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 Castle 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 showcased their new generation of CPU Cooler during the Computex 2018 held in June at Taipei, Taiwan. These are Castle RGB Liquid Coolers that will be available in two sizes by the end of July 2018; 240mm version and 280mm version. These coolers come with an enhanced version of their new addressable RGB fans CF120. These fans were also on display during the show. Deepcool has sent us their Castle 240mm RGB Liquid Cooler for the review. This cooler is yet another product under their popular gaming brand GamerStorm. This cooler has almost identical radiator as we saw on the Castle Ex 240 RGB cooler but what makes this design differentiate from Castle is the altogether new block design with impressive immersive lighting with infinity mirror glass. In fact, this cooler has double window panes on the block for some unique yet vivid lighting effects which happen to be digital as well. Kudos to Deepcool for such a brilliant execution. This is the second cooler in our experience after the NZXT Kraken X62 to have such a display though this one has taken the game to a new level. Another difference is the enhanced version of their new CF120 RGB fans which are also digital and boi, are we not loving the RGB show on this unit! Indeed we are and we have prepared a video to showcase its beauty. Other than the RGB goodness, this cooler, thanks to its sheer block size, is out of the box compatible with the TR4, AM4 sockets from the AMD. Needless to mention that it is compatible with all Intel sockets in the market. Let’s give this unit a spin for its thermal performance testing.

  • Item:                             Castle 240 RGB
  • Manufacturer:                 DEEPCOOL
  • Brand:                           Gamer Storm
  • Price:                             $109, €129.99, and £109.99 inclusive of VAT [at the time of the review]
    • $129.99, €149.99, and £129.99 inclusive of VAT for the 280mm version

Specifications

Packaging and Unboxing

This is fifth 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 front side has a black color background with the water block’s picture illuminated in multiple colors to signify the RGB capabilities. Castle 240 RGB is printed at the bottom in the middle followed by 240mm Water/Liquid Cooler.  AURA Sync is printed on the bottom right side to highlight the compatibility of the cooler with the Asus AURA Sync and addressable headers. GamerStorm brand name and logo are printed in the white color on the top left side. The back side of the box 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. Thankfully, this cooler is compatible with all of the Intel and AMD sockets out there in the market. The top side has the GamerStorm brand name and logo printed on the top left side. Serial no sticker is pasted on the bottom right side followed by a printed sticker having Part No printed on it. The bottom section of the box has the cooler’s name printed in enlarged font size in the middle followed by boxed printing of the salient features like addressable +5V RGB LED, RGB Sync for the motherboard based control, Additional RGB Controller, and compatibility with the leading sockets from Intel and AMD. The left side of the box has GamerStorm brand name and logo are printed on the top left side. Castle 240 RGB 240mm Water/Liquid Cooler is printed in the middle and there is a picture of the unit with the rainbow of colors on the fans and the block at the bottom. The right side of the box has identical layout except that it has salient features of the unit in boxed printing at the bottom. Opening the box will show a gray color Styrofoam pad covering the contents of the box. Removing it will show the contents placed inside the white color egg box container. To make things more simple yet eloquent items like fans, accessories are packed inside white color boxes. This makes the overall presentation simple yet impressive.

 

Accessories

Following are included in the box:

  • 2x 120mm Fans
  • 1x Radiator
  • 8x Fan Screws
  • 8x Case Screws
  • 1x Backplate
  • 4x Insulative Cushion
  • 4x Nut A
  • 4x Nut B
  • 4x Screw Bolt
  • 1x ADD-RGB Cable Controller
  • 1x Thermal paste
  • 1x Fan Hub
  • 1x ADD-RGB Extension Cable A
  • 1x ADD-RGB Extension Cable B
  • 1x ADD-RGB Extension Cable B with 4 ports
  • 2x Intel Mounting Brackets
  • 1x AMD Mounting Bracket A
  • 1x AMD Mounting Bracket B
  • 4x Double Screw Bolt (LGA20xx)
  • 4x Double Screw Bolt (AM4)
  • 4x Double Screw Bolt (TR4)

