Introduction

Antec, Inc. is not a new name as they have been producing high-performance computer components and accessories for the gaming, PC upgrade and Do-It-Yourself markets since 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.

Antec has sent us their Neptune 240 cooler through their distributor PakDukaan for the review. This is a 240mm cooling solution which has the pump integrated in the radiator housing. Antec has provided 2x ARGB 120mm fans. A lighting and PWM controller are provided in the box. The block features beautiful ARGB light show on the top and in the middle. The cooler is compatible with Intel LGA 1200/115x/1366/20xx sockets and AMD FM2/FM1/AM3+/AM3+AM2+/AM2/AM4 and xTR4 sockets.

  • Product:           Neptune 240 ARGB
  • Manufacturer:   Antec
  • Price:               PKR 17000/-

Specifications

Packaging

The cooler is shipped inside a cardboard box.

Salient features are mentioned here:

  • PTFE Teflon Coated tubes
  • Pressure head of 1.2m
  • Efficient PWM Fans

The cooler is compatible with ASUS, MSI, GIGABYTE, and ASRock motherboard’s lighting.

The specifications are printed in 8 different languages.

Antec is offering 3 years warranty on this cooler. Large Pump is printed here on the packing box which is incorrect as the pump is located on the radiator not in the block. Yes, we have sleek and stylish block with cool A-RGB lighting on it.

The contents of the box are placed inside egged carton packing to ensure safe shipping. There is a white color Styrofoam pad placed on the top.

Contents

Let’s take a look at what is bundled with the cooler. Antec has labeled all the containers having mounting hardware.

We have:

  • Intel backplate
  • AMD backplate
  • Intel mounting bracket
  • AMD mounting bracket
  • AMD TR4 mounting bracket

We have:

  • 4x Intel LGA 20xx standoffs
  • 4x AMD TR4 standoffs
  • 4x Intel/AMD Long Screws
  • 4x Spacers
  • 4x Thumb Nuts
  • 5x Screws for Mounting brackets

We have:

  • 8x Small Size Screws
  • 8x Large Size Screws
  • 8x Washers

A user guide/manual is also provided.

There is a user guide on the control hub and the cooler’s information guide.

Closer Look

Let’s start with a statement from Antec about their new cooler. “The new generation of Antec all-in-one liquid CPU cooler, Neptune 240 ARGB, brings your build to next level. The integration of the water pump and radiator prevents the CPU from being damaged by vibration. The ultra-thin pump head reduces the volume when installing it on the CPU. Besides the aesthetics, the efficiency of thermal control is also improved.”

The cooler is compatible with Intel LGA20xx/1366/1200/115x sockets and AMD AM4/AM3+/AM3/AM2+/AM2/FM2+/FM2/FM1 sockets. It is also compatible with AMD xTR4 socket.

RADIATOR

The Antec Neptune 240 ARGB is a 240mm AIO cooling solution. It has a 240mm radiator with two 120mm ARGB fans.

The dimension of the radiator is 287 x 121 x 27mm. Here 27mm is the thickness of the radiator. With 25mm fans the overall thickness would be around 53mm. The radiator has 18 fins per inch one (FPI). There is a gap of 105mm between any two fan mounting holes on the radiator.

Radiator is made of aluminum hence it is light weight. This is not an Asetek design. The blocks on both ends of the radiator are rectangular. Taking into account the left and right side channels, it has total 12 channels for water flow. The wall thickness is 0.28mm.

The above picture shows a closer look on the fins. Antec has done a neat job with fin stack.

We have an aluminum façade on both sides with Antec branding in the center.

The Antec Neptune 240 ARGB has the pump unit installed in the radiator housing. The pump is on the near block where the tubes are coming from. This is the reason for the enlarged block on this end measuring 34x121x30mm where 30mm is the height of the block and 34mm is depth. There is a power cable coming out from the center which looks a bit loose. The pump is taking power directly from the SATA cable and there is no way to monitor or control the speed of the pump. The hoses are well connected to the straight barbs using heat shrinks. There is a sticker on the block cautioning the user to regularly clean the unit.

The length of the SATA cable is approximately 392mm which should have been a minimum of 500mm. This is so because the user can install the rad on the top or on the font and depending upon the chassis being used, the length of the cable should be sufficient enough. Specifications of the pump are:

Water Pressure 1.0 ± 0.2m
Flow Rate 1.5 L/H
Lifespan 50000 hours at 25°C ambient 15-65% RH
Noise ≤36 dBA

 

We have a rectangular designed block on the far end. There are stickers pasted on it probably showing the part number and serial number.

There are no protective sheet/plating under each mounting position. Also, the fin stack has an offset displacement in the radiator housing. As shown in the above picture, there is wider gap between the fin stack and frame of the radiator.

