The Bottom Line
Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
A few things come to mind when we think about Lian Li. From our long history with them, we have seen them go through multiple phases of life. In that journey, we had come to know them for their premium aesthetics, especially in the early days, when they were one of the only players building things with aluminum!
Quality has not been a concern, as anything to sport the Lian Li name (not the Lancool offshoot) has always been constructed superbly and minded even the finest of details. However, our history is based on cases and case fans, as that has been the bread and butter for Lian Li over the years.
Last year at CES, we caught the news that Lian Li was pondering an entry to the cooling segment, releasing their own AIOs at that time, if only in concept and development stages. However, everyone and their mother are making an AIO these days, which stacks the cards against Lian Li, before they even had a functional cooler to show off. In our opinion, you need to do one of three things to get your foot in the door at this stage.
You either need a fantastic looking product, done in a way never before seen, but if not, it needs to cool better than other options. If you can do neither of those, there is one last card up the sleeve, where the cost of the cooler may sway a customer to a bit less performance over high prices. Hopefully, Lian Li gets at least one of these right, and can get their foot into the door of a room packed full of options!
The cooler in question and the basis of this review is the Galahad Series from Lian Li. There are four variations of the Galahad that can be had. Lian Li is offering these sealed-loop systems with either a 240mm or 360mm radiator, and you will have the choice to buy a black version or a white version of both sizes. We don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves, as there is much to see and discuss, but suffice it to say that if the usual suspects have not grabbed your attention with their AIO solutions, and you want to step outside of the box, Lian Li is jumping in with both feet in an attempt to take on the big-boys in the cooling industry while delivering a product that everyone needs to see!
We cobbled the specifications from the media kit information, what we saw on the box, and a bit of common sense to get to what you see above. Out of the four variations of the Galahad coolers, we have the GA-360B, the black version of the Galahad 360 RGB. The radiator is made of aluminum, has fourteen rows of tubes with densely packed fins, and has aluminum plates sporting the Lian Li name. From ends to end, the radiator is 397.5mm in length, side to side it measures 122.2mm, and is 27.2mm in thickness.
Three fans come in the box, all of which are marked GF.12F19P.R50B0, and are 120mm PWM RGB fans. The fans utilize a Fluid Dynamic bearing with heavier than usual magnets, which center the hubs better and eliminate vibrations. These fans will spin in a range of 800 to 1900 RPM, delivering 69.17 CFM each, with 2.6 mmH2O of pressure to back the airflow through the small gaps in the fins. The power range starts at 6V, and the fans will allow for up to 13.8V through the 4-pin connector, and are shown to last 40,000 hours, which is roughly 4.6-years of constant use!
The head unit is connected to the radiator via 400mm of braid-covered tubing, and is dressed for success with its aluminum outer shell! The head unit measures 87.1mm, including the swivel fittings, and 74mm in the other direction, standing 62mm tall. Not much else is said about the pump beyond the noise and its near 8-year runtime. We do see it is powered via a 3-pin connection, which also means it runs full speed when in use. What they do not mention are things like the rotatable top, the additional "puck" to dress things up, even more, the use of copper for the cold plate, the additional lighting on the sides to go along with the light at the top which also helps set the Lian Li AIO apart from the masses.
Lastly, stepping up, Lian li backs the Galahad Series of AIOs with a 5-year warranty against defects, failure, and just about anything else that is not caused by the user!
You may see listings pop up on Amazon, but we did find early listings at Newegg, with the pre-order option, as they do not show availability until August 18th. WE also noticed that Newegg is following the MSRP set by Lian Li. When it comes time to look for the Galahad coolers, the color choice does not affect cost. Both of the 240mm versions are set at a $119.99 MSRP, and the 360mm options will sell with a $149.99 MSRP. Comparable to the likes of Corsair or NZXT pricing, however, once you absorb all that is the Galahad RGB AIO, you may feel like you are getting the better deal from Lian Li!
The front of the box offers us an image of the Galahad AIO 360 RGB cooler at the left, while the right denotes it being the black version of the closed-loop All-In0One CPU cooler. At the top, we see the company name and logo to the left, where the right side points out the 5-year warranty and the three 120mm fans. The bottom tells us that the fans are high static pressure fans, and that high-end braided tubing is used.
We will assume that this is not the final packaging, due to the typo where the word specification should be. Still, you will see some of the information we covered earlier on it, in multiple languages, and even the first mention of socket compatibility. To the right are the packing list and a pair of stickers, one for the serial number, the other with the model number, and bar codes.
