Introduction

When it comes to the PC Cooling solutions, ID-COOLING is relatively a new name but they for sure are making their way up with some good design and powerful cooling. The world first came to know about ID-COOLING during Computex 2013. The mother company of ID-COOLING is the cooling solution provider for many motherboard and VGA card brands for over 10 years. ID-COOLING is specialized in CPU air cooler, CPU water cooler, VGA cooler, built-in cooling case, computer case fans, server cooler and etc.

ID-COOLING has sent us their SE-234-ARGB cooler. This cooler at its is core a budget-friendly cooler but it has more to it than meets the eye as it packs stunning ARGB lighting which is compatible with the 5v lighting headers of the motherboards. The ID-COOLING SE-234-ARGB is a 120mm size heatsink with an ARGB 120mm fan. The heatsink has more width to it as compared to the SE-224-XT Basic to provide maximum surface area for effective heat dissipation. The cooler has 4x copper heat pipes which are nickel coated and they make direct contact with the CPU surface. The aluminum fins and heat pipes are in the black color coating which really adds to the stealth outlook of the body. This stealth look, when combined with 360° ARGB lighting, creates one heck of a show. The cooler has ID-COOLING’s Metal-Mecha mounting hardware for easy installation and durability.

Product:               SE-234-ARGB

Manufacturer:      ID-COOLING

Price:                    USD 39.99

Price is taken at the time of the review.

 

Specifications

Packing and Unboxing

The product is shipped inside a cardboard box in a black and orange color theme.

The brand name and logo are printed on the top left side. There is a picture of the cooler in the main section. The model of the cooler is printed at the bottom. The ARGB lighting is compatible with ASUS AURA SYNC, MSI MYSTIC LIGHT SYNC, GIGABYTE RGB FUSION 2, and ASRock POLYCHROME SYNC.

Salient features are mentioned in a single wording style. There is definitely minimalistic information being provided here. The fan of the cooler has a PWM auto function with silent operations. The universal mounting mechanism is rather simple and easy to use which it indeed is.

The specifications of the cooler are printed in 9 languages. The weight of the cooler is 810gm and the fan is using hydraulic bearing.

The cooler is rated to handle the TDP of up to 200W which is 20W above the SE-224-XT Basic. The cooler is compatible with Intel LGA-115x/20xx and AMD AM4 sockets.

The opening side of the packing box has the cooler’s model printed on it.

The accessory box is placed on top of the contents along with the user manual.

The box contents are nicely tucked inside the white color Styrofoam pads.

Contents

Following are included:

  • 1x Heatsink
  • 1x 120mm fan
  • 1x ARGB Controller
  • ID-TG25 Thermal Paste
  • 4x Spacers
  • 1x Metal Back Plate for Intel
  • 2x Intel Mounting Bars
  • 2x AMD Mounting Bars
  • 4x Screw Nuts
  • 4x Intel LGA2011 Double Head Screws
  • 4x AMD Screws
  • 4x Fan Clips
  • 1x Installation Guide

Closer Look

The ID-COOLING SE-234-ARGB is a budget cooling solution from the manufacturer. It is a 120mm cooling solution in the air cooling category with a stunning ARGB lighting show on the top of the heatsink which is 360° view and on the 120mm ARGB fan. It is time to take a look at the cooler and see what it packs and how it performs.

The dimension of the cooler is 126x88x154mm (LxWxH) where 154mm is the overall height of the cooler. ID-COOLING has increased the length and width of the heatsink giving more surface area as compared to the SE-224-XT Basic. The weight of the cooler is 950gm with the fan. The ID-COOLING SE-234-ARGB is compatible with Intel LGA115x/20xx and AMD AM4 sockets. There is no information regarding its compatibility with other AMD sockets. The cooler is rated to handle the TDP of up to 200W.

