ReviewsCoolersFractal Design Lumen S36 RGB Cooler Review

Fractal Design Lumen S36 RGB Cooler Review

In this Fractal Design Lumen S36 RGB Cooler Review, we will walk you through the cooler's unboxing experience, show you its design, install it, and at last, test its performance.

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Is It Really That Good?

Review Summary

Fractal Design Lumen S36 RGB is one fine and well-balanced liquid cooler that users can buy for their cooling requirements, particularly on new platforms. Its adequate performance, good warranty period, and friendly pricing make it among candidates for your buck.
Tech4Gamers Recommended Award

Overall
8.9/10
8.9/10
  • Build Quality - 9/10
    9/10
  • Design - 9/10
    9/10
  • Performance - 8.5/10
    8.5/10
  • Features - 9/10
    9/10
  • Value - 9/10
    9/10

Pros

  • Adequate Thermal Performance
  • Duality Design
  • Integrated Pump into the radiator
  • Digital RGB Lighting
  • Easy Cable Management
  • AMD AM5 socket support
  • Intel LGA1700 socket support [Not out of the box]
  • Easy Installation
  • Warranty
  • Price

Cons

  • Loud Fans at full speed

Fractal Design needs no introduction. They are highly popular among PC enthusiasts and are well known for their PSUs, PC Cases, Coolers, and accessories. Based in Sweden, Fractal Design has good coverage all over the world. Some of their popular PC Case series are Define, Meshify, and Torrent, to name a few. Today, I’ll be taking a look at the Fractal Design Lumen S36 RGB.


Key Takeaways

  • The Fractal Design Lumen S36 RGB is for users looking for an excellent-performing 360mm cooler that does not break the bank while also providing stunning RGB. 
  • The Fractal Design Lumen S36 RGB is not for anyone who prefers an utterly silent cooler.
  • The Fractal Design Lumen S36 RGB provides solid performance, maintaining temperatures of 81°C on a Ryzen 7 7700X at an ambient of 21°C.

Specifications

ProductFractal Design Lumen S36 RGB Cooler
Sockets supported (Intel)LGA 1700*/1150/1151/1155/1156/1200 LGA 1366/2011/2011-3/2066
Sockets supported (AMD)AM5 / AM4/FM2+/FM2/ FM1/AM3+/AM3/AM2+/AM2
Thermal pastePre-applied
Tube length400mm
Tube materialLow-permeability rubber with braided nylon sleeve
Fittings, block sideArticulating 90-degree Elbow
Fittings, radiator sideBarbed fitting
Block height43mm
Block measurements (with fittings)79 x 67 mm
Block diameter (main block body)67 mm
Fan typeAspect 12 RGB PWM
Fan Rotational speed500–2000 RPM
Fan bearingRifle bearings
Fan PWM controlYes
Fan acoustical noise<10–33.2 dBA
Fan maximum air flow13-56 CFM
Fan maximum static pressure0.230–2.34 mm H2O
Fan input voltage12V
Fan maximum input current0.37A
Fan MTTF90,000 hours
Rotational speed4000 ± 10% RPM
Bearing typeCeramic
PWM controlNo
Acoustical noise (full speed)22 dBA
Maximum pressure1.8 mm H2O/ 17.6 kPa / 2.5 PSI
Input voltage12V DC
Input current (without fans)0.34 A
MTTF50 000 hours
Radiator dimensions392 x 120 x 27 mm
Radiator housing materialAluminum
Radiator fin materialAluminum
Radiator fan screw threads6-32

Packing Box

The unboxing experience.

Contents

It is time to take a look at what Fractal Design has provided in accessories.

Closer Look

Let’s take a closer look at the Fractal Design Lument S36 RGB.

Design

Starting with the design, this liquid cooler features a 27mm thick aluminum radiator measuring 392 x 120mm. With standard 25mm fans, the total thickness is 53mm. The fins are densely stacked with a 20 FPI count, requiring high-air-pressure fans.

Fractal Design Lumen S36 RGB — The radiator
The radiator (Image By Tech4Gamers)

The radiator has 12 coolant flow channels, a 105mm gap between opposite mounting holes, and a 15mm gap between adjacent holes. Additionally, there’s an aluminum shell near the block. The pump housing of this cooler is integrated into the radiator, similar to the SilverStone VIDA 240 SLIM AIO. The Lumen series lacks protective plating under the mounting holes, possibly reflecting an OEM change with limited customization.

