Introduction

Antec, Inc. is not a new name as they have been producing high-performance computer components and accessories for the gaming, PC upgrade, and Do-It-Yourself markets since 1986. Antec is recognized as a pioneer in the industry and has maintained its position as a worldwide market leader and an international provider of quiet, efficient, and innovative products. Their product lines include PC Chassis, CPU Cooler, PSU, Fans, etc. Antec is headquartered in Fremont, California, with additional offices in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, as well as in the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, China, and Taiwan. The company’s products are sold in more than 40 countries throughout the world.

We recently did a round-up content on the high-end air coolers. It was quite a success and based on the community’s feedback we are planning another round-up content. This time the round-up content is on the best 240mm AIO coolers. We have chosen this size of the liquid cooler as it is still the most commonly used size in the liquid cooler category out of other available sizes which are 120mm, 280mm, and 360mm. We have reached out the over 30 brands and set ourselves a minimum of 15 coolers for the test. We are nearing our mark as the deliveries have started. We reached out to Antec and they supported us with Neptune 240 ARGB cooler through their sole distributor in Pakistan, PakDukaan.

Since we are also doing dedicated reviews of the coolers before the royal rumble, here is our take on the Antec Neptune 240 ARGB. This is their new series named Neptune. I have reviewed their Kuhler series K240 earlier on other media site and found that to be a better value. This is a 240mm cooling solution and it seems like this is their own design. Much like their Kuhler K240, this cooler also has the pump integrated into the radiator housing. Antec has provided two ARGB 120mm fans. To make the offer a better one, there is a lighting and PWM controller provided in the cooler. The block features a beautiful ARGB light show on the top and in the middle. Since there is no pump on the block, the vibration has been reduced significantly on the block. The cooler is compatible with Intel LGA 1200/115x/1366/20xx sockets and AMD FM2/FM1/AM3+/AM3+AM2+/AM2/AM4 and TR4 sockets.

Product:                       Neptune 240 ARGB

Manufacturer:            Antec

Price:                            PKR 17000/- PakDukaan

USD 109.9 AMAZON

Specifications

 

Packaging and Unboxing

The cooler is shipped inside a cardboard box.

The packing box has a picture of the unit in ARGB lighting. The ARGB lighting is compatible with:

  • ASUS AURA SYNC
  • GIGABYTE RGB FUSION 2.0
  • ASRock POLYCHROME SYNC
  • MSI MYSTIC LIGHT

The cooler features PTFE tubing, Graphite bearings, and a 1.2m pressure head rating on the pump.

Salient features of the cooler are highlighted using pictures. The company’s contact information is printed as well.

ARGB is highlighted among the key features.

Specifications of the cooler are printed in 8 different languages.

The overall packing box presentation provides sufficient information and data to the on-the-go buyer.

Opening the box will show the cooler and hardware tucked inside the egged carton. There is a white color Styrofoam pad on the top as well.

Contents

Let’s take a look at what is bundled with the cooler. I appreciate the labeled bags for ease of identification.

We have multiple brackets and backplates for Intel and various AMD sockets. Since this cooler supports the TR4 socket as well, a bracket for that socket is provided.

We have thumb nuts and screws for the Intel LGA-20xx socket and another similar set for other sockets. xTR4 standoffs are also provided. The 5x small size screws are needed to install the bracket on the block.

The fan screws are provided inside a labeled container. The fan screws bag is included inside the fan’s container, not in the mounting hardware. We have 4x long screws and 4x small screws though the small screws are for the radiator. 4x washers are also included.

Antec has provided a dedicated control hub which is a 2-in-1 design. There is a dual-sided adhesive strip as well to secure the controller inside the chassis though I would have loved to see a magnetic attachment. There are two sync cables provided as well.

There is an Antec branding on the top center of the control box. The left side button is to control the speed of the dynamic effects and the right side button is used to change the lighting mode. The user can connect up to 5 ARGB (3-pin) devices to this controller.

The user can optimally connect the cable of the Reset button of the chassis IO panel to the 2-pin header on the controller. This header is labeled as LED Ctrl. This is a handy mechanism since the controller will be inside the PC chassis so the user won’t have to open the chassis to change the lighting mode. Kudos to their design team for that!

We have 5x ARGB headers on this controller. These all are 3-pin format.

The user can also connect up to 5x 4-pin PWM fans to the controller.

The fan headers are all 4-pin PWM format.

