurred near the bottom of the cooler in transit.
ID-Cooling SE 214X CPU Cooler
Fresh out of the box and free of the packing, as we look the SE 214X dead in the face, the slick looking 120mm fan is really all we see of the cooler at this point. At least we know that this tower is well covered by the fan ID-Cooling paired with this design.
From the side, we see a couple of things worth mentioning. It is easy to see the rubber bits in the fan keeping it away from the fins, and we also see that the top section has fins bent for both support and to help capture air flow. The center is left open, and is also where the fans wire clips attach.
The back of the cooler has a groove cut into either side to allow a screwdriver to easily get to the mounting screws. We also can see easily that there is a section of 11 fins at the bottom that are not as wide, allowing for a bit more clearance around the socket.
Since most of what we see at the top of the cooler is identical to what we discussed on the other side, it is here we would like to draw your eyes to the lean of the heat pipes. This is done so that this cooler is further offset from the memory, hence allowing this cooler terrific clearance in that area.
The top of the cooler is a little bit dressed up with the lines molded into the fins. To either side, we can see the staggered layout of the pipes as they travel through the fins and in the center is the tip of the Aluminum Stick Support poking through.
Removing the fan to look at the leading edges of this cooler, we find them stepping down in three stages. At the sides is the highest to support the fan away from the fins, and as you move to the center, the fins are further from the fan to allow it to build a head of steam before attacking the fins.
We keep mentioning the Aluminum Stick Support, and here is the bottom end of it. We can only assume that it is screwed into the top of the aluminium base plate, and this stick runs right up through the center of the tower to add structural support to keep the tower upright, better? While everyone likes a strong cooler, at the same time many coolers before this survived well enough without this.
The exposed copper pipes, after leaving the base, make compound curves until they are lined up well enough to have the stack of finds pressed over them and the aluminium stick in the middle.
The base of the cooler does have small gaps between the pipes and the base, but across all of the surfaces, it is flat as can be. We can still plainly see the milling marks left in both the copper and aluminium from the levelling process.
Accessories and Documentation
The first bits of hardware we are looking at are the all metal brackets used for mounting. For AMD users, you are going a bit old school, and you will need to mount the large bracket with the clips to secure the cooler to the stock bracket. For Intel users, you are given a pair of legs for LGA115X sockets, and a second set is intended for LGA2011 usage, and both kits are clearly labelled.
We also get a second set of fan clips, and to the left, we see a small syringe of paste. In the middle, we find the Intel LGA115X backplate with the studs already in place, and to the right are the four screws used to mount the hardware to the base of the cooler.
The instructions aren't all that bad to use, but they aren't great either. Basically, you unfold the paper included to find a section on what comes with the cooler, one for AMD installation, one for LGA115X and another for LGA2011. All of which are basically the same with a few renderings to help point out important things, with limited test to help along with the job.
ID-Cooling also sent along a second fan so that we could have a look at what sort of performance gains were to be had with a push/pull configuration. While it will not show in the charts, we will be sure to make mention of the results at the appropriate time.
Since the rest of the images to follow will be with only one fan, we figured we would be sure to get an image of the SE 214X with both fans on it, so that you can gain perspective on size, and that it looks much better with the black and red on both sides.
Installation and Finished Product
To get the installation under way, we must first grab the appropriate hardware for the base of the cooler to fit the motherboard, but no matter which is used, all you need to do is send the four screws in to hold them to the base of the cooler.
After removing the film from the tape running on the underside of this plate, we set it in aligning the studs with the holes. Note that these are indeed tall nuts that will accept the screws seen on the Intel hardware.
After adding some paste and running the four screws down until we ran out of threads, we now find the SE 214X peeking out behind the memory. It is already easy to tell that the PCI-e slot is clear, and there is even plenty of room to the right to connect fans and get to the motherboard screws, even if this was already in the chassis.
