Introduction

Deepcool was founded in 1996 with its headquarters in Beijing with the focus on providing best and personalized thermal solutions for the customers around the world. When it comes to the enthusiast grade PC components, Deepcool is a well-established and recognized brand which is gaining more popularity. The company is focused on providing better thermal solutions in the form of the air and liquid coolers. Their Captain Ex is a high-end AIO CPU Cooler that has form and function in a single package. The company is offering PC Chassis, Power supplies, Case Fans, Laptop Coolers, desks for PC, Lighting solution. Gamer Storm is the brand of Deepcool under which enthusiast grade PC Components are offered to the market. Tri-Stellar, Quad-Stellar, Genome/II, New Ark 90 are some of their popular and highly customizable PC Chassis in the market.

Deepcool has sent us their Captain 240 Ex RGB Liquid CPU Cooler for the review. It is the evolution of their Captain 240 Ex with the major ingredient of RGB lighting. The water block features a glass pipe that takes coolant from the lower chamber to the top chamber hence making a way around the Asetek patent. The top side of the block is where the RGB LED lighting has been implemented. It does remind us of the arc reactor and definitely adds some stunning and bold looks to the cooler and the overall build theme. The cooler is accompanied by two TF120 performance series fans with high airflow and high static pressure. The radiator is 27mm thick with 20 FPI count. Given that it is RGB enabled cooler, the Deepcool has enclosed a plethora of RGB lighting related accessories and not to mention the LED Strip and 4 port fan hub. This is definitely a complete solution under one box. This cooler is available in 2 colors; white and black. We are reviewing the black edition.

  • Item:                              Captain 240 EX RGB
  • Manufacturer:                  DEEPCOOL
  • Brand:                            Gamer Storm
  • Price:                             $119 [at the time of the review]

Specifications

Packaging and Unboxing

This is our third Deepcool product that we are reviewing and we must say, their presentation of the products is top notch. The cooler comes inside a cardboard box. The top side has a black color background with the water block’s picture illuminated in multiple colors to signify the RGB capabilities. Captain 240 EX RGB is printed on the top right side. AURA Sync is printed on the bottom right side. GamerStorm brand name and logo are printed in the silver color on the top left side. The bottom side has the specifications of the cooler printed on it. Three block diagrams of the cooler are printed as well along with the dimensions. GamerStorm brand name and logo are printed on the top left side. Please, note that their coolers with AM4 sticker have compatibility with AMD’s AM4 socket. The cooler that we are reviewing is compatible with AM4. It is compatible with all AMD and Intel leading sockets except TR4 of the AMD. The front side has the cooler name printed on the bottom left side. Contents of the package are printed under it. The package includes, RGB Controller, RGB Sync with motherboard support. The rear side has the GamerStorm brand name and logo printed on the top left side. Part No, EAN, and Serial no stickers are printed/pasted on the bottom right side. The part no and EAN no correspond to the AM4 compatible no on their website indicating the AM4 compatibility. The left side has a silver color background. Model of the cooler is printed on the top. There is a picture of the unit on the bottom. The right side also has silver color background with cooler’s model printed on the top. Salient features are indicated pictorially on the bottom side. The MTBF is 120k hours which is impressive. Opening the top cover would show the white color Styrofoam pad placed on top of the contents. There is an egg box carton inside the main box containing the cooler and the accessories.

 

Accessories

Following are included in the box:

  • 2x 120mm fans
  • 1x backplate
  • 4x Screw Bolts
  • 8x Fan Screws
  • 8x case screws
  • 4x Nut A
  • 4x Nut B
  • 4x Double Screw Bolts
  • 2x Intel Mounting Brackets
  • 2x AMD Mounting Brackets
  • 1x Fan Hub
  • 1x 3M Sticker
  • 1x Cable Tie
  • 1x Extension Cable
  • 1x RGB Controller
  • 1x RGB Sync Cable
  • 1x RGB LED Strip

 

Closer Look

The Deepcool Captain 240 EX RGB is a 240mm CLC cooling solution. It has a 240mm radiator with two TF120 non-LED 120mm fans. The dimension of the radiator is 274 x 120 x 27mm. The thickness of the radiator is 27mm. With 25mm fans the overall thickness would be 52mm. The radiator has a 20 fins per inch one (FPI). Captain EX RGB is basically the same design as is with the Captain EX (non-LED) but with the RGB lighting integrated in the water block to create stunning visual looks. Coupled with the glass pipe on the water block, it creates bold styling. The TF120 fans are not LED fans, which is a wise move. It helps ensure the stealth look on the radiator side but RGB effects on the water block which creates sublime effect overall.

