Introduction

Antec, Inc. is the global leader in high-performance computer components and accessories for the gaming, PC upgrade, and Do-It-Yourself markets. Founded in 1986, Antec is recognized as a pioneer in the industry and has maintained its position as a worldwide market leader and international provider of quiet, efficient and innovative products. Their product lines include PC Chassis, CPU Cooler, PSU, Fans etc. Antec is headquartered in Fremont, California, with additional offices in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, as well as in the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, China and Taiwan. The company’s products are sold in more than 40 countries throughout the world.

Today, we will be looking at Antec Kuhler H₂O K240 liquid CPU cooler. This cooler is from their Kuhler series, not Mercury series. This is a 240mm cooling solution and it seems like this is their own design as the pump has been integrated into the radiator housing which is obviously circumventing the Asetek patent on the AIO designs. Antec has provided two 120mm fans with blue LED on them. This is the only color on these fans and it is static as well. Let’s start digging this cooler and see how it performs on our test bench.

  • Product:           Kuhler H₂O K240
  • Category:        CPU Liquid Cooler
  • Manufacturer:  Antec
  • Price:              PKR 10599/- [At the time of the review]
  • Availability:     PakDukaan

Specifications

Packaging and Unboxing

The cooler comes in a cardboard box packaging. The front side of the box has Antec brand name printed on the top left side. There is a picture of the cooler in the main section. Quiet computing branding is printed on the top right side. Kuhler H₂O is printed on the light blue background color. The cooler is designed by Antec in California. Kuhler H₂O K240 is printed beneath the picture of the cooler. Salient feature highlights are printed at the bottom. The bottom side of the box has Antec brand name printed on the top left side. Kuhler H₂O K240 is printed in the middle. The cooler is advertised to be environmentally friendly, anti-corrosive, and safe. The backside of the box has Antec brand name printed on the top left side. Kuhler H₂O K240 is printed on the top right side. Specifications of the cooler are printed in 8 different languages. Serial no sticker is pasted on the bottom right side. The top side of the box has Antec brand name printed on the top left side. Kuhler H₂O K240 is printed right next to the picture of the unit. Antec is offering 3 years of warranty on this cooler. Company’s contact info is printed on the right side. It seems like the production date of this unit is 03-24-2018. The left and the right sides are identical. Antec brand name is printed on the top left side. Kuhler H₂O K240 is printed on the bottom. The box has a white color Styrofoam pad on the top of the contents. There is an egg carton box inside which is standard design element when it comes to shipping the All-In-One coolers.

 

Accessories

One thing that I would like to appreciate Antec for is the labeling on the transparent containers having accessories inside. This little attention to detail makes it convenient for the user to identify the right parts for the job. Also, this is my first time seeing that fan screws are bundled inside the fans packing. I like this idea as well. This is what is included:

  • 1x Intel Bracket
  • 1x AMD Bracket
  • 1x Intel Backplate
  • 1x Y Cable
  • 4x Intel LGA-2011 Screws
  • 2x 120mm Fans with washers and screws
  • 4x Knurled Nuts M3*12
  • 4x Knurled Nuts M3*17
  • 4x Screws H7*36**M3

 

Closer Look

The Antec Kuhler H₂O K240 is an All-In-One 240mm CPU Liquid Cooling solution. This cooler is compatible with all Intel’s and AMD’s sockets including the Intel 2066 and AMD AM4 excluding the TR4. Antec is highlighting that this cooler is uniquely engineered to protect your’s CPU performance, increase the life of your CPU and ensure that you can count on its performance for years to come. Though some of these statements are subjective it is time to put this cooler into the action to test its thermal performance. Before that, let’s dive into the design of this cooler.

