Best 420mm AIO?
In the market of 420mm AIOs, ALPHACOOL is an old player and is known for making some quality stuff. Their Eisbaer Pro AURORA 420 is an all-rounder liquid cooler capable of taming your high-end CPUs with the ability and capacity to handle overclocking as well. Plus, it comes with extensive socket support and an aura of digital RGB lighting effects.
Quality - 9/10
Design - 9/10
Performance - 8.5/10
Features - 9.5/10
Value - 8/10
- Adequate Thermal Performance
- A-RGB Lighting
- Extensive Sockets Support
- Full-Copper Radiator
- Standard G1/4” Ports
- High-Performance TPV Tubes
- Sub-Zero Thermal Paste
- Dedicated A-RGB Controller
- Noisy fans
- Trivial Installation
This is our fourth take on ALPHACOOL’s liquid coolers for the CPU, and this time, we are looking at an all-out option for the enthusiasts who would want the best of the best in the AIO category. This cooler is an ALPHACOOL Eisbaer Pro AURORA 420 CPU AIO. As the name suggests, this cooler has a 420mm size radiator. Previously we have tested 240mm, 280mm, and 360mm size variants. This would complete our testing of the Eisbaer Pro AURORA series of liquid coolers from ALPHACOOL.
We have been highlighting some key features and aspects of these coolers that set it apart from the competition. We are again showing these below:
- Eisbaer series AIOs are assembled using off-the-shelf DIY stuff.
- Eisbaer series AIOs use standard G1/4” ports.
- Eisbaer series AIOs come with a refill port.
- Eisbaer series AIOs use quick disconnect fittings that allow expansion for more radiators or blocks.
- Eisbaer AIOs radiators are made of copper.
- Eisbaer AIOs use their industry-standard TPV tubes.
- Eisbaer AIO almost offer a pre-filled custom loop performance level
The above statements can be summarized in a single word that is “MODULAR”.
Like other models, this cooler has 3x A-RGB fans in 140mm size, making up for a 420mm size radiator. This cooler is no exception when it comes to providing extensive socket support on Intel and AMD. This cooler is compatible with Intel 115X / 1200 / 1700 / 2011 / 2011-3 / 2066 / 3647 / and 4189 sockets and AMD AM4/ AM5 / TR4 / sTRX4 / sWRX8 / and SP3 sockets. To make this happen, they have incorporated a large copper plate on the base of this cooler, measuring around 78x60mm. This cooler features the DCLT 2 pump.
- Better thermal performance: The cooler was able to keep the AMD Ryzen 9 7950X at 84°C under heavy workload, which is a good result for a 420mm AIO cooler.
- Extensive support: Alphacool provides extensive socket support with this cooler.
- Compatibility: Not all PC Cases support 420mm size AIO. Caution is suggested for proper homework.
Take a look at the specifications:
The main packing box is made of cardboard material. It has a black and white color finish. Surprisingly, ALPHACOOL is showing old fans’ pictures on this box, whereas the actual fans are from the AURORA series. This cooler packs an A-RGB controller as well.
Looking at the backside of the main packing box, we can see that ALPHACOOL has listed salient specifications of this cooler there. There is a picture of the pump’s housing printed as well. Socket compatibility information is printed as well.
There is another cardboard box inside the main packing box, and all the contents are tucked inside that box. This is done to prevent damage during shipping.
What’s in the box?
It is time to see what is provided in the box in addition to the fans and the cooler.
There is a multi-lingual and comprehensive user guide provided with the unit.
All mounting hardware is enclosed inside a half-transparent container.
