ReviewsCoolersALPHACOOL CORE OCEAN T38 CPU AIO 360mm Review

ALPHACOOL CORE OCEAN T38 CPU AIO 360mm Review

In this guide, we will talk about the ALPHACOOL CORE OCEAN T38 AIO 360mm review. From unboxing to installation, we will discuss everything.

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Bang For The Buck!

Our Thoughts

The ALPHACOOL CORE OCEAN T38 CPU AIO 360mm is possibly the best-value liquid cooler out there, supporting a wide variety of sockets in a 360mm size without compromising thermal performance, albeit at high noise output. It also features subtle digital lighting on the pump’s housing, which is universal, thanks to standard connectors.

Hours Tested: 5

Tech4Gamers Value Award

Overall
8.8/10
8.8/10
  • Quality - 8.5/10
    8.5/10
  • Design - 9/10
    9/10
  • Performance - 9/10
    9/10
  • Features - 8/10
    8/10
  • Value - 9.5/10
    9.5/10

Pros

  • Thermal Performance
  • Subtle A-RGB Lighting
  • Standard Connectors
  • Sockets Support
  • Price
  • 3-years warranty

Cons

  • Noisy fans
  • Humming Noise from the Pump
  • Average Lifespan of Fans

In the dynamic landscape of DIY cooling solutions, ALPHACOOL stands as a formidable contender, consistently pushing the boundaries of innovation. Introducing the ALPHACOOL CORE OCEAN T38 CPU AIO 360mm, ALPHACOOL aims to redefine the balance between cost-effectiveness and high-performance liquid cooling. In this review, we’ll discuss the design, components, and prowess it brings to the table.

I have also tested the ALPHACOOL Eisbaer Pro HPE Aurora 360, be sure to check it out!


Key Takeaways

  • The ALPHACOOL CORE OCEAN T38 CPU AIO 360mm offers a cost-effective, high-performance liquid cooling with a sleek design, 397x120x38mm aluminum radiator, and stylish RGB-lit pump housing.
  • You should get the ALPHACOOL CORE OCEAN T38 if you prioritize budget-friendly 360mm AIO liquid cooling with solid thermal performance; appreciate a sleek and neutral design without RGB fans; or seek a reliable cooling solution.
  • You should not get the ALPHACOOL CORE OCEAN T38 if you require a silent cooling solution, as the provided fans and pump can be loud at full speed; prefer AIOs with RGB lighting customization; need compatibility with higher-end sockets.

  • Why you can trust Tech4Gamers: We understand the importance of making informed decisions. That’s why our team spends significant time testing every product we review. Find out more about how we test.

The following table shows the specifications of the ALPHACOOL CORE OCEAN T38 CPU AIO 360mm:

Specification Details
Radiator Dimensions 397x120x38mm
Radiator Material Aluminum
Radiator Thickness 38mm
Fan Dimensions 120x120x25mm
Fan Speed 0~2500±10% RPM
Airflow 262.80 CFM max
Air Pressure 2.13 mmH₂O max
Noise Level Max 34.3 dB(A)
Fan Connector 4-pin PWM
Fan Bearing Hydraulic Bearing
Fan Voltage 12VDC
Fan Life Expectancy 50,000 hours at 25°C
Pump Dimensions 70.2×70.2x46mm
Pump Housing Material ABS and POC
Pump Speed 2500 to 3500 ±10% RPM
Pump Power 7.1W
Pump Noise Level 35 dB
Pump Bearing Ceramic Shaft and Bearing
Pump Voltage 6V DC (Starting Voltage)
Pump Connector 4-pin PWM
Digital RGB LEDs 12 LEDs in pump housing
Tubing Material FEP
Tubing Length Approximately 400mm
Socket Compatibility Intel: LGA 115x / LGA 1200 / LGA 1700 / LGA 2066
AMD: AM4 / AM5

Packing And Unboxing

After seeing Eisbaer series coolers’ packing boxes on their site, this is definitely not an Eisbaer series cooler. These coolers come in a brown color cardboard box, and guess what? All packing literature is actually printed over this box. I would say it is a smart move.

Closer Look

Let’s check out the ALPHACOOL Core Ocean AiO. It’s an affordable CPU water cooler with a great price-performance ratio. Unlike the Eisbaer CPU AiO, it’s not expandable, but ALPHACOOL ensures it offers a durable and low-maintenance solution for water cooling common AMD and Intel sockets.

Radiator

ALPHACOOL provides a 397x120x38mm aluminum radiator for the Core Ocean AiO. Unlike most AIOs with 27mm thickness, this radiator’s 38mm offers more surface area for improved heat dissipation. When combined with a standard 25mm thick 120mm fan, the total height reaches approximately 64mm, including a 1mm allowance for screw heads.

The Core Ocean AiO rocks a cool black fin stack with 19 fins per inch, giving it a sleek look. The rectangular design, 12 coolant channels, and 105mm hole spacing make it user-friendly. Plus, the aluminum housing is black-coated, showing off a classy ALPHACOOL logo. Don’t sweat the 38mm thickness – it’s just the standard fin stack design.

