Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
In years past, when aftermarket CPU cooling took off, many coolers were sufficient for the task at hand. Still, they came with a ton of noise, and many times, the smaller-sized coolers did not offer outstanding thermal differences compared to their stock counterparts. However, as products do, they improved over the years, getting bigger and bigger, using more tricks of the trade, but for a long time, it came with a ton of noise to get great thermal results.
Over the last few years, many companies have tried to deliver great thermals with low noise, but at the same time, they tended to cost more, and many times they missed the mark in everything but noise levels. When the dual-tower trend started, there was only one player in that game, but over the years, many have copied and tried their hand at improving upon that idea. A few have managed to get silence and performance but came with a hefty price tag, which was the norm at that time.
No doubt, we sang the song of Noctua and their ability to impress for many years, but like any hero, there will come a day when they are bested. As ID-Cooling now takes its stab at the game, a new era may be in store for us as consumers. With what we have in our hands, ID-Cooling has delivered a dual-tower design with a look all their own. Stealthy, black, not a single mention of the maker anywhere on the cooler body, paired with two fans to cool it, ID-Cooling feels they are ready for a debut into the high-end cooling segment. Except for one factor. Somehow, even after using special coatings, more heat pipes than typical, and with hardware that is easy to use, they do so with half of the cost associated with such coolers.
That's right. A budget-friendly high-end cooler is a thing now! On paper, the trio of checks to a successful cooler design is in place, and all ID-Cooling has to do is surpass a select few coolers in our charts to have something truly spectacular. It is honestly brutal to contain ourselves about the information we have in our heads this early into the review with what we already know. If, after reading this review, you are not impressed with at least one aspect of the SE-207-XT Black, you need to check for a pulse, as what you are about to witness is a game-changing product that can reduce the cost of coolers across the board!
Compatibility tops the chart, which we copied from the SE-207-XT Black product page. This section finds that Intel is extensively covered from LGA115X and LGA1200 on through LGA2011 (-3) and LGA2066. As for AMD, only socket AM4 is compatible with this model of the SE-207-XT Black. For ThreadRipper users, there is also a SE-207-TRX Black to use with them.
Next comes the 280W TDP rating of this dual-tower CPU cooler, which sports the dimensions of 144mm from front to back, 122mm of width, and an overall height of 154mm. There is copper used for the base and the heat pipes, with aluminum chosen for the fins. Counting the fins, since they are not mentioned, we find there are forty-four fins on each stack, and on top of that, ID-Cooling coated the fins with specifically designed micro waves, which can be seen in the image below. We are also told that there are seven 6mm heat pipes running through the fins and that this thing weighs 1300 grams.
In the chart, ID-Cooling shows two sets of fan specs to coincide with each of the two fans sent in the box, but these fans match identically. The fans chosen are 120mm fans that use black frames, black blades, and on the hub is an ID-Cooling logo. Their speed can range from 700 RPM when idling on up to 1800 RPM at full blast. You get 76.16 CFM of airflow and 2.16 mmH2O of pressure from these 35.2 dB(A) fans at full speed. These 12V fans sip 0.25A of power at 3W each, spin on a hydraulic bearing, and are 4-pin PWM powered.
The warranty is not mentioned on the packaging nor the product page. However, a couple of clicks through the support menu shows us that all SE Series CPU coolers come with a two-year timeframe.
At least in our minds, the best part about all of this has to do with money. It always comes down to cash at the end. Even so, to grab yourself the SE-207-XT Black, you are not going to shell out what it takes to get many of the other dual-tower designs out there. A quick look at Amazon had us thinking we typed the name wrong, or we got shoved over to another ID-Cooling product with a similar name, but no, we were thinking straight and seeing what we thought all along. In a bit of shock as we say this, but that listing on Amazon says that the SE-207-XT Black costs a measly $49.99 and comes with free shipping to boot for Prime members.
Our memory might be a bit shot from all the years of keeping figures straight, but we can think of no other dual-tower CPU cooler in this price range that we have had in hand. But, enough about money, as we feel many are going to love what follows in this review, and if you have made it this far, it is well worth the time to continue.
