AORUS WATERFORCE X 280 Liquid Cooler Review
The AORUS WATERFORCE X 280 is a powerful cooling solution, albeit coming at a high price tag. It features a stunning 60x60mm LCD Screen with accurate and vibrant colors with good customization reach through the software. Everything about this cooler catches the eye. This is one type of AIOs where the user would not think about the Value of the solution but the overall features, aesthetics, and cooling performance. If you are in the market looking for an AIO with a powerful display, then WATERFORCE X is among the prime candidates.
Quality - 9.5/10
Performance - 9/10
Features - 9.5/10
Value - 7.5/10
- Beefy Cooling
- LCD Screen
- Screen Rotation
- Screen Customization
- Digital Lighting
- Standard Connectors
- Multiple Sockets Support
- Software Support
- Coolant Temperature Monitoring
- Integrated Cable Management
- 3-years warranty
- Noisy fans
- Aggressive Fan Curves
- The custom fan curve is not working in the software
- More Cables to deal with
- GIGABYTE Platform is needed
Back in 2018, when ASUS launched their ROG RYUJIN and RYUO series coolers, that was the start of a new era in which the major brands started focusing on their Ecosystem. The idea was to have a complete range of products under the respective brands. From ARGB/RGB perspective, this was a good approach as the user would need to use one software to control the major components’ lighting solution.
GIGABYTE, MSI, ASUS, and others now carry other PC components like CPU Cooler, RAM, PSU, Storage drives, peripherals, and even displays, etc. AORUS is a premium brand from the GIGABYTE, like ROG/Strix from ASUS. GIGABYTE also released the CPU Coolers under the AORUS branding, and WATERFORCE X is their premium line of liquid coolers at present.
We are taking a spin on our very first cooler from GIGABYTE, namely WATERFORCE X 280. Quite a long name there! This AIO is available in 240mm, 280mm, and 360mm sizes. We are taking a look at the 280mm version.
The salient feature of this cooler is a 60x60mm Full-Color LCD screen or panel on top of the pump block, along with the level of customization that AORUS has provided for this panel. This screen is rotatable up to 330°, making it convenient for the user to install the block in any orientation regardless of the screen orientation.
We are not sure about the OEM of the unit, but from the mounting mechanism and hardware, it seems like an ASETEK design. The cooler comes with powerful 2x 140mm ARGB AORUS fans and is compatible with the Intel LGA1700/1200/115x/20xx and AMD AM4/AM5/sTR4/sTRX4 sockets.
Some of the salient features are:
- A new high-performance pump efficiently dissipates heat from high-end CPUs.
- Unique 60x60mm circular full-color LCD, video play/ custom text support.
- Adjustable screen orientation can be rotated to 330 degrees.
- High performance, low noise level, Graphene Nano Lubricant ARGB fans.
- Supports RGB FUSION 2.0 synchronization with other AORUS devices.
- Universal design for fan & pump RPM control supports all MB brands.
|Product||AORUS WATERFORCE X 280 Liquid Cooler Review|
|Dimensions||312 x 140 x 27mm|
|Pump Dimension||82 x 82 x 74mm|
|LCD Display||60 x 60mm Full Color LCD|
Intel 2066, 2011,1366,115x,1200,1700 and AMD TR4, AM5, AM4, sTRX4
RGB FUSION 2.0 Support and AORUS ENGINE Support
Packaging and Unboxing
Being a premium product, GIGABYTE has given due consideration to the packing box itself. The cooler is still shipped inside a cardboard box with a colorful theme all around. There is a stylish picture of the unit highlighting its ARGB feature and the LCD screen on the block.
The backside of the packing box has specifications listed. GIGABYTE has highlighted the Liquid cooler system, which in fact, is referring to their ECO system of integrating all major components. It is also mentioned that the cooler has a circular LCD panel on the top. Not only that, but the radiator and the fans also got attention, as their dimensions are also listed here.
