Introduction

Following on from our review of the Silent Loop 240mm, today we will be taking a look at the 120mm and 280mm variants. The Silent Loop series is the first AIO and water cooling products available from be quiet! AIO coolers have a lot of benefits when it comes to PC cooling. The easiest one to think of is the cooling performance they can offer. However, they can also offer great aesthetical features and also cause less strain to motherboards as you simply mount the pump/block to the CPU instead of a big fin array. AIO coolers are also generally maintenance free for their lifetime, meaning you can set it and forget it, as long as your temps don’t rise for no reason, all is generally well. One thing to note though is that you will want to keep an eye, or ear on the pump as sometimes they can start to make a bit extra noise before they go faulty.

Being their first leap into the water cooling market of sorts, be quiet! has surely made sure their Silent Loop range is top-notch! Featuring an easy to use fill port, highly-flexible tubing and offering ultra quiet operation, the Silent Loop series of coolers have a lot going for them. Matching be quiet!’s darker colour scheme and coming with included Pure Wings 2 fans these coolers should fit in well with most colour schemes. be quiet! has also made sure to utilise some top-end technology such as the decoupled reverse flow pump which offers great performance while remaining near on silent during operation! I could go on about these coolers all day, but no one wants to hear that so let’s take a look at the specifications and get this review underway.

280mm Specifications

Dimensions radiator, incl. fan (H x W x D), (mm)
319 x 144 x 55
Total weight (kg)
1,574
Socket compatibility
Intel®: LGA 775 / 1150 / 1151 / 1155 / 1156 / 1366 / 2011(-3) Square ILM AMD™: AM2(+) / AM3(+) / AM4 / FM1 / FM2(+)
Maximum power capacity (W TDP)
400
Backplate Mounting
Fan model, number
2x Pure Wings 2 | 140mm PWM
Pump type
reverse-flow pump
Pump speed (rpm)
2,200
Pump connector
3-pin
Tube length
390
Bend-protection tubes
Refill port

Radiator Specification

Dimensions (H x W x D), (mm)
319 x 144 x 30
Radiator material / finish
copper / black spray painted
Base material / finish
copper / dark nickel plated
CPU contact surface
CNC machined
Surface treatment
mirror polished

General Fan Specifications

Fan dimensions (mm)
140 x 140 x 25
Noise level (dB(A)) @ 25 % / 50% /100% rpm
16.1 / 24.1 / 37.3
Speed @ 100% PWM (rpm)
1,600
Air flow @ 12V (cfm / m3/h)
94.2 / 160
Air pressure @ 12V (mm H2O)
1.82
Bearing type
Rifle
Motor technology
Rated voltage (V)
12
Input current (A)
0.3
Input power (W)
3.6
Connector
4-pin PWM
Cable length (mm)
450
Lifespan (h / 25°C)
80,000

120mm Specifications

Dimensions radiator, incl. fan (H x W x D), (mm)
153 x 128 x 95
Total weight (kg)
1,287
Socket compatibility
Intel®: LGA 775 / 1150 / 1151 / 1155 / 1156 / 1366 / 2011(-3) Square ILM AMD™: AM2(+) / AM3(+) / AM4 / FM1 / FM2(+)
Maximum power capacity (W TDP)
270
Backplate Mounting
Fan model, number
2x Pure Wings 2 | 120mm PWM
Pump type
reverse-flow pump
Pump speed (rpm)
2,200
Pump connector
3-pin
Tube length
340
Bend-protection tubes
Refill port

Radiator Specification

Dimensions (H x W x D), (mm)
153 x 128 x 45
Radiator material / finish
copper / black spray painted
Base material / finish
copper / dark nickel plated
CPU contact surface
CNC machined
Surface treatment
mirror polished

General Fan Specifications

Fan dimensions (mm)
120 x 120 x 25
Noise level (dB(A)) @ 25 % / 50% /100% rpm
16.1 / 23.8 / 36.9
Speed @ 100% PWM (rpm)
2,000
Air flow @ 12V (cfm / m3/h)
65.51 / 111.3
Air pressure @ 12V (mm H2O)
2.23
Bearing type
Rifle
Motor technology
Rated voltage (V)
12
Input current (A)
0.3
Input power (W)
3.6
Connector
4-pin PWM
Cable length (mm)
450
Lifespan (h / 25°C)
80,000

Packaging

The packaging for the Silent Loop coolers fits right in with all of be quiet!’s other products and continues with the dark and simplistic design. While fairly simplistic, be quiet! has made sure to include a nice image of the cooler and have even provided more than adequate information regarding the cooler inside so you know whether it is for you or not.

Inside the boxes is the mounting hardware which will allow the cooler to fit on numerous Intel and AMD sockets, thermal paste, fan splitter and they all come with 2x included fans, even the 120mm version!

All the mounting hardware is separated into labelled bags so you should be able to find what you need with ease when it comes time to install this on your CPU!

Closer Look

We’ll start with the top of the pump for our closer look section. As you can see, it features a nice brushed aluminium look and has the be quiet! logo in the middle. There is a single cable sticking out the top that will power the pump and two tubes (in/out) to allow the heat from the block to be dissipated through the water and to the radiators and then, blown out of your case, hopefully.

The Nickel plated base plate is going to allow for better heat transfer from the CPU to the cooler. As you can just about see in the image below, the nickel-plated base itself is quite thick.