In typical fashion, ID-Cooling uses the same matte black and orange packaging we are used to seeing. The ID-Cooling name, logo, and tagline are all present on the front of the packaging, and the center is taken up with a glossy image of the cooler. The orange portion of the panel is where we find the SE-207-XT Black product name.
As we spin the box around, we get to the right side of the box, where we see the backdrop is the same as the front. This time, however, we see dimensional renderings of the cooler, which show the size of the cooler from the top view, and the rendering to the right shows off the dimensions of the base. The orange stripe is now used to display icons.
On the back of the packaging, the top starts as the front panel does, but rather than an image of the cooler, ID-Cooling opts to present the specifications in five languages. The back also ends as the front panel did, displaying the product name in the orange stripe.
The remaining side of the box offers the TDP and socket compatibility at the left, with a group of features in the column to the right. At the bottom, ID-Cooling uses the orange bit to display the company addresses for information and support, delivers a phone number, and shows their Twitter and Facebook IDs to the right.
Inside the box, we first run into the literature resting on the hardware box, encompassed in a thick foam cap covering the entire top of the SE-207-XT Black. We also find that the fans come attached to the cooler, and while shorter, the foam cap used on the bottom centralizes the cooler in the packaging while protecting the base and the heat pipes. Once we removed all of the internal packaging, we find a primarily dust-free CPU cooler with no signs of issues or damage.
ID-Cooling SE-207-XT BLACK CPU Cooler
As-is, fresh out of all of the protective armor, the front view of this tower is blocked by the intake fan. What we can cover, at this point, is that these fans come with nine blades, a logo sticker on the hub, and they have rubber pads in the corners for isolation. However, it is hard not to see the seven heat pipes that run through both towers, looking above and below.
Spinning the cooler to view the side profile, we see a fan, a stack of fins with tabs to keep spacing proper, a slight gap, a fan, and then the second fin stack. The fan clips attach to grooves in the sides of the stacks and looking below the towers, and we can see that the heat pipes are not kept in a single row but are offset to help distribute the heat more evenly into the fins.
Even though we are now looking at the fin design on the back of the tower, this is found on all four surfaces of the two towers. ID-Cooling opts to leave the sides flat, which is where the fan will rest on other portions of the cooler, but the center is designed to allow for pressure building, and the sawtooth pattern helps to disturb the airflow. We should also discuss the coating on these fins, and while ID-Cooling does not specify the material used, the product page does say that this coating adds micro-fins to the aluminum, again, to help with the flow and dissipation of heat.
We stripped the fans from the tower to get a look at how the towers are assembled, but we can also see that the inside fin edges match what we showed in the previous image. At this time, we can also see that each tower has a pair of grooves near the center, and doing so allows fans to be installed front or back of either tower. Not only can you add a third fan, but the first two could be attached to the front tower.
Under the fin stack, we see that the pipes of this design are press-fit into the fins. The pipes take gentle bends from the fins and come together closely to enter the base. These pipes are also coated to match the tower, but we see the residue of something on the heat pipes that would not come off with conventional cleaners.
The SE-207-XT Black is held onto the rest of the hardware with a cross-bar bracket, which is screwed onto the base. Once the rest of the hardware is installed onto the motherboard, these spring-loaded screws are used to lock the cooler into place.
The bottom of the base is shipped with a plastic sticker to protect the finish, and when removed, allows us to view the copper mating surface. A hairline pattern is visible on the base, and for the most part, the copper is pretty level across the majority of the surface, only deflecting slightly near the edges. As a side note, we can also see the screws attaching the cross-bar and the retaining clips, which keep the mounting screws in the cross-bar bracket.
On the opposite end of the cooler, we get a good look at the top. The pipes' tips exit the top of the fin stack and are black to match the theme. The texture we can see on the top of each fin stack is a thick sticker of sorts, applied to the top of the tower, and for that complete sleeper look, ID-Cooling did not even add a logo or name to the top to distract from the murdered-out appearance.