Opening the box, we found a thick black color Styrofoam made container, unlike the egged shell approach. The cooler and the contents are nicely tucked inside this container. There is a user manual placed over the top, which is covered by another black color Styrofoam pad.
GIGABYTE has provided a single-pager manual with illustrative pictures for convenient installation.
There is a syringe of a thermal paste provided in the box. However, we could not find any useful data on the thermal paste, like the thermal conductivity rating, electrical conductivity, cure time, viscosity, etc.
GIGABYTE has provided a non-metallic backplate for the Intel platform. It is compatible with the LGA1700 socket as well. I would have preferred a metallic backplate for this particular socket, though.
There are three ring-style mounting brackets or frames:
- 1x for AMD AM4/5 Platform [Left]
- 1x for Intel platform [Right]
- 1x AMD TR4/sTRX4 platform [Middle]
- 4x Long Screws for TR4/xTRX4 socket
- 4x Pasting Washers
- 4x Standoff Screws for AM4/5 sockets
Starting from the left, we have:
- 4x Intel LGA20xx Pillars/Screws
- 4x Intel LGA1700 Pillars/Screws
- 4x Intel LGA115x/1200 Pillars/Screws
- 4x Nuts
- 8x Long Screws for the installation of the fan on the radiator
- 8x metallic washers
- 8x Standoffs [These are to be used for AORUS PC CASE GB-AC300W and GB-AC300G]
- 16x Short Screws to install the radiator in the PC Case
AORUS has provided a micro-USB cable for the pump block.
The cable has a right-angled micro-USB connector on one end. This is connected to the micro-USB port on the block. The other end has a 9-pin USB 2.0 connector. You would need a 1x spare USB 2.0 header on the motherboard. Alternatively, you can use an adapter for the micro-USB to standard USB and connect the cable on the back panel of the motherboard (not provided in the box). Be careful when handling the USB 2.0 connector. The wires are quite thin and there is a long portion of these wires that are exposed. Any slight pushing or pulling on the wires may lose them from the socket.
Let’s take a look at the main unit itself before moving on to the software side of the cooler. The AORUS WATERFORCE X 280 is a 280mm size All-In-One cooling solution for enthusiasts and users alike.
The radiator has a dimension of 312x140x27mm, with the width being 140mm or the size on which the fans are placed, and the height is 27mm. When we install the 25mm thick fans on the radiator, the overall height will come to 53mm, including the heads of the screws. Keep this in mind if installing the cooler on the top of the case in particular. The radiator packs quite some fins at a count of 22 fins per inch (FPI). This is a dense fin stack there.
Much like the other AIOs, this radiator is also made of aluminum material. Both ends of the radiator don’t have a rounded finish. It is a rectangular finish in black color. There are 12 coolant flow channels in the radiator. On the far end of the radiator, there are stickers pasted.
It seems like there is a sand-blasted finish on this radiator. “TEAM UP, FIGHT ON.” is carved on the sides of the radiator housing.
The mounting corners on this radiator are something different from the standard mounts on the majority of the AIOs. AORUS has provided dual mounts on this radiator. Meaning you can install this radiator on the 240mm mounting, provided there is enough clearance for this size radiator. Also, this would imply that the user can install the 120mm fan on the radiator.
We did a quick mount test, and be quiet! Silent Wings 4 PRO 120mm fans can be installed on the radiator. However, using 120mm fans may not give adequate cooling, and the user is better off using the 140mm fans on the radiator.
Like the majority of the AIOs, there is protective plating over the fins under the mounting holes. This is done to safeguard the fins from the damage that may come from using the longer screws. It is recommended to use the supplied long screws to mount the fans onto the radiators.
The soft tubing is installed using the barbed fittings, and there are two black color covers on the top of the fittings for reinforcement and better aesthetics. There is a serial number sticker pasted on this block end. One thing to notice is that there also seems to be a drain port. Don’t use that port, as it is reserved for factory use only. Opening it may end the vacuum pressure of the loop.
