Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
Call us old, but in our time, liquid cooling was the thing to have, not because it was flashy and the cool thing to do, no pun intended, but because it was a vastly better solution than air cooling. By this, we mean that when it came to overclocking, we opted for liquid cooling, custom, and early AIOs to help combat those rising temperatures, doing so with ease. Still, it sadly appears that the liquid cooling segment of mainstream PC parts has changed direction, where it is all about being fancy, adding more features to beat the next guy in line looking for your money. All while leaving the primary purpose of liquid cooling as a scrapped idea thrown on the floor! In our minds, when building a CPU cooler, cooling comes first, and then you add on fancy bits and bobs. Not the other way around, which is where the market is today!
Alphacool sent us over some gear that has our hopes high based on previous experiences with their products, and by looking at the bits and the packaging, one would assume that they were back with something new and improved. On both fronts, they do, offering up a new pump that is ten percent better than the previous model, using a lower FPI radiator so that fans can cope easier, and they threw in a ton of RGB goodness for those that like that sort of thing. At face value, even with a combined head unit, pump, and copper plate like that of an AIO, this is an open-loop system, intended to have more blocks added into the loop, such as those for a GPU, or various motherboard block options.
Today we are looking at the Eisbaer Aurora 360 CPU - Digital RGB liquid CPU cooler, which does away with the rudimentary looks of the quick disconnect of older models, puts RGB on all sides of the block to dress things up, drops RGB fans in the box, and is now pushing a cleaner, more feature-rich product out. As always, we will be digging deep into what the new Eisbaer Aurora 360 CPU open-loop system has to offer us, put it through the torture tests, and hopefully, Alphacool comes out smelling like roses on the other end!
The chart we have may not be completed to the extent you would expect, but with little to go on from Alphacool, we cobbled this together from what we found in the manual. In the chart, we start with the name, Eisbaer Aurora 360 CPU, as there will be GPU versions of this as well. For support, Alphacool tried to include everyone. On the AMD side, anything after socket 939 is covered, and with Intel, anything after LGA775 is also covered, including Narrow ILM mounting, but you will need to request the hardware for that.
The head unit, as we are calling it, is comprised of three parts. First and foremost, it is the CPU block that uses a copper base that is plated with nickel. Above that is the reservoir, which can hold 41 milliliters of liquid, which can be topped off through a G1/4" fill port on the top, which is also the same threads as the pair of compression fittings found near that fill port. The pump is also incorporated into this section of the cooler, and it is the DC-LT 2600. It is said to draw 3.2W of power at 12V, although there is a broader range of voltage that allows the pump to function, The pump is capable of a maximum of 72 liters per hour, which if our math is right, is less than a third of a gallon per minute! Head pressure is mentioned, but the one-meter rating is nothing to write home about either.
The radiator is from the NexXos Series and is a radiator we have tested before, and have used in some of our builds in the past. The all-copper radiator, more specifically, the ST30 360 model, opts for low FPI count, which in our minds is the superior option versus the high FPI we see in standard AIOs. The radiator we have is 397mm long, it is 124mm wide, and it is 30mm thick. However, Alphacool will be offering 240mm, 280mm, 360mm like we have, and even a 420mm radiator cooled kit.
The fans are called Eiszyklon Aurora PRO Digital RGB, and while we do know that they are 120mm fans and that you get three of them, we have only half of the information. We see the power draw, operating voltage, and the range of speed, but no mention of CFM or static pressure values.
The tubing is black, rubber, and is exposed to the world without being sleeved. The length of the tube is 400mm, but there is a quick disconnect added to the outgoing line from the pump, and gone are the eye attracting red and blue ones from the past, replaced with much sleeker black nylon parts. Dimensionally, the tubes, as well as all of the fittings, are 13/10mm.
In our mind, right out of the gate, we would assume the cost of the Eisbaer Aurora to be more expensive than the mainstream CLC systems, and rightfully so, as they use custom cooling parts at Alphacool and assemble it into an open-loop system that requires very little thought and effort on the part of the customer. On the flip side, if they wanted to sell these like mad, they have to stay competitive. To hazard a guess, as, at this moment, we do not have any information on the MSRP, we would put this in the $180 to $225 range, and people will likely eat this up! It is a slick-looking bit of kit, where everything is done for you, but you still have the option to add in a GPU block as well, something the majority of the mainstream AIO coolers do not offer!