The right side panel of the packaging is used for dimensional renderings of the radiator and the head unit. If our explanation of the measurements was somehow confusing, the information seen here lays it out plainly. The renderings also ensure that the user knows all of the restrictions, as the renderings even account for fittings!
The second of the long sides of the box is used to list features in multiple languages. The list is made of things like the machine detailed aluminum housing, various ARGB lighting modes for fans and head unit, removable aluminum cap, and the triple chamber pump design.
This smaller side is used to cover two things. Lian li mentions the use of 400mm of tubing for flexibility reasons, and that this cooler will easily sync to motherboard ARGB controls.
We feel this is not the retail packaging. It lacks a fan image where Lian Li covers the high static nature of them, followed by more on the use of aluminum, motherboard sync compatibility, and a look at the triple chamber pump in the top row. The bottom row notes the high-end braided tubing, the length of it, the default presentation of the head unit with ARGB lighting, and while mentioning the lighting in the last image, the cap is now covering the Lian Li name.
Internal packaging is the norm for most AIOs these days, using the recycled cardboard to segment and separate the gear in transit. As an added precaution, the radiator is in a bag, the head unit and tubing are in another bag, all three fans are bagged separately, and the hardware is contained at the left. We have no complaints about the packaging. It is informative outside, and since our sample arrived without a scratch, it all works as intended.
Lian Li Galahad 360 RGB CPU Cooler
Starting things off with an up-close look at the head unit, we like what we see! The entire top half of the head unit is made of aluminum, where the sides are textured, but the top is machined to offer highly reflective angled sections. The center of the head unit is covered with plastic to hide the lighting for now, but painted in white is the Lian Li name. The orientation of the installation matters none, as the top of the head unit will spin 360Â° so that the name is always readable!
From the side, we can see the contrast of the aluminum top section against the black plastic lower section, but you will also notice an opaque plastic band, which is illuminated when powered. We also see the pair of 90Â° swivel fittings to make installation more manageable, with less tension on the tubes and fittings. Between them is where the ARGB lead and pump power lead exit the head unit.
At the other end of those cables, we find that the ARGB control for the head unit is done over a 3-pin connector, which needs extra cabling from the box to make function. The pump's power is handled over a 3-pin fan connector, and both of the braided cables measure in at sixteen inches in length-plenty of cable to manage and hide them.
We did remove the protective sticker that ships over the cold plate, which exposed a slightly convex copper base, which is left with more of a matte finish. We also notice that there are signs of use, with some residue on the plate, and what looks like a line from the edge of a processor. We will be thoroughly cleaning this before testing.
As we leave the head unit and make our way to the radiator, we find that sixteen inches is the standard for this AIO. The 400mm of braided tube leaves the head unit and travels to the radiator, where we can also see a fill port with its permanently placed cap covering access from it.
In this image, we find a few things to discuss. While the overall thickness of the radiator is 27mm, the fins inside are 22mm in thickness, but at either side, we see attached plates, which is why the Galahad's radiator is slightly wider than most. We also like the look of the hexagonal caps that capture the tubing and braided cover, and should you have binned the box, the serial number is on the unit.
The 360mm radiator is made of aluminum, has aluminum fins, and a beefier feel to it than others we have seen in the past. The design is based on high fin count in mind, as our count has this radiator at 22 FPI. Opting for high static pressure fans is always a good idea with this type of radiator, and Lian Li seems to have that covered!
Opting to flank the sides of the radiator with premium material is always appreciated, and Lian Li opted for a 1.5mm thick aluminum plate, which is mechanically attached with screws. The finish is brushed on the flat side, but the edges are machined to match the head unit, and like the head unit, we get the Lian Li name in white paint here too!
Accessories and Documentation
In the zip-closed bag of hardware, the most significant components are the universal backplate for AMD and Intel installations, which is shown on the left. On the right is an Alphacool-like mounting bracket for the head unit. As shipped, the Galahad comes with the Intel bracket installed. For those using AMD systems, you will need to install the bracket seen at the right.
In this image, we have the remainder of the mounting hardware and the aluminum top cover, whose magnet needs some 3M tape to reattach, and the small syringe of TIM, both at the left. The remainder of the top row contains the LGA2011 standoffs, the AMD mounting tabs, and four studs used with the universal backplate. The bottom row shows the twelve fan mounting screws, twelve radiator mounting screws. There are four securing nuts for AMD and Intel use, black plastic Intel spacers, and plastic washers to isolate the backplate from the motherboard.