 

Closer Look

The Deepcool Castle series of the coolers is a new breed from the company and it has digital RGB LED lighting solution on it which looks very impressive in person. We have stunning double window panes on the CPU block for infinity mirror effect and it does look dope when in action. The solution has their new CF120 addressable RGB LED fans. In fact, these fans are an enhanced version of the new CF120 addressable RGB fans particularly suitable for the radiator use. These coolers will be available by the end of July 2018 in the market and will be available in two sizes; 240mm and 280mm. Personally speaking, I wish they release the 360mm version as well. Here is what the company is saying about it, “DEEPCOOL, the company that specializes in water-cooled and illuminated cases for the PC enthusiast has just introduced a brand new AIO liquid cooler- CASTLE 240RGB, suitable for Intel and AMD based systems. Its featured built-in double window panes and 16.7M true color lighting system provide a perfect display of aesthetic illumination. Its ultra-large, pure copper CPU block and its optimized E-shaped micro water channel designed to enlarge heat contact areas and effectively enhance heat circulation efficiency meet users’ needs for high performance and aesthetics.”

The Deepcool Castle 240 RGB is a 240mm CLC cooling solution. It has a 240mm radiator with two CF120 addressable RGB 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 total 45mm of thickness with the barbs which will still be less than 52mm of overall thickness with the installed fans. The radiator has a 20 fins per inch one (FPI). Castle RGB 240 has the same radiator as we saw on the Captain EX RGB 240.

 

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 a total of 12 channels for water flow. It is following the double tunnel configuration. It has a standard inlet and outlet blocks for the water flow. 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 barb 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 tubes are firmly fitted on the radiator assembly and on the pump housing. There is one striking difference than what we have seen on the other AIOs (excluding Alphacool’s) on our test bench when it comes to the tube fitting on the barbs. Majority of the AIOs have heat shrinks covering the point where tubes are fitted onto the barbs. This unit, however, has hexagonal shaped cover much like compression ring covering the tubes. This elaborates the looks of the unit. 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 is bit flexible and doesn’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 tube is approximately 300mm. However, due to the particular implementation of the overall design, the length of the tubes is shorter than what it should have been like 320mm or so.

 

Let’s take a look at the main element of this cooler. It is the water block with the pump housing. We 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 a visual aid to the user. With Castle series of the coolers, Deepcool has altogether a new design, a new approach that would make this cooler stand out from the competition and in our little knowledge, this would be the second design after the NZXT Kraken series to feature an infinity mirror design on the block. We have a spherical-like cone design on the block with much wider base and relatively narrow top. This also reminds us of the cooling towers from the nuclear reactor plants though they usually have a tight neck. The block has a size of 91x79x71mm. There is a highly reflective glass top covered with a protective sheet. Without turning the power on of the unit, we don’t see anything other than the reflection on this glass top. Once powered on, we can see a black color GamerStorm logo in the center and with the rainbow effect applied, it gives a spinning impression which looks that good in person. Addressable RGB LEDs are under the glass top. We have double window panes on the top to be exact. One good thing about the design of the pump and RGB LED lighting solution is that there is no branding on any side of the housing. The tubes are installed in 90° mount on the base of the block making them protrude by approximately 18mm. The finish of the block seems to be sandblasted. The Deepcool is using the closed impellers driven by three phase induction motor to deliver strong liquid flow. Tubes can be rotated to the left or right side position though there is a limited movement due to their orientation. Two cables are coming out of the pump housing. One is 3-pin flat cable with an approximate length of 270mm. This is the RGB connector that can be hooked up with the provided RGB controller or dedicated RGB sync cable. There is a flat 3-pin connector cable coming out of the housing with an approximate length of 270mm. 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 on this unit is even more powerful than the one on the Captain Ex 240 RGB. The pump has a rated speed of 2550±10% RPM at 12VDC rated voltage. Power consumption is 2.52 Watts. Pump’s life expectancy is 120000 hours. Its operating voltage is 10.8 ~ 13.8 VDC. It draws a current load of 0.21±10%A.

