LEPA NEOllusion CPU Cooler Review

LEPA's NEOllusion CPU cooler packs in the features when it comes to lighting and technology, but how about the actual cooling performance? Let's see.

@chad_sebring
Published Thu, Feb 9 2017 7:51 AM CST   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 6:58 PM CST
Rating: 89%Manufacturer: LEPA

Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing

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VIEW GALLERY - 37 IMAGES

Even though LEPA and Enermax are tied in together, this does not always mean that they offer the same products when it comes to things like two CPU air coolers coming to market. There are some similarities between what Enermax had us look at last, but that is it, vague similarities. Performance is, or at least, should be the primary objective when it comes to products like this, but LEPA has also done something that we have never had in our test lab. Of course, RGB LEDs are nothing new, and having strips of LEDs for your chassis which can be remotely controlled are not brand new either. However, offering RGB LED lighting in a tower cooler and making it work with a remote control to change the colors and modes; that is something brand new to us.

The latest cooler we tested is not just all about the light show either, although it is quite fancy and prominent in this cooler. LEPA offers a cooler with a 200W TDP, and also borrows some terms we saw in the last Enermax review. VGF or Vortex Generator Flow is what helps to increase the airflow through this tower, and it is yet another cooler with an HDT base. What is also a huge factor in this cooler's performance is that LEPA opted to supply a fan with dual convex blades on it, which force air straight through it, rather than moving air in all directions out the back of the frame. This tower cooler also comes with a special coating to increase thermal efficiency, but with this model, it is called SNTC or Super Nano Thermal Conductive coating.

As we get ready to get up close and personal with LEPA's NEOllusion CPU cooler, we have a lot on the plate to discuss. While our primary focus is always on the best performance with the least amount of noise, looks are going to be a huge factor in a cooler like this as well. With what we have gathered from the product page and in our hands-on and testing with it, out of the box the NEOllusion has much to offer. We realize not everyone likes an average looking cooler, and those who appreciate lighting may not care for backlit caps on top or LEDs in the fans. For those looking to flood the area around the cooler with LED lighting, LEPA has the cooler for you. Stick with us as we bring you something we have not been privy to before in CPU cooler design, and see if LEPA has the perfect solution to cooling your CPU while dowsing the inside of the chassis with bright LED light.

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The chart we show above is taken right from the LEPA product page. In it, we are shown initially that the cooler may also be found with the name of LPANL12, and that it is ready willing and able to fit all of the current sockets available, and even fits some not made any longer. Next, we jump right into the dimensions, as we see the 128mm of width, the 40mm of thickness, and the 161,7mm of height, and are shown that with the fan, it weighs in at just 645 grams. There are four 6mm diameter copper heat pipes in this cooler, which come out from an aluminum base. The fins are also aluminum, and total 54 fins in the stack, due to the room needed for white plastic strips which are illuminated with RGB lighting built into the cooler.

The included fan does not appear to be something which can be grabbed off the shelf, nor does it show in the LEPA lineup. What we do know about this fan is that it is 120mm in size, and is built with a black frame, and has nine dual convex shaped blades in it. This fan will spin from 800 to 1800 RPM unless the inline adapter is used, where the speeds change from 400 to 1000 RPM. The maximum airflow from this fan is said to be 75.41 CFM, and the pressure gets up there too, at 2.41mmH2O. The fan is intended to be powered with a maximum of 12V and the noise level with full power is 33 dB(A), although there is a 4-pin PWM connection to allow the motherboard and fan to do their thing.

Also included inside of the box is a remote control. The remote gives you 15 colors to use; you can brighten or dim the lighting, turn the LEDs on or off, and also has four light modes too. The adapter we mentioned to connect the fan is a 4-pin male to female adapter, and there is also a Molex adapter to connect the fan to so that it will run at full speed all of the time.

