TECHNOLOGY

Upgradeable CPU cooling

Many companies dedicated to the design and supply of liquid cooling systems for PCs were founded when the liquid cooling trend emerged in the 1990s. One of them was Alphacool, a German company that expanded its product lines to include liquid coolers for use in both industrial and medical applications. The use of liquid-based cooling systems in a home PC had a very low rate of adoption at the time. The complexity of liquid cooling, which requires a lot of extra effort and user awareness, was possibly the biggest drawback of most products available at the time.

A few years later, the first all-in-one (AIO) liquid cooling systems appeared on the market. AIO liquid cooling systems were sealed and ready to install, making them very attractive to those looking for a liquid-based cooler with the ease of installation and relative safety of an air-based cooler. However, AIO solutions are relatively inflexible and some barely outperform high-end air-based solutions.

A few years ago, we first looked at Alphacool’s Eisbaer AIO cooler, a hybrid between a sealed liquid cooler and a customizable open-loop kit. While the idea of ​​a modular AIO cooler was still new at the time, Alphacool’s Eisbaer was well made and performed very well, making it quite a popular product among advanced users and enthusiasts. In today’s review we take a look at the new, improved version of the Eisbaer, the Eisbaer Aurora. The most notable upgrade is the inclusion of RGB lighting, but Alphacool also made some quality and practical upgrades over the previous version.

Alphacool Eisbaer Aurora 360 AIO CPU Cooler Specifications Type All-in-one (expandable) Rad dimensions 397 x 124 x 30 mm Pump dimensions 66 x 66 x 69 mm Fans 3 x 120 mm “Eiswind” fans
800 – 2000 RPM, 61.5 CFM RGB Yes Supported Sockets Intel: LGA1700, LGA1200, LGA1155, LGA1151, LGA1150, LGA2066, LGA20110 & LGA2011-3

AMD: AM4, AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, FM1, FM2, FM2+ (requires back plate)

Warranty 2 years price
$224

Packaging & Bundle

The Eisbaer Aurora comes in a dark cardboard box with basic artwork printed on it, focusing on a photo of the main block itself. The cooler is well protected in a cardboard casing and coated in nylon bags, which provide more than adequate protection during transport.

The bundle of the Eisbaer Aurora is economical, but clear. Inside the box we found only the hardware needed for mounting the cooler and connecting the fans, as well as installation instructions. The mounting hardware is supplied in labeled bags and includes plates for Socket 1700 and TR4 processors.

The Rise Aurora fans are the pinnacle of the Eisbaer Aurora and arguably the most significant upgrade over the previous version. The obvious upgrade is the inclusion of RGB LED lighting on the hub and frame of the fan. In terms of practical upgrades, the previous version’s Eiswind fans had a maximum top speed of 1700 RPM, while the new Rise Aurora fans have a maximum top speed of 2500 RPM and also have anti-vibration pads.

The Alphacool Eisbaer Aurora 360 CPU Liquid Cooler

Unsurprisingly, the Alphacool Eisbaer Aurora is physically similar to most AIO liquid coolers and is also expected to be nearly identical to the previous Eisbaer version. It looks like any stock AIO liquid cooler, with a radiator and main block connected via two hoses. The big difference that the Alphacool Eisbaer coolers have compared to the vast majority of AIO liquid coolers on the market is that it is not a sealed kit – the hose fittings can be disconnected and there is a connector on one of the hoses. Therefore, while the cooler is ready to install out of the box, it will support future upgrades by advanced users if needed.

The radiator of the Eisbaer Aurora can be visually almost identical to the radiators used by many other products. But closer inspection reveals one big difference: both the channels and the radiator fins are made of copper. Alphacool also improved the radiator over the previous version of the Eisbaer by increasing the number of fins and painting only the front of the radiator’s fins. This way the radiator still looks black (unless viewed from the side with a strong light) but also has a much better heat dissipation factor as the energy doesn’t have to go through the paint to be released into the air. The only problem here is that the higher number of fins suggests higher airflow resistance, and the Rise Aurora fans weren’t primarily designed with static pressure in mind. The company logo can be seen on the sides of the steel frame.

The snake is another upgrade from the previous version of the Eisbaer. Alphacool used corrugated tubes on the previous version, which is functional and does not kink easily, but is also stiff and aesthetically unpleasant. The Eisbaer Aurora has thick rubber (TPV) tubing, which is easy on the eyes and generally better to work with.

The Eisbaer Aurora’s block/pump assembly is tall but not too wide. Like virtually all pump blocks, it has a plastic housing and a copper base. The main difference from almost every other AIO liquid cooler is that there is a fill opening on the top of the unit, allowing the user to refill and maintain the system. A small window on the side reveals the pump and fluid to the user. This window is not easily visible from the side panel of a housing and even if it was, the high speed makes it difficult to distinguish what is happening when the pump is running. Nevertheless, Alphacool installed RGB LEDs in the window, as well as on each side of the block, on which the series logo (a bear) is etched.

In the assembly, Alphacool installed one of their own designs based on DC-LT Ceramic 12V pumps. It is similar to the design used by the previous series, but the company’s engineers improved it, increasing the maximum flow rate to 75 l/h (versus 70 l/h) and the head to 0.95 m ( versus 0.85 m). Such numbers may not be great compared to large external pumps, but are impressive for such a small device.

The copper base of the cooler is very smooth and machined to an amazingly smooth mirror finish. It is coated with an antioxidant so it stays clear even when exposed to air. The dimensions of the base are just slightly larger than the previous Eisbaer, as Alphacool clearly wanted to cover the latest CPU punches.

The RGBW lighting on the Rise Aurora fans is nothing short of brilliant. There are two washers on the frame, one on the front of the frame and another across the center of it. The hub is also very well lit and evenly lit. The lighting is disconnected from the fan motors meaning it is unaffected by the speed of the fans and continues even if the fans stop completely. The downside to this design is the number of cables, which can make cable management a bit of a challenge, especially with cases that have little to no room behind the right panel.

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