Introduction

When it comes to the liquid cooling solutions, the Alphacool is not a new name. Based on their years of experience and expertise, the users can benefit from high-performance Cooling Solutions including their All-In-One and the All-In-One Connected cooling solutions not to mention the complete custom loop setup possibility. Their ideas are innovative and their expertise has allowed for far more industrial applications of their solutions than just the cooling setup for the PCs.

They are also the OEM partners of the various brands including Fractal Design, Cooler Master, Be Quiet, Sapphire, Asus, Novatech to name a few which speaks of their excellence in the design and development of the cooling solutions. Their Eisbaer, Eiswolf, Eiswand are a few products that are quite popular among the PC Enthusiasts.

Today, I am checking upon their Eisbaer 360, All In One CPU cooler. Don’t take it for just another CLC on the market as it is not designed to be like any other CLC design. Majority of the CLC solutions use a closed-loop configuration that would mean user won’t be able to refill the coolant should there be a need. Besides if the pump dies or malfunctions, the complete unit has to be sent in. This is not the case with the Eisbaer series of expandable coolers. The Eisbaer 360 has a 360mm radiator with three 120mm fans to drive your cooling needs. The radiator is fully implemented in the copper which is another difference from the traditional CLCs in the market. It features 11/8mm size PVC hoses with standard G1/4 threading and standard compression fittings. Not only is that but the Pump is their DC-LT Ceramic Ultra Low Noise design. So far, everything sounds like a custom loop setup and this is the exact concept behind this product. The Alphacool has picked the products from their custom loop configuration and produced an All-In-One cooling solution built around the custom loop configuration yet with the Quick-Lock enclosure which enables the users to expand their loop. Let’s see how it performs in real life.

Item: Eisbaer 360 CPU – Black

Manufacturer: Alphacool

Price: €139.99 [at the time of the review]

Eisbaer 360 Specifications

The component wise specification will be covered in the Closer Look section.

Packaging and Unboxing

The Eisbaer 360 comes in a large size cardboard box container. The packaging is in black color. On the top side of the box, the model no of the product is printed in the white color. Beneath that, the socket compatibility info is printed in the white color. There is a picture of the Pump unit printed on the center. OCool is being shown light up as it has LED underneath it. On the bottom left side of the front cover, the brand logo and the website address are printed. The cooler is designed in the Germany and made in the China.

The backside of the box has the same info except that the printed picture is the Eiswind fan. The cooler comes with the standard 3 years warranty as highlighted in a blue color circle on the bottom right side.

There is a brand logo, the company name, and the company motto printed on both sides opening covers.

The left and the right sides have the website address of the company printed on them.

When the box is opened, there is Styrofoam padding on the top of the contents for the protection. Removing it would reveal the well-placed components inside the recycled cardboard container. All the components are covered in the transparent sheet. This is a good idea to avoid damage in case of any leakage plus to avoid any scratching during the shipping.

Accessories

The Alphacool has provided a plethora of the accessories in the parcel. The user manual is well laid out and easy to understand with necessary cautions and tips for the installation. Accessories include: –

  • 3x Eiswind fans
  • 1x Intel backplate
  • 1x Intel bracket
  • 1x AMD bracket
  • PWM Adapter
  • Mounting material inclusive of the screws and the nuts
  • 1x Gelid Thermal Paste

 

Closer Look

The Alphacool Eisbaer 360 is a 360mm All In One Expandable CPU cooler which is quite different from the majority of the AIOs/CLCs in the market. It is assembled using all the top-notch custom loop products from the Alphacool with the user convenience written all over it. It does remind me of the EKWB XLC-Predator series CPU Coolers which was the same concept executed by the EKWB. They were refillable, expandable using quick-disconnects with DC pump. Let’s take a closer look at the cooler and see what is that magic which differentiates it with the competitive offerings.

The radiator of the cooler is a 30mm thick one from the NexXxos series of the Alphacool radiators that are quite popular among the water cooling users. The length of the radiator is a 397mm and the width is 124mm. When the fans are installed the overall thickness increases to the 55mm. What makes the radiator substantially different from the other CLCs is that its fins, channels and the front chamber are made of pure copper unlike the aluminum being used in the majority of the CLC solutions in the market.