 

The radiator is made of aluminum hence it is lightweight. This is Deepcool’s own design. The blocks on both ends of the radiator are not rectangular and have rounded edges. Fin stack is dense and taking into account the left and right side channels, it has total 12 channels for water flow. It is following the double tunnel configuration. It has a standard inlet and outlet blocks for the water flow. Hot water flows in from inlet and passes through the corresponding channels. Heat is blown away through the fins by the fans and cold or normal temperature water flows out of the radiator through the outlet port. There are no protective sheets over the fins under the fan mounts. So, take care while mounting the fans as longer screws could damage the fins which would hamper the performance of the cooler. It is recommended to use the supplied long screws to mount the fans on to the radiators. There is a gap of 105mm between any two fan mounting holes on the radiator. The total depth of the radiator including the fittings is 45mm. There is a refill port on the radiator. Surprisingly, it has a Warranty Void sticker pasted on it. Refill port helps the users to refill the coolant should its level drop affecting the performance of the cooler. The unit comes with pre-applied thermal paste.

The hoses are firmly fitted on the radiator assembly and on the pump housing. The soft tubing is made from upgraded anti-explosion rubber tube manufactured using an anti-corrosion, crush resistant and thermostable material. The soft material tubing are bit flexible and don’t produce kinking which is always a plus. Deepcool is using mesh sleeve on the hoses to give them clean look. The length of the hoses is approximately 310mm.

 

Let’s take a look at the main element of this cooler. It is the water block with the pump housing. I have seen CLCs with simple design where only the pump is on the block which reduces the weight of the block and adds more simplicity to the designs where manufacturers have integrated the reservoirs on top of the pump housing which not only adds more to the looks particularly with the lighting enabled reservoirs but also brings in more coolant capacity. Recently we had reviewed the Raijintek Orcus 360 with yet another innovation in the block that was the incorporation of the flow indicator for visual aid to the user. Deepcool’s take on the water block is bit different here. They have what I would like to term as Arc Reactor for it does resemble the reactor, unique reactor style pump housing giving the overall looks of the block to insanely awesome steampunk appearance. It does look that well in person. The dimension of the block is 92.5mm X 93mm X 85mm (L X W X H). The block size is relatively larger as compared to other CLCs in the market but definitely a small footprint when compared with the Reeven’s Naia 240 and Aerocool’s L240. There are cutouts on the top of the block encircling the glass pipe coming out of the block. We can see a white color diffusor under these cutouts. This is the area where the RGB LEDs are placed. Pipe is used to bring the coolant from the bottom chamber to the upper chamber. This design circumvents the Asetek patent. Looking at the block would give you an idea of three chambered design. The Deepcool is using the closed impellers driven by three phase induction motor to deliver strong liquid flow. There are spring loaded screws pre-installed with the block on the mounting bar that is actually the part of the block. There are GamerStorm brand name and logo printed on the left and the right sides in gray color. The back side is where the hoses are implemented in 90 degree rotary position, protruding the block quite a bit. Hoses can be rotated upward and downward position though there is a limited movement due to their orientation. Due to this 90 degree rotary configuration and a bit stiff hosing, it could be hard to install the block in certain orientation. Here is the tip, decide the orientation of the block before installing the cooler in the chassis. Two cables are coming out of the pump housing. One is 4-pin flat cable with approximate length of 396mm. This is the RGB connector that can be hooked up with the provided RGB controller or dedicated RGB sync cable. There is a sleeved 3-pin connector cable coming out of the housing with approximate length of 260mm. This is to power up the pump. The motor of the unit is built with a balanced closed impeller and high quality ceramic bearing to obtain the near-silent performance level. The pump has a rated speed of 2100±10% RPM at 12V. Power consumption is 1.8 Watts. Pump’s life expectancy is 120000 hours. Its operating voltage is 6 ~ 13.8 VDC. It draws maximum of 0.15A.