Accessories and Documentation
Inside the hardware box, found in the top foam cap, we first pulled out the bulky mounting hardware components. The AM4 top brackets with the Intel backplate and its isolation washers in the middle are on the left. To the right are the universal Intel top brackets with holes for mainstream and HEDT sockets.
The remaining CPU cooler mounting hardware is what we have in this image. On the left are the LGA2011/2066 standoffs, which screw into the socket retention. The gray plastic bits are spacers for all other compatible sockets used with the backplate and AM4 mounts. The four knurled nuts are used for Intel-only, as with AM4 motherboards, you secure everything with the four screws provided at the right.
The SE-207-XT Black comes with a pair of fans, but ID-Cooling thinks some will want to add a third fan into the mix. In that thought, ID-Cooling offers a tripe fan splitter cable for powering the fans, and that is why we also see the third set of wire fan clips. There is a full-sized syringe of ID-TG25 paste, although only enough inside for a few applications, and at the right, we can see the black and exposed metal case badge.
Both of the fans included with this CPU cooler are identical, and they are ID-12025M12S fans. For those who may want to add a third, you now know what to look for if that is the case. Both fans come with rubber isolation pads on both sides of the fans and are 4-pin PWM powered.
The installation guide unfolds width-wise and delivers seven pages of information on the front, all printed in English. It starts with a component list, moves right into AM4 mounting with five images and three lines of text. Intel LGA115X/1200 gets the next page, again with five images and limited text. LGA20XX brings four images and two lines of text, and the fan mounting and connectivity quickly follow. Beyond that, there is a FAQ section and a page for contacting ID-Cooling if there is an issue. The back of the pages offers all of the same information, but this time delivered in Cyrillic. Even with renderings and limited text, the installation process is done without much issue, even if this was the first cooler you ever installed in around five minutes.
Installation and Finished Product
After removing the plastic cooler retention clips from the motherboard, we were left with short amounts of the factory backplate sticking up past the motherboard surface. Over them, we placed the gray plastic spacers. In this instance, the brackets go at the top and bottom of the socket and are secured to the backplate with the screws ID-Cooling provided.
After we removed the center fan, we accessed the screws to secure the cooler to the rest of the hardware, and then we spun the motherboard so that the cooler was facing the camera. We did have to raise the intake fan slightly to rest just above the memory, but the heat pipe tips still determine the overall heat at this point.
Spinning the motherboard another ninety degrees, we see that the fins and heat pipes are nowhere close to causing us any issues with our RAM. For those with much taller heat spreaders, the intake fan will need to raise even more to accommodate them, which means that you would also need a tad more than the 157mm of height we saw in the specifications chart.
As shipped, the SE-207-XT, while quite large, ensures access to the motherboard screws and the 8-pin EPS connector. A third fan could complicate access to the 8-pin, and even on a HEDT system with DIMM slots on both sides of the socket, the exact clearance is afforded behind the cooler as it is upfront.
As we step back to view what the SE-207-XT Black looks like inside for most users, we like what we see, or more accurately, what we do not see. The textured black tops of the towers go well with the textured plastic shroud on the video card, and the black of the fans almost matches perfectly to the motherboard color. On top of that, there is no single distraction, contrasting paint, nothing to detract from the black on black it offers in its styling.
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.
With an average temperature over the test being 58.7-degrees, the SE-207-XT Black ties the results of the CNPS20X and shares top honors for the most efficient CPU air cooler in this chart! Considering this very affordable cooler can keep up with a $200+ AIO and can hang with the likes of Zalman, Noctua, and Corsair says more than we ever could about just how impressed we are with this ID-Cooling solution.
At 65.4-degrees, ID-Cooling can now claim the top two best CPU air coolers in the game. Sadly the SE-225-XT Black is slightly better in performance, but the SE-207-XT Black makes much less noise to get to the same place. Again, a budget-friendly solution that can do this pretty much puts what we thought possible on its ear.