AORUS has provided integrated cable management on this AIO. The fans and ARGB cables are routed from the pump to the left side end of the radiator, and the sleeve on the tube covers the run of these cables giving a clean look.
There are two 4-pin PWM sockets coming out of the radiator. This is where the installed fans are connected in case you want to control the fans using the software.
There is a single 3-pin, 5V, standard ARGB male connector on the ARGB cable coming out of the radiator. Connect it to either of the fan’s 3-pin, 5V female connectors when setting up the AIO.
The soft tubing has a length of approximately 380mm or so. They are made of soft nylon. AORUS has increased the tube diameter from 5.1 mmØ to 7.8 mmØ. According to them, this would increase the coolant flow up to 37 % and makes heat dissipate quicker and more efficiently. The soft material tubing is somewhat flexible and doesn’t produce kinking, which is always a plus. There is a mesh sleeve on the hoses to give them a clean look.
Now, we turn our heads to this cooler’s main selling feature: the pump block with an integrated LCD screen.
The block has a circular design and measures 82x82x74mm, and the top is where the magic is. This AIO features a 60x60mm full-color LCS screen which can display multiple statistics, frequency of the CPU, model of the CPU, the coolant temperature, images, videos, text, you name it. Even if the pump is OEM design, the LCD and its customization are AORUS design.
Take a look at the side of the main housing. We can see the triple chamber sort of design here. First, the top portion is in dark gray color, and this is the portion that can rotate up to 330°. Second, the middle portion is where the cable connectivity is, and it also houses the pump. Finally, the bottom section is a pure pump and block design. There is a micro-USB port over here. The user must connect the provided micro-USB cable to this port in order to enable the software support.
This is the front view of the unit. There is a micro-SD card slot over here. AORUS did not provide any micro-SD card with the unit, though, at this price, they should have considered it. This micro-SD card is needed for a dual purpose:
- To display the video on the LCD screen. Video needs to be placed on the micro-SD Card.
- To upgrade the firmware of the unit.
AORUS WATERFORCE X is engraved on the top housing giving a premium look and feel.
The other side of the unit does not have any connectivity options. It should be mentioned that the stenciling and styling are well synchronized all around the housing of the unit.
Looking at the backside of the unit, the soft tubes are installed in a 90° orientation. This would allow the user to rotate the tubing as per the requirement to the left or right side. We can see two cables going through the main sleeve of the right side tube. There is one more cable coming out of the pump housing.
The unit is powered by the SATA connector.
The pump uses a ceramic axis, which has a longer life span (approximately 376,715hrs) compared to the traditional metal axis. It has anti-corrosion properties. We could not get the pump’s power statistics.
Let’s take a look at the base of the block. The base is also circular in shape. This circle has a diameter of 64mm, which is quite large to cover the majority of the consumer-grade desktop CPUs, but it can’t fully cover the IHS of TR4 and sTRX4 sockets. There is a protective cover on the base that needs to be removed during the installation.
The AORUS WATERFORCE X 280 comes with two 140mm AORUS fans. These are ARGB fans. These fans have 7x translucent blades each. The center of the fan has the AORUS Falcon logo. Each blade has 4 stripes in the middle with the protruded shaft. The airflow is split by the triangle fan edge and guided smoothly through the 3D stripe curve on the fan surface, effectively enhancing the airflow over the traditional fans.
AORUS has mentioned that they have designed these fans through extensive testing. They are calling these the most synergistic 140mm fan blade design to go with the 280mm radiator. “It will deliver the most efficient heat dissipation while maintaining the lowest noise levels, even at the maximum speeds.” This tagline catches our eye. While the fans are powerful, they are quite loud.
The backside of the fan shows a 4-arm assembly with one arm having an inset on which the wires are routed from the center toward the frame. Speaking of the frame, these fans have a sturdy black color frame. There are black color cut-to-size anti-vibration pads on the mounting corners.