Let’s take a look at the base of the block. The base has a size of 53x53mm which is quite large given the size of CPU IHS that we will be using for the testing. I7 6850k has a surface area of approximately 38x38mm. The base is implemented in a polished finish copper. Please, note that it is not fully polished to give mirror effect. It is rounded on 3 corners whereas 1 corner has a flat line. It seems to be a plain surface. Enhanced high-density water micro-channels with powerful autonomous circulation system provides 10% more efficient heat dissipation.

 

The Deepcool has provided two TF120 fans with the cooler. We have recently reviewed TF120 fans from the Deepcool. Their review can be read by clicking here. There are variations between these TF120s and the regular TF120s that can be bought separately. These TF120s don’t have LEDs for any lighting effect. The fans have black color frame and blades. There are gray color anti-vibration pads on the mounting corners. These pads are fixed on the frame. GamerStorm is embossed on two opposite corners of the frame. There are 9 blades of the fan. There is no sticker on the motor hub. The diameter of the hub is approximately 43mm. Each blade has a unique patented dual-layer design which adds to the overall looks when in operation and serves the purpose of achieving powerful air pressure. The frame on the corners has inward slope design whereas there is a straight raised edge between the corners. There is a distance of 111mm between the two mounting holes on the same side. Let’s take a look at the backside of the fan. There are raised tabs on each of the mounting corners. These are forming 9 channels on each corner forming an air channel design that works in tandem with the dual layer blade design. This approach helps in reducing the noise caused by airflow turbulence. Rest of the frame follows the same design as can be seen on the front side. There is a black color sticker pasted on the motor hub. It has a GamerStorm brand name and logo printed on the top. TF120 is printed in the middle followed by the 12V 1.44W 0.12A text. GamerStorm website address is printed at the bottom. The fans are made in China. There is a 4-arm assembly that is holding the fan blades and connecting it to the main frame of the fan.

These fans are rated at 12VDC with operating voltage between 6 to 13.8VDC. Their rated current is 0.12A with the input power of 1.44W. The fan speed at 12VDC is 500±200 ~ 1800±10% RPM. Maximum airflow on 12VDC is 153.04CFM, which in my opinion is a sum of the airflow rating for both fans. The noise level is 17.6-31.3 dB(A). Maximum static pressure is 3.31mmH₂O. The fans are using the Hydro Bearings with MTBF of 50,000 hrs.  The 4-pin power cable has a length of approximately 275mm and it is sleeved.

The Deepcool has enclosed a 4-port fan hub in the parcel which is really good on their part. Should a user wants to go push/pull setup on this unit, the 4-port fan hub will come handy as it will allow all the four fans to be connected to this hub and then a single 4-pin PWM cable coming out of this hub can be connected to the motherboard’s fan header for speed regulation. This way we can be sure of having the same speed on all the fans. The hub is in a triangular shape. Deepcool has provided a 3M double sided tape for easy installation of the hub on the chassis. The top side of the hub has 4 headers. The leftmost one is in white color to indicate that PWM signal from this will be used to regulate all the connected fans. The cable length is 410mm approximately and to make life easier, Deepcool has also provided a 4-pin PWM extension cable of approximately 391mm length. GamerStorm is carved on the front side of the hub and patent no is printed on the backside. The bottom side is where the provided 3M sticker is to be pasted. This hub can be purchased separately at $9.99.

RGB Lighting

Now, it is time to take a look at the RGB lighting hardware that the Deepcool has provided with the unit. As we have discussed above that RGB lighting is on the top side of the block for which there is a 4-pin RGB cable coming out of the pump housing. Due to the format of this cable, it can’t be connected directly on to the motherboard’s RGB header. Deepcool has provided two solutions for that. One is the dedicated controller to control the RGB lighting effects. Up to two RGB enabled devices can be connected to the controller. The controller is SATA powered. The length of the power cable is 400mm whereas the length of each RGB cable is 48mm. The controller has 3 buttons on top side of it. The top button has M printed on it and it is used to switch between different lighting modes. It has a toggle effect. Pressing it once will change the static color (Red, Blue, Green, Orange, Purple, Cyan, White) and pressing it again will turn on the breathing effect of that color. Pressing it repeatedly will cycle through the colors until it starts changing the colors and breathing at the same time. The middle button is used to control the brightness and to turn on/off the lighting. Pressing it 5 times will reduce the brightness in steps. Pressing it 6th time with turn the lighting off. Press it again to turn the lighting on at full brightness. The bottom button has S printed on it and it is used to regulate the speed of the lighting effect. It will not work if there is a static color mode on.

