Fractal Design "Kelvin" - Expandable AIO Liquid Coolers for Enthusiasts

By Published December 10, 2014 at 12:00 am

Liquid cooling has been done by PC enthusiasts for years, but recently we have seen closed-loop coolers (CLCs) and expandable open loop coolers (OLCs) explode in popularity. Closed-loop coolers aren’t expandable or made to be tinkered with, whereas expandable open loop coolers support adding components to the watercooling loop (like additional GPUs). Swiftech was one of the first manufacturers to begin selling expandable open loop coolers commercially, but they aren't the only one nowadays. Not only has Cooler Master started selling expandable OLCs, but Fractal Design is jumping into the game, too.

Fractal Design yesterday announced their new Kelvin T12, S24, and S36 coolers, all of which are meant to be expandable in a similar fashion to our previous PNY GPU liquid coverage. These open loop coolers come with Fractal Design Silent Series HP 120mm fans (number of fans varies on the model), a radiator (dimensions depend on model), and a pump integrated into the CPU block. The different models vary based on size and radiator thickness.

The T12 has the thickest radiator due to its physical limits as a 120mm radiator, whereas the 240mm S24, and 360mm S36 have longer, thinner radiators. These radiators have low fin density – 6-7 FPI – allowing for better noise levels. Fractal Design even lists recommended guidelines for each model, saying that the Kelvin T12 should cool up to 1 CPU and 1 GPU, the Kelvin S24 should cool 1-2 CPUs and 1-2 GPUs, and the Kelvin S36 should cool 1-4 CPUs and 1-4 GPUs. That being said, I would still suggest to follow the rule of thumb of having 120mm of radiator per component cooled, as this can help increase overclocking headroom and decrease noise.


These coolers all use G 0.25” thread fittings with full copper radiators and CPU blocks, allowing for maximum compatibility with aftermarket watercooling components. The use of copper is standard, given that it has a thermal conductivity about 2x aluminum (~400W/mK vs. ~200W/mK).

All three of these water coolers support Intel 775, 1150, 1155, 1156, 1366,  2011, and AMD  AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, FM1, FM2, FM2+ sockets.

With the T12’s MSRP at $100, the S24 at $120, and the S36 at $140, Fractal Design is making a strong showing against competing products in the form of Cooler Master’s Glacer 240L, Swiftech H320, and H220. All three CPU coolers should be available shortly.

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- Michael "The Bear" Kerns.

Last modified on January 02, 2015 at 12:00 am
Michael Kerns

Michael Kerns first found us when GN's Editor-in-Chief was tirelessly answering questions on reddit pertaining to a new product launch, likely after the Editor had stayed up all night writing the news post. Michael offered a tired Editor reprieve, taking over the role of questions-answerer-extraordinaire when it was most needed. These days, Michael can be found pulling his mechanical keyboard collection apart and building Frankenstein's Monster-like monsters of keyboards. Michael wrote the vast majority of our mechanical keyboard dictionary and is an expert in keyboards.

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