Looking for this cooler becomes a bit of an issue. At the time of writing, nowhere is it listed on this side of the pond, and we even tried UK listings to see if it were available, but we see nothing. We attempted to ask about the price via email, but our question went unanswered. We can only guess at this time to where we would expect this cooler to fall in pricing, and we think that if you can get this cooler in the $40 to $60 range, LEPA may have a winner on their hands.

Packaging

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The LEPA name, logo, and tagline are found in the upper left corner, while the rest of the panel is used for splashes of color on the black backdrop, delivering the name of the cooler, and to show off the cooler in three color options. There is also a yellow stripe across the bottom which provides mounting compatibility.

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On this side of the box, there is not much to discuss as we have seen this in our view of the top panel. All of the names are present, and the cooler is lit with blue LEDs, but we do see that we are about to "experience the RGB lighting of NEOllusion."

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LEPA likes to keep things simplistic with the packaging it seems. Everything her we just saw in the last image, the only thing lacking is another look at the cooler.

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The second of the larger panels is where most of the information about the NEOllusion can be located. The left side is used to explain three features and tell us that this is an innovative RGB CPU cooler. The right side is used to display a specifications chart, similar to the one we covered earlier.

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The last side of the box is identical to its opposing panel. We hope this is an indication of value, ad usually only very affordable PC parts come in packaging which repeats itself and does not keep pounding you with images and things to look for in said product.

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The LEPA NEOllusion shares the same inner packaging as we found in the Enermax cooler, but it has proven to be sufficient so that our samples arrive in terrific condition. This time the cooler is protected with a layer of dense foam, and then the manual is placed on top of it all. The hardware is inside of the white box at the right end of the packaging.

LEPA NEOllusion CPU Cooler

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The NEOllusion comes with the fan clipped onto the front edge of the tower, and we see the black frame, black dual convex blades, and also an aluminum badge with the company name and logo present. Under the cooler, we see two leads, one of which powers the fan, while the second lead is used to power the RGB LED system.

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From the side, we see that the tower does not enclose the fins but is made with four aluminum fins, then a block of plastic, and it is repeated up the tower ending with a single fin to top off the stack. We also see the 3-pin connection for the RGB LEDS, but the 4-pin connection is twisted for the fan and is not easy to see.

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The trailing edge of the tower is identical to what is found on the face. We see the lighting stops as it rounds the edges of the fin stack, and the fins alternate in groups, giving the fins an unevenly layered design. We can also tell that this tower is small enough not to require an offset in the heat pipes for clearance.

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Since we covered the fin stack in the last image like this, we turn your attention to the bottom of the cooler. The four 6mm diameter heat pipes are evenly distributed through the base as well as the fins, and there is no angle to shift the cooler from the RAM either.

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Not all of the fins in the stack are identical as this view portrays clearly. Little tabs are found behind the heat pipes to help redirect airflow, the LEPA name and logo is located dead center, and we also see bits of the screws holding the fan mounting tabs to the fan.

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After removing the fan, we see how the offset pattern works in this arrangement of fins. Wherever there are LED light strips on the sides, there is a pair of fins which extend further than the others. On the back of the stack, the pattern is the same, but it is reversed as to which side gets the sets of two odd shaped fins.

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There are two noteworthy things found in this image. First, if you look into the fins, you can see the LEDs which light the plastic found on the sides. The second is that all of the fins are pressed onto the heat pipes, and at the bottom, one pipe does not get the little tabs behind it.

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Where all of the pipes join, we find tabs on the top of the aluminum base plate. There is not a pre-cooler with this design, as it needs a crossbar to mount the cooler to the hardware.

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The base plate and the heat pipes are assembled and then machined all at one time. This leaves the base flat across the surface, but we also see defines gaps between the copper and aluminum in this base.

Accessories and Documentation

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Inside of the white box, we found the basics to getting the LEPA NEOllusion mounted. At the top is the crossbar which mounts the cooler to the hardware below. On the left side are the Intel top brackets, in the middle is the universal backplate and to the right is a set of AMD brackets which screw to the Intel brackets so that all four orientations of cooler installation are possible.