There is one caveat that I can mention here when it comes to mounting this controller. Ideally, I would want it to be readily accessible to me so it should be available outside of the chassis which is definitely going to be an issue. Alternatively it can be installed in a place inside the chassis where accessibility can be of ease but for that we still will have to open the side panel to access the controller. Thankfully, Deepcool has provided another mean to connect the RGB cables to the source. They have included a RGB Sync cable that can be connected on the RGB enabled headers on the modern motherboards like AURA from Asus, Mystic Lighting from MSI, RGB Fusion from Gigabyte. We have tested the unit with the RGB cable connected to the Asus AURA Sync header on the ROG Rampage V Edition 10 motherboard and using the AURA software to control the lighting effects. One end of the RGB Sync cable has a 4 pin connector. It has pin format of BRG 12V/12V GRB with arrow indicator on the 12V. Make sure to align the arrow indicator to the 12V pin on the RGB header of your motherboard. The cable length is 300mm. Then there are two 114mm RGB connecting cables. There is a good reason for inclusion of two cables on a single RGB Sync cable. The Deepcool has provided a RGB LED Strip as well in the parcel. This strip has 21 LEDs (non-addressable). It has 3M adhesive for pasting on the non-metallic surface. It also has two magnets one on each end for easy mounting on metallic surface. The length of the strip is 340mm approximately whereas the length of the connecting cable is 403mm approximately. The strip has a coating on its top side for further safety and protection. User can connect this LED Strip and the LED cable coming from the pump housing to either the controller or the RGB Sync cable. Deepcool has made sure to provide the users with complete lighting solution inside the chassis. Honestly speaking, this is too good a deal to overlook.

 

Installation

We have tested the cooler on the X99 platform using 2011-3 socket. Installation mechanism is straightforward on this socket as you don’t need mounting bracket/backplate on this socket. Mount the fans on the radiator in desired configuration. Please, note that there are only 8 long screws. In case you want to go push/pull, you will have to arrange 8x additional screws. Now, take out the 4x double screw bolts from the container marked with Intel LGA 2011-v3/LGA 2011. Secure them on the four mounting holes around the socket area by using the small size screw side. Now, take out the 2x Intel Mounting brackets from the container marked with Intel LGA 1366/115x. Place the brackets on the longer end of the double screw bolts after deciding the orientation of the block. Now, take out the 4x Nuts (small size) from the same container and secure the mounting brackets on the double screw bolts. Next, apply the thermal paste. Now, place the block on the top of the CPU IHS such that both spring loaded screws align with the holes on the mounting brackets. Start tapping them till the thread runs out. Connect the 3-pin power cable on to the CPU fan header of the motherboard and connect the RGB Cable either to the RGB Controller or RGB Sync Cable. Connect the fans’ power cables to the fan headers/included fan hub. This would complete the installation of the unit. If you want to install the provided LED strip as well then decide its location and use magnetic or adhesive side for pasting the strip. Connect the RGB connector to either RGB Controller or RGB Sync Cable. In case you are going to use RGB Sync Cable, then connect its RGB connector on to the motherboard’s RGB enabled header. I did not observe any clearance issues with respect to the first PCIe slot and/or DIMM.

 

Testing Methodology

Following test bench was used for testing this cooler: –

  • Asus Rampage V Edition 10
  • Intel i7 6850k
  • Crucial Ballixtics 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 my 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 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 was set at 100% as well. 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 is 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 are calculated by subtracting the ambient temp from the max average temp. No rounding is done on the ambient temps. The reason why this content is bit delayed is that we have again tested the other two 240mm CLCs for better comparison.

Results

Let’s take a look at the graphs. On stock clocks, the CPU was idling at 2°C. 24.84°C was the temperature under stress testing. Cooler is sitting between the Corsair H100i V2 and Reeven Naia 240.

With overclocked 6850k to 4.3GHz at 1.350V, the CPU was idling at 3°C. 41.5°C was the temperature under the stress test. Cooler is sitting between the Corsair H100i V2 and Reeven Naia 240.

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. Based on our experience with the fans and coolers testing, we can confidently say that the fans are less noisy as compared to the Corsair H100i V2, Reeven Naia 240, and Aerocool P7-L240. They can be heard but are not teasing.