There are arrow markers on the frame of the fans. These show the direction of airflow. There are no blades spin directional arrow markers. AORUS branding can also be seen on the frame. The fans have a circular frame, and the mounting corners have openings showing the circular design.
There is a black color flat cable with a 4-pin PWM header coming out of the fan. This cable powers the fan.
There are standard 3-pin, 5V ARGB male/female connectors per fan. In total, there are 3x male connectors on this AIO and 2x female connectors. You don’t need to connect these to the 3-pin, 5V header on the motherboard instead, make sure both the fans and the radiator are daisy-chained. The RGB fusion will pick the lighting accordingly.
These are the salient specifications of the fans:
|Air Flow||25.09 ~ 89.18 CFM|
|Air Pressure||0.37 ~ 4.62 mmAq|
|Noise||8.06 ~ 44.4 dB(A)|
|Fan Connector||4-pin PWM|
|Bearing||Sleeve (Graphene Nano Lubricant)|
|Life Expectancy||73,500 hours|
The AORUS WATERFORCE X 280 features a full-color 60x60mm LCD screen. In order to use that screen, software support is a must. This is further highlighted by the fact that the AIO has integrated cable management which does not need any fan header or 3-pin, 5V header on the motherboard. All the connectivity is done via the micro-USB cable.
To enable the software support, you need to download the GIGABYTE CONTROL CENTER from their website. If you have enabled the GCC software support in the UEFI/BIOS of the motherboard, you will be prompted in WINDOWS to download the GCC. Once you download and install the GCC, use the software update support in the GCC to detect and download the related software/module for the GIGABYTE components.
For this cooler, you need:
- GIGABYTE CONTROL CENTER
- RGB FUSION 2.0
If you are going the old way and don’t want to use the GIGABYTE CONTROL CENTER, then you would need AORUS ENGINE in addition to the RGB FUSION 2.0. Cutting it short, the GCC will sort this all out automatically.
As shown in the above picture, when the GCC is launched after successful installation, you will see all the enabled components in the main interface. Take note that AIO is now visible separately with two options:
- FAN Control
- RGB FUSION
Click on any to go to that menu.
Clicking on the RGB FUSION will load the RGB FUSION interface. Next, click on the AIO listed at the bottom. It is up to you to either sync the components or have separate lighting on all. The LCD and the fans are now shown in the picture.
Clicking on any desired RGB mode will load that mode. For some reason, the RGB FUSION 2.0 was slow in response, but the lighting modes are working.
The above picture shows the 3x more RGB modes, which are not visible in the available modes.
The user has the option to turn off the lights altogether on the fans using this mode.
Select the AIO under the FAN CONTROL. GP-AORUS WATERFORCE X 280 is detected based on the firmware of the cooler and shown in the options. There are 7x modes for the fan and 4x modes for the pump. By default, the balanced mode is on for the pump and the fans. The fan curve is defined for 30°C, 30°C ~50°C, and 50°C to 65°C.
We selected the High-Performance mode for the fans and Turbo for the pump. The pump was spinning at 2800 RPM, whereas the fans were in the 2000 RPOM range. However, take note of the graph for this mode. The orange line is for the fans, and they will continue to spin at the current RPM below the 50°C. We have a sharp incline in the speed of the fans above 50°C, with fans reaching their full speed at 65°C.
The turbo mode for the fans will run the fans at their full speed of 2500 RPM ±10%. This is why we have a straight line for the pump and the fans.
The quiet mode for the fan has a sloping curve, and they will continue to spin under 1100 RPM till 30°C. After that, the fans will speed up incrementally from 31°C to 50°C and then will reach the full speed of 2500 RPM ± again at 65°C.
The fans support Zero RPM mode, where they will stop spinning below the 65°C.
There is a Customized option for the pump and the fans. But, there is no user control available for this mode hence we were unable to define a custom fan curve for the fans and the pump.