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The sheet of clear plastic stickers are intended to fit the backplate when AMD motherboards are used, and the small screws to the right of it are used to mount the top brackets to each other. There is also a tube of thermal paste and an LGA775 pre-load spacer at the top.

The lower row of parts includes the plastic spacers that go over the standoffs, and we use the four nuts and springs to secure the top brackets. All that is left is the hardware for mounting this cooler to LGA2011 motherboards.

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If you should choose to desire the fan to run at full speed, you can connect the fan cable to the Molex adapter. Should the desire be to use the fan at near half its rated capabilities, you can choose to use the braided extension with a built in resistor. At the bottom, we find the remote. Not only does it offer plenty of color and mode options, but it also comes inside of a rubber sleeve, and has four magnets on the back of it so it can be attached to the chassis.

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The manual that comes with the NEOllusion is to the point, but well done. There is a parts list with descriptions of what all of the parts do, and it eases you through the mounting instructions in a step-by-step fashion. Even if this is the first cooler you have ever installed, this manual will make mounting it as simple as it can be.

Installation and Finished Product

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As we begin to assemble things to mount the cooler, we start with the backplate. You need to align the standoffs so that the flat side of them locks into the flat side of the hole, and the plastic isolation pads are narrow enough that they grip the standoff. This makes it much easier to move it.

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The next step is simple. You just need to align the standoffs in the motherboard holes, being mindful of orientation of the backplate, and allow the plastic to rest against the motherboard.

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We then flip over the motherboard, slide the plastic spacers on the standoffs, and then install the top brackets. The top brackets have arrows on them which point at the CPU, and we screwed the nuts down until we were out of threads and the springs were completely compressed.

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The last step, after applying thermal paste, is to install the crossbar onto the base of the cooler and screw it onto the motherboard hardware. We alternated sides every three turns or so, and again, left no threads. We took these all the way in.

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Looking past the RAM, we see a whole lot of the fan and not much of the cooler. We were able to keep the specified height with the NEOllusion, as the fan assumes its intended ride height.

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There is plenty of room next to the memory to allow this cooler body and the fan to fit without conflict. If there is a desire to add a second fan while using an LGA2011 motherboard, you will have no issues with the RAM on the back of the cooler, but you would need to find a fan and mounting hardware for it.

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Looking at the NEOllusion from the top of the motherboard downwards, we find the NEOllusion to be a thin candidate to cool the CPU. We also like the black and white alternating sections of the side profile, and cannot wait to try out the lighting and modes.

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From the top of the cooler looking in at the system, the NEOllusion is not that impressive to stare at, but we are a sucker for the flat black coating. It is easy to tell there is clear access to the motherboard screws, and we can assure you that the top PCI-e slot is not blocked from use either.

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Now, we could have taken the time to take and present 19 ways in which the NEOllusion CPU cooler can be presented with the various colors and effects the remote offers, but we think you get the point without them. Using the remote, we selected red as it matched the best, and we see that not only does the white side sections glow with red light, the name and logo badge on top of the cooler is also lit to match the sides.

Test System Setup, Thermal Tests, and Noise Results

Chad's CPU Cooler Test System Specifications

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 (October 2016) for more information.

Thermal Results

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Nearly six degrees out of first place is not a terrific start for the NEOllusion CPU cooler. With results averaging out to 59-degrees for the stock run, it is about 20 degrees better than if we were to use a stock cooler, but there is no shaking the mid-range performance we see in this test.

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Still controlled by PWM, the performance with our overclock is not great, but it keeps us well away from the throttle point of the CPU. The NEOllusion stays fifth from the bottom with the 74-degrees we saw in this test.

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Allowing the fan to give this tower every bit of CFM and static pressure it is capable of pushing, we were only able to grab another 1.75 degrees in efficiency. This does not make the noise level that accompanied this run to be worth it, and while not as tight as the Enermax, LEPA does an excellent job of balancing performance with sound in this design.