The trio of GF.12F19P.R50B0 ARGB PWM fans all come with black frames surrounding white fan blades, with a Lian Li logo sticker in the center of the hubs, covering the internal RGB LEDs. The frames are full-frames with enclosed screw holes, surrounded with rubber pads on both sides. As to the connectivity, each fan has two leads. One is a 4-pin PWM connector to power the fans, while the other is a 4-pin connector to control the lighting.
Should you not have the fan header support needed on your motherboard, Lian Li offers a SATA to 4-pin fan adapter, but the fans will run at full speed. Using it with the SATA power adapter cable or the motherboard header, Lian Li supplies a three-way fan splitter cable to power the radiator fans from a single point of connectivity.
The ARGB lighting can take a bit more to get it working, dependent on the system used. On the left is a SATA to 2-pin power adapter to use with the ARGB control module found in the middle. The next cable connects to a 3-pin ARGB motherboard header and splits to a 3-pin and 4-pin connector for the pump lighting and fan lighting. The control module offers three buttons to change the mode and adjust the speed. To the right of it is a 3-way splitter cable that allows all three fans to be controlled, and connects to the motherboard ARGB cable, or to one of the two connectors on the last cable, which also attaches to the control module to send the signal out of it.
While last in the images, the manual is the first thing you see when opening the box. It unfolds to reveal four pages on the front and four on the back, covering most of what you need to know. There is a parts checklist, but no description of what the parts are. It then moves into Installation methods, three for the various compatible socket types, and even shows how to install the radiator. Where the manual lacks installation instruction, it makes up for it in the connectivity and controller information. All methods of connectivity are covered in a diagram, and we see that the controller offers seventeen display options in total.
Installation and Finished Product
When it comes to AMD installations, you will not need a bunch of the hardware that Intel mounting uses. Simply leave the stock AMD mounting hardware in place, be sure to change the head unit bracket to the AMD one, and you are nearly done! We screwed the tabs into the bracket just a few threads, which leaves them movable, and latched them onto the AMD posts. We then tightened the nuts until we ran out of threads.
The head unit is a bit taller than the likes of Corsair or NZXT, as well as many others, but with clearance to everything else around it, we do not see the increase as an issue. We also love the contrast of textures used in the aluminum cover on the head unit and the color contrast from the brownish sides to the natural look above.
With the head unit secured, we moved to the radiator and secure the fans, which you can now see the louvered design on the sides of them, and appreciate the plates running down the side of it, proclaiming the manufacturer in bright white letters. As for the head unit, we decided to put the cap in place to see what it is all about. While we like it in this configuration, we are fine, pimping the Lian Li name.
Stepping back, we can see that while there is a ton of wiring, we can contain and hide most of it from view. There is plenty of wiring to connect to the bottom of the motherboard if we had to, and the amount of tubing leaves us with a gentle stress-free bend, and a stellar looking AIO mounted to our system.
For those who want to opt-out of using the aluminum cap to cover the Lian Li name, we wanted to show it off in all its glory without it.
With ARGB control built into the Crosshair VIII Hero Wi-Fi, we left Aura Sync to do its thing, keeping our Galahad 360 RGB in sync with the motherboard and our video card. On one side, you can use the motherboard, which has its modes and features, or you can use the provided controller. Options via the controller are rainbow, rainbow and breath, rainbow and twinkle, overlapping, rainbow wave, 256 color mode, rainbow radar, red, green, blue overlapping, and seven static color options.
Test System Setup, Thermal Tests, and Noise Results
Chad's CPU Cooler Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII HERO [Wi-Fi] (AMD X570) - Buy from Amazon
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600X - Buy from Amazon
- Memory: Corsair Vengeance LPX 4000MHz 4X8GB
- Graphics Card: ASUS GeForce RTX 2060 6GB OC - Buy from Amazon
- Storage: Galax HOF Pro M.2 1TB SSD
- Case: Hydra Bench Standard
- Power Supply: ASUS ROG Thor 850W - Buy from Amazon
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64-bit - Buy from Amazon
- Software: AMD Ryzen Master, AIDA64 Engineer 6.25.5400, and CPU-z 1.92.0 x64
To see our testing methodology and to find out what goes into making our charts, please refer to our 2020 CPU Cooler Testing and Methodology article for more information.
Right out of the box, with an all-core clock of 3.8 GHz, the Galahad jumps to the top of the charts. With only the ARCTIC solution to compare to at this time, the 54.5-degree result is 2.3-degrees better than the LFII 280! We did see peaks of 57-degrees in this test, but the cooler is dead silent at this time too!