When we allowed the fans to spin freely at top speed, we see a repeat of the previous results. The SE-207-XT Black is still a touch behind its smaller sibling. Overall, the added effort gains us just 1.8-degrees of an advantage, and with the noise that accompanied this round of testing, we feel it is better left alone for everyday use.
Noise Level Results
The noise level for our stock testing came in at 25 dB, which may not be chart-topping, but is a level anyone could deal with day to day. The intake fan idled at 811 RPM, while the second fan idled at 828 RPM but peaked at 1036 RPM and 1070 RPM.
Once we applied the overclock, the idle speeds increased slightly to 826 RPM and 830 RPM, but we saw 1123 RPM and 1151 RPM as their maximum for this run with the test running. The fans are now at 28 dB of noise being produced, which is 8 dB less than the SE-225-XT Black, resulting in similar thermal results. Overall, fourth-place, but again, well within tolerable levels.
When we saw what was left in the tank, beyond what the PWM curve offers users, it came with a penalty in the form of numbing our ears. With the fans turning at 1824 RPM and 1790 RPM, the noise level increases to 54 dB. Not the worst, by far, but considering how quiet things are under PWM control and with less than two degrees to gain, the effort isn't worth it in the end.
ID-Cooling has done something remarkable here; let's get right to it and say that up front! Yes, the cooler is a big one, there is no way around that one, but it has brought back an excitement we have not had in quite a while. It has been since the release of the NH-D14 and NH-D15 that we have been this excited about what a specific cooler can do. However, while Noctua was the trendsetter in this area of CPU coolers, ID-Cooling has made a better solution in all aspects. In our testing, the SE-207-XT Black took them on and many other contenders and essentially blew their doors off.
With an all-black appeal, no makers mark, little to no noise, and half the money involved to obtain it, ID-Cooling proves that money is not the answer to all of your CPU cooling woes. You can have a fantastic product at a similar cost as most single tower offerings. Any way you want to spin the results in our charts, there is no way you can walk away from this review not impressed with at least one of the aspects that ID-Cooling does to set them ahead, possibly way ahead of the competition.
Not only did we get some of the best thermal results of all of the air coolers we have tested in the past, but it also competes with a 140mm-based liquid cooler, as well as a few of the more usual contenders in that segment. On top of the styling, thermal performance, ease of installation, and how it seamlessly blends into our build, the audio levels are kept relatively low. Even though the SE-225-XT-Black can hang with the SE-207-XT black thermally, the noise profile is nowhere near as pleasing. Of course, you can be that person to run these fans at full speed and complain, but why?
The PWM fan curve is perfect for this cooler, and we see no need to sway from its use. Under normal circumstances, that 28 dB we saw when the test system was overclocked is pretty much the worst-case for noise. Couple that with the fact that this cooler will likely be in a sealed chassis. You hear even less of it then as it seems to disappear into the background.
If there were to be a complaint, the only thing we can think of is fan height and RAM choice. For those of you replacing a cooler, this is something you need to be aware of, but even so, many cases offer sufficient room for the ability to raise the fan past its 154mm overall height. For those looking to assemble a new build, consider lower-height heat spreaders with your choice of memory, as plenty of stylish-looking solutions keep a lower profile.
It performs well in the thermal phase, and we do not find an issue with the noises that came from the fans under regular operation, but can ID-Cooling make the trifecta of CPU coolers and keep things rolling? You bet they can! As mentioned a few times now. Not only is this cooler impressive in all of the tested aspects, but when it comes down to cost, ID-Cooling decided it was time to break down walls and kick in a few doors. What used to cost $100 or more to get a top-tier dual-tower CPU air cooler has been cut in half!
A cooler like this is not only impressive; it is ground-breaking in the CPU cooler game. No other dual-tower design in our charts compares in all three categories of what makes an outstanding, or better yet, a fantastic product that deserves all of the attention we can provide to it. Not only that, but this is also a cooler that will change how we feel about every cooler to come after it.
The Bottom Line
ID-Cooling smashed expectations leaving the SE-207-XT Black as the new mark to beat in CPU air cooling! Everything about this cooler screams "buy me" and we have no issues recommending you follow your gut and get one.