ALPHACOOL has provided:
- 1x Thermal Paste Tube [Sub-Zero]
- 1x Screw Plug Removal Tool
- 1x 3-way splitter PWM cable
- 4x Thumb Screws
- 5x Springs
- 5x Nuts
- 5x 0.5mm Washers
- 12x Longs Screws for Fans
- 12x Short Screws for Radiator
- 2x AMD AM4 and AM5 mounting brackets
- 4x Screws for the above-mentioned sockets
- 2x AMD TR4 and related sockets’ mounting brackets
- 4x Screws for the above-mentioned sockets
- 2x Mounting Brackets for Intel 3647 Narrow and Square
- 2x Mounting Brackets for Intel 4189
- 2x Mounting Brackets for Intel 1700/1200/115x
- 2x Mounting Brackets for Intel 20xx
- Screws for each type of mounting
- 1x Allen Key
- 2x Metallic Backplate
ALPHACOOL has provided 4x zip ties for cable management. There is an adapter cable for a 3-pin JST connector to a 3-pin 5V standard A-RGB connector. There is a sleek-looking controller as well. It is SATA-powered and has a fixed 3-pin, 5V A-RGB interface on one end. There is also a 2-pin socket to which you can connect the pump’s power cable and have it powered directly from the PSU. There are three buttons on the controller. The mode button toggles the different modes. The speed button controls the speed of dynamic modes, and Light button toggles among the static colors.
Let’s start with the radiator of this cooler.
This radiator is also made of copper, brass, and metal. The fin stack is made of copper, and there is a hint of copper sheen there. The G1/4” ports are made of brass, whereas the housing of the radiator is metallic. The dimension of this unit is 460x144x30mm. Here, 30mm refers to the thickness of the radiator. Adding 140x25mm fans to it would make the overall thickness of 56mm approximately, including the heads of the screws. The FPI count is 16. Unlike other radiators, this unit has 14 channels for the coolant flow.
Alphacool has done a fine job in fin stacking. The right side of the picture tells us about copper sheen.
The far end or block does not have a rounded or rectangular design. It has a slim body.
ALPHACOOL has used HF screw-on sleeve TPV metal fittings with a size of 12.7/7.6mm to match TPV tubing (brass material). These fittings are also available in nylon finish on their online shop. There is a serial number sticker printed here as well.
The housing of this radiator is also made of aluminum material and has a black color coating. There is an ALPHACOOL branding on the right side in blue color. Blue color seems to be the official brand color for ALPHACOOL.
Please take note that the 30mm thickness above refers to the total thickness of the unit. The actual thickness of fin stacking is less than 30mm which is an industry standard design. There are protective platings under the mounting sides of the radiator. This plating protects fins from damage coming from excessive screwing.
ALPHACOOL has used its industry-level TPV tubing in this cooler. This tube is made of EPDM/PP material. This tube has a length of 400mm. This tube has a dimension of 12.7/7.6mm. Their tolerance range is -50°C to +155°C, and their hardness grading is 35 Shore-A to 50 Shore-D. This tube is in matte black color. These tubes don’t kink, which is a good design aspect. There is an integrated quick-release coupling on one tube. This mechanism allows an easy expansion of the current loop by breaking it without a spillover. This coupling is also in a matte black finish, having a dimension of 95x27mm. It is made of Nylon material, and it supports 12.7/7.6mm tube size. Keep that in mind when buying an expansion unit.
It is time to take a look at the block and pump of this unit.
This cooler has the same design as the pump housing that we have seen in the other Eisbaer Pro AURORA series of liquid coolers. This unit has a dimension of 64x79x54.3mm. The main pump housing is made of nylon material and finished in a matt black color. 54.3mm is the overall height of this unit. This is not a low-profile design from a height and length perspective.
The central portion of the top cover is raised, and it has ALPHACOOL branding on it. Eisbaer Pro is embossed towards the lower right corner. Tubes are installed on top of this unit using straight fittings. This is unlike a standard or traditional 90°orientation on the majority of liquid coolers in the market. There is a G1/4” port cover labeled Fill behind the tubes.
This is a dedicated refill port, which makes maintenance of this unit easier in the long run. If the coolant level drops in the long run, you can add more coolant to the loop. We can see crossed lines on top and side. These are digital RGB backlit. Eisbaer Pro text is also digital RGB backlit.
This unit has a built-in reservoir, which is made of acrylic material. We can see the coolant level and pump inside this reservoir from three sides, as ALPHACOOL has provided an exposed view on this side for visualization of the coolant level.