The block on one end of the radiator has a slim, rounded design. Unlike most AIOs, the tube ends are positioned towards the left side, attached with barbed fittings and concealed couplings. A serial number sticker is present, and there’s a drain port for factory use; opening it may lead to vacuum pressure loss. Unlike Celcius+ coolers, the Lumen series lacks an integrated fan hub in the radiator frame, contributing to a slightly shorter length. Avoid opening the drain port to maintain loop integrity.

Fractal Design Lumen S36 RGB — Radiator's frame
Radiator’s frame

Both sides of the aluminum frame have a Fractal Design branding.

Fractal Design employs Low-Permeability rubber tubes, approximately 400mm in length, adorned with nylon braided sleeves for aesthetics. The pump has a 3-pin cable, 775mm long, with cutouts on both sides of the frame for easy routing within the case.

Fractal Design Lumen S36 RGB — The integrated pump
The integrated pump (Image By Tech4Gamers)

The Pump in Lumen series coolers is integrated into the radiator instead. Specifications of this pump include:

Rotational Speed 4000 ±10% RPM
Bearing Ceramic
PWM Control No
Noise at full speed 22 dBA
Maximum pressure, 50°C 2.5 PSI
Rated Voltage 12VDC
Rated Input Current 0.34A
Rated Input Power 4.08W
MTTF 50,000 Hours
ARGB Cable Length 500mm

With the pump now in the radiator, the low-profile block of this cooler weighs little and measures 79x67x43mm. The circular design has a diameter of 67mm and a height of 43mm. The translucent top cover, featuring a removable Fractal Design logo, adds to the aesthetic appeal.

Fractal Design Lumen S36 RGB — The Cooler's Block
The Cooler’s Block (Image By Tech4Gamers)

We removed this top cover and can see that there is a white color PCB with 6x digital RGB LEDs. This PCB is removable as well. I like this modular design. We have already connected the digital RGB cable to the block, as can be seen in the picture.

The top cover features a white color diffuser for uniform lighting across its entire area. It’s worth noting that the top cover can be installed in 4 orientations. This is a helpful design that allows users to install this cooler in any orientation regardless of the position of the Fractal Design brand logo. The logo can be adjusted in a horizontal logotype after the installation.

We removed the thermal paste from the base. Sticky hands did some marking of that paste on the frame. Need to be more careful! Anyhow, this unit has a black color housing which seems to be made of ABS material. Above the base, an inset houses the mounting brackets, while a 3-pin port on one side connects to the bundled digital RGB cable.

Fractal Design employs articulating 90° elbow fittings on the block, easing tube rotation and reducing pump tension. Cleaning was required to remove thermal paste marks.

Fractal Design Lumen S36 RGB — The Base Of The Block
The Base Of The Block (Image By Tech4Gamers)

This unit comes with a pre-applied thermal paste. We removed that paste to take this picture.

The Lumen S36 RGB cooler includes 3 Aspect 12 PWM RGB fans with 7 frosted white designs for even and vivid lighting. The black Fractal Design-branded sticker is at the center of the circular frame, with a noticeable gap between the inner frame and blade tips. No anti-vibration pads are present on the fan’s mounting corners.

There is Fractal Design branding on one side of the frame. This frame is well-built, and there is a scanning label on the inside corner. One mounting corner has an arrow marking inside. This shows the direction of airflow through the fan.

The fan’s backside features a 4-arm assembly with one arm having an inset to manage wires. The center sticker bears Fractal Design branding. With a rated speed of 2000 RPM using 12VDC at 0.37A, each of the three fans includes a 4-pin PWM connector and socket, enabling daisy-chaining for centralized speed control.

Fractal Design Lumen S36 RGB — 3-pin, 5V RGB connector
3-pin, 5V RGB connector (Image By Tech4Gamers)

Each fan has a standard 3-pin, 5V RGB connector and socket, enabling easy daisy-chaining for centralized RGB control. As there’s no dedicated controller, compatibility with a supported motherboard is necessary for digital RGB lighting.

The specification of Aspect 12 PWM RGB fans is:

Dimension 120x120x25mm
Type 4-pin PWM Connector
Speed 500-2000 RPM
Airflow 13~56 CFM
Air Pressure 0.23~2.34 mmH₂O
Noise Up to 32.2 dB(A)
Bearing Type Rifle
Lifespan 90000 hours
Input Voltage 12VDC
Input Current 0.37A
Starting Voltage 7V
LED Input Power 1.50W
LED Input Current 0.30A
LED Input Voltage 5V
Cables Length 500mm

We took some key features from the Fractal Design website. These include:

Installation

We have tested the Fractal Design Lumen S36 RGB cooler on the AMD AM5 platform using GIGABYTE X670E AORUS MASTER and AMD Ryzen 7 7700X. Installation on AM5 is straightforward and convenient. Fractal Design has provided two AMD clips. These clips and two thumb nuts are required for installation.