There is a dedicated interface for the LCD Panel. Click on LCD Panel to load that interface.
There are 5 pre-defined Enthusiast modes, along with a Function mode. The further listing is for the custom text, image, video, etc. It also supports playing your own MP4/GIF/JPG formats as well.
The default mode is the Enthusiast mode which can be used to display the CPU Model along with CPU temperature or CPU frequency. You can change the color of the display as well.
The above picture shows the LCD Screen display with Enthusiast mode 1 selected to display the CPU Model and its frequency.
The Enthusiast Mode 2 has two zones with controllable lighting for each. It still displays the same information as Mode 1 but in an offset design. The AORUS FALCON logo in a line pattern will appear this time.
The above picture shows the outcome of Mode 2.
The Enthusiast Mode 3 has the AORUS text, which will appear along the CPU Model and the CPU Frequency.
The above picture shows the actual display on the screen using this mode.
The Enthusiast Mode 4 has a different layout. We have an AORUS FALCON logo in a line pattern. Now, the user can get either CPU Temperature, Liquid Temperature, or both. We still have two zones in this mode as well.
Liquid Temperature would mean that this AIO has a sensor to monitor the actual temperature of the coolant inside the loop, which is too good to have on an AIO.
The above pics show the Liquid Temperature and the CPU temperature on the screen. We spotted a difference of roughly ± 1 to 2°C between the temperature reported by HWInfo64 and the one reported on the screen display.
The Enthusiast Mode 5 will output the “TEAM UP, FIGHT ON” or AORUS text on the screen with two-zone lighting.
The above pictures show the real output on the LCD screen coming from the Enthusiast Mode 5.
The Function mode can display a plethora of data sensors, including:
- Fan RPM
- Pump RPM
These two variables were quite helpful when we were testing the FAN CONTROL section of the software, as the screen showed the real-time speeds of the fans and the pump. The user can change the refresh interval as well as the zone lighting.
The above pictures show the PUMP Status and FAN Status under the selected options in the Function. Not only that, but the screen also displays the currently selected fan control mode. MAX will be displayed, meaning the pump/fans are running at full speed.
The user can define a custom text here, which will be displayed on the screen.
The above picture shows the TECH4GAMERS text being displayed on the screen.
The user can upload a custom image for display on the screen. The onboard memory is 10.56MB. So, you would need a micro-SD card (FAT16/32, no exFAT format) for heavier pictures or videos.
The default image is shown on the screen.
AORUS has provided a special Chibi-Time mode as well.
The picture shows the Chibi-Time mode on the screen.
We have tested the cooler on the AM5 platform using the GIGABYTE X670E AORUS MASTER Motherboard and AMD Ryzen 7 7700X CPU. The installation is simple and convenient. We need 9 components to set up the mounting hardware for the block.
The above picture shows the AMD AM4/5 mounting bracket (ring) installed on the block.
The above picture shows the micro-USB cable connected to the block. It is better if the cable is attached when the visibility of the port is 100%.
The fans are installed on the radiator.
The unit is ready for testing.
The user would need 4x pasting washers and 4x standoff/screws. Remove the stock mounting brackets and keep them saved in your motherboard box. Place the pasting washers around the backplate’s standoffs. I have pasted them on the base of the screws as I don’t like pasting anything on the motherboard.
The above picture shows the block installed on the motherboard.
Connect the micro-USB cable to the pump block and the 9-pin USB 2.0 header of the motherboard.
Please refer to the user manual for detailed installation instructions. We did not observe anything particular to report here other than a bit short length of the tube, which might be an issue for certain orientations of the block.
This AIO has a thicker tube. You might get a clearance issue for the first DIMM slot on the motherboard. Other than that, there is no clearance issue. Just make sure that your case supports a 280mm size radiator mount.