Similar to other popular AIOs, this unit boasts soft tubing connected through barbed fittings on the radiator, cleverly concealed by two black covers. A sticker, likely with the unit’s serial number, is also in the mix.

The right picture highlights two design points. First, ALPHACOOL’s meticulous work on the fins showcases a clean finish. Second, there’s no protective plating under the mounting holes. This plate typically shields screws from harming fins and coolant channels. It’s advised to stick to the screws provided with the unit.

ALPHACOOL CORE OCEAN T38 AIO 360mm — The soft tubing
The Soft Tubing (Image By Tech4Gamers)

The soft tubing has a length of approximately 400mm. They are made of FEP and have a nice weaver cover that gives aesthetics to these tubings. These tubes are somewhat flexible and don’t kink, which is a good design.

Pump/Block

It is time to take a look at the block and pump of this unit.

I’m really digging the pump housing design from ALPHACOOL! It’s this slick, compact thing at 70.2×70.2x46mm – seriously low-profile. Crafted from ABS and POC material, the matte black finish adds a classy touch. 

A white diffuser in the angular corner hints at the presence of digital RGB LEDs beneath, creating a vibrant effect along the entire length of the housing, cleverly sandwiched between the top cover and the lower part of the pump’s housing.

Looking at the backside of the housing, I noticed the soft tubes are set at a smart 90° angle. It’s cool because you can rotate them to the left or right as needed. Two cables come out from above the tube slotting.

There is a warranty void seal over this port. This clearly indicates that this port is reserved for factory use only, and removing this seal would end the warranty, so don’t attempt this.

In the side view, there’s no branding, but notice the inset between the housing and the base top. That’s where the mounting brackets slide in. This cooler has a unique mounting mechanism, a bit different from what we’re used to.

The diffuser comes in a sleek single-piece design with a nice angular bend.

ALPHACOOL opts for a 4-pin PWM connector to power and control the pump speed, setting it apart from the majority of AIOs using a 3-pin DC-based control. The digital RGB connectors are labeled as JST, but they’re actually standard 3-pin, 5V connectors for powering digital RGB LEDs. 

ALPHACOOL CORE OCEAN T38 AIO 360mm — Copper base
Copper Base (Image By Tech4Gamers)

This cooler has a large size copper base. There is a protective cover over the base, cautioning the user to remove it before installation. This cover is there to protect the base from any damage. ALPHACOOL has mentioned the fin structure of the base plate to be 0.1×0.1mm.

Fans

ALPHACOOL has provided 3x 120mm fans with this cooler. These are new Core series fans. They are, again, a no-frill design with an emphasis on performance. Fans’ housing is in black color. Each fan has 9x blades.

No anti-vibration pads, no center branding, and no RGB – just pure performance. Flip them, and you’ll see a 4-arms setup with efficient wire routing. These fans hit up to 2500 RPM, drawing 0.43A at 12VDC, and offer generous blade-to-frame clearance.

ALPHACOOL CORE OCEAN T38 AIO 360mm — 4-pin PWM header
4-Pin PWM Header (Image By Tech4Gamers)

There is a black color flat cable with a 4-pin PWM header coming out of the fan to power the motor of this fan.

These fans come with Auto Stop and Auto Restart functions, requiring a motherboard that supports these features. They also report the tachometer.

Accessories

Now that we have taken a look at the core components of this cooling unit, it is time to check out the accessories given in the box.

There is a pictorial illustrative manual guiding the user on how to install this cooler. The main hardware is supplied inside a black color bag with a transparent front. Supportive elements are provided in a separate pouch.

The left picture shows the hardware for AMD brackets. These include:

  • 1x Set of AMD Bracket for AM4/AM5
  • 4x 2mm washers
  • 4x Longs Screws or Pillars
  • 1x User Guidance Page for installation

Taking a look at the Intel platform, we got:

  • 1x Plastic made backplate
  • 1x set of Mounting Bracket
  • 4x Long Screws or Pillars for Intel LGA20xx Socket
  • 4x Long Screws or Pillars for Intel other sockets
  • 1x User Guidance Page for Intel LGA20xx mounting

ALPHACOOL has provided:

  • 1x Syringe of Thermal Paste
  • 12x Long Screws for Fans Mounting on the Radiator
  • 12x Short Screws for Radiator Mounting
  • 3-Way PWM Splitter Cable with 4-pin PWM Connector

We mentioned above that this cooler uses a different mounting mechanism. The last pieces of the puzzle include:

  • 4x Springs
  • 4x 0.5mm Washers
  • 4x Nuts

Installation

We have tested this cooler on an Intel LGA1700 socket using GIGABYTE Z790 AORUS ELITE AX and Intel Core i7-13700K. We have also used this cooler on the AMD AM5 platform using GIGABYTE X670E AORUS MASTER and Ryzen 7 7700X. We will report test results from Intel.