There is a cable provided which allows the user to sync the controller to the motherboard. The 4-pin port shown in the picture is for that cable.

The controller is SATA powered.

The above picture shows the sync cable. The 4-pin proprietary connector is to be connected to the 4-pin PWM/LED labeled port on the controller. The 4-pin PWM connector is to be connected to the motherboard’s fan header and the 3-pin ARGB connector is to be connected to the digital lighting header of the motherboard. This way the user can switch the control to and forth the controller and the motherboard.

Antec has also provided a sync cable for GIGABYTE motherboards.

There is a user guide on the control hub and the cooler’s information guide.

Closer Look

Let’s start with a statement from Antec about their new cooler. “The new generation of Antec all-in-one liquid CPU cooler, Neptune 240 ARGB, brings your build to the next level. The integration of the water pump and radiator prevents the CPU from being damaged by vibration. The ultra-thin pump head reduces the volume when installing it on the CPU. Besides aesthetics, the efficiency of thermal control is also improved.”

The cooler is compatible with Intel LGA20xx/1366/1200/115x sockets and AMD AM4/AM3+/AM3/AM2+/AM2/FM2+/FM2/FM1 sockets. It is also compatible with the AMD TR4 socket.

RADIATOR

The Antec Neptune 240 ARGB is a 240mm CLC cooling solution. It has a 240mm radiator with 2x 120mm ARGB fans.

The dimension of the radiator is 287 x 121 x 27mm. The thickness of the radiator is 27mm. With 25mm fans, the overall thickness would be 53mm. The radiator has 18 fins per inch (FPI). There is a gap of 105mm between any two fan mounting holes on the radiator. The fin stack is less dense as compared to the other AIOs which we are testing as the majority of them have 20 FPI.

The radiator is made of aluminum hence it is lightweight. This is not an Asetek design. The blocks on both ends of the radiator are rectangular. Taking into account the left and right side channels, it has a total of 12 channels for water flow. The wall thickness is 0.28mm.

We have an aluminum façade on both sides with Antec branding in the center which looks quite good in person.

Coming to the main point of focus on this cooler, the Antec Neptune 240 ARGB much like Kuhler K240 has an integrated pump in the radiator housing. The pump is on the near block where the tubes are coming from. This is very why we have an enlarged size block on this end measuring 34x121x30mm where 30mm is the height of the block and 34mm in depth. There is a power cable coming out from the center which looks a bit loose. The pump is taking power directly from the SATA cable and there is no way to monitor or control the speed of the pump.

The length of the SATA cable is approximately 392mm which should have been a minimum of 500mm. This is so because the user can install the rad on the top or on the font and depending upon the chassis being used, the length of the cable should be sufficient enough. The hoses are well connected to the straight barbs using heat shrinks. Specifications of the pump are:

Water Pressure1.0 ± 0.2m
Flow Rate1.5 L/m [90 l/h]
Lifespan50000 hours at 25°C ambient 15-65% RH
Noise≤36 dBA

 

We have a rectangular designed block on the far end. There are stickers pasted on it.

Serial no and part no seem to be printed on the stickers.

There is a sticker on the block cautioning the user to regularly clean the unit.

There is no protective sheet/plating under each mounting position. Also, the fin stack has an offset displacement in the radiator housing. As shown in the above picture, there is a wider gap between the fin stack and the frame of the radiator.

As shown in the above picture, there is a narrow gap between the fin stack and frame of the radiator. This is probably due to the integration of the pump in the radiator housing resulting in a bit larger block size. If going for a push/pull setup, be careful when using screws to install the fans on the radiator.

Speaking on the finishing, one corner of the radiator has pretty much banged up fins.

Antec is using PTFE Teflon-Coating tubes on the Antec Neptune 240 ARGB cooler. These tubes run to the length of 350mm. the PTFE coating reduces liquid loss and resist to the corrosion.

PUMP/BLOCK

Let’s take a look at the block of the cooler. The dimension of the block is 65x65x40mm.

We have an aluminum faceplate on the top of the block. There is RGB backlit Antec branding in the center of the plate. The faceplate is not fully covering the top as borders on 4 sides are open and we can see the diffuser. The ARGB lighting looks good on this block.

The tubes are installed at 90° barb fittings using heat shrinks. There is an ARGB cable coming out from this side as well.

The above-mentioned cable is a 3-pin ARGB cable having an approximate length of 355mm. The cable is sleeved.