ARGB Light Show
Apparently, this cooler is compatible with the RGB Fusion 2.0, given the very design. We have used the RGB FUSION to test the ARGB lighting. Here are a few pictures:
The following test bench is used: –
- AMD Ryzen 7 7700X
- GIGABYTE X670E AORUS MASTER
- XPG Lancer RGB 2x16GB @ 6000MHz
- MSI GeForce RTX 3090 Gaming X Trio 24G
- Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus 2TB NVMe SSD [For OS]
- be quiet! Straight Power 11 850W Platinum PSU
- Thermaltake Core P6 TG Snow Edition in an open-frame layout
Here is the settings table for testing:
|All Cores Clock (MHz)||5200 All Cores|
|Thermal Paste||Noctua NT-H1|
|Test Run Time||30 minutes CINEBENCH R23|
|Idling Time||10 minutes|
|Fan Speed||Pre-Defined Modes, 40%, 60%, 80%, and 100% PWM Duty Cycle.|
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, and varying ambient temperature. Not to mention the silicon differences even among the same category of chips. Hence, it is pertinent to mention the testing methodology along with the specifics.
We recently tested the DeepCool LT 520 cooler on this platform. That is a 240mm size AIO. The above graphs show the result of using all 4 pre-defined fan control modes. Since AORUS has defined aggressive fan curves on these profiles with a cut-off temperature to reach a full speed of 65°C. On the AMD AM5 platform, the CPU is designed to run at 95°C. The difference is coming from manual overclocking, which actually reduces the temperature of the CPU. Regardless, since the CPU was operating above 70°C, we are seeing a similar result from all profiles. Indeed the cooler performed quite well at 100% speed, but it was noisy.
Next, we determined the speed range of the pre-defined modes, and based on that speed range, the corresponding PWM duty cycles were determined. We then connected the fans directly to the motherboard and repeated the tests.
Now, we are getting a true picture of the thermal performance capability of this unit. The cooler has maintained a good lead over the DeepCool LT 520 up till the 60% PWM cycle. At 40% PWM cycle, the LT 520 beats the WATERFORCE X 280 but keep in mind that the fans on this AIO were operating at 40% of their rated speed.
We are using the delta temperature as the temperature varies throughout the day. The overall thermal performance of the AORUS WATERFORCE X 280 is superb but at an elevated noise level.
The fans are quite loud. We measured 55 dB(A) at an ambient of 32 dB(A). Here is the break up:
|Mode||Sound Output dB(A)||Load|
|Turbo||55||For all loads|
|High-Performance||52||Idle or Low Load. 55 on heavy load|
|Balanced||48||Idle or Low Load. 55 on heavy load|
|Quiet||41||Idle or Low Load. 55 on heavy load|
We have tested the premium cooling solution from GIGABYTE by taking a spin of AORUS WATERFORCE X AIO. This is a feature-rich cooling solution from GIGABYTE, which not only packs a solid performance but also offers brilliant features, including the 60x60mm full-color LCD screen. This AIO is available in the market (not Pakistan) in 240mm, 280mm, and 360mm sizes. We have tested the 280mm version. This liquid cooler is compatible with the Intel LGA1700/1200/115x/20xx and AMD AM4/AM5/sTR4/sTRX4 sockets.
We are not sure about the OEM of the unit, but from the mounting hardware, it seems like an ASETEK design though not confirmed. The AIO has a black color aluminum-made radiator, and its frame seems to be sand-blasted. There is “TEAM UP, FIGHT ON” carved on the side frame of the housing. The radiator measures 312x140x27mm, and the thickness of the radiator alone is 27mm. Overall, the thickness with the 25mm thick fans would be 53mm. The radiator uses 240mm and 280mm mounts. This gives the flexibility of installing the radiator on the 240mm mount in the case, as well as the provision to install 120mm fans on the radiator. GIGABYTE has increased the diameter of the soft tubes on this AIO, which according to AORUS, would increase the coolant flow up to 37 % and makes heat dissipate quicker and more efficiently. Additionally, the FPI count is 22.