While not as easy as just turning with your fingers, both tubes can be removed by taking the fittings in the pump or rad out if needed. Please note, I wouldn’t recommend this unless you have previous knowledge in water cooling and how to refill the cooler.

Here we can see the refill port on the end of the radiator. While this likely won’t be used by most users, it is great to see it added for those who are a bit more advanced. This shouldn’t need to be used in most case but for those who want to change the fluid, or top it up, it’s a welcome addition.

The radiators are made from copper and are spray painted black to give them their amazing finish. The radiator on the 280mm version is 30mm thick whereas on the 120mm it is a massive 45mm thick! The thicker rad on the 120mm version is going to help allow it offer the best cooling possible and it shouldn’t be that far of off the 240mm, but we will find out about that soon enough.

All of the Silent Loop Coolers come with Pure Wings 2 fans! The 280mm variant, of course, features two of the 140mm version and the 120mm and 240mm feature two of the 120mm Pure Wings fans.

There is no denying how stylish these coolers are once the fans are added. But do they offer good performance? Let’s take a look at the performance results and then wrap the review up with a conclusion.

Installation

There was a bit of a learning curve for myself when it came to installing the Silent Loop on my 6700K. This was to be expected though as it is the first be quiet! AIO cooler. As always, I have installed this on Intel’s 1151 socket.

First, you will want to get the to retention brackets that will hold the screws in place so you can screw the pump down to the back plate. There are two pieces and they slot into on the side of the pump and then the clip together. While it does take a bit of force or did for me anyway, they do have grooves on them and fit together nicely.

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This is where things get a bit subjective. With most AIO coolers, you can install the fans onto the radiator before installing the radiator in your case and this is exactly what I have done today. Depending on your needs and the case you are using, some may prefer to install the fans after the radiator is already in the case, which really is fine.

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Next, I installed the radiator in the top of my Cooler Master Master Case Pro 5. This is done simply be using some of the smaller screws and screwing them into the top side of the radiator.

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Now that the radiator is in place, we can get the backplate onto our motherboard. There are a couple of small white strips that can be removed and will reveal a bit of adhesive so the backplate will stay in place on the backside of the motherboard.

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Now it is time to apply our thermal paste and get the pump/block combo installed. The easiest way I found to do this was to get the screws installed on the retention brackets. this is done by using the correct screws and adding a spring, washer and a nut to keep them in place on the bracket. Next, you can install your thermal paste and secure the screws into the backplate. Please note, when tightening the screws, you may want to add a bit of pressure on the backplate area where you are the screw is as the little metal pieces can fall out of the backplate. This is just to get the screw threaded a bit then you can go onto the next one. Personally, I got all 4 screws threaded a tiny bit then worked on further tightening the screws and finalizing the installation of the pump/block combo.

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Once it installed, it is time to put it to good use. As you can see, when installed in the Master Case Pro 5, there is plenty of room and the fans are above the top of the motherboard. This would also mean that there is plenty of room for me to add two more fans on the top should I want to go for a push/pull configuration on the Silent Loop. Though that won’t be the case for all and will be dependent on the chassis you are installing the cooler in.

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Test System and Methodology

Test System

Test System

Methodology

For our testing, we use the Prime 95 stress testing program to make all the cores on our CPU run at 100% for 10minutes then we monitor them with CoreTemp and CPU-Z. We then take all the individual core temperature readings and add them up, then we divide that total by the number of cores and finally, we subtract the ambient room temperature to achieve our final result.

To have the best chance of having like for like results, all testing is done in a Cooler Master Master Case Pro 5 with both side panels off.

 

Programs

Performance and Testing

Final Thoughts

Performance

In terms of raw cooling performance, the Silent Loop range of coolers offers some of the best cooling performance we here at Enos Tech have ever seen. The 240mm and 280mm variants top our OC Load cooling chart, which means they are the 2 best coolers I have personally have the joy of testing in the past 2-years! While cooling performance is very important, the noise output is also almost as important. The Load Noise Level is a bit of a tricky one as this is using the included fans and a lot of the fans will spin at different RPM’s at full load, so it’s hard to judge them based on this. However, I can tell you from experience that these coolers are not very audible at all. When idling, I can not hear the fans or pump at all with my PC at my feet. When going to full load, it’s only the fan spinning at a higher RPM that becomes audible.

Design

be quiet! have done a great job with the design, from an engineering standpoint and a purely aesthetic one. The reverse flow pump and nickel plated base plate offer great heat dissipation from the CPU to the radiator and then the included Pure Wings 2 fans do a great job at blowing the hot air away. The high-flex tubing, which is removable coupled with the fill port will give advanced users everything they need to keep the Silent Loop coolers in tip top shape. The mostly all-black design is going to go over well, from the brushed aluminium pump top to the shiny flex tubing, it looks amazing and should have no problems fitting in with most builds.

Value

There is no denying the be quiet! Silent loop coolers are a bit more expensive than similar sized AIO cooling options. However, you need to take into account the performance they have to offer and also consider the design aspects of the cooler. If you are looking for something that can be easily customised in the future, with new tubes and coolant, then this is something the Silent Loop Series offers. If you are just looking for a bog standard AIO these may not be for you but if you want some of the best AIO cooling performance available to you, the Silent Loop series is well worth looking into!

As with the 240mm version, I am happy to award the Silent Loop 120mm and 280mm our Must have Award. Many thanks to be quiet! for sending these in for review.