The top side of the cooler has a black color plastic made cover which is cut-to-size and design. This black cover is on the top of the thick diffuser. The styling lines on the top cover adds more granularity to the flow of the design. The light emits through the cutouts across the lines and through the pattern on one end. The heat pipes are still terminating at the top but they are under the cover.

The above picture shows the thick diffuser which is not translucent. This diffuser encapsulates the ARGB LEDs and the circuitry. The ARGB LED power cable is routed through the middle of his board going all the way down through the center of the heatsink. This is too good a design to have as no cable is coming out straight from the outer frame.

The ID-COOLING SE-234-ARGB packs 45 aluminum fins. These fins are coated in black color and they are following the bee-hive design. A quick look gives the impression that the fins on the left and right sides of the bee-hive design are interlaced which is not the case. The fins are designed with insets or cutouts at regular intervals. They are stacked in such a manner that one inset portion is sandwiched between the raised or non-cutout edges. The overall layout and flow of the fins placement are symmetrical.

The left and the right sides of the heatsink are identical. This is where the fins are joined together. There are cutouts on the left and right sides of the central portion. This is where the fan clips are inserted into to lock the fan to the heatsink.

The above picture shows the displacement of the heat pipes in the fin stack. The heat pipes are almost following the U shape design. They are making maximum contact inside the fin stack on the outer side in an alternate manner. The central portion is largely without any heat pipe contact. The flat cable can be seen coming from the top inside the heatsink all the way to its base. This is an ARGB LED power cable.

The above picture shows the cross-section view of the heatsink. The edges of the cooler are not sharp and the overall layout is very well synced and follows a symmetry.

The ID-COOLING SE-234-ARGB CPU Air Cooler has an offset design. This design helps in better clearance for any height RAM on the DIMM slots. The cooler does not overhang the DIMM slots.

The ID-COOLING SE-234-ARGB has 4x copper heat pipes which are 6mm thick and are in the black color coating. They are almost in the U-shape and making contact with the fins on the outer side.

The above picture shows the layout of the heat pipes from the base of the cooler.

There is a protective sticker pasted on the base of ID-COOLING SE-234-ARGB with a warning to peel this sticker off before the installation. The base measures 40x35mm approximately.

Peeling the sticker off the base shows that the ID-COOLING SE-234-ARGB is following a Direct Contact method. The ID-COOLING calls it H.D.T V3. In a direct touch method, the exposed copper surface on the heat pipes makes direct contact with the heat source which in our case is the CPU. According to ID-COOLING, this enhances the contact intensity by 30%. Please, note that the heat pipes are not following the CDC (Continuous Direct Contact) as there are gaps between the heat pipes on the base. Hopefully, the base of the cooler would be made of the copper as well in nickel plating as is the case with the majority of the coolers.

The mounting plate is pre-installed on the base of the cooler. It has two spring-loaded screws on both ends. The mounting plate is removable as it is installed using two screws.

There is a 3-pin cable coming out of from the base of the cooler. The exposed portion of this cable has a length of approximately 180mm and it has a 3-pin female header.

The ID-COOLING has provided an ARGB 120mm fan with their The ID-COOLING SE-234-ARGB CPU Air Cooler. Here are the specifications of the Fan:

Dimension 120x120x25mm
Speed 900±200 ~ 2000±10% RPM
Max Air Flow 56.5 CFM
Max Air Pressure 1.99 mmH₂O
Noise Level 16.2 ~ 31.5 dB(A)
Current 0.25A
Rated Voltage 12VDC
Operating Voltage 10.8 ~ 13.2VDC
Starting Voltage 7VDC
Power 3.0W
Fan Power Connector 4-Pin
Fan LED Connector 3-Pin
Bearing 2 Ball Bearing

This fan has 9x blades in the white translucent color for effect light diffusion. The central portion has a large diameter as it houses ARGB LEDs. There is a black and white color sticker on the center with ID-COOLING brand logo printed on it. The frame of the fan is quite sturdy and is in black color. There are black color cut-to-shape anti-vibration pads on the mounting corners.

