Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
In the previous testing of ID Cooling CPU coolers, our results are a bit of a mixed bag. While some of their coolers have done well in the past, there have been some that we feel, that while they look robust and capable, there is one thing about them that appears to fail the potential of such coolers. This all comes down the hardware. Instead of using slightly more expensive to product solutions, ID Cooling opts to save a few pennies, at the harm of their products. Since it is the mounting hardware that should be offering even and level pressure across the IHS, we find this is just not what we are getting with ID Cooling CPU coolers.
When asked to review this cooler, we initially balked at the opportunity as with what we saw with the Icekimo coolers, let's just say we were not impressed. We immediately asked which mounting hardware was used on this new cooler, as we did not want to go through all the work to realize the mounting hardware issue was not addressed, and we were told that the hardware was not the same. In fact, we were told we would be getting a cooler that has this issue addressed, sadly, this was not true. SO here we are, with another AIO from ID Cooling, which we already have no hope for, long before we even get started.
Today we are looking at something different from both the Frostflow and Icekimo series coolers, an AIO which offers many of the same ideas, but the one major difference here is that ID Cooling has added Aura Sync support. The Auraflow 240 CPU cooler we are bringing you is back to a round head unit, the hoses are sleeved, and the radiator has been dressed up as well. At this point, all we have left to show are the images and get to the results, and see if we can do any better with an AIO with some of the worst mounting hardware available.
The range of compatibility is good, and it covers all of the current sockets and many long since EOL. For all but one of the socket types, you have to use the typical hardware, but at least for LGA2011 users, the hardware can be locked into place evenly, likely offering the best chance at a fair shake. The TDP of this cooler is listed at 200W and is made with an aluminum radiator which is 27mm thick, which is connected to the copper-based head unit via premium sleeved tubing. The pump in the head unit is capable of 2100RPM spinning on the ceramic bearing. This pump is also shown to deliver 50,000 hours of use, and not exceed 25 dB(A) of noise.
Two fans are included with the Auraflow 240, and they are 120mm square, 25mm thick, and have the model number ID-12025M12S, drawing only 0.20A of power. The fans can spin at a range of 700 to 1800 RPM, and deliver 74.5CFM. However, CFM is nothing on a high FPI radiator, but to help the fans deliver sufficient flow through it, there is also 2.15 mmH2O of pressure. These fans can range in noise as well. On the low-end, there is 18 dB(A) of noise, and at full speed, it jumps to 35.2 dB(A). The fans are shown in the specifications to draw 0.25A, but the sticker on them shows differently. We do know that the fans will not start without 7V supplied to them, and we do know that they spin on a hydraulic bearing.
Outside of eBay, we can only find one listing on this side of the pond, and thankfully it is through Newegg.com. It is there where we see that the ID Cooling Auraflow 240 is currently selling at $119.99, which is shown to be reduced from $149.99. In no way is this 240mm AIO worth a $150 investment, and even at $119.99, we feel it is a stretch. However, as we always do, we will allow the results to do most of the talking for us. What comes now is many images of a quite attractive looking AIO and packaging. While nice to look at and see what all is offered with this AIO, feel free to just skip to the results and head to the conclusion, as they will have everything you need to know about the Auraflow 240 from ID Cooling.
The packaging is dark and slightly damaged in transit due to the way it left ID Cooling. On the black background, we get most of the radiator in view as well as the head unit, but sadly no fans in view. At the bottom, there is the notation to Aura Sync compatibility, next to a list of four more features of the Auraflow 240.
One of the longer sides of the box delivers three images. Repeated in a few languages, we are told about the colorful system where both the head unit and fans support RGB control via the motherboard. We then are told of the copper plate and high flow rate design of the pump, leaving the image of the sleeved tubing.
On this shorter end of the box, things start with the ID Cooling name and logo. We then see the RGB ring around the 240 with the product name just below. The bottom is used to show three of the possible 16.8 million options the head unit will produce.
The second longer side panel offers three renderings of the Auraflow 240. The first of them shows the entire cooler, to get an idea of what all is entailed. The second image is used to show the width of the radiator and the height of the head unit. The last of the images shows the thickness and length of the radiator as well as the width of the head unit in both directions.
The second smaller side panel is much like we saw on the other end. However, this time, at the bottom, we find the part number and barcode, the serial number and barcode, and that it is made in China.
On the back, we are offered a specifications chart which covers what we addressed on the last page. ID Cooling also includes the socket compatibility and information about ID cooling to the right.