The fins of this radiator are less thick which makes it easier for the fans to rotate at low speeds yet provide the optimal cooling. This ensures that the performance of the “Eisbaer” when adjusting the fans down decreases much more slowly than in radiators with higher fin thickness. There are 12 channels in the radiator divide into two groups. One is for the inlet and the other is for the outlet. Both sides of the radiator have standard 120mm fan mount holes. Push/Pull configuration can be used.

If you would look closely, the Alphacool has placed a protective sheet on the undersides of the radiator housing. This is to protect the fins from the over tightening of the screws. The inlet and the outlet blocks are divided and this design gives a bold look to the radiator. The other end of the radiator has an angular design as well which goes well in the overall symmetry of the design.

  

Both sides of the radiators have OCOOL printed in the blue color. The surface is a fingerprint magnet, something to keep in mind while installing. Below picture highlight the copper made fins.

 

The Alphacool has used the standard compression fittings in the unit. The thread size is G1/4 which is a common standard in the water cooling industry. This approach has enabled the Alphacool to provide the users to convert the unit into a custom loop easily or can swap the PVC hoses with the hard tubing or transparent tubing without much hassle. These configurations are made possible by the refill capability of the unit.

This unit has the flexible PVC hoses. These hoses are easier to arrange and move into the right position. Both the hoses have anti-kink springs to avoid unnecessary bends resulting in the blockage of the water. The 11/8 mm size is also a standard in the water cooling field, alongside the 13/10 and 16/10.

One of the hoses features the quick-lock closure. This feature has enabled the unit to further expand so that more blocks or the radiators can be added without much hassle. The “Eisbaer” was designed with expandability directly in mind. This quick-lock mechanism is compatible with Alphacool HF quick-lock closures (1010383, 1010394, 1010395, 1010442). Furthermore, the “Eisbaer” is compatible with the upcoming Alphacool GPX-Pro graphics card AIO, which will use identical quick-lock closures. This closure has the length of the 83mm. The part of the closure with the red ring has the diameter of the 28mm whereas the one with the blue ring has the diameter of the 20.5mm

To expand the loop, one would need to unscrew the plastic knob till the position when the hoses come separately. Be careful as when you will open the closure, a few drops of the coolant will spill over. One can use an anti-dip bowl over which the closure can be unlocked. The spilled coolant can be refilled through the refill port if there be any need. This is the area where EKWB had the better implementation. There is no spilling on their quick-disconnects. Though this is not a complaint as such. Please take care not to mix up the IN and OUT ports. On the “Eisbaer”, the “outlet” is marked in “red” and the “inlet” in “blue”. On the components to be connected, it is the opposite. The coupling with the “blue” marking denotes the “outlet” and the coupling with the “red” marking is the “inlet”. This is important as in many coolers the flow direction is crucial for optimal cooling performance.

Let’s take a look at the pump housing and the base. The smooth and shiny polished copper base of the cooler ensures optimal heat absorption and can relay the heat over the fine slit structure of the cooler to the water quickly and efficiently. There is a protective sheet on the base which needs to be peeled off before the installation.

The basis of the pumps is the Alphacool DC-LT Ceramic Ultra Low Noise. The pump runs quietly and can be regulated to between 7 and 12V. It can also be regulated through the motherboard. If the “Eisbaer” is being run alone without any expansion, the 7V setting will still have next to no performance loss. The insulated pump case further perfects the noise generation and ensures that vibrations are almost completely absorbed.

The housing of the pump is made of plastic. The pump and reservoir are combined. It has same dimensions from any side which is 66mm. The height of the pump housing is 67.5mm without the fittings. With the fittings it is 87mm. On the top, we have three G1/4 threaded ports. One is dedicated for the refilling while the other two are the inlet and the outlet ports. The OCOOL is printed on the side of the unit and it illuminates in the blue color when connected to the power source. There is a sleeved cable coming out of the unit which is a 3-pin cable to power the pump. The length of this cable is approximately 210mm.

  

There is a see-through side on the housing which shows the pump and the coolant inside the housing. This is similar to what we saw on the Reeven Naia 240 CLC except that the full block was transparent. The pump is mounted vertically unlike the horizontal placement in the majority of the CLCs.