As is the case with the majority of the AIO solutions, the radiator of this cooler has aluminum fins. The FPI count is 17 as per our measurement. This is a dense fin stack that would need powerful fans in terms of the static pressure and airflow. The dimension of the radiator is 288x120x27mm where 27mm is the thickness of the cooler. Add 25mm thickness of the fan and we have 52mm of total thickness to deal with. Mounting holes spacing is 110mm. The mounting holes don’t have protective sheet underneath them so be careful when installing the fans on the radiator. Make sure to use the provided screws and washers for safety otherwise longer screws could damage the fins that would hamper the performance of the unit. The edges of the radiator housing are not rounded but flat and I like this design as it looks pleasant in person. We can see 12 channels for water flow with half of these are for the intake and half for the outtake. Antec is printed on the front chamber’s top side in the white color font. The back chamber is where all the difference is coming from. Antec has integrated the pump inside the radiator housing. This design will help them circumventing the Asetek patent over the traditional pump on the block design and to reduce the vibration of the CPU itself. This vibration will definitely add noise when mounted on the Chassis. Make sure to use the supplied metallic washers. The block where the pump is located has a dimension of 32x120x30mm. Here 30mm is the thickness of the block. In order to achieve the 27mm thickness for the fin stack of the radiator, Antec has raised the height of the block only to the 30mm and there is a 0.28mm wall separating the block from the fin stack with built-in water channel cutouts. With fans, the total thickness will still remain the 52mm. It is powered by the SATA cable. The length of the SATA cable is approximately 470mm and it is braided. The length is enough to support the reach towards the SATA power cable coming from the PSU and cable management. Water pressure rating of the pump is 1m ± 0.2m. The flow rate is 1.5L per minute. Lifespan is 50000 hours at 25°C room ambient with 15~65% RH. This particular bar on the lifespan has a question mark as even in our case there is no AC in the testing room and during summers the temperature rises as high as ±48°C. That would mean under such environment, the pump is not going to last that long. Noise rating of the pump is ≤36 dB(A). There is a note on the backside of the chamber with pump, informing the user to clean the unit in time. Antec is using Teflon Coating Tubing which as per their testing, will last up to 15 years. The dimension of the hoses is 8x10x350mm where 350mm is the length of the tubing. It seems like this dimension is inclusive of the barb fittings. The hoses are nylon sleeved to create pleasant looks on them. They are not that flexible but still, this is not a complaint. The barbs are securely connected to the hoses to prevent leakage. Since the pump is getting powered from SATA power cable and there is no 3-pin cable provided coming from the pump unit, we can’t monitor the speed of the pump unit which in my opinion should have been provided.

 

Let’s take a look at the block. Since the pump is on the radiator, the block carries less weight as compared to the units with an integrated pump on the blocks. The block is made of the plastic material and is in black color. The top side of the block has a circled area which is raised above the housing. This is to snug the mounting brackets on top of the block. Unfortunately, in our testing, the Intel mounting bracket could snuggle that firmly as we were expecting it to be and this has related issues while installing the block on the CPU. The dimension of the block is 50x58x20mm. The base is made of the copper. Thermal paste is pre-applied on to the base. The thermal paste is using the polymer materials. We did not test the cooler with the pre-applied thermal paste as we are using Noctua NT-H1 paste to ensure standardization among the test results and to mitigate any potential benefits that would come with the supplied/pre-installed paste. There is Antec brand name in metallic pieces pasted on top of the block which creates a pleasant look and feels to the block.

 

Antec has provided two 120mm fans with this cooler. These are non-RGB version and have the only blue static light on them. The dimension of these fans is 120x120x25mm where 25mm is the height or thickness of the fan. These fans are rated at 900~1800±10% RPM. Noise level is rated between 20~30 dB(A). Airflow is rated at 73.31 CFM. The lifespan of these fans is rated at 40000 hrs at 25°C room ambient with 15~65% RH. Once again we are seeing the ambient temperature base rating of the MTBF. These are PWM fans with 4-pin connector. The length of the cable is 285mm. Antec has provided a Y cable to connect two fans on a single header and control them from a single header. Length of this cable is 297mm+100mm. These fans are using the full ceramic bearings with a ceramic shaft for increased durability. Static pressure rating is not available.