The front view of this unit is a solid design without any branding. Cables are coming out from this side. This is a strange implementation since this block can only be installed in one orientation with cables side facing the PCIe slot. This would make cable management a bit challenging job, particularly when these cables have relatively short lengths. ALPHACOOL has provided a 3-pin connector to power the pump. This unit has JST 3-pin digital RGB connectors. One is the socket, and the other is the connector. This allows an easy daisy-chaining of digital RGB elements within the ALPHACOOL Ecosystem. ALPHACOOL has provided an adapter cable that allows users to connect this proprietary connector to a 5V, 3-pin digital RGB header on the motherboard.
The backside of this unit shows the reservoir and coolant level in that reservoir. ALPHACOOL has used a clear coolant comprising distilled water and Glysantin. The working temperature for this coolant is 15°C/+90°C. We can also spot the pump’s ceramic shaft. This is ALPHACOOL’s DC-LT2 pump. It is rated for 2600 RPM (±10%). It can move coolant over 1m in length with a maximum flow rate of 72 L/H. The voltage range is 6 ~ 13.5V DC. Power consumption is rated at 3.2W. The tested pressure rating is 0.8 Bar. Maximum working temperature is 60°C (coolant temperature).
This cooler has a large size nickel-plated 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. The size of this plate is 78x60mm. This is there to support those large-size sockets from both camps. The cold plate has a 0.4×0.4mm fin structure.
ALPHACOOL has provided 3x 140mm fans with this cooler. These are from the RISE AURORA series. These fans have a circular frame which is thicker than standard 140mm fans. This is due to the fact that ALPHACOOL has put a digital RGB ring in this frame. There are two such rings. One is on the top, and the other is in the center of the frame. The frame itself is in black. Each fan has 9x blades. These are translucent blades that produce some vivid and even light output. The tips of these blades have a raised surface, and the forward edges have insets. I think this design is there to improve airflow while reducing lag at the same time, which would help lower vibration. Each mounting corner has a cut-to-size anti-vibration pad in black color. These reduce vibrational noise.
The backside of the fan shows a 4-arms assembly with one arm being wider and having an inset on which the wires are routed from the center toward the frame. RISE AURORA is printed on a sticker.
There is a black color flat cable with a 4-pin PWM header to power the motor of the fan. Each fan has a 3-pin JST connector and a 3-pin JST socket. This allows for daisy-chain fans and pump housing.
The salient specifications of the fans are:
|Air Flow||154.1 m³/h|
|Air Pressure||2.20 mmH2O|
|Fan Connector||4-pin PWM|
These fans report tachometer as well. Each fan packs 24 digital RGB LEDs.
We have tested this cooler on AMD AM5 and Intel LGA1700 platforms.
The above picture shows you how to install this cooler on AM4 and AM5 sockets. This cooler is compatible with an AM5 socket because it uses an AMD stock backplate. You would need to remove the stock mounting brackets from the motherboard. Install AM4/AM5 brackets on the block. Prepare screws using springs, 0.5mm washer, 2.0mm washer, and nuts. Secure prepared screws on each mounting corner of brackets. Apply the thermal paste on the IHS of the CPU. Carefully place blocks on the CPU by aligning standoff holes with the tips of screws. Rest is self-explanatory
The above picture illustrates the installation guide for the Intel LGA1700 socket. Users would need to snuggle mounting brackets on the block. Then prepared Long Screws using 2.0mm washers (from the AMD packet) along with springs and secured this assembly on each mounting corner of the bracket using provided nuts. Please take a look at the picture for a better understanding. Peel off the protective cover from the base of the block. Apply the thermal paste on the CPU IHS and place the block on the CPU with aligning tips of screws with standoffs of the back plate. Place the back plate on the back side of the motherboard as well.
The ALPHACOOL Eisbaer Pro AURORA, 420 CPU AIO, has a 420mm size radiator having a dimension of 460x144x30mm. The tubes don’t obstruct DIMM slots because they are installed on top of the housing. Similarly, there is no clearance issue for the first x16 PCIe slot. Not all PC Cases support this size AIO, so you would need to be careful in your selection.