Here are the technical specifications of the pump:

  • Speed: 2600 RPM
  • Voltage: 7V to 13.5V DC
  • Power Consumption: 4W
  • Maximum Flow Rate: 70L/h
  • Maximum head: 0.85m

The black color part between the base and the housing has inset sides. This is where the Intel/AMD brackets are slid and snapped in when installing the unit.

Alphacool has supplied three Eiswind 120mm fans with the unit. These fans have sleeved bearings and are static pressure optimized for use on the radiators. There are 7 blades in a fan. The central motor hub does not have any sticker on it from the front side. There are no anti-vibration paddings on the corners of the fans.

The fans operate on the 12V DC. They are 4-Pin PWM fans with the rated speed of the 55-1700 RPM with ±10%. Airflow rating is 63.85 CFM with the static pressure rating of the 1.66mmH₂O. Sound rating is 29 dBA per fan. The backside of the fan has a sticker pasted on the motor hub. Eiswind – 12 is printed in the middle. Each fan draws 2.2W. That would mean each fan is rated at 0.183Amps. The motor hub is mounted on a 4-arms assembly which is connected to the mainframe. The power cable is black sleeved and has approximately 290mm length.

 

Installation

I have tested the installation on the Intel LGA 1151 and the LGA 2011-V3 sockets. The installation on the LGA 2011-V3 is easy and convenient. However, the installation of the backplate on the LGA 1151 is not that convenient. Without pasting the backplate using the pre-applied dual-sided adhesive, it is almost impossible to mount the backplate and then screwing the block in the standoffs is another challenge. While taking the backplate off, one arm of the backplate got broken. Let’s have a look at the installation. I will begin with the LGA-1151 socket on the Asus Z170-P.

First, peel off the adhesive tape cover from the mounting side of the backplate. Adjust the 4 standoffs as per the mounting holes on the socket. Place the backplate on the backside of the socket such that the insets on the one side of the bracket align with the upper two screws coming out of the socket holder.

Next, take out the Intel brackets. There are two sets of the screws supplied with the unit. One set has M3 threading on the bottom followed by the M4 threading on the same screw. This set is to be used with the LGA-115X sockets. The other set has only M4 threading which is for the LGA-2011(3) socket. Take out these screws along with the compression springs, washers, and the nuts. Pass the screw through the spring followed by the washer. Now, pass it through the mounting holes on the bracket and place the nut on the underside of the bracket. Start tightening the nut using hands till it is tight enough to be slid along the mounting holes.

Now, slide in the Intel brackets along the inset in the pump housing. They should slide in and snap on each other. Also, install the fans on the radiator.

  

Now, place the block on the top of the CPU IHS and align the screws with the pre-drilled holes around the socket. Start threading them diagonally. Connect the power cables on the fan headers of the motherboard. This would complete the installation on the LGA-1151.

  

For the LGA-2011V3 we don’t need the backplate. Repeat the above steps leaving the backplate one and install the cooler.

 

Clearance

Being the CLC/AIO this cooler has no clearance issues with respect to the DIMM slots and the first PCIe slot. Do make sure that your PC Chassis has support for the 360mm radiator.

Test Bench

Following test bench was used for testing this cooler: –

  • Asus Rampage V Edition 10
  • Intel i7 6850k
  • Ballistix Elite 4x4GB @ 3000MHz
  • Zotac GTX 1050Ti
  • Samsung 840 EVO 250GB SSD
  • WD Black 6TB
  • Corsair AX1200i

 

Methodology

The thermal paste being used on my test bench is the Noctua NT-H1 thermal paste. The use of a same thermal paste for all coolers will ensure the standardization and mitigate any performance benefit that may come using the supplied thermal paste. Delta temperatures are reported on the graphs. The cooler is tested on stock clocks i.e 3.6GHz using 1.136V manual VCore. The Asus RealBench 2.44 is used to stress test the cooler’s performance. Each run of the test was of 15 minutes followed by 15-30 minutes break to let the system cool down. Fans were set to run at their 100% RPM and water pump was set at 100% as well.