Looking at the backside of the fan, there is a 4-arms assembly holding and securing the motor and blades to the frame. One of the arms is wider with a catcher. This is where the power cable wires are routed from the motor to the outer frame. The power rating of the DC Brushless fan is printed on the sticker pasted in the center. The fan model printed on the back is ID-12025M12B. The fan is using 2Ball Bearing. According to ID-COOLING 2Ball Bearing provides a longer life span with optimal airflow. There is no information provided regarding the useful life of the fan. The fan is made in China.

There are two labeled arrow symbols on one side of the frame. These are there to provide a visual aid in knowing the direction of the airflow and the fan’s blades spin direction (mentioned as rotation).

There are two cables coming out of the fan. One is the 4-pin PWM cable having a length of approximately 427mm. The other is an ARGB LED power cable with two connectors. One is the shorter cable with a 3-pin male connector. This is where the 3-pin cable coming out of the heatsink is connected to. The other connector is bulky and has 3-pins on it. This cable has a length of approximately 417mm. the user can either connect this cable directly to the 5V lighting header of the motherboard or can connect it with the dedicated lighting controller provided with the cooler.

ID-COOLING has done a very good job of taking care of every possible user’s need with this SE-234-ARGB cooler except a screwdriver which is the case with almost every other retail cooler in the market with a few exceptions. There is a dedicated lighting controller provided in the accessory box and this will enable the users who don’t have enabled motherboard to still enjoy the ARGB show on this cooler. The controller has three buttons on it. These are:

  • M Button is used to switch among already programmed lighting modes like the true rainbow, color switching, breathing, etc.
  • S button is used to increase or decrease the speed of the dynamic lighting mode.
  • C button cycles the colors in the loaded mode.

The controller is SATA powered (5V). The length of the SATA connector side cable is 170mm approximately. The other end of the controller’s cable is a 3-pin male connector to which the fan’s LED connector can be connected. This side of the cable has a length of 177mm approximately.

Here are some pictures showing the ARGB lighting show of the ID-COOLING SE-234-ARGB CPU Air Cooler.

PICS

Installation

Since the cooler is tested on the Intel LGA2011(v3) socket, here are the steps needed for the installation on this socket.

  • Install the Intel LGA20xx double-head screws on the pre-drilled mounting holes around the socket.
  • Place the Intel mounting brackets on the screws facing each other. Make sure that the standoff side is facing upward.
  • Use screw nuts to lock and secure the mounting brackets on the screws.
  • Peel off the transparent warning sticker from the base of the cooler.
  • Apply the thermal paste.
  • Place the heatsink on the CPU by aligning the spring-loaded screws with the standoffs on the mounting bars and start screwing till the threads run out.
  • Install the fan using the metal clips.
  • Connect the fan’s PWM cable to the 4-pin PWM fan header of the motherboard.
  • Connect the heatsink’s LED cable to the small size connector on the fan’s LED cable.
  • Connect the main connector of the fan’s LED cable to the lighting source either on the compatible motherboard’s 5V lighting header or to the controller. In a later case, connect the controller’s SATA connector to the PSU.
  • This would complete the installation.

Here are the pictures of the assembled cooler.

Clearance

  • The height of the cooler is 154mm. Keep this in mind while planning your build with respect to the PC Chassis as the chassis should have support for CPU cooler’s height of minimum 155mm.
  • The cooler does not overhand the DIMM slot area hence there is no clearance issue what so ever with regard to any height of the RAM.
  • The cooler does not block the first PCIe slot.

Here are some clearance related pictures.

Testing Methodology

The Testbed configuration is:

  • Asus Rampage V Edition 10
  • Intel i7 6850k
  • CORSAIR Vengeance 4x8GB @ 2666MHz
  • Gigabyte GTX 1060 6GB
  • Samsung 840 EVO 250GB SSD
  • Thermaltake TP iRGB 1250W PSU
  • Primochill Praxis Wetbench

The following software were used for testing and monitoring.