Noise Level Results

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Already in the range of being heard a foot away from the PC, this 120mm fan spun at 1082 RPM for this test. 31 dB is still low on the scale compared to coolers a few years old now, but we see that many of them in this chart are capable of this level of performance with much less noise.

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We are not yet at droning levels of noise, but once we ran with the overclock applied, the fan was seen spinning at 1493 RPM. 38 dB is by no means the worst we have seen, but in this chart, we see it does not bode well for LEPA and their NEOllusion cooler.

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If you want to try to get the best out of the cooler as far as temperatures are concerned, be prepared for the amount of noise that is coming from the NEOllusion to do so. Moving from near 1500 to 1750 RPM at this point in testing, the jump to 58 dB is too loud for the slight efficiency bump. We would just assume to keep the PWM active for this fan.

Final Thoughts

The NEOllusion is innovative in the way the RGB LED lighting is devised in this tower cooler. There is no doubt about that, and we like the way the color floods the build and the top half of the chassis. The fins are shaped in a design we have seen work in the past, and the addition of the special coating and little tabs behind the pipes all lead one to believe that this cooler should perform admirably.

The hardware does not spin in the holes, it is a system we have used many times, and tends to deliver a fair amount of mounting pressure. Even though the fan is not LED lit, the specifications for it are promising as well. To be honest, we were pleased with what we read and saw; it was not until the testing was completed and we compared results that our excitement waned.

Without pulling any punches, we expected more of the NEOllusion CPU cooler. If you are going to create a look that is unique, and you want the masses to be drawn to it like moths to a flame, get the cooler design right first. Performance levels kept us from having our CPU throttle, but we feel the level of efficiency is not that good with this design. Considering what the fan was capable of pushing in airflow and pressure, we feel the NEOllusion should have been able to perform better and make for a much better showing of this product.

No matter how much we liked the RGB LED lights, modes, and the ease afforded with a remote control, it just is not enough in our mind to push this cooler through with a bunch of excitement. The cooler is not bad, it just isn't great either, and mediocre products tend to drown in the sea that is CPU air cooling.

There is one major factor that leaves us with some doubt about how harsh we have been to the LEPA NEOllusion, but we cannot see LEPA selling this cooler in the $20 to $30 range we feel there would be good value. We would guess that this cooler will release for no less than $50, just in what we have seen lately to compare it to. Figuring on that sort of a price point, this cooler is unique, and it delivers more lighting that anything we have seen before, but this ends up as a product where the RGB lighting seemingly came first, and then they found a cooler to strap it to.

In our opinion, performance and noise come first, once that is solid and can contend, you then slap lights on it and market it to the masses; not the other way around. As much as we wanted to like this NEOllusion cooler and despite its good points, we feel let down a bit, and think it is likely that you will feel the same way.

Performance75%
Quality including Design and Build90%
General Features95%
Bundle and Packaging95%
Value for MoneyN/A
Overall89%

The Bottom Line: With many patented technologies offered, and the most ingenious display of bright RGB LED lighting, it raises the bar when to comes to features. However, the limited performance, and the high levels of noise at times means that unless found at rock bottom pricing, we would pass on this cooler for now.

PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.

USUnited States: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com

UKUnited Kingdom: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.co.uk

AUAustralia: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com.au

CACanada: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.ca

DEDeutschland: Finde andere Technik- und Computerprodukte wie dieses auf Amazon.de

Chad joined the TweakTown team in 2009 and has since reviewed 100s of new techy items. After a year of gaming, Chad caught the OC bug. With overclocking comes the need for better cooling, and Chad has had many air and water setups. With a few years of abusing computer parts, he decided to take his chances and try to get a review job. As an avid overclocker, Chad is always looking for the next leg up in RAM, cooling, as well as peripherals.

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