The ALPHACOOL Eisbaer Pro AURORA 420 CPU AIO has digital RGB lighting on the RISE AURORA fans and pump’s housing. ALPHACOOL has provided a dedicated controller with this cooler as well. The user can connect the daisy-chained A-RGB elements or devices to the 3-pin, 5V A-RGB header on the motherboard. We have tested the cooler on the GIGABYTE motherboard. We are showing a few pictures from the AM5 platform. We controlled lighting using RGB FUSION 2.0 and found the lighting working flawlessly.
We have used the mentioned configuration to test the performance of this cooler: –
- AMD Ryzen 9 7950X
- GIGABYTE X670E AORUS MASTER
- XPG Lancer RGB 32GB 6000MHz
- MSI GeForce RTX 3090 Gaming X Trio 24G
- XPG 1TB NVMe Gen4 SSD [For OS]
- Be quiet! Straight Power 11 850W Platinum PSU
- Open-air setup
Here is the settings table for testing:
|Thermal Paste||Alphacool Sub-Zero|
|Test Run Time||30 minutes CINEBENCH R23.2|
|Idle Time||10 minutes an|
|n/Pump Speed||100% PWM Duty Cycle|
We have used the following Intel-based configuration:
- Intel Core i7 13700K
- GIGABYTE Z790 AORUS Elite AX
- Kingston Fury Renegade DDR5 32GB 6400MHZ @ CAS32
- GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 3060 VISION OC
- Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus 2TB NVMe SSD [For OS]
- Be Quiet! Straight Power 11 1000W Platinum
- Thermaltake Core P6 TG Snow Edition in an open frame layout
|Thermal Paste||Alphacool Sub-Zero|
|Test Run Time||30 minutes CINEBENCH R23.2|
|Idle Time||10 minutes|
|Fan/Pump Speed||100% PWM Duty Cycle|
Disclaimer: Every silicon is different; hence, no two SKUs are likely to take the same voltage to yield the same performance at the same thermals per se, but the margin would be close. Not every stress test run may yield the same result, which could be due to various reasons like thermal paste application, ambient temperature variation, mounting pressure of the cooler, etc. This is why we have listed our variables and their settings. Variables not mentioned are on the Auto setting.
We can see that all 420mm AIOs in the graph are in close range, but ALPAHCOOL is sitting at the bottom. It has produced the most noise out of these three and has a 2°C difference from the CORSAIR cooler. In terms of overall performance, noise, pricing, and warranty it is the ARCTIC Liquid Freezer II 420 that is winning hands down.
We could not test any other cooler so we are showing the result of ALPHACOOL cooler only. It has performed quite well on 7950X under the thermal limit and managed to maintain the clocks.
We measured roughly 56 dB(A) at an ambient sound level of 32~33 dB(A).
In this review, we have tested the flagship cooler from ALPHACOOL, which is the Eisbaer Pro AURORA 420 CPU AIO. We have tested 240mm, 280mm, and 360mm so far and this was the last SKU to be tested. Thanks to ALPHACOOL for the provision of the unit, but this does not mean that we will hide its shortcomings. Not gonna happen on my watch.
This unit has a 420mm size radiator measuring 460x144x30mm. Here, 30mm is the thickness of this unit. Adding 25mm thick fans would make the overall thickness of this unit to be approximately 56 mm. It has an FPI count of 16 and 14 channels for the coolant flow. The fin stack is made of copper material. The G1/4” ports have brass threaded, and the housing is made of stainless steel.
ALPHACOOL has used their industrial grade tube in this unit, namely TPV (EPDM/PP). These tubes have a length of 400mm. They are of size 12.7/7.6mm. These tubes are black in color, and their hardness rating is 35 Shore-A to 50 Shore-D. They have a high-temperature tolerance of -15°C to +150°C. Another striking feature of this cooler is quick-release coupling. These quick disconnects allow users to easily expand this loop by adding more ALPHACOOL products like radiators or blocks using the same size tube and fittings. This coupling is matte black and has a dimension of 95x27mm. It is made of Nylon material, and it supports 12.7/7.6mm tube size.
