Posts Tagged ‘Larkooler’

Welcome to my round 11 fan testing.  This is a fairly small round of fans from the kits I previously tested.  Rather than do my normal written form, I’m trying to do this more video based.

Before I do that, I would first like to thank my parts sponsors, without their support this test wouldn’t have happened:

Logo-FrozenCPU

Swiftech_logo_white_backgrounds

Kit Fans Intro

This video does some physical comparisons of the fans and gives you a good close up look of the fan, sleeving, build quality, etc compared with my previous best performing fan the Gentle Typhoon.

Fan Test Rig Description

This video is just a quick overview of the flow bench and meters used in the fan testing to follow.

Individual Fan Tests

The following videos are of the actual test run on each fan recorded with audio and stepping through 50FPM air flow results.  You can now easily adjust two or more fan videos to like air flow numbers and pause them both, then switch back and fort for a direct apples to apples air flow comparison.

Larkooler Kit Fan

Corsair H100i SP120 Kit Fan

Swiftech H220 Kit Fan

XSPC 750 Kit Fan

Servo Nidec Gentle Typhoon AP-15

Extracted Results

These were pulled from the video, by isolating a looped region where air flow was close to the 50FPM increment.  This provides the resulting detail read on the meters and a calculated RPM.  On the right are some subjective noise quality comments I added as I reviewed and extracted the results.

R11-FanTesting-Detail

Summary Radiator Noise Level vs Radiator Air Flow

This is the “Meat & Potatoes” result.  While I wish I could measure noise quality in a good quantitative way, that’s really not possible.  The next best thing is to compare noise levels when mounted to a radiator at like air flows through that radiator.  It takes into account the fans pressure capabilities and puts it in a more real world condition.  It’s not perfect, but the best thing I’ve been able to come up with to simplify radiator noise performance.  Fans that extend further right are capable of higher air flow maximum results at 12V.  Fans with lines lower on the Y axis are producing more air flow per noise level.

R11-FanTesting-Summaryl

No real surprise, but the kit fans all tested relatively the same (most within 3dbA or less differences which fall within the “barely perceptible” level).  The Helix fan did for some reason have a bit higher than expected harmonics on the radiator bench which didn’t seem to be as noticeable when actually testing in a case, but it is something I heard a little when trying push only.  In push+pull I noticed most of that helix harmonic disappeared.

I would consider the kit results to be relatively similar, they are like most fans and all perform roughly the same.  The Gentle Typhoon however does seem to retain that unique ability on a radiator and tested upwards to 8-9dBA lower in noise level at 12V than other fans producing the same flow.  The H100i fans and their 2700RPM capability did produce the highest maximum air flow, but it comes at the prices of having a fairly gritty noise quality.  Noise quality isn’t captured well in the graph and really only something you can listen for in the videos.

The other aspect I’m now noticing that is missing from this single fan test bench is harmonics between the two same fans.  In the thermal testing using the kits and earlier noise testing, I had significant RPM harmonics issues with the H100i fans, but a single fans test scenario completely misses that.  This is something I seriously want to consider in fan flow bench future upgrades.  I think it is important to capture the “paired fan” harmonics effects as it can be fairly significant.  The helix H220 fans did really well paired together in the kit testing, but you just can’t see that in a single fan test.

Also as noted some of the pressure harmonics issues can also be mitigated for by going push + pull.  The helix fans don’t show real well in this single push test, but I found when testing four fans in push/pull on a radiator the fans worked very well together.  They are not up to Gentle Typhoon silence or build quality standards, but in use I would say they fair better than what the above chart or single fan test result demonstrates.

I also think the Larkooler fan subjectively sounds quieter than the produced dBA.  I’m not sure how to describe it, but the sound type is more lower in frequency and seem to contain less motor noise and gritty noise that is more prevalent in the other fans.  It has a noise quality that reminds me of the noise blocker series which I’ve always liked.  Noise level doesn’t measure anything special, but I think this fan does have pretty good noise quality particularly at slower speeds.  This is another one where my own ear and the meters don’t really agree all that well..:)

This at least gives you one more perspective on the sound.  I would suggest listening to the fans at like air flow levels and make a decision not based on noise level, but what you perceive as being less irritating.  That is likely a combination of frequency, noise quality, and noise level.  Don’t put too much weight on the noise level, it is important, but it’s not the entire picture and each person and each setup will be slightly different.

So there is another round and the Gentle Typhoon retains it’s low noise/rad air flow ratio crown.  Nothing comes close…

Welcome to the third in my series of 2x120mm under $150 value series kit reviews, the Larkooler iSkyWater 300. Larkooler is a fairly new brand to me as I haven’t had a chance to review any of their parts or pieces individually. Unlike the XSPC kit which left me running to the grocery store to get distilled water, this kit is complete with fluid and everything you need to put your system together. Also unlike the sealed AIO units such as the Corsair H100i which are sealed and not intended for expansion, the Larkooler iSkyWater 300 is DIY and there are VGA block and Ram block accessories intend to go with this kit for expansion possibilities. Also unlike the sealed kits where tubing is already connected and sealed, the Larkooler kit comes with external radiator mounting brackets and designed to be mounted internally or externally depending on your case needs. At $129.95, that makes this kit extremely low-cost, compatible with most cases if external mounting is desired, and expandable which we all like. We’ll put it to the test in this next review and see how it stacks up to similarly prices 2x120mm radiator sub $150 water cooling kits.