Installation on the AM5 platform is as follows:

  • Remove Intel Mounting Bracket from the block.
  • Install fans on the radiator.
  • Install digital RGB Cable to the block.
  • Install the AMD Mounting bracket on the block.
  • Place clips or pins through holes on AMD Mounting Bracket.
  • Use Thumbnuts to hold AMD pins on the mounting bracket.
  • Keep these connections loose.
  • Clean the CPU surface and apply thermal paste or use pre-applied thermal paste.
  • Make sure AMD stock mounting brackets are on the motherboard.
  • Carefully place the block on the CPU and pass the cutout area of clips on the catchers of the AMD stock bracket on the motherboard.
  • Start torquing thumb nuts till they run out of threads.
  • Install the radiator and connect cables. You are good to go.

Clearance

This cooler has a dimension of 392 x 120 x 27mm without fans. With fans, this size is 392 x 120 x 53mm. We did not observe any clearance issue with this cooler. You would need to check that your PC Case has clearance for this size radiator.

Digital RGB Lighting

This cooler does not have a dedicated RGB controller. Users would need a supporting motherboard.

We have tested the lighting using RGB FUSION 2.0 and found it working flawlessly. Here are a few pictures.

Thermal Test

We have used below mentioned configuration to test the performance of this cooler: –

Here is the settings table for testing:

All Cores 5200MHz All Cores
VCore (V) Auto
Thermal Paste Alphacool Sub-Zero
Test Run Time 30 minutes CINEBENCH R23.2
Idle Time 10 minutes
Fan/Pump Speed 100% PWM Duty Cycle
Monitoring Software HWInfo64

Result

Fractal Design Lumen S36 RGB — Thermal Performance
Thermal Performance (Image By Tech4Gamers)

We are a bit surprised to see that Fractal Design Celcius+ S36 Dynamic is offering a better thermal performance over the Lumen S36 RGB. This difference is 2°C. We repeated the test, but we came to the same conclusion. It is what it is. Another interesting observation is that all these 360mm coolers are in a difference of 1°C against each other.

Noise

Fans and pumps at full speed are making a noise of 52dB(A) approximately. This is at an ambient noise level of 32~33dB(A). A custom fan curve would be beneficial for the fans.

Should You Buy It?

After extensive testing of the Fractal Design Lumen S36 RGB, I’ve concluded a few points that should help ease your buying decision.

Buy It If:

You want a value-for-money 360mm cooler: Unlike other 360mm AIO coolers, the Fractal Design Lumen S36 RGB comes in at an attractive price-point.

You prefer an easy-to-install cooler: Requiring 5 components for a complete installation, putting together the Fractal Design Lumen S36 RGB was extremely simple in our experience.

You want an uncluttered visual appearance: The cooler’s excellent cable management system makes its appearance extremely uncluttered, which might be inline with some user’s requirements.

Don’t Buy It If:

You are looking for a silent experience: While noise levels are reasonable for the Fractal Design Lumen S36 RGB, anyone searching for a near-silent experience might be bothered by them.

Conclusion

In our last take, we tested the Fractal Design Celcius+ S36 Dynamic cooler. Now, we have tested the Lumen S36 RGB cooler from Fractal Design. Unlike Celcius+ S36 Dynamic, there’s no fan hub on this radiator. The pump is integrated into the radiator, powered by a 3-pin flat cable with ample length for easy cable management. 

We have tested this cooler on the AMD AM5 platform and installation was convenient, requiring only 5 components. The Fractal Design Lumen S36 RGB boasts a versatile design with a removable top cover that can be installed in any orientation, simplifying cooler installation. Furthermore, we have also tested digital RGB Lighting using GIGABYTE RGB FUSION 2.0, and synced lighting elements were working fine.

The Fractal Design Lumen S36 RGB, priced at $129.99 with a 5-year warranty, demonstrates manufacturer confidence. Despite reported malfunctions, responsive customer service reflects commitment. Performance is solid but trails slightly behind the Celcius+ S36 Dynamic. As the flagship, the Lumen should ideally match or surpass the Celcius+. Full-speed fan noise requires a custom curve for optimal management.

Recent Updates


  • November 11, 2023: Few text changes to improve readability. Added Galleries.

 
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