ALPHACOOL is using a DC-LT2 pump in this unit, which is rated to spin at 2600RPM ±10%. They have a flow rate of 72 L/H with a pressure head of 1m. Housing is made of Nylon material. This housing has a reservoir as well, which is made of Acrylic. This reservoir can be seen from three sides of this housing. We can even see the pump’s ceramic shaft as the pump and reservoir are integrated. Tubes are installed on top of the housing using the same G1/4” ports.
There is also a G1/4” refill port on top with a stop plug. Both ports are marked as IN and OUT. Housing has a stylish and bold design, standing at 64x79x54.3mm. It features 12 digital RGB LEDs, backlighting Eisbaer Pro text and styling lines. The pump is rated for 3.2W power with a 6~13.5V DC operating voltage range. It is tested for 0.8 Bar pressure and 60°C coolant temperature.
There is a large-size nickel-plated copper base measuring 78x60mm with a 0.4×0.4mm fin structure. This large size is there as this unit has extensive socket coverage, including Intel 4189/3647 and AMD TR4/sTRX4/xWRX8/SP3, and ALPHACOOL has provided full IHS coverage. Speaking of socket compatibility, this unit is compatible with Intel: 115X / 1200 / 1700 / 2011 / 2011-3 / 2066 / 3647 SQUARE & NARROW / 4189 and AMD: AM4 / AM5 / TR4 / sTRX4 / sWRX8 / SP3 sockets.
ALPHACOOL has provided RISE AURORA series 140mm fans with this liquid cooler. They are rated for 0~2000 RPM. The airflow rating of these fans is 154.1 m³/h, whereas the air pressure rating is 2.20mmH2O. The noise level rating is not known. These fans use sleeve bearings. They are powered by a 4-pin PWM connector.
ALPHACOOL is using 3-pin JST connectors to power the digital RGB LEDs (24 on each fan). ALPHACOOL has provided a dedicated controller that is SATA-powered. There is an adapter cable as well. Each cable has a connector and a socket so we can daisy-chain them and connect a single cable either to the controller or to the motherboard. ALPHACOOL has also provided a 2-pin socket connected to the SATA cable of the controller. You can connect the 3-pin connector of the pump’s power cable to this socket to run the pump directly from the PSU.
ALPHACOOL has provided a plethora of mounting hardware for the supported sockets. They are still using their standard mounting, as we have seen with the CORE OCEAN T38 cooler. We have tested the cooler on AMD AM5 and Intel LGA1700 platforms. The mounting hardware for this socket comprises 22 items, which is definitely on the high side. This is only for the block and does not include fan, radiator installation, and thermal paste application. This cooler is compatible with an AM5 socket as it uses an AMD stock backplate. Since we are dealing with many cables, ALPHACOOL has provided zip-ties as well.
ALPHACOOL Eisbaer Pro AURORA CPU AIO is listed at €229.98. This is still a better price compared to USD 300 on the CORSAIR iCUE H170i Elite LCD XT. But the CORSAIR cooler has a display screen to its advantage. Anyhow, ALPHACOOL’s cooler sits between the CORSAIR and ARCTIC options. In our testing, the CORSAIR cooler is sitting on the top, whereas the ALPHACOOL cooler is at the third slot, and the ARCTIC cooler is number two.
However, in terms of performance, price, noise, and warranty, the ARCTIC Liquid Freezer II 420 is a winner, hands down, in my opinion. This is a comparable performance of these coolers. But what about the AMD test result? We could not find any other cooler on the AMD test bench; hence, we only have ALPHACOOL Eisbaer Pro AURORA 420 results. This cooler has managed the temperatures and core clocks quite well, and we have no complaints in this regard. ALPHACOOL is offering a 3-year warranty, which is somewhat less in my opinion. Fans are quite loud so I would suggest using a custom fan curve or Auto PWM mode.
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