Before going to far, I would like to give special thanks to Mark from FrozenCPU for sponsoring this kit, they are your one-stop-shop for all PC modification supplies!

Logo-FrozenCPU

Larkooler-iSkyWater-300-01

FrozenCPU Product Information

http://www.frozencpu.com/products/15141/ex-wat-155/Larkooler_Universal_High_Performance_Complete_CPU_Liquid_Cooling_Kit_BA2-241_-_LGA_2011_Ready.html

Product Description

Larkooler is a new generation cooling system for desktop computers. It is designed with the best cooling solution for the most important component of your PC, the CPU. This kit includes everything you need to get started. A pure copper block for maximum heat absorption. One 24cm radiator with two 120x25mm fans. Last is the tubing and cooling fluid. The VGA, Chipset and Mosfet blocks can be added to upgrade performance. The iSkyWater 300 provides a reliable low noise, high performance liquid cooling system. Literally every EVERYTHING you need is here in this kit!

Instructions Manual (.pdf)

Specification Sheet (.pdf)

Note: Radiator color is now black.

Features
  • Most Cost-Effective CPU Liquid Cooling
  • Very High C/P
  • Supports INTEL LGA775/LGA1156/LGA1366/LGA2011
  • Supports AMD Socket 754/939/940/AM2/AM2+/AM3
  • 3D Micro-Structure Thermal solution adapted, outstanding heat dispersion under very low water flow.
  • Supports most CPU like Intel i7& AMD Phenom II processors.
  • The universal type strengthened backplate not only prevents MB distortion but also has high compatibility for all kinds of MBs.
  • Easy installation due to 2-way tubing design which also enables upgrade to series connection of more water blocks.
  • Highly polished base to ensure excellent surface contact with heat source.
  • Fitting with refrigeration-and- air-conditioning-class structures provides high performance heat dispersing at low noise.
  • Easy installation design and back mounting bracket let DIYers enjoy DIY.
  • Specially designed bolts and nuts to prevent tube’s looseness and coolant leakage.
  • Pump with refrigeration-and- air-conditioning-class structures provides low-water warning.
  • Steady and silent working.
  • Easy installation design brings more fun to DIYers.
  • Specially designed bolts and nuts to prevent tube’s looseness and coolant leakage.
  • Thread upgradable to be compatible with G1/4″ water cooling system
Specifications
CPU Water Block
Dimension: D45xH29mm
Weight: 180g
Material: Pure Copper
Pump
Dimension: 100x70x82mm
Rated Voltage & Current: DC12V/0.41A
Weight: 330g
Flow Rate: 72L/Hour
Max. Water Lift: 200cm
Radiator
Dimension: 35x124x302mm
Material: Copper tubes with aluminum fins
Fan Speed: MAX 1800 RPM
Fan Connector: 3 pin
Fan Max. Air Flow: 62.7CFM
Noise: 31.1dBA
Life Expectancy: 50000 hrs at 25°C
Tank
Capacity: 150ml
Coolant
Main Composition: water & propylene glycol
Volume: 250 ml
Anti-freezing: -5°C
Tube
Dimension: OD8mm / ID 6mm
Length: 200cm
Material: PU
Max Operation Temperature: 50°C
Supports
Intel: LGA775/LGA1366/LGA1156/LGA2011
AMD Socket: 754/939/940

Description/Spec Thoughts

One of my initial worries was seeing the aluminum fins thinking the radiator was aluminum, but it is NOT. The radiator uses round copper tubes with aluminum fins pressed over the round tubes, but the critical part contacting water is all copper. The block is also copper, so no worries about mixed metals, the kit is all good copper/brass metals.

Pump

The pump has a good 2m head static pressure rating, however the 72LPH max flow rating converts to .26GPM, so it’s more of a high pressure but very low flow pump. At the rated .41Amps that makes this about a 5W max pump which is a good amount of power compared to AIO sealed units which are down in the 1-2W range. We’ll see how it does in operation. I did find this searching the net:

One more pretty cool feature in looking over the box, is the pump has a “Low Water Level” warning function, and of course you could easily connect multiple pumps in series as they show below:

Fitting Compatibility

The other “Mostly” good feature is the G 1/4″ threading compatibility. This is great for the block and radiator which all include the standard female G1/4″ threading so you can use your own barbs, BUT…the pump does not. The pump has male cast 6mm ID barbs with compression fitting threads which are intended to fit 6mmID x 8mmOD tubing. So you are a bit stuck with the smaller tubing size and fitting style with the pump, but the rest of the system could utilize custom fittings.