When the box and all of the literature said that the SE 214X had memory clearance, we figured sure, as do a lot of coolers now, but not in this sort of scope. Not only is there plenty of room between the fan and the memory, there is a huge gap between them, so there is no way this cooler will offer any issue here.
For users of LGA2011 or 2011-v3, the offset of the cooler in itself will not cause you any issues at all with the installation or clearance of the memory behind the socket. However, if you do opt to use a second fan, be sure that your memory is pretty short.
With it hanging in the D-Frame now, we find the SE 214X doesn't look all that bad hanging there. We also find the offset of the tower gets it away from the memory and the motherboard screw, while at the same time allowing the top PCI-e slot to be utilized. Now all we have to do is test it and see what happens.
Test System Setup, Thermal Tests and Noise Results
Test System Setup
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.
With only one fan cooling the tower, at idle, we saw an average of 26.5 degrees, and a second fan dropped that another degree at idle. As for the loaded conditions, we find the SE 214X as shipped delivered a 53 degree average. Having a second fan running at the same speed only brought the temperature down 0.5 degrees.
Allowing the fan to do its thing at maximum potential for the overclocked runs, we saw the idle temperature rose only 0.25 degrees from stock testing, and when loaded the SE 214X gives us a 76 degree average in all testing. For those looking into that second fan, for these runs, the best we saw was 74.25 degrees, slightly less than a 2 degree advantage.
Noise Level Results
While the noise level is not all that bad with the fans spinning at 1300 RPM for the stock testing, looking to other coolers in this range, we come right back to the be quiet! Pure Rock that delivered a lot of the same as this offered, but does it with much less noise involved.
Allowing the fan to run full speed does not fare any better for ID-Cooling. With the fans now running at 1875 RPM, we were hearing 51 db of noise from the cooler. While not horrible, it is average at best.
While this cooler is no doubt an old school concept that has been tweaked to stand up to what today's systems will put it through, it really appears that timing is everything when it comes to reviewing a product. While there is really not one thing about this cooler other than slightly curled fins that can easily be fixed to complain about, and had we seen this cooler first rather than the be quiet! Pure Rock, we may have shown a brighter light on the SE 214X, but being what it is, and since pricing is near identical as well, it is super hard to ignore what the Pure Rock was capable of doing just a few days ago.
Looking at it in the mindset of never seeing the Pure Rock, well again, there isn't really much to complain about. The cooler fits ever socket currently still supported, it left us a huge gap between it and the memory, and leaves the motherboard screw and the first PCI-e slot fully accessible. There is nothing wrong with the results we saw thermally, considering there is only 60CFM or so being pushed over the fins.
Audibly there is nothing wrong with this cooler either, it's just that it comes in at average at this stage of testing, and certainly would not be the first choice for HTPC use or other silent environments. Otherwise, the cooler is everything ID-Cooling lead us to believe it was, a capable cooler at a very friendly price point, and with or without the Aluminum Support Stick, we feel this cooler would have performed the same, although it may be a weaker design that needs that extra love and support, but as it sits, we have no issues with its feel or structural integrity.
If you don't mind a bit of noise when things get warm in the system, this is one of a select few coolers that will do this sort of a job for you and still fall well under the $50 mark in CPU coolers. Selling at $34.99 is a huge advantage to those that build systems for a living, or others who may be monetarily challenged.
Our testing shows you are far from damaging anything with the temperatures the SE 214X is capable of keeping our CPU at, and with all of the ease that comes with this design, we do feel that ID-Cooling is on the right track, just that with the Pure Rock fresh in our minds, it makes this the second best cooler in the bang for the buck in all aspects of what makes a great cooler.
|Quality including Design and Build||90%|
|Bundle and Packaging||90%|
|Value for Money||97%|
The Bottom Line: The SE 214X from ID-Cooling may seem old school, but it is new school enough to address all major concerns of air coolers and clearances. While a bit noisy, it's more than up to the demands of almost any user at a really great price.
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