Using recycled cardboard on the inside to separate all of the components is typical, but the amount of gear found in the ID Cooling Auraflow is more than many others offer. Everything is either covered in plastic, in a bag or contained in a box to ensure the safety of them. Considering the damage to the box, we are a bit shocked to see everything inside came through the trip unharmed.
ID Cooling Auraflow 240 CPU Cooler
The head unit is made of plastic on the outside, and it is also textured. In the center of the top plate, we see the ID logo surrounded by a ring of LED-backlit opaque plastic. Not the most stunning presentation, but it is compact and will stay clear of everything around it once installed.
On the right side of the head unit, we see it is where the fittings transfer fluid in and out of the head unit, through the angled fittings and sleeved tubing. These fittings also swivel, so no matter where the radiator is hung, these fittings should help relieve any stresses.
The top of the head unit is where the pair of leads come out of it for control and power. On the left side of the head unit, we see a sticker expressing caution not to remove the top cap, and another sticker over the fill port, where the QC team has passed this cooler.
The leads that come from the head unit are used to supply power to the head unit via the 3-pin fan connection, which is what powers the pump. As for the lighting, we see a male 4-pin LED connector, which works with other components to allow an ASUS motherboard to control the RGB lighting of it.
On the edges of the head unit, we can see that a pair of screws on either side are holding the preinstalled Intel hardware onto it. We can also see the sticker placed over the copper base, to keep it from being damaged or oxidizing before you get to use it.
Without the sticker blocking the view, we can now see the semi-circular machine marks left on the copper plate. We also put a straight edge against the plate, and found that it does not deviate near the edges; it is level across the entire thing.
For this image, we have the other end of the tape at the far end of the swivel fittings, and all told, there are just over twelve inches of sleeved tubing between the fittings and the radiator. We can also see that ID Cooling uses the standard 27mm thick radiator, but we can see some of the brushed aluminum plates that runs down either side of it too.
The brushed aluminum plate runs the entire length of the radiator, but the center of either side has the company name, logo, and motto all painted on it in white.
Looking through the radiator, we can see that this is a high FPI design. In fact, using the tape measure at a random point, we counted twenty-three fins per inch. This is why high static pressure fans are important to a cooler such as this.
Accessories and Documentation
The first bits of hardware shown are the AMD head unit brackets shown on either side of the universal backplate. The backplate works with AMD and Intel with the various holes in the corners and has dense foam on each corner to isolate the plate from the motherboard.
In the bottom row, we have the screws that go through the backplate, none of which are keyed or in any way lock into the backplate, and to the right is the LGA2011(V3) screws. In the top row are the standoffs to space the head unit properly, the bracket mounting screws, and three paper washers to isolate the standoffs from the motherboard.
We were also sent a small tube of ID Cooling thermal paste, good for at least two attempts at mounting the Auraflow 240. We got two bags of fan screws, with four long and four short screws in each of the bags. We are also given a fan power splitter cable so that both fans are sent the same PWM signal from a single motherboard header.
ID Cooling includes an Aura Sync cable as well. This cable gets plugged into the 4-pin RGB light controller port of the motherboard, and then is separated into four leads on the other end, so that it can power both fans, the head unit, and can also have an LED strip connected as well.
If you do not have an Aura Sync motherboard, ID Cooling still has you covered, somewhat. If you still wish to have LED lighting on the fans and the head unit and do not have the necessary 4-pin header, they send a Molex power adapter. When this is used, only blue LEDs are offered, but at least there is light.
The fans chosen to cool the radiator is this pair of IS-12025M12S fans. They have rubber pads on the corners of the black frame, LEDs around the thin edge, and in the center are eleven blades made of clear plastic. These fans have a 4-pin PWM fan connection as well as 4-pin RGB connections which need to be made for full functionality.
The manual will help you to verify all of the parts you have are what you are supposed to get, and will guide you through the essential steps of mounting the Auraflow 240 to any system, case willing. The text offered is short and to the point, but the renderings do show you what may not be spelled out in print.
Installation and Finished Product
We did find that the backplate is quite beat up from all of the other hardware rubbing against it in transit, but it is flat and aligns well with the socket screws. We slid in the long screws through the backplate, but again, there is no way to secure them while installing the standoffs tightly.
The next thing you need to do is flip the motherboard over, drop the paper washers over the screws, and then install the standoffs. At this time, you cannot tell if the standoffs are evenly installed; you just have to hope you did it right.
