The Bottom Line
Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
The tally is small as to the number of coolers we have seen from ID-Cooling before looking at this latest submission. In that time, we have seen an SFF cooler, a standard tower cooler, and have even seen some of their initial attempt at liquid cooling a CPU in a closed loop system. From what we can recall, these designs were all respectable in their specific categories of the CPU cooling market, which leads us to believe that they have a good handle on the demands of today's mainstream and HEDT processors.
The reason why we are all gathered here now is that ID-Cooling has taken another go with a closed loop liquid cooling system. This time around we are dealing with something entirely different from what we know of the Frostflow series of coolers. Nearly everything about this latest series of coolers has changed. The head unit is no longer round, the AIO is not black in color, there are no red accents, the mounting hardware has changed, and this time around we are offered a sterile and clean looking white AIO. Even the major manufacturers tend to switch things up from time to time, but this has led to hidden issues in the past, which we hope do not rear their ugly head here.
ID-Cooling sent us the Icekimo 120W to review and incorporate everything we find into an opinion to either gloat about this design or tell you to pass on such a device. Judging from what we gathered ahead of time, studying the product page and the information sent along with various emails, ID-Cooling has our interest peaked, as we have only had our hands-on one other AIO that chose to go with white as its color choice. Get comfortable with a beverage, and take the journey with us as we point out all the changes and features found with the Icekimo 120W, and see if this sealed loop AIO is the new CPU liquid cooler must have for 2017.
We borrowed this chart from the ID-Cooling product page for the Icekimo 120W, and they pull no punches with the amount of information offered. Compatibility is wide open and covers all current sockets and even some that have long since been EOL. On the Intel side of mounting, anything mainstream made since LGA1366 allows this cooler to fit, and anything since and including AM2 processors will go under it as well. This chart shows the TDP of this cooler to be 150W, but the product page states it is less than or equal to 200W, but we believe the 150W to be right.
The aluminum radiator is 154mm in length, 120mm in width, and 27mm in thickness, and is connected to the head unit via 315mm of exposed white tubing. The head unit or the water block of the Icekimo 120W is 68mm square, 36.6mm in height, and has a copper cold plate at the bottom of it. The pump inside of the head unit draws only 0.25A and is shown to spin at 2100 RPM. This impeller spins on a ceramic bearing is said to last 50,000 hours and delivers little noise into the chassis with a 25 dB(A) noise rating.
The ID-Cooling ID-12025M12S is the 120mm by 25mm thick fan of choice. Only one comes with this AIO, but it is rated to spin in a range of 700 RPM to 1500 RPM, delivering 62 CFM of airflow. Static pressure isn't high at 1.78mmH2O, the noise level range is good, though, topping out at just 26.4 dB(A) while drawing 12V of power. While the fan will run with as little as 7V, the operating range of the PWM settings has this fan drawing 10.8V and can run up to 13.2V before burning out. At full speed, this fan will draw only 0.25A and 3W, and the bearing of choice for this fan is a hydraulic bearing.
Some time has passed since we received the Icekimo 120W, and in that time, we are sad to say that availability on this side of the pond is not all that great. As far as we can see, you must choose between eBay, Allied Express, and Newegg. The first two locations are asking just $62.99 or $63.99 respectively to obtain the Icekimo 120W through them. All three sites are likely to be direct drop shipments from ID-Cooling as they are listed as the seller of two of the three listings, but if you do trust Newegg policy a bit more, they are also the ones with the highest price of $65.99. Right out of the gate, we find this to be affordable for a 120mm radiator based AIO, almost too cheap.
The packaging is made of white cardboard to match the AIO on the inside, and ID-Cooling chose very colorful printing to apply on it. The top panel has a ring of color which surround the company name, tagline, and shows this to be part of the Icekimo CPU liquid cooling series.
This larger side of the box has most of what we saw on the top to show off, this time denoting the 120 in the colored ring, matching the size of the cooler. In the fine print, we find "To those who enjoy the extreme coldness, Eskimos." which implies this cooler will keep the processor chilly.
On this smaller side of the box, we see everything we just found on the last panel, down to every last detail. The only thing different here is the orientation of the layout.
The second larger side of the box is an identical match to the panel opposite it.
The last side panel of the box gives the names off to the left, and to the right is something new. In a clover shape of reflective, blue, print, there are four features shown off here. It covers the head unit, the radiator, the fan, and the hardware.
The bottom of the box is where you need to look to find out fine details on the Icekimo 120W. Across the top of the panel are three-dimensional renderings, and at the bottom, we see the specifications, compatibility list, and company information is here too.
Inside of the box, we found and removed the inner packaging. The tray is made of recycled cardboard, and it has compartments in it to keep all of the components away from each other. All of the components are either inside of an open plastic bag or found in a zip-closed bag, and the paperwork is found lying on top of it all.
