We have a brand new test bench that we assembled for the 2013-2014 period! Having moved away from our trusty i7-930 and GTX 580, the new bench includes the below components:
|GN Test Bench 2013||Name||Courtesy Of||Cost|
|Video Card||XFX Ghost 7850||GamersNexus||~$160|
|CPU||Intel i5-3570k CPU||GamersNexus||~$220|
|Memory||16GB Kingston HyperX Genesis 10th Anniv. @ 2400MHz||Kingston Tech.||~$117|
|Motherboard||MSI Z77A-GD65 OC Board||GamersNexus||~$160|
|Power Supply||NZXT HALE90 V2||NZXT||Pending|
|SSD||Kingston 240GB HyperX 3K SSD||Kingston Tech.||~$205|
|Optical Drive||ASUS Optical Drive||GamersNexus||~$20|
|CPU Cooler||(This is what we're testing)
Antec Kuhler 1250
All of our testing is conducted in a temperature-controlled environment. Ambient is between 21C and 22C for CPU cooler tests. The graphs measure temperature in Delta over Ambient (C) - so the ambient temperature is subtracted from the component temperature.
Each test is initiated with a cold boot, where the system will sit idle for 15 minutes and collect thermal data. We use CPUID's HWMonitor Pro for thermal logging and tracking.
After this idle time, the system will launch a Prime95 instance running four torture threads on Large FFTs for maximum heat generation and power utilization. This is run for 15 minutes, throughout which the logging utility will collect the data we used in the below charts. A final round of idle time is allowed to ensure data consistency. Redundant tests are run in the event of unexpected results.
We keep a consistent case and airflow configuration for all CPU cooler tests.
Our degree-per-dollar chart is measured by using the stock cooler as a temperature baseline. We calculate Delta T between the tested coolers and the stock Intel cooler, then divide price by Delta T (example: $65 / dT 28C = $1.85/degree C). This is used for buyers who are looking for a perspective on relative value and aren't necessarily after each individual degree. For value charts where coolers utilize two fans, we assume an average price of $8 per additional 120mm fan.
All automatic fan controls are disabled for testing purposes. All system case fans and CPU cooler fans run at 100% load during testing. This means these tests will represent the cooling capacity when the CPU fan runs at its maximum speed and load consistently. If you would like to reproduce our results. you can disable fan control in BIOS - often under the "Hardware Monitor" tab.
Antec Kühler 1250 Benchmark vs. Corsair H110, H90, Kraken X60, X40
I ran these tests for two different iterations of Antec's 1250; the first was a pre-production model that will not be shipping to users, so we scrapped those tests and re-ran them upon receiving the finalized production model. For this reason, you may see some disparity between our review and earlier reviews of the product; we found the finalized 1250 performed significantly better than the pre-production press sample, and this shows in the benchmarks.
Here's the thermal chart:
Antec handily claims the top of our bench. It's that simple: The Kühler 1250 is the best liquid cooler we've tested. Even at half speed (1500RPM), which is reasonably quiet, the 1250 still performs on-par with the fixed-speed H110 from Corsair. As I say in the video review above, "this is an easy pick-up, all day long."
Here's our dollars-per-degrees chart, which shows a rough measurement of value by checking the cost vs. the thermal delta from a stock cooler.
If you're after pure value, a liquid cooler is never going to win, obviously. Something like the Hyper 212 still stands king of value over the stock cooler. That said, the 1250 is still better value than the X60 and H110.
Antec Kühler 1250 Conclusion: The Best Liquid Cooler We've Tested
If nothing else, typing Kühler over-and-over has helped me memorize the ever-important alt-0252 code.
The 1250 has knocked Corsair off the top rung, laying claim to our "Best of Bench" award for CPU coolers. Being that this is our first official review of an Antec cooling product on the site, I'd say that's not a bad start to residency on GN. Antec took a risk with their design, opting to move away from Asetek and build their own solution, and it works damn well. Antec's 1250 has now made NZXT's X60 obsolete -- the only reasons to buy it being smaller form factor and NZXT branding -- and Corsair's H110 is tough to justify too, short of a lower price-point. It's worth mentioning that both the X60 and H110 are 280mm radiators, whereas Antec's Kuhler 1250 (because I'm so done with umlauts) is a 240mm radiator -- making it more compatible with smaller cases, short of the height/clearance issue I've mentioned already.
If you can afford the $120 tag (currently on sale for $90, though), the 1250 gets my recommendation. Just be prepared for 30 minutes of hating the mounting bracket.
- Steve "Lelldorianx" Burke.