Speaking on the overall finishing, one corner of the radiator has pretty much banged up fins.

Antec Neptune 240 has PTFE Teflon-Coating tubes. The length of these tubes is 350mm. the PTFE coating reduces liquid loss and resist to the corrosion.

PUMP/BLOCK

Let’s take a look at the block of the cooler.

We have an aluminum face plate on the top of block. There is RGB backlit Antec branding in the center of the plate. The face plate is not fully covering the top as borders on 4 sides are open and we can see the diffuser.

The tubes are installed in 90° barb fittings using heat shrinks. There is an ARGB cable coming out from this side as well. The above mentioned cable is 3-pin ARGB cable having an approximate length of 355mm.

There is another diffuser running on the entire length of the block on all sides. Needless to say it is backlit as well. The all 3 sides of the block have solid finish without any branding or texture. The overall build quality and finishing is good.

We have a copper base with pre-applied thermal paste. Since we cleaned the thermal pasted before taking picture, it is not shown here. The base measures 59x55mm. The copper surface is flat. Antec is using 0.8mm micro fins on the cold plate.

The base portion protrudes from the upper section. Each side has 2 mounting holes. This is where the brackets are installed.

FAN

Each fan has 9 transparent blades with a black color frame. There is an Antec branding on the center. The ARGB LEDs are housed inside the center. Each mounting corner has an anti-vibration pad. The frame is in circular shape.

There is 4-arms assembly on the backside. One of the arms is wider to carry the cables from the center to the outer frame. There is an Antec branding on the center.

There are two cables per fan which are sleeved not flat. The length of 4-pin PWM connector cable has an approximate length 323mm whereas the length of 3-pin ARGB cable is approximate 325mm.

The specification of the fans are:

Dimension 120x120x25mm
Type PWM ARGB LED Fan
Speed 900-1600±100 RPM
Airflow 77 CFM
Noise 20-36 dB(A)
Lifespan 40000 hours at 25°C ambient 15-65% RH
Connector 4-pin PWM and 3-pin ARGB connectors

 

Installation

We have upgraded our test bed based on Intel 10th generation. The cooler is tested on MSI MAZG Z490 TOMAHAWK motherboard using LGA1200 socket. Here are the installation steps:

Pass the Long Screws through the designated holes on the Intel backplate. Place the backplate on the back of the motherboard around socket area by aligning the screws with the holes around the socket area.

Place the spacers on each threaded portion of the long screws and secure the backplate using these spacers. Make sure to have the washer side facing the PCB of the motherboard.

Install the fans on the radiators. Don’t use the washers on the fans. They are to be used for the radiator mounting on the chassis.

Install the Intel mounting bracket on the base.

Apply the thermal paste if needed. Place the block on the CPU by aligning the holes on the mounting bracket with the threaded sides of the standoffs. Use the thumb nuts to secure the installation.

Connect the SATA cable to the PSU. Connect the ARGB and PWM cables to the control hub or motherboard headers and that is all.

There is no clearance issue with respect to the DIMM slots and first PCIe slot. Make sure your chassis has clearance for 240mm radiator.

RGB Lighting and Hardware

Antec has provided a dedicated control hub which is a 2-in-1 design. There is a dual sided adhesive strip as well to secure the controller inside the chassis.

There is an Antec branding on the top center of the control box. The left side button is to control the speed of the dynamic effects and the right side button is used to change the lighting mode. The user can connect up to 5 ARGB (3-pin) devices to this controller.

We have 5x ARGB headers on this controller. These all are 3-pin format.

The user can optimally connects the cable of the Reset button of chassis IO panel to the 2-pin header on the controller. This header is labelled as LED Ctrl. This is a handy mechanism since the controller will be inside the PC chassis so the user won’t have to open the chassis to change the lighting mode. Kudos to their design team for that!

The user can also connect up to 5x 4-pin PWM fans to the controller.

The controller is SATA powered. There is a SATA port labeled DC IN which is where the SATA cable from the PSU needs to be attached.

There is a glossy area on the back where the self-adhesive dual-sided tape needs to be attached. I would prefer magnetic mounting over the adhesive mounting.

The above picture shows the sync cable. The 4-pin proprietary connector is to be connected to the 4-pin PWM/LED labeled port on the controller. The 4-pin PWM connector is to be connected to the motherboard’s fan header and the 3-pin ARGB connector is to be connected to the digital lighting header of the motherboard. This way the user can switch the control to and forth the controller and the motherboard. Antec has also provided a sync cable for GIGABYTE motherboards. The white color is the dual-sided self-adhesive tape.