  • Asus Real Bench v 2.44
  • Real Temp GT v 3.70

Here is the settings table for testing:

Intel Stock Voltage (V) 1.130
Stock Clock (MHz) 3600
OC Voltage (V) 1.350
OC Clock (MHz) 4300
Turbo Boost Disabled
C-States Disabled
Speed Step Disabled
Thermal Paste Noctua NT-H1
Test Run Time 60 minutes
Idling Time 15 minutes
Fan Speed Manually set to run at 100% PWM cycle.

 

We are using Noctua NT-H1 on our test bench for all the coolers testing. This will ensure the standardization and mitigate any performance benefit that may come using the supplied thermal paste. Delta temperatures are reported on the graphs (Delta Temp = Average of all cores’ max temps – ambient temp). 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

 

The ID-COOLING SE-234-ARGB has performed very well. The ID-COOLING SE-234-ARGB packs good performance for what it costs.

Noise

The sound meter was showing the noise level of the cooler to be 47 dB(A) with an ambient sound level of 32 dB(A).

Conclusion

The ID-COOLING SE-234-ARGB is a budget air cooler having a 120mm size heatsink and an ARGB fan. The dimension of the cooler is 126x88x154mm (LxWxH). The height of the cooler with a fan is 154mm. The cooler weighs around 950gm with a fan. The cooler is compatible is with Intel LGA115x/20xx and AMD AM4 sockets. There is no information mentioned regarding its compatibility with the other AMD sockets. The ID-COOLING SE-234-ARGB has a single tower. It is made of 45 aluminum fins packed together and bonded with 4x 6mm copper heat pipes.

ID-COOLING has taken an almost all-out approach when it comes to the design of the SE-234-ARGB cooler. The complete assembly is finished in the black color coating. ARGB LEDs are placed on the top side inside a thick diffuser which is exposed from all four sides. This, when combined with cutouts on the top cover, gives a 360° light show. The ARGB LED cable of the top plate is routed through the heatsink in its middle which is another plus to the design. The fin stack is following a bee-hive design which gives the impression that fins are interlaced which they are not.

The heat pipes are making direct contact with the CPU surface and for that part, their contact surface is in pure copper. This is what ID-COOLING has referred to as H.D.T V3 and has mentioned that this would give a contact intensity of 30%. This is not a continuous direct contact (CDC) though as there are gaps between the heat pipes on the base. The base of the cooler roughly measures 40x35mm. The mounting plate is pre-installed on the base and it has spring-loaded screws on both sides.

The bundled fan has ARGB LEDs in the center. It is rated for the maximum speed of 2000±10% and has a PWM function. The static pressure rating is 1.99mmH₂O with a maximum noise level of 31.5 dB(A). The fan is drawing 3.0W of power at 12VDC and comes with 2Ball Bearing. The blades are translucent in white color for even diffusion of the light. ID-COOLING has provided a dedicated lighting controller which is SATA powered (5V).

When it comes to the provision of the mounting hardware, there is everything a user would need even a high performing ID-TG25 thermal paste with a thermal conductivity rating of 10 W/m-k! ID-COOLING refers to their mounting kit as METAL-MECHA. Metal here refers to the rigidity and sturdiness of the mounting hardware. They have also provided an additional set of metal clips which would give the user the flexibility to buy and install a second fan on this cooler.

The ID-COOLING SE-234-ARGB is listed at 39.99 USD at the time of the review. The performance of the cooler in this price range is too good and really gives this cooler a better value for the bucks which is further augmented by ARGB light show and a dedicated lighting controller. The ID-COOLING SE-234-ARGB CPU Air Cooler has 3 years warranty. Based on the totality of the features including good lighting show and bundled controller, good performance, easy installation, the ID-COOLING SE-234-ARGB comes highly recommended by us.

We are thankful to ID-COOLING for giving us the opportunity to review their SE-234-ARGB CPU Air Cooler.