Even with the all-core clock moved to 4.2 GHz, the Galahad 360 RGB is up to the task. Leaving us with a 60.7-degree average temperature, now 3.2-degrees ahead of the competition, Lian Li impresses us so far, to say the very least! Temperatures did spike to 67-degrees, but are short bursts of temperature fluctuation.
Looking to see what Lian Li left in the tank, we set the fans to maximum speed, and run the overclocked testing again. We were able to reduce thermals another 1.1-degree, which is not much performance to be had for the insane amount of noise coming from Galahad to obtain it.
Noise Level Results
With the stock setting in play, we saw the fan averaging 950 RPM under load, delivering 24 dB to the environment. Since the pump is not PWM controlled, it spun in the range of 3333 to 3360 RPM in all testing.
We see that this is the first that the Galahad 360 RGB is not topping our charts, but the third-place results are still very respectable! With the overclock in place, the fans averaged a speed of 1050 RPM, delivering just 29 dB. Noise levels are still within many user's comfort zone, and the thermal results speak for themselves.
Lian Li left a theoretical 850 RPM left in the fans, not used by the PWM curve for our standard testing. Allowing them to draw full power, we saw our trio of fans spinning at 1880 RPM, with a mind-numbing 60 dB of noise coming out of them. While we can appreciate the power the fans can deliver, our results show we were already very close to maximum efficiency, with PWM in control versus dealing with this sort of noise! There is no real need to abuse yourself over little more than a degree!
We want to be as thorough as possible as we conclude with things, but we feel that with so much on offer in the Galahad Series of AIOs, we are bound to forget something. Getting the obvious out of the way first, it is hard to deny chart-topping performance! In that quest, Lian li did everything within their power to deliver one of the better-performing coolers we have seen to date! Coolers such as this AIO are what got us into reviewing coolers in the first place, where performance mattered most, and if possible, try to do it with as little noise as possible.
Our Galahad 360 RGB has accomplished both delivering us terrific thermals, with noise levels well under control, when opting to connect them via PWM control! You can surpass the default design, but again, the noise level does not warrant what little was left to gain. Thermals and noise are just two of the details that Lian Li was sure to address with this release.
Appearance-wise, again, the Galahad 360 RGB is hard to beat! The appearance is high-end with the mix of aluminum on both the head unit and the radiator. On top of that, there is textured aluminum, brushed aluminum, and machined aluminum playing well together for one cohesive appeal!
Even when it comes to things like the covers for the tubing ends, Lian Li opted for hexagonal covers instead of the plain skinny plastic sleeve, the braided sleeve is a tighter mesh than others for durability sake without fraying, and the lighting is a terrific mix of stylized lighting on the head unit while flooding the rest of the chassis with the glow from the fans! Every last detail was checked over to ensure there is nothing left to chance.
If we had to say that there was something we would have changed along the way, there is the possibility that we could get full mounting support as is given for Intel. However, the tab setup has worked for years, so there is no real need to fix what is not broken. The manual does leave a bit to be desired, but again, we do not believe we have the fully finished product in our hands, so that could change before these coolers hit the shelves.
We loved all of the extras that come with our Lian Li Galahad 360 RGB as well. First, the magnetically attached cover is slick, and an excellent option for those who want to add more aluminum styling to what is already terrific looking. We also like that the head unit can rotate the aluminum cover and Lian Li name, so even in an inverted chassis, you can read the name in proper orientation! As one who recently got onto the ARGB bandwagon, we appreciate all of the wiring for the fans, as in adapters and options.
Whether you want motherboard control of the coolers lighting or wish to try out the various settings of the control module, it is all there and easy to work with and get installed. Again, proving that Lian Li took a no prisoners approach to entering the overflowing AIO market that has existed long before they attempt to enter it!
Considering many of the top-dogs in the AIO market are trying to find ways to remove performance in favor of lighting and silence, and many of them do not offer ARGB control past the motherboard, seeing the Galahad Series and what this Galahad 360 RGB is capable of has brightened our outlook as to where this market is headed. With Lian Li stepping up as they have, those who have been resting on their laurels will be taking note and scrambling to come up with something close to what Lian Li delivers in this $149.99 sealed loop AIO.
Lian Li has given us the big three, performance, appeal, and cost and has provided us a CPU cooler that, in our opinion, is the new bar to reach across the industry!
The Bottom Line
Lian Li proves you can have your cake and eat it too when it comes to today's AIOs. The Galahad 360 RGB is a stunner visually, it tops the charts in performance with little noise involved, provides everything needed, and does not break the bank! What more could you possibly ask for?
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