 

Let’s take a look at the fans themselves. Each fan has 9 impellers. These impellers are translucent in brown color. There is Antec brand name printed on the motor hub. The tips of the impellers have a un-even design. There is a white color ring circulating the impellers. This ring is built into the fan’s frame. The ring has blue color LEDs in it which illuminates the complete ring to create a sublime look. The frame has low height on the middle edges to prominent the ring for a more colorful look on the fans. There are white color pads on the mounting corners to reduce the noise from vibration. This white color ring and pads on the black color frame go hand in hand. The backside of the fan shows a 4-arm assembly holding and connecting the impellers to the frame. The frame has more thickness on the circular side which is obvious as the white color ring has to be put on top of this black color circular frame. There is a sticker pasted on the motor hub with Antec brand name printed on it. We can see the white color pads on the mounting corners here as well. One of the arms has more width as it is forming a channel on which the wires of the fan’s power cable are routed. There is a clip in the middle of the arm to securely hold the wires intact within the channel. The fans’ power cables are sleeved.

Installation

We have used the Intel LGA-2011(3) socket for the testing of this cooler on Asus ROG Rampage V Edition 10 motherboard and Intel i7 6850k. Installation on this socket is simple and easy as it has backplate pre-installed with the pre-drilled mounting holes/catchers. Take out the LGA-2011 screws from the respective transparent container. Mount them on the 4 holes around the socket. Now take out the Intel bracket and sung it onto the top of the block. It will sit around the circular top. Apply the thermal paste on the IHS of the CPU. Now, place the block on the CPU bypassing the mounting holes on the bracket’s arms through the LGA-2011 screws. Use the 4x Knurled Nuts M3*12 to secure the block on the socket. Install the fans on the radiator in the desired direction depending upon the situation. Use the supplied Y Cable to connect both fans to the single fan header of the motherboard preferably to the CPU Fan Header. Connect the SATA connector to the SATA power cable coming from the PSU. This will complete the installation. In case you are installing the unit inside the chassis, you would have to install the radiator as well on the top or on the front side of the chassis as the case may be.

Being an AIO cooler, we did not see any incompatibility with the DIMMs or the first PCIe slot. This is one of the obvious reasons why the majority of the people prefer AIOs over the air coolers as they don’t put extra weight on the motherboard and have better clearance and compatibility than the air coolers.

Testing Methodology

Following test bench was used for testing this cooler: –

  • Asus Rampage V Edition 10
  • Intel i7 6850k
  • Crucial Ballistix Elite 4x4GB @ 3000MHz
  • Gigabyte GTX 1060 6GB
  • Samsung 840 EVO 250GB SSD
  • WD Black 6TB
  • Corsair AX1200i

Following software were used for the testing and monitoring.

  • Asus Real Bench v 2.44
  • Real Temp GT v 3.70

The thermal paste being used on our test bench is the Noctua NT-H1 thermal paste. The use of a same thermal paste for all coolers will ensure the standardization and mitigate any performance benefit that may come using the supplied/pre-installed thermal paste. Delta temperatures are reported on the graphs. The cooler is tested on stock clocks i.e 3.6GHz using 1.136V manual VCore. The Asus RealBench 2.44 is used to stress test the cooler’s performance. Each run of the test was of 15 minutes followed by 15-30 minutes break to let the system cool down. Fans were set to run at their 100% RPM and water pump seems to be running at 100% at all times as we don’t have control over its speed. CPU is overclocked to 4.3GHz with 1.350V manual Vcore. Three test runs are made. Average of each test run is calculated. The max temps on each core are summed up and divided by the core count to give the average figure. The max average of three tests is used for reporting. Delta temp is calculated by subtracting the ambient temp from the max average temp. No rounding is done on the ambient temps.

Results

On 3.6GHz, the cooler has outperformed all other 240mm coolers that have been tested on our test bench so far. It was doing 22.83°C delta temperature under load. Even it managed to beat the Riajintek Orcus 360 by a little margin of 0.17°C though it never reaches the silent levels that are on the Raijintek Orcus 360.

With overclocked 6850k, this cooler was marginally trailing behind the other 240mm coolers tested on our test bench. It was doing 42.1°C delta temperature which is still good a temperature as Aerocool P7 L240 has a marginal lead over the Antec Kuhler H₂O K240. Similarly, Reeven Naia 240 took the marginal lead with 0.47°C over the Antec Kuhler H₂O K240. Deepcool Captain Ex 240 RGB has a marginal lead of 0.6°C over the Antec Kuhler H₂O K240. Corsair H100i V2 has a marginal lead of 0.94°C over the Antec Kuhler H₂O K240. All these coolers have a difference of less than 1°C as compared to the Antec Kuhler H₂O K240 making them neck-to-neck in the competition.