At this stage, we set the head unit on the CPU with the screws going through the holes in the top brackets. You then screw the knurled nuts down on the screws to lock it into place. This is when you see if the pressure is even, and for us, it is not. The top left nut has a few fewer threads visible above it, and even after many attempts to even it out, we always had one corner with not enough threads showing.
Even though other coolers like this come with up to fifteen inches of tubing, the amount delivered by ID cooling should be sufficient for most, as our chosen location is much farther from the motherboard than in the typical chassis. We have no issues with the block encroaching on the memory or anything else for that matter, and the head unit is not as tall as our memory, so views around it show very little of the block except when head-on like this.
Since the Maximus VIII Hero only offers Aura lighting and not Aura Sync, we were left with one option of lighting, and it is the blue lighting seen here. There is no software for the AIO, so without Aura Sync, you will not be able to work around the lack of support. Hope you like blue LEDs, which do not even appear to match.
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.
Running the test at stock bodes well for the IC Cooling Auraflow 240. Three of the coolers that outperform it is much larger and the H80i GT is a beast for its size. 54.75-degrees is respectable, and if this is all you are going to need for the Auraflow 240, you are in good shape.
Once we tested with the overclock active, things go downhill for the Auraflow 240. Seventy-two degrees is not all that bad in the grand scheme of things, yet at the same time, we see $50 air coolers beating it. Considering what the Auraflow costs, there is not much bang for the buck to it in these results.
Allowing the fans to move from PWM control to 12V forced to them, we see that ID Cooling and their fan curve delivers the best results. While we did improve on the results by a degree and a half, there is a lot more noise involved to get here.
Noise Level Results
At this point, the fans on the radiator topped out at 915 RPM, and with our meter a foot away from the cooler, the reading was 25 dB. This is a fair result, as with closed panels and gaming involved, it is highly unlikely you will hear the fans at this time.
Staying consistent with their place on the sound charts, ID Cooling does well with the overclock demanding that the fans run a tad faster. When we took the 27 dB rating, the fans were shown to be spinning at 1150 RPM.
In all tests, the pump was running at full speed, which is 2200 RPM with our sample, and it was not audible over the fans. What was audible is the fans when they are allowed to run at full tilt. With the fans spinning at 1900 RPM, the noise level jumps significantly to 48 dB.
All in all, the ID Cooling Auraflow is not a complete failure, yet at the same time, we feel it has more to give. With just about any AIO on the planet right now, the hardware that comes with it can be locked into position, and you can screw the bits down until they run out of threads. This is not found in the Auraflow 240, and it is likely why the cooler did not present better thermal results. While ID Cooling can stay in the top half of the charts, for those who overclock their CPU, you may want to look at something with more bang for the buck. Honestly, we just wish ID Cooling would listen, and arrange to improve the hardware, as with things the way they are, we are just left guessing that you may have better results than us. However, at least with LGA 2011 users, the mounting is solid, level, and will deliver the best potential for this cooler to do its best over all other Intel mounting options, as well as all AMD options.
There are two other things we need to address as well. First is the Aura Sync issue. If you do now own an ASUS motherboard with Aura Sync, you do not get any of the RGB benefits. A simple UI could be offered for those without this option on their motherboard so that more people could use it, and get the full RGB experience; not be stuck to teal on the head unit and blue on the fans. It would have been more acceptable had the head unit and the fans matched. We liked the silence of the fans and head unit during our stock and overclocked runs, but once the fans were let loose to go as fast as they could, the gains are not there to deal with the noise. Nor did it seem to have any benefits to improve the fact that the Auraflow 240 was still bested by extremely more affordable cooling solutions.
In the end, all we can say is that the Auraflow 240 from ID cooling needs some help. On paper, and maybe with in-house testing scenarios, ID Cooling thought they had a real winner on their hands. However, with a cooler that will cost you nearly $120, we expected more from them. If they were willing to pay attention to the fine details, and things that are hindering the performance of the cooler, we feel they may be able to change our opinion.
The way things stand now, not only can you find better coolers at this price range, but you can even do better with a single tower air cooler. Unless you are just in love with the design and have an ASUS Aura Sync motherboard, we would suggest you pass.
The Bottom Line: The Auraflow 240 is average at best, and is only special in specific conditions! The hardware still needs work, but the cooler looks good and performs okay. What leaves us with no want to award it, is with a few issues, it takes what could be a great cooler and leaves us with a feeling of "meh!"
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