by J.D. Kane on October 22, 2014 in Cooling
Cooler Master is no newbie in the world of AIO (all-in-one) pre-fab water cooling solutions. Its newest, the Nepton 240M, brings the promise of improved performance over air coolers and other AIO water coolers on a few fronts: Superior thermal dissipation, quieter operation, and easier installation. Does it succeed and deliver on all of these promises? Read on to find out.
Okay, I’ve got a little confession to make.
I’m a bit late to the party here.
I mean, what’s a custom water cooling enthusiast to do? I’ve been building my own water cooling loops for a few years now, and I just have never understood the appeal of an all-in-one CPU water cooling solution. From what I’ve seen (not that I’ve ever really taken a good hard look at them – yeah, I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to certain things), these prefab water coolers are all pretty much the same; many of them are sourced from one manufacturer, with the only differences across the gamut of offerings on the market being the branding and the fans that come with them.
In other words, you’ve seen one, you’ve pretty much seen them all.
Okay, so maybe my bias is really raging. My apologies. I just really prefer the DIY approach in most things.
Then again, if there’s one thing the still-growing success of the AIO water cooling market shows, it’s that there is a big number of people out there who don’t enjoy or have time to DIY things as much as I do.
Thankfully, we have products like Cooler Master’s latest AIO CPU water cooling solution, the Nepton 240M.
Don’t get me wrong. I totally get why the market for products like the Nepton 240M is still expanding. The whole idea behind AIO water cooling is that it offers the best of all worlds, after all. It’s supposed to combine the convenient installation of your typical CPU air cooler with the expected performance boost – particularly in cooling, but also in terms of silence – afforded by water cooling.
Cooler Master sent Techgage its newest CPU liquid cooler, and it’s our goal to discover just how it compares with an air cooling solution.
Let’s have a good look at it now, shall we?
This is the heart of the Nepton 240M: The all-in-one water pump+water block+radiator unit. At first blush, it doesn’t look all that different from any other AIO coolers I’ve seen. However, this is an all-new, all-Cooler Master design. It owes nothing to other AIO water cooling solutions in the market. Inside the water block, it features what the company calls a “skived fin layout,” which increases the surface area of the cooling microchannels. A notable exterior detail of the Nepton 240M is the FEP tubing, which seem to be made of a plastic material. This caught my attention because two other AIO coolers in my possession (one for a GPU, the other adapted for use on a GPU) both have rubber tubing. Cooler Master says its FEP tubing prevents kinking, therefore guaranteeing smooth and optimal coolant flow. As far as the water pump goes, the company says it can push 120 liters of water per hour, keeping silent as it does so (CM quotes a 14dBA figure for noise output).
Here’s a look at everything that comes in the Nepton 240M package. There’s the Nepton 240M AIO unit, of course. Also shown are the two 120mm fans, AMD and Intel installation hardware, a 2-into-1 fan cable, an installation manual, a rubber gasket that fits over the radiator perimeter to dampen fan vibrations, and a warranty information pamphlet.
The CPU block doesn’t have any TIM pre-installed onto it. Compared to every DIY CPU water block I’ve ever used, the Nepton 240M’s surface is not smooth and shiny. Instead, it sports an irregularly textured finish. This is typical of most (if not all) CPU air coolers I’ve seen.
This is a close-up of the end of the integrated water pump+cooling block’s power connector. The cable is sleeved with a nice braided sheath. The power connector itself is a 4-pin PWM-type.
And here is a close-up of one of the two Silencio FP 120 fans. The five blades are wide, with a long sweeping chord. Typically fans with this design of blade are optimized for maximum static pressure, which is perfect for radiator/heat sink applications.
Now that we’ve had our visual tour of the Nepton 240M, let’s move on to installation and performance testing.