Conclusion

The Deepcool Captain 240EX RGB is a 240mm CLC cooling solution. It has a 240mm radiator with two TF120 non-LED 120mm fans. The dimension of the radiator is 274 x 120 x 27mm. The thickness of the radiator is 27mm. With 25mm fans the overall thickness would be 52mm. The thickness of the radiator with the fittings is 45mm. Radiator is made of aluminum hence it is lightweight. This is Deepcool’s own design. The radiator has 20 FPI. There is a gap of 105mm between any two fan mounting holes. The soft tubing is made from upgraded anti-explosion rubber tube manufactured using an anti-corrosion, crush resistant and thermostable material. The soft material tubing are bit flexible and don’t produce kinking which is always a plus. Deepcool is using mesh sleeve on the hoses to give them clean look. There is a refill port on the radiator, which to my surprise has a warranty void sticker pasted on it.

The distinct design on this unit comes from the block itself. We have what it resembles to like an arc reactor like design on the top which really gives steampunk appearance. There is a glass pipe coming from the middle of the top side and going down the bottom chamber where the pump is located. This design approach has added more to the bold yet sublime looks and it is circumventing the Asetek patent on pump housing design. The RGB LED lighting is implemented on the top side of the block giving the dope look when the unit is powered on. There are two cables coming out of the pump housing. One is the sleeved 3-pin power cable and the other one is the flat 4-pin RGB cable. The base is made of copper and is polished finish but not mirror like. The base measures the 53x53mm. The back side is where the hoses are implemented in 90 degree rotary position, protruding the block quite a bit. Hoses can be rotated upward and downward position though there is a limited movement due to their orientation. The motor of the unit is built with a balanced closed impeller and high quality ceramic bearing to obtain the near-silent performance level. The pump has a rated speed of 2100±10% RPM at 12V. Power consumption is 1.8 Watts. Pump’s life expectancy is 120000 hours. Its operating voltage is 6 ~ 13.8 VDC. It draws maximum of 0.15A.

The Deepcool has provided two TF120 fans with this cooler. These are non-LED versions and their specs are tad different from the regular TF120s that we had reviewed with major difference coming from the different types of the bearings and power draw. These fans are rated at 12VDC with operating voltage between 6 to 13.8VDC. Their rated current is 0.12A with the input power of 1.44W. The fan speed at 12VDC is 500±200 ~ 1800±10% RPM. Maximum airflow on 12VDC is 153.04CFM, which in my opinion is a combined airflow rating of both fans. The noise level is 17.6-31.3 dB(A). Maximum static pressure is 3.31mmH₂O. The fans are using the Hydro Bearings with MTBF of 50,000 hrs.  The 4-pin power cable has a length of approximately 275mm and it is sleeved. This is not all as DeepCool has provided a 4-port fan hub along with a PWM extension cable. This would come handy should you decide to go push/pull setup on this cooler. Please, note that they have only provided 8 long screws so you would need to arrange 8 longer screws for push/pull setup.

Deepcool has provided an RGB controller which can be used to control two RGB enabled devices at a time. It has three buttons on it. The top button is used to cycle through the different lighting modes. The middle button is used for brightness control and to turn off/on the lighting. The bottom button is used to control the speed of the lighting effect and is useless with the static mode. This is not all as Deepcool has also provided an RGB Sync cable. The user can connect the RGB devices with the RGB enabled headers on the motherboards like AURA Sync of the Asus, Mystic Lighting of the MSI and RGB Fusion of the Gigabyte. Deepcool has also provided an RGB LED Strip with dual mounting (magnetic/adhesive). It has 21 LEDs on it and has a protective coating on the top. These are non-addressable LEDs.

The Captain 240EX RGB is rated at $119 at the time of the review. If it seems expensive, let’s recap what is bundled with the cooler. There are two high-performance TF120 fans, an RGB LED strip, RGB Controller, RGB Sync Cable, 4-port fan hub, PWM extension cable, AM4 compatibility. Deepcool has made sure to provide two complete solutions in one package. We have a powerful cooling solution and a stunning RGB Lighting solution in this price range making it worth the bucks. In our testing, this cooler has performed very well on our open-air test bench setup.

We are thankful to Deepcool for giving us the opportunity to review their Captain 240EX RGB CPU Cooler.

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