ALPHACOOL CORE OCEAN T38 AIO 360mm — Installation guide
Installation Guide For Installing On An Intel LGA1700 Socket

Here’s a quick rundown for installing on an Intel LGA1700 socket:

  1. Attach the mounting brackets to the block.
  2. Use Long Screws, 2.0mm washers, springs, and nuts to secure the assembly on each mounting corner.
  3. Peel off the protective cover from the block’s base.
  4. Apply the thermal paste on the CPU IHS.
  5. Position the block on the CPU, aligning the screw tips with the back plate’s standoffs.
  6. Place the back plate on the backside of the motherboard.
ALPHACOOL CORE OCEAN T38 AIO 360mm — Installation guide for AMD sockets
Installation Guide For AMD Sockets

Follow these steps for installing the cooler on AM4 and AM5 sockets:

  1. Use an AMD stock backplate for compatibility with the AM5 socket.
  2. For AM5, use both washers (0.5mm from the Intel packet and 2.0mm from the AMD packet).

Clearance

The ALPHACOOL CORE OCEAN T38 CPU AIO 360mm is a liquid cooler. It has slim tubing, which doesn’t obstruct DIMM slots. Similarly, there is no clearance issue for the first x16 PCIe slot. The radiator has a dimension of 397x120x38mm size. Keep that in mind when it comes to PC Case clearance.

Digital RGB

My ALPHACOOL CORE OCEAN T38 CPU AIO 360mm rocks digital RGB lighting on the pump’s housing. I’ve got standard 3-pin, 5V connectors, and I tested it on GIGABYTE motherboards, specifically the AM5 platform. Controlling the lighting with RGB FUSION 2.0 was smooth – check out these cool pics!

Testing

We have used below mentioned configuration to test the performance of this cooler:

Here is the settings table for testing:

P-Cores 5300MHz All Cores
E-Cores 4200MHz All Cores
VCore (V) Adaptive with Negative Offset
Thermal Paste Noctua NT-H1
Test Run Time 30 minutes CINEBENCH R23.2
Idle Time 10 minutes
Fan/Pump Speed 100% PWM Duty Cycle
Monitoring Software HWInfo64

Thermals

Let’s see the result graph:

ALPHACOOL CORE OCEAN T38 AIO 360mm — Thermal Performance
Thermal Performance (Image By Tech4Gamers)

No other coolers in the graph because we only had time to test a few units for comparison. The cooler did great, keeping temps under 80°C with a heavy multi-core load. This bodes well for actual gameplay thermals being even lower.

Noise

The fans provided with ALPHACOOL CORE OCEAN T38 CPU AIO 360mm are rather very loud at full speed. We measured roughly 59~60 dB(A) at an ambient sound level of 32~33 dB(A).

Pro Tip: To mitigate the noise issue, set a custom fan curve through your motherboard’s BIOS or dedicated software. Adjusting the PWM duty cycle can provide a balance between cooling performance and noise levels.

Should You Buy It?

After a thorough examination of the ALPHACOOL CORE OCEAN T38 CPU AIO 360mm, here’s my recommendation:

Buy It If:

Budget-Friendly High-Performance Cooling: The ALPHACOOL CORE OCEAN T38 is an excellent choice if you’re in search of an affordable 360mm AIO liquid cooler that delivers robust thermal performance.

Sleek and Neutral Design: For enthusiasts who prioritize a clean and neutral aesthetic without the extravagance of RGB fans, the ALPHACOOL CORE OCEAN T38’s black fans and subtle RGB lighting on the pump’s housing make it a fitting option for stealth or neutral-themed builds.

Reliable Cooling Solution: If you place a premium on reliability in your cooling solution, the ALPHACOOL CORE OCEAN T38 offers a durable and low-maintenance option for water cooling common AMD and Intel sockets.

Don’t Buy It If:

Silent Operation is Essential: If you demand a near-silent cooling solution, the ALPHACOOL CORE OCEAN T38 might not be the ideal choice, as the provided fans and pump can be quite loud, measuring around 59-60 dB(A) at full speed.

RGB Lighting Customization is a Priority: For users who desire extensive RGB lighting customization options, the ALPHACOOL CORE OCEAN T38 falls short as it features subtle RGB lighting only on the pump’s housing.

Conclusion

In conclusion, my experience with the ALPHACOOL CORE OCEAN T38 CPU AIO 360mm was quite insightful. The thicker radiator and high FPI count indeed contribute to effective heat dissipation, making it a promising choice for users looking for performance-oriented cooling solutions.

However, the noise level from both the fans and pump is a significant drawback. The fans, despite their impressive specs, produce a loud noise, which might disrupt the overall experience. The sleek and stylish design of the pump housing, though, adds a touch of elegance to the build.

While the noise factor could be a deal-breaker for some users, with a 3-year warranty and good thermal performance, the ALPHACOOL CORE OCEAN T38 presents a compelling option for those prioritizing performance. Consider adjusting the fan settings for a quieter operation, and you’ll have a solid cooling solution for your system.


Recent Updates

  • January 17, 2023: A few text changes to improve readability.

 
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