CPU Block

Digging further on the CPU block I actually found “SCIENCE”!! This does show how the block is very capable at very low flow rates:

Source: http://www.larkooler.tw/CWB-10.htm

For Reference: 1000ml/min = 0.26 GPM

Case Compatibility

Also not really advertised in the specs, but something I really like is their external radiator mounting brackets. For users who have a small case that may not support a 240 radiator, they give you nice brackets that could be used to install a radiator externally to the back or top of the case which increases case compatibility significantly.

Source: http://www.larkooler.tw/RX-240-radiator.htm

Warranty/Lifespan

The radiator has a 50,000 hour lifespan. The Warranty period at 1 year is also a bit less than the H220 3 year warranty or Corsair’s H100i 5 year warranty.

That’s not to say warranty matches actual service life, I just prefer seeing pump MTBF ratings and warranty for a few years.

Overall, quite a bit here to review and some promising specs and features for such a value priced kit. We’ll start next with the unboxing.

Logo-FrozenCPU

As water cooling has evolved over the past few years the quality and performance of kits has seen a similar progression and development.  Today you can spend anywhere from $80-$500 on a water cooling kit.  Up to this point my reviews have all been individual parts based.  I have never before attempted doing any sort of kit review and wanted to try.  I very much appreciate a good value and wanted to review beyond your typical unboxing or screenshot level of testing and understand the finer details of how kits compare at a more scientific level.  My first round of kits is focused on “Under $150″ and ” 2 x 120mm (240) radiator” as I feel to really see worthwhile silent water cooling benefits a  240 radiator is needed and I also wanted to keep in tune with the value concept and 100-150 seems like a good price point to start with.

Kit reviews shall begin!!

Before going too far, I would like to thank my Sponsors:

frozencpu_logo

I would like to thank Mark from FrozenCPU.com for sponsoring the XSPC and Larkooler kits.

Swiftech_logo_white_backgrounds

I would also like to thank Gabe from Swiftech for sponsoring the H220 kit.

150DollarKitTesting

I am also looking to expand and include some sealed kits such as the Corsair H100i, Thermaltake Water 2.0, and other sealed AIO systems, but I haven’t found sponsors for those yet.  The H220 does come filled and more plug and play, but all three kits are all easy enough to take apart and expand from a removable parts perspective.

COST COMPARISON

Larkooler BA2-241 – $129.95

Swiftech H220 – $139.95

XSPC Raystorm,750,RS240 – $144.95

So these kits are all under the $150 criteria and have 240mm radiators so they should be similar in terms of case compatibility being able to fit a 240mm sized radiator.  So, here we go…an adventure in kit testing for those looking to spend under $150.

GENERAL TESTING STRATEGY

I’m looking for feedback on testing requests before I am done.  So far I have developed the following general strategy:

  • Phase 1 Kit Core vs Noise level (Core vs dbA) – Basic Kit testing with the kit fans focusing on what you get from the box and attempting to measure noise levels in both a qualitative and quantitative means.
  • Phase 2 Kit + Fan Mod (Core vs RPM) – Testing each kit with the same fans.
  • Phase 3 Expansion (Remaining Pump Power PSI vs GPM) – Breaking down each kit to test the remaining pump power including the kit.  This will be done via pressure manometer and flow meter to understand exactly how much pumping power remains to push through additional components
  • Phase 4 Expansion CPU + GPU test (GPU Core vs RPM) – While I don’t yet have a  sponsor or a block for my (currently air-cooled) 570GTX, I may do a test with CPU & GPU put in the same loop as a thermal expansion test. I could see a lot of people wanting to add a GPU block to the system and I want to see how well they can handle that and do some GPU testing as part of the kit review.  I will keep trying and see if I can find some support for this latter test.
  • Phase 5 Mods – Possibly look at what happens if you expand the radiator or better understanding what parts should be upgraded for future expansion.

If you have any testing wishes or suggestions, please let me know.  I am just getting started on these and plan to spend some quality time.  The H220 showed up first at my door, so it’s going to be first in line.  I will be focusing on Phase 1 in the near term.

THE CASE (XSPC H2 Tower)

I have two platforms, my Danger Den Torture Rack open test bench and my XSPC H2 Tower case I reviewed here.  While I could test the kits on the open torture rack, I wanted to simulate an actual enclosed case test condition including some grill restriction to simulate the air flow restriction and to also help evaluate the installation in a case condition.  I also wanted to the the kit radiators in a top mounted setup which is probably how most of these will test out.  Finally, I wanted something large enough that could be expanded for larger kit testing down the road or modified testing where you add a second radiator to the existing kit.  The H2 is massive in size and arguably overkill, but the grill in the top and 15mm fan spacing screw holes should make mounting the kit radiators very simple and easy to install.  There will be no case modding needed to fit any watercooling kit so it makes for a good 240/360/480 kit test case as well.

This case was sponsored by XSPC some time ago, a special thanks to Paul from XSPC for the sample.

XSPClogo

XSPC-H2-28

More to come…

Cheers!Smilieparty0012
Martin