We could not measure the sound level of the unit as the summer season here is at peak and ceiling fan plus the noise coming out of the room would invalidate the actual sound level and some of these noises are beyond our control. The fans are quite audible at full speed and you may want to create custom fan curve profile on them for better acoustic performance when not under full load.

Conclusion

The Antec Kuhler H₂O K240 CPU liquid cooler is a 240mm All-In-One cooling solution. It features a 240mm radiator made of aluminum and has dense fin stack with 17 FPI. The dimension of the radiator is 288x120x27mm where 27mm is the thickness of the cooler. With 25mm fans the overall height or the thickness of the unit will be 52mm. The major difference of this unit from the competitor offerings is that the pump is integrated inside the radiator housing. This design has helped the Antec to go around the Asetek’s patent in AIO category where the pump is installed in the block. The pump is powered by the SATA connector coming right out of the radiator. There is no 3-pin cable to monitor the speed of the pump. Length of the SATA cable is 470mm and it is sleeved as well. The edges of the radiator are flat and not rounded and it does look good in person. There is no protective sheeting under the mounting holes. Be careful in using the longer screws as they could damage the fins which would hamper the performance of the unit. It is better to use the supplied screws with the unit and make sure to use the washers as well.

The block where the pump is located has a dimension of 32x120x30mm. Here 30mm is the thickness of the block. In order to achieve the 27mm thickness for the fin stack of the radiator, Antec has raised the height of the block only to the 30mm and there is a 0.28mm wall separating the block from the fin stack with built-in water channel cutouts. With fans, the total thickness will still remain the 52mm. Water pressure rating of the pump is 1m ± 0.2m. The flow rate is 1.5L per minute. Lifespan is 50000 hours at 25°C room ambient with 15~65% RH. This particular bar on the lifespan has a question mark as even in our case there is no AC in the testing room and during summers the temperature rises as high as ±48°C. That would mean under such environment, the pump is not going to last that long. Noise rating of the pump is ≤36 dB(A). Antec is using Teflon Coating Tubing. The dimension of the hoses is 8x10x350mm where 350mm is the length of the tubing. The hoses are sleeved for better aesthetics. The base of the block is in copper and has polymer material based thermal paste pre-applied. This cooler is compatible with the leading sockets from Intel and AMD including LGA 2066 from Intel and AM4 from AMD but excluding the TR4.

Antec has provided two 120mm Blue LED fans with this cooler. These fans are less noisy even at full speeds. The dimension of these fans is 120x120x25mm where 25mm is the height or thickness of the fan. These fans are rated at 900~1800±10% RPM. Noise level is rated between 20~30 dB(A). Airflow is rated at 73.31 CFM. The lifespan of these fans is rated at 40000 hrs at 25°C room ambient with 15~65% RH. Once again we are seeing the ambient temperature base rating of the MTBF. These are PWM fans with 4-pin connector. The length of the cable is 285mm. Antec has provided a Y cable to connect two fans on a single header and control them from a single header. Length of this cable is 297mm+100mm. These fans are using the full ceramic bearings with a ceramic shaft for increased durability. Antec is providing 3 years of warranty on this cooler.

This cooler is rated at Rs. 10599/- at the time of the review. Given the 240mm cooling solution, this price seems fine but it is relatively high given that the price of Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML240L RGB All-in-one CPU Liquid Cooler which is retailing here at Rs.8200/- and it has full RGB enabled fans which have higher static pressure and much better lifespan as compared to the fans supplied with Antec Kuhler H₂O K240 but it carries 2 years of warranty as compared to the 3 years of warranty on the Antec Kuhler H₂O K240. In our thermal testing, this cooler was neck-to-neck with other 240mm coolers that we have earlier tested like Aerocool P7 L240, Deepcool Captain Ex 240 RGB, Reeven Naia 240, Corsair H100i V2. It is the cheapest of all these tested coolers.

We are thankful to Antec for giving us the opportunity to review their Kuhler H₂O K240 CPU liquid cooler. We are also thankful to PakDukaan for arranging the review sample.

Tech4Gamers Value Award