The cooler has vivid and cool lighting effect particularly on the block. Here are some pictures:

Testing

Following test benches have been used: –

  • MSI MAG Z490 TOMAHAWK
  • Intel i7 10700k
  • T-Force NightHawk RGB 16GB 3200 DDR4 kit
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 FE
  • addlink S70 256GB NVMe SSD
  • bequiet! Straight Power 11 850W Platinum PSU
  • Open air test bench

AIDA64 Extreme 6.30 is used to stress the CPU.

Here is the settings table for testing:

Clock (MHz) 3800 All Core
Voltage (V) 1.022
Clock (MHz) 4700 All Core
Voltage (V) 1.255
Clock (MHz) 5100 All Core
Voltage (V) 1.345
Turbo Boost Disabled
C-States Disabled
Speed Step Disabled
Thermal Paste Noctua NT-H1
Thermal Paste Application Dot method on the center.
Test Run Time 30 minutes
Idling Time 10 minutes
Fan Speed Fans set to run at 100% duty cycle on CPU Fan Header.

Auto PWM using CPU Fan Header

Pump Speed Connected to the AIO Pump header to run at 100% speed

 

We are using Noctua NT-H1 thermal paste for coolers testing. Using a same thermal paste for all coolers would ensure the standardization. Delta temperatures are reported on the graphs. The testing is done on an open air bench system. Once inside the chassis, the temperatures are expected to rise and would largely depend upon the optimal airflow inside the chassis.

Not every run of the stress test may yield the same result. This could well be due to many factors like mounting pressure, thermal paste application, varying ambient temperature. Not to mention the silicon differences even among the same category of the chips. Hence, it is pertinent to mention the testing methodology along with the specifics.

Let’s take a look at the results.

All Cores 3800MHz

All Cores 4700MHz

All Cores 4700MHz [Auto PWM]

All Cores 5100MHz

Speed on Auto

We have recently upgraded our test bench which is why there are only two coolers in the graphs. We will add more coolers’ data soon. The thermal performance of Antec Neptune 240 is self-explanatory.

Acoustic

The fans are not loud under 100% duty cycle mode but the pump is very loud and we measure 56 dBA on 32~34 dBA ambient noise.

Conclusion

Antec Neptune 240 is a 240mm CLC cooling solution featuring A-RGB lighting on the block and 2x A-RGB enabled 120mm fans. The pump is located in the radiator housing much like Kuhler 240. The dimension of the radiator is 287 x 121 x 27mm. The thickness of the radiator is 27mm. With 25mm fans the overall thickness would be 53mm. Radiator is made of aluminum. The radiator has 18 FPI. The soft tubing is made from rubber material with PTFE Teflon coating and has sleeve on it. The soft material tubing are bit flexible and don’t produce kinking which is always a plus. The cooler is compatible with Intel LGA 1366/1200/115x/20xx sockets and AMD FM2/FM1/AM3+/AM3+AM2+/AM2/AM4 and xTR4 sockets.

The pump of the cooler is integrated in the near block of the radiator as mentioned above. The idea is simple. We take out the vibration from the water block by placing the pump on the radiator reducing the risk of damaging the CPU socket/motherboard. The pump is SATA powered and there is no way for the user to control and monitor the speed of the pump. The pump of this unit is quite loud. The pump is rated for 50000 hrs life span on 25°C ambient temperature with maximum pressure head of 1.0m±0.2m and noise level rating of ≤ 36 dBA.

The water block features a low profile design with backlit Antec logo in the center and an aluminum face plate on the top. The dimension of the block is 65x65x40mm. The base of the block has dimension of 59x54mm. This cooler comes with mounting hardware for TR4 socket though the base would not fully cover the IHS of TR4 CPU. We have a flat surface on the copper base with 0.8mm micro fins on the cold plate. The unit comes with a pre-applied thermal paste.

Antec has provided two 120mm ARGB fans. They have an airflow rating of 77 CFM with a maximum rated speed of 1600 RPM ± 100. Antec has provided a control box/hub with 5x 4-pin PWM ports and 5x 3-pin ARGB ports. The hub is SATA powered and the user has also been provided the functionality to control the lighting using the Reset button of the chassis as well directly connecting to the digital addressable header of the motherboard. One good point is that the cooler comes with standard 3-pin standard but Antec has not provided the ability to daisy chain the fans and the block. The user must use the bundled hub for that purpose. The lighting is compatible with ASUS AURA SYNC, GIGABYTE RGB FUSION 2.0, ASRock POLYCHROME SYNC, and MSI MYSTIC LIGHT.

The Antec Neptune 240 ARGB is listed at Rs.17000/- on PakDukaan at the time of the review and comes with 3 years limited Antec warranty. The cooler packs a good performance with subtle RGB lighting at this wallet friendly price range. The cooler has performed quite well on our Intel test bed and at reasonable pricing. Needless to mention that the cooler comes with dedicated PWM and lighting controller hub. Antec needs to look into higher noise output on the pump though!

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