ID-Cooling Icekimo 120W Liquid CPU Cooler
First up for a picture is the Icekimo 120W head unit. We see that not only is it square, it is off-white in color, but it is also highly stylized with grooves and odd angles. The ID logo is present on the top, and the white tubing comes out of the right side, and we also find no plastic or cloth covering on it.
On the right side of the head unit, we find two things to discuss. First of all, we can see the cap applied to the head unit, as it also makes itself part of the side structure of the block. This is also where the pump power lead comes out of the block, and at the other end is a 3-pin fan header.
Fresh out of the box, we see that the copper cold plate has been protected with a plastic sticker warning us to remove it before installing it. To swap out the Intel hardware that comes with the Icekimo, the four large screws at each corner need to be removed to accomplish this.
The cold plate is made of copper, has a dimpled texture as if it were cast and never machined to a finish. We also found that the sticker covering it leaves glue behind, leaving us with no option but to clean the plate first. Also, we found that the plate is bowed outward, more extremely than we have found with other AIOs.
The specifications show that there should be 315mm of tubing, which works out to 12.4", and we see that they just made it. We can also tell that once the connections were made to the radiator, an extra piece of tubing is stretch over the tube and fitting, and is what locks the tubing in place here.
No, this is not some funky angle trick with the camera, the radiator is that out of shape. While the white fins, tubes, frame, and headers do have a clean and sterile look to them, the fact that the top header is so out of square is something that is just too funky not to mention. Even on the oddest of AIOs that we have seen, never have we seen one built like this.
We do appreciate when AIO makers dress up the 27mm thick side of the radiator with the company name, a logo, maybe even a stripe of color, but none of that is found on the Icekimo. All we get with this unit is a pair of rivets.
Digging into another compartment of the inner packaging, we located the fan for the Icekimo 120W. This fan is the ID-12025M12S, shown here to draw only 0.18A, not the 0.25A the chart showed. This is a 4-pin PWM powered fan; the frame is white, the blades are clear, it has an LED lit hub, and even comes with rubber pads built into it in each corner.
After finding the screws, we went ahead and attached the fan to the radiator. This angle loses the angled header issue, and as it sits here, the Icekimo 120W at this end does look decent, even if it is sterile.
Accessories and Documentation
As part of the hardware which comes with the Icekimo coolers, there is a foam padded, universal backplate, located in the middle of this image. On either side are the A X2 brackets to be used if you plan to install this cooler on an AMD motherboard.
The bottom row in this image is where we see the LGA2011 standoffs, and also the studs used for AMD and Intel mounting for every other socket. The red cardboard washers isolate the top of the motherboard using the typical studs, the nuts in the middle secure the backplate to the motherboard, and the nuts on the left are used to lock the head unit to the rest of the hardware.
There is a tiny tube of ID-Cooling thermal paste to get you through two or three tries at installation. Also in the kit, we see the long fan screws to secure the fan to the radiator, and shorter screws to secure the radiator to the chassis.
The manual is multilingual, and on the inside of this is the English version. This paperwork explains all of the parts, how many, and what they are used for, and as you continue, it delivers step-by-step instructions for mounting with renderings to complement each steps process.
Installation and Finished Product
The first thing we are shown to do is to push the studs through the correct set of holes in the backplate. Something we quickly realized, however, there is not a head on the other side of the stud, and there is not a flat spot under the head to lock into the plate either. This means we can only get the hardware finger tight.
Once that is done, you are then told to slide the backplate and studs through the motherboard. For Intel users, be mindful of the orientation, so that the holes in the backplate line up with the socket screws.
The manual then tells us to slide the red cardboard washers over the studs before locking the studs in place. We would have loved to, but the washers were not the right diameter to fit over the studs. We ended up just snipping through the washers to allow all of them to open up just enough to get over the studs.
All that is left when mounting the hardware in getting ready to set the block is to send the taller nuts down each stud. We do wish the studs had a locking mechanism, as we were not able to get these very tight at all.
After applying paste, cleaning the cold plate, and lying it onto the CPU, we sent the top nuts downs as well as possible. We did notice here that everything tightens only so far before you feel the studs spinning.
The head unit is tall enough to be seen over the top of standard height DDR4, but there isn't much of that in the wild. With the taller heat spreaders such as what we have, the head unit is nearly flush in height with them.
Looking at everything from the top of the motherboard we find very little white head unit sticking up past the fancy motherboard heat sink. The only question you have left to decide is which location, within roughly 10" of the head unit, you are going to mount the radiator.
We decided to go to the top of the chassis to fit the radiator. One factor in this call is that we could hear coolant moving around the unit as we were taking pictures, which means there is quite a bit of air in with the coolant, so we wanted to use the radiator as a trap for it. Outside of that, it fits nicely and keeps the tubing straight and cleanly out of the way.