Let’s take a look at the base of the block. The base has a size of 55x55mm 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 37x37mm. 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 4 corners It seems to be a plain surface. Deepcool has implemented an optimized E-shaped micro water channel design to effectively enhance heat circulation efficiency and enlarges heat contact areas.

 

Deepcool has bundled two CF120 addressable RGB fans with this cooler. These are the actually enhanced version of the original CF120s with specs tuned for better performance on the radiator as original CF120s are optimized for chassis airflow. Since we will be doing a dedicated review of these fans soon, we won’t be going into much detail here. Each fan has 9 translucent blades with dedicated air channels on each blade. There is a GamerStorm brand logo sticker in the middle of the fans. Each fan has anti-vibration gray color pads on the mounting corners on both sides. The frame has a shiny black color frame on the upper side. Looking closely one can see the main design being circular around the blades and four mounting sides on this circle. The backside of the fans has almost similar design as we saw on the TF120 fans that we reviewed earlier. There are air-forming channels on the edges of the frame. We have 4-arms assembly holding and securing the impellers to the frame. There is a black color sticker on the motor hub with GamerStorm brand logo and name on the top. Fans are made in China. Each fan has 12 RGB LEDs inside the motor hub.

These fans are rated at 12VDC with a rated current of 0.17±10%A with the power of 2.04W. The fan speed at 12VDC is 500±200 ~ 1800±10% RPM. Maximum airflow on 12VDC is 69.34CFM. The noise level is 17.8-30 dB(A). Maximum static pressure is 2.24mmH₂O. The fans are using the Hydro Bearings with MTBF of 40,000 hrs. There are two cables per fan. One is a 4-pin power cable with a length of approximately 280mm and it is flat. The second one is a 3-pin flat LED cable with a length of approximately 385mm.

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 back side. 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. The 16.7M true color RGB flowing light system with 5 inbuilt effects (dynamic, static, breathing, comet, and fashion collision) has 36 interchangeable lighting modes are on this cooler. As we have discussed above that addressable RGB LEDs are in the top portion of the block for which there is a 3-pin cable coming out of the pump housing. Mind you, we have double window panes with infinity mirror looks on the block. Due to the format of this cable, it can’t be connected directly on to the motherboard’s addressable RGB header. Deepcool has provided two solutions for that. One is the dedicated controller to control the addressable RGB lighting effects. Up to four addressable 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 RGB cable is 25mm. The controller has 3 buttons on the top side of it. The top button has + printed on it and it is used to switch between different lighting modes. It has a toggle effect. The middle button is used to control the brightness. It will speed up/down the speed of the currently loaded mode and does not work on the static mode. The bottom button has – printed on it and it is used to switch load the previous mode. 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 an RGB Sync cable that can be connected on the addressable RGB enabled headers on the modern motherboards like AURA from Asus, Mystic Lighting from MSI, RGB Fusion from Gigabyte. Deepcool is using WS2812B ADD-RGB LEDs on the CF120 and on the block of this cooler. Deepcool has included two types of ADD-RGB Extension cables supporting +5V/D//G and +5V/D/G. Both cables have approximately 372mm length. There is one ADD-RGB Extension cable to daisy chain the fans and the block to color coordinate the lighting effects. This cable has 180+100+100+100mm length approximately. It is clear that Deepcool has left no corner uncovered.

 

Here are some technical data on the LEDs:

LED Type Addressable
Rated Voltage 5V
Rated Current 0.48±10%A
Rated Power 2.4W
LED Connector 3pin
LED Control Motherboard with addressable RGB header/ADD-RGB Controller

 

Here are some pictures for your eye pleasure and we have made a video on the lighting effects. Make sure to watch in the link below.