There is another diffuser running on the entire length of the block on all sides giving a dual-chamber impression.

All 3 sides of the block have a solid finish without any branding or texture. The overall build quality and finishing are good.

We have a copper base with pre-applied thermal paste. The base measures 59x55mm. The copper surface is flat. Antec is using 0.8mm micro fins on the cold plate. The base portion protrudes from the upper section. Each side has 2 mounting holes. This is where the brackets are installed.

FAN

Each fan comes pack inside a transparent container and each container is labeled. The screws are also placed inside a transparent container. Antec has done a good job in the presentation overall.

Each fan has 9 transparent blades. The fan has a black color frame. There is an Antec branding on the center. The ARGB LEDs are housed inside the center. Each mounting corner has an anti-vibration pad. The frame is in a circular shape.

There is no arrow symbol on any side of the frame.

There is a 4-arms assembly on the backside. One of the arms is wider to carry the cables from the center to the outer frame. There is an Antec branding on the center.

There are two cables per fan which are sleeved not flat. The length of the 4-pin PWM connector cable has an approximate length of 323mm whereas the length of the 3-pin ARGB cable is approximately 325mm.

The specification of the fans are:

Dimension120x120x25mm
TypePWM ARGB LED Fan
Speed900-1600±100 RPM
Airflow77 CFM
Noise20-36 dB(A)
Lifespan40000 hours at 25°C ambient 15-65% RH
Connector4-pin PWM and 3-pin ARGB connectors

 

Installation

We have tested the cooler on the X99 platform using the 2011-3 socket. Installation is simple and as under:

Install the Intel LGA20xx standoffs.

Install the fans on the radiators. Don’t use the washers on the fans. They are to be used for the radiator mounting on the chassis.

Install the Intel mounting bracket on the base.

Place the block on the CPU by aligning the holes on the mounting bracket with the threaded sides of the standoffs. Use the thumb nuts to secure the installation.

Connect the SATA cable to the PSU. Connect the ARGB and PWM cables to the control hub or motherboard headers and that is all.

There is no clearance issue with respect to the DIMM slots and first PCIe slot. Make sure your chassis has clearance for a 240mm radiator.

RGB Lighting

The cooler has a vivid and cool lighting effect,s particularly on the block. Here are some pictures:

Testing Methodology

Following test benches have been used: –

  • Asus Rampage V Edition 10
  • Intel i7 6850k
  • CORSAIR VENGEANCE RED 16GB @ 2666MHz
  • Colorful GeForce GTX 1050Ti Vulkan
  • Samsung 840 EVO 250GB SSD
  • Cooler Master MWE 650W Gold
  • Custom open-air test bench

The software used for testing and monitoring include:

  • Asus Real Bench v 2.56 (Intel)
  • Real Temp GT v 3.70 (Intel)

Here is the settings table for testing:

OC Clock (MHz)4100
OC Voltage (V)1.21
Turbo BoostDisabled
C-StatesDisabled
Speed StepDisabled
Thermal PasteNoctua NT-H1
Test Run Time60 minutes
Idling Time15 minutes
Fan SpeedTested using Integrated Hub on the radiator at Auto/PWM

Manually set to run at 100% speed.

Auto PWM using CPU Fan Header

Pump SpeedConnected to the AIO Pump header to run at 100% speed

 

We are using Noctua NT-H1 thermal paste for coolers testing. Using the same thermal paste for all coolers would ensure standardization. Delta temperatures are reported on the graphs. The testing is done on an open-air bench system. Once inside the chassis, the temperatures are expected to rise and would largely depend upon the optimal airflow inside the chassis.

Not every run of the stress test may yield the same result. This could well be due to many factors like mounting pressure, thermal paste application, varying ambient temperature. Not to mention the silicon differences even among the same category of the chips. Hence, it is pertinent to mention the testing methodology along with the specifics.

Let’s take a look at the results.

Results

100% PWM Cycle

4000 Auto PWM

This is a better performance from the cooler in this price range. At 100% duty cycle one fan was doing 1697 RPM and the other one was at 1710 RPM. The maximum rated speed is validated. On Auto PWM these fans were operating in the range of 880~920 RPM. I have noticed that after the last UEFI/BIOS update, the PWM controllers on the motherboard are not using the fan’s PWM range effectively hence all these coolers that we are testing are continuously being reported on the lower side of the PWM range.