Once the system is fired up and the Icekimo 120W comes to life, we guessed right, and all of the cutouts found in the cover plate are backlit. The color is white to match the rest of the cooler, and even the ID logo glows.
At the other end of the AIO, we find the fan has LEDs which also match. There are four LEDs in the hub, which put off a sufficient amount of light, but is nowhere near as bright as fans with LEDs on the frame.
Test System Setup, Thermal Tests, and Noise Results
Chad's CPU Cooler Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS ROG Maximus VIII HERO (Intel Z170) - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- CPU: Intel Core i7 6700K - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Memory: Patriot Viper 4 3000MHz 4X4GB - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Graphics Card: MSI GeForce GTX 1060 6GB OC - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Storage: Corsair Neutron XTi 480GB - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Case: INWIN D-Frame - Read our review
- Power Supply: Thermaltake Toughpower DPS 1050W - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64-bit - Buy from Amazon
- Software: RealTemp 3.70, AIDA64 Engineer 5.75.3900, and CPU-z 1.77.0 x64
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.
The disappointment starts here with the results obtained while the processor is running at stock. So far, the only thing worse than this cooler for your processor is the stock cooler option. We would have imagined seeing mid-fifties or low-sixties, but not 76.75 degrees.
This result is found to be slightly strange, but the fans did speed up via PWM while the overclocked testing was running. The 75-degree result moved the Icekimo 120W up a single spot, but still, it is nothing to write home about.
The result seen here says a lot about the mounting pressure or lack thereof. Even with the fans spinning at full speed and much more noise coming from it too, we could not cool the CPU lower than 75 degrees. So much for "extreme cooling" and whatever it was about Eskimos.
Noise Level Results
In all of the testing, the pump was running at full speed, 2000 RPM read via software, and is not audible from a foot away. The fan does make an audible hum with the PWM controlling it in the stock run of testing. The fan topped out at 1100 RPM while controlled via PWM, and was heard to be 33 dB.
With our overclocked profile active on the motherboard, the PWM signal isn't that much stronger when more heat is seen. At this time the fan was spinning at 1200RPM at its maximum and delivered 36 dB of noise.
Using the third profile, which is the second profile with the fan header set to DC at one hundred percent power, the fan came to life at a speed of 1551 RPM. With 350 RPM more, and nine decibels more sound, we could not bring the temperature down. 45 dB is good for an AIO at full speed, but there was not a temperature drop to warrant any of this noise.
Aesthetically, in general, we like that the Icekimo 120W is white, and on paper, it seems like something you would want to run out and grab. The sad thing is, we feel we saw the best from this cooler when we were looking at the ID-Cooling product images on their site. If it were one thing wrong, we could see mentioning it and move on, but there are so many small problems which lead up to one bigger problem. There is no denying our disappointment in its performance, in hand, it feels like a toy compared with many other AIOs, and we do not feel it is ID-Cooling's best work to date.
The first issue we have with the Icekimo 120W is in its build quality. The header was not installed correctly on the radiator, it did not leak, but it was obviously wrong. The amount of air heard running from end to end in the AIO was almost scary, and with a quarter to a third of the radiator being filled with air, well let's just say it isn't helping performance any. Exposed tubing is all well and good, as it looks great now, but it will darken over time and will stain if your hands are dirty when getting near it. It just seems like no matter where we turned, it was an issue here, and issue there, and we haven't even touched on the hardware yet.
The lack of any way to lock the studs into the backplate is silly. AIOs need pressure on the CPU to do their job, and with no way to ensure there is much pressure at all, it negates moving to water in the first place. The fact that the washers were too small is a minor oversight, as we did quickly rig them to work for us, but not being able to lock the larger nuts properly to the motherboard, or the head unit screws, right out of the gate ID-Cooling was running an uphill race carrying an elephant. Looks can only go so far, without performance, you may as well stick to the basic $20 aftermarket air cooler of choice these days.
Found in a range of $62.99 to $65.99 depending on where you shop, it should have been a huge red flag in the beginning. Most coolers of this kind make a release at $89 to $99, but we did mention there might be a reason why this Icekimo 120W is so affordable. In the end, while this is better than the stock cooling solution in most instances, if that is all you are looking to do, buy a white air cooler and have at it. The hassle you must go through, the fact that performance is low, and the fact that with a similarly priced air cooler you could run four to six degrees cooler, we just do not see the ID-Cooling Icekimo 120W being a hot item. If it were our money, we would keep looking at other options.
The Bottom Line: Not the worst cooler we have ever tested, but there are issues throughout the entire unit. Whether it was loose hardware, the toy-like feel of it, or the lack of performance, the Icekimo 120W is only cool when you look at it, and that's it.
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