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 the 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 and mount them on the block using Nut A. There are 3 holes on each side of the mounting brackets. The last one is for the LGA2011-3. Next, apply the thermal paste. Now, place the block on the top of the CPU IHS such that brackets pass through Double Screw Bolts. Use the Nut B to start tapping till the thread runs out. Connect the 3-pin power cable on to the CPU fan header of the motherboard or AIO_Pump header on the modern motherboards and connect the RGB Cable either to the RGB source. Connect the fans’ power cables to the fan headers/included fan hub and RGB cables to the RGB source. This would complete the installation of the unit. 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 Ballistix Elite 4x4GB @ 3000MHz
  • Nvidia GTX 1080 FE with Alphacool Eiswolf GPX Pro
  • 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 the 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 temperatures are calculated by subtracting the ambient temp from the max average temp.

Results

Let’s take a look at the graphs. On stock clocks, the CPU was idling at 1.37°C. 24.12°C was the temperature under stress testing.

With overclocked 6850k to 4.3GHz at 1.350V, the CPU was idling at 2.5°C. 41.02°C was the temperature under the stress test. This cooler has beaten all the other 240mm AIOs tested so far on this test bench.

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 audible at full speed but nothing that custom fan curve can’t handle.

Conclusion

The Deepcool Castle 240RGB is a 240mm CLC cooling solution. It has a 240mm radiator with two new addressable RGB LED CF120 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 barb fittings is 45mm. The 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 is bit flexible and doesn’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 a reactor’s cooling tower-like design. What makes this block standout is its extra-large size and double window panes with infinity mirror lighting effect for pure immersion. There are two cables coming out of the pump housing. One is the flat 3-pin power cable and the other one is the flat 3-pin addressable RGB cable. The base is made of copper and is polished finish but not mirror like. The base measures the 55x55mm. This extra size has made this cooler compatible with the TR4 socket. The back side is where the tubes are implemented in 90-degree rotary position, protruding the block by 18mm approximately. Tubes can be rotated 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 2550±10% RPM at 12V. Power consumption is 2.52 Watts. Pump’s life expectancy is 120000 hours. Its operating voltage is 10.8 ~ 13.2 VDC. It draws a current load of 0.21±10%A.

The Deepcool has provided two CF120 fans with this cooler. These are their new addressable RGB LED fans. The version provided with the cooler is enhanced over the regular CF120 with the difference coming in the speed, airflow, and static pressure ratings. These fans are rated at 12VDC with the rated current of 0.17±10%A with the power of 2.04W. The fan speed at 12VDC is 500±200 ~ 1800±10% RPM. Maximum airflow on 12VDC is 69.34CFM. The noise level is 17.8-30 dB(A). Maximum static pressure is 2.24mmH₂O. The fans are using the Hydro Bearings with MTBF of 40,000 hrs. There are two cables per fan. One is a 4-pin power cable with a length of approximately 280mm and it is flat. The second one is a 3-pin flat LED cable with a length of approximately 385mm. Each fan has 12 addressable RGB LEDs. 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 up to 4 RGB enabled devices at a time. It has three buttons on it. The top button is used to load the next lighting mode out of the 36 pre-defined modes. The middle button is used for brightness control. The bottom button is used to load the previous lighting mode. This is not all as Deepcool has also provided a plethora of ADD-RGB cables with this cooler. A 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 is using WS2812B ADD-RGB LEDs on the CF120 and on the block of this cooler. Deepcool has included two types of ADD-RGB Extension cables supporting +5V/D//G and +5V/D/G. Both cables have approximately 372mm length. There is one ADD-RGB Extension cable to daisy chain the fans and the block to color coordinate the lighting effects. This cable has 180+100+100+100mm length approximately.

The Castle 240RGB is rated at $109 at the time of the review. Deepcool is offering 3 years limited warranty on these coolers. This cooler has not only one heck of an immersive RGB lighting but also performed very well on our test bench and under stress test on an overclocked i7 6850k, it has managed to beat other 240mm AIOs that have so far been tested on our test bench.

We are thankful to Deepcool for giving us the opportunity to review their Castle 240 RGB Liquid Cooler.

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