CPU is overclocked to 4.3GHz with 1.350V manual Vcore. Three test runs are made. Average of each test run is calculated. The max temps on each core are summed up and divided by the core count to give the average figure. The max average of three tests is used for reporting. Delta temp is calculated by subtracting the ambient temp from the max average temp. No rounding will be done on the ambient temps.

To monitor the temps, HWInfo64 version 5.58-3255 is used.

Let’s take a look at the results.

Results

On the stock clocks, the Alphacool Eisbaer 360 did the maximum of the 21.5C with the difference of above 3C with the Reeven Naia 240.

With overclocked i7 6850k at 4.3GHz using 1.350V the maximum temperature on the Alphacool Eisbaer 360 was 35.2 which is almost 3C above the Reeven Naia 240. I was expecting minimum 5C drop though it is not a mandatory one. So, why Reeven Naia has such a close competition yet being 240mm one is because the pump on the Reeven Naia has a flow rate of the 120L/h as compared to the Eisbaer’s 70L/h. Also, the provision of the quick-lock closure could narrow a water flow path a bit as compared to the regular hose. Still, the 3C difference matters when it comes to the cooling the CPUs.

The sound level was measured using Foneso Digital Sound Level Meter. Though the fans are rated at 29 dBA but with three fans and the pump combine, the sound level was 32 dBA which is still good.

 

Conclusion

Alphacool is a cooling company at heart has expertise and facilities to provide the ultimate cooling solutions. They are working as OEM partner with the likes of the Fractal Design, BeQuiet and Cooler Master to name a few if this tells you the tale of their success. The Eisbaer is their cooling solution in the market of the All In One or CLC coolers. But don’t take this as a regular CLC/AIO cooler. The Eisbaer is designed around the custom loop setup with the custom loop components with all the components being the top notch ones from the Alphacool.

The Eisbaer 360 has a 360mm radiator with the fins, the channels and the front chamber made of the copper. The radiator is from the Alphacool’s NexXxos series of the radiators. This radiator has the dimensions of the 397x124x30mm (LxWxH). With the fans on the overall thickness increases to the 55mm.

The Alphacool I using their DC-LT ceramic low noise pump in this unit. The pump runs quietly and can be regulated to between 7 and 12V. It can also be regulated through the motherboard. If the “Eisbaer” is being run alone without any expansion, the 7V setting will still have next to no performance loss. The insulated pump case further perfects the noise generation and ensures that vibrations are almost completely absorbed.

The Alphacool is using PVC hoses of 11/8mm size. They are using anti-kink springs to avoid un-necessary bending which could block the flow of the coolant. The Alphacool has used standard compression fittings with G1/4 thread size. One can see that we have all the custom loop components assembled together to form an All In One cooler. This has enough flexibility for the user to change any component like hoses can be replaced with the hard tubing or the transparent ones for example. One can add dedicated reservoir if need be as another example. The opportunities are endless.

There is a fill port with g1/4 threading on top of the pump housing. This approach has allowed the users to refill the unit whenever needed and effectively enhancing the life of the product. In addition, there is a quick-lock closure on one of the hoses. This allows the users to expand their loop without much hassle and inconvenience. One can add GPU block or another radiator and it has compatibility with the Alphacool’s HF quick-lock closures (1010383, 1010394, 1010395, 1010442). The OCOOL printed on top of the pump housing illuminates in the blue color LED. The color can’t be changed just in case you want to know. The product comes with a 3 years warranty. The backplate mounting on the LGA 115X is not convenient and I am hoping that they may address this in their future CLCs.

Value

The product is listed at €139.99 at the time of the review. Though it may seem a high price but keep in mind the size of the cooler and the selection of the components with expandability and refilling at the heart of it. The price is just right for the performance it offers.

Performance

The unit was put to the task of cooling the 6 core, 140W TDP chip i.e i7 6850k at stock and the overclocked settings. The cooler has managed to maintain the 3C difference from the previous winner on my test bench i.e the Reeven Naia 240 at a silent level of operations. The performance is right on the money though Naia has definitely shaken the competition in the 240mm CLCs.

This cooler has won our Performance Award.

I am thankful to Alphacool for giving me the opportunity to review their Eisbaer 360 CPU Cooler.