The pump block is circular in design, and it features a 60x60mm full-color LCD screen. Talking about the display, it is very crisp, and the colors are accurate and bright on the screen. The onboard memory is 10.56MB.
To enhance the capacity, there is a micro-SD card slot in the housing, and the user can install a micro-SD card of up to 32GB using FAT16/32 format only, as it does not support exFAT. The micro-SD card will still be needed to update the firmware of the unit.
Going over the pump speed, it is rated for 2800 RPM. There is a firmware update that can increase the speed of the pump to 3200 RPM. We could not get the statistics of the pump. There is also a micro-USB port in the housing for which there is a micro-USB cable in the box. You would need one 9-in USB 2.0 header on the motherboard.
Without this cable, software support is not possible. The copper base has a diameter of 64mm. AORUS has provided a thermal paste tube though there is no data available about the paste.
There are two ARGB 140mm fans provided with the cooler, and their speed rating is 800~2500 RPM ±10%, and their airflow rating is between 25.09 to 89.18 CFM. The air pressure is rated for 0.37 to 4.62 mmH₂O, and the noise output is rated for 8.06 to 44.4 dB(A). These fans use Sleeve bearings with Graphene Nano Lubricant which is mentioned to increase the life of the bearings and reduce the noise, and they feature Zero RPM mode, which can be used on the supported motherboard.
Installing the cooler is simple, and we have to deal with 9 components to install the pump block on the AMD CPU (AM5 platform). The relatively short length of the tube may restrict the orientation of the block.
Also, these tubes have more diameter, which would restrict the first DIMM slot if the tubes face the DIMM slot. You would need GIGABYTE CONTROL CENTER, AORUS ENGINE, and RGB FUSION 2.0 for the software support. The latest version of GCC eliminates the need for the AORUS Engine.
The customization for the LCD Panel in the software is quite good, and the software is found to work flawlessly. Additionally, the LCD screen was responding to the changes. In terms of accuracy, the CPU temperature reported on the screen has a difference of ± 1 to 2°C compared to the sensor report from HWInfo64. I am not sure if this is coming from the AMD platform difference or else.
The good thing is the provision of a sensor to monitor the liquid temperature, which can be displayed on the screen. You can also display text, images, gifs, and videos though due to the onboard memory size limitation, you would need a micro-SD card. The RGB Fusion 2.0 was also found to work flawlessly on the basic RGB modes. However, its response was late for the cooler-specific modes.
AORUS has defined very aggressive fan curves on the pre-defined modes. Using this cooler on the new platforms where the temperature easily goes above the 65°C cut-off value to attain full speed, all these modes will result in the same temperate under load. We have used this cooler on Ryzen 7 7700X, which by default runs at 95°C.
So, it is pointless to use any of these pre-defined modes on this platform. It seems like the software is broken or incomplete, as we were not able to set up a custom fan curve using the software.
We have determined the speed range for each of the pre-defined main modes and then determined their PWM duty cycle range in the UEFI/BIOS.
|Pre-Defined Mode||PWM Cycle|
We then disconnected the fans from the radiator and connected them to the CPU_FAN_HEADER and CPU_OPT_HEADER for manual control and measured the thermal performance accordingly. Please see the testing section for more detail.
The thermal performance of the AORUS WATERFORCE X 280 is superb, but you would need to pay a hefty price tag of USD 214.99 [at the time of review] for this comparable thermal performance. Additionally, the price tag is understandable as this cooler features an LCD screen with good customization options.
GIGABYTE is offering a 3-year warranty which, in my opinion, should have been 5 years, and in this price range, a 4GB to 8GB micro-SD card would have been a welcome addition. Last but not least, such solutions are better suited or in fact, work best only on that platform.
Since we are using GIGABYTE products on all three test benches and even in the personal build, so we can’t say for sure if this cooler would work on any platform other than GIGABYTE. The GIGABYTE has listed RGB FUSION 2 and AORUS ENGINE as a requirement for this cooler.
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