Acoustic

The fans are not loud under 100% duty cycle mode but the pump is very loud and we measure 56 dBA on 34 dBA ambient noise.

Conclusion

We have taken a spin on the Antec Neptune 240 ARGB CPU cooler. This is a new cooler from Antec released in May 2020 and features a backlit water block and ARGB 120mm fans in addition to the integrated pump in the radiator housing. The dimension of the radiator is 287 x 121 x 27mm. The thickness of the radiator is 27mm. With 25mm fans, the overall thickness would be 53mm. The radiator is made of aluminum hence it is lightweight. The OEM is some Chinese manufacturer as it is not an Asetek design. The radiator has 18 FPI. The soft tubing is made from rubber material with PTFE Teflon coating and has a sleeve on it. The soft material tubing is a bit flexible and doesn’t produce kinking which is always a plus. The cooler is compatible with Intel LGA 1366/1200/115x/20xx sockets and AMD FM2/FM1/AM3+/AM3+AM2+/AM2/AM4 and xTR4 sockets.

The pump of the cooler is integrated into the near block of the radiator and it is SATA powered. The idea is simple. We take out the vibration from the water block by placing the pump on the radiator reducing the risk of damaging the CPU socket/motherboard. The pump is SATA powered and there is no way for the user to control the speed of the pump or monitoring its speed. The pump of this unit was loud. Even louder than the fans! The pump is rated for a 50000 hrs life span at 25°C ambient temperature with a maximum pressure head of 1.0m±0.2m and a noise level rating of ≤ 36 dBA. the maximum flow rate is 1.5 l/m.

We have a low profile design on the water block. It is a beauty to speak of. There is an aluminum faceplate on the top which is backlit with Antec branding. The dimension of the block is 65x65x40mm. The base of the block is quite large measuring 59x54mm. We have a flat surface on the copper base. Antec is using 0.8mm micro fins on the cold plate. The unit comes with a pre-applied thermal paste. We did not check the stock paste performance as we are evaluating all the coolers using Noctua NT-H1 for standardized testing.

Antec has provided two 120mm ARGB fans. They have an airflow rating of 77 CFM with a maximum rated speed of 1600 RPM ± 100. The fans have transparent blades to provide some vivid and lucent light show. Antec has provided a control box/hub with 5x 4-pin PWM ports and 5x 3-pin ARGB ports. The hub is SATA powered and the user has also been provided the functionality to control the lighting using one of the three ways:

  • Directly from the buttons on the hub
  • Using the Reset button of the PC Chassis
  • Syncing the hub to the motherboard’s lighting header

Clearly, Antec was paying attention to the details and for that, they have my kudos to their design team. Speaking of lighting and motherboard, the lighting is compatible with:

  • ASUS AURA SYNC
  • GIGABYTE RGB FUSION 2.0
  • ASRock POLYCHROME SYNC
  • MSI MYSTIC LIGHT

Antec has provided a plethora of mounting brackets and backplates for the Intel and AMD sockets. It is good to see that the cooler is compatible with the AMD xTR4 socket though it will not fully cover the TR4 CPU IHS.

The Antec Neptune 240 ARGB is listed at Rs.17000/- on PakDukaan and $109.99 on AMAZON at the time of the review and comes with 3 years limited warranty. The cooler packs a good performance with subtle RGB lighting at this wallet-friendly price range. This is too good a value proposition from Antec to ignore and comes recommended by us but they need to do something about the pump’s noise.

Many thanks to Antec for sending in their Neptune 240 ARGB cooler for our 2021 AIO cooler roundup comparison. We’ve reached out to most major brands in an effort to compare the best AIO coolers of 2020 against each other and let you know which ones come out on top. Please make sure to check out our 2021 AIO COOLER ROUNDUP and again, thanks to all the companies taking part.

Brand Website Cooler Review
AZZABlizzard 240
SilverStoneIceGem 240
Fractal DesignCelcius+ S24 PRISMA
CORSAIRH100i RGB Platinum
AntecNeptune 240
XPGLevante 240
ARTICLiquid Freezer-II
EK Water BlocksEK-AIO 240
ID-CoolingAura Flow X 240
Cooler MasterMaster Liquid ML240L ARGB V2
ASUSROG RYUO 240
EnermaxAquafusion 240
DeepCoolCastle 240EX White
AeroCoolP7 L240 or Mirage 240
ReevenNaia 240
Lian LiGalahad
be quiet!Pure Loop 240