FunkyKit

Alphacool Eisbaer 280 AIO CPU Liquid Cooling Review

German cooling company – Alphacool, has provided the latest all-in one liquid cooling kit under the name of Eisbaer. Its name simply means a polar bear, suggesting both cold and power at the same time. It’s just my thoughts when I think of polar bears.

Eisbaer is not a typical AIO water cooling kit. It has a modular design so that we can adjust it to our needs, but is also available as ready-to-run kit that will be presented in this review.

 

With the “Eisbaer”, Alphacool is fundamentally revolutionizing the AIO cooler market. Where traditional AIO CPU-coolers are disposable products which are neither upgradeable nor refillable, the Alphacool “Eisbaer” is modularly built and can be upgraded, rebuilt or refilled at any time. This means that the “Eisbaer” is not only an AIO, but also fully built on classic water cooling components. That means it is quieter and more powerful than the average AIO solution.

Let’s check out the specifications on our next page.

 

Specifications and Features

Technical Details:

Pump (Alphacool DC-LT 2600 Ultra low noise Ceramic):

Fan (Eiswind 14):

Scope of Delivery:

 

In the package is everything we need to install our new water cooling kit. We will need screwdriver to install the fans but that’s it. Full installation is fast and should not take more than 5 minutes if you already have prepared space in the PC case.

In the package are couple of mounting kits for Intel and AMD sockets. Our review sample has no AM4 socket kit but we will test it on the Intel platform . The AM4 mounting kit should be already available in www.aquatuning.de and some other online stores.

 

Radiator

Alphacool depends on a radiator made of pure copper. The base of the radiator is the popular Alphacool NexXxoS series, which is well-loved around the world. The pure copper construction raises the cooling performance enormously compared to the usual aluminium radiators used in classic AIOs. The slight thickness of the fins ensures enormous cooling power in fans with low rotational speed. This ensures that the performance of the “Eisbaer” when adjusting the fans down decreases much more slowly than in radiators with higher fin thickness.

Radiator is typical for water cooling kits but it’s made of copper, what is actually quite rare in AIO kits. Its design is optimized for high performance and for many users it’s the top choice while building custom water sets. In this case, it’s all-in-one product, so I’m glad it contains so good radiator.

 

Hoses

The flexible PVC hoses make installing the “Eisbaer” easy. These hoses are easier to arrange and move into the right position. So the hoses don’t bend and stop the flow of the water, both hoses have been fitted with anti-kink springs. The 11/8 mm size is also a standard in the water cooling field, alongside the 13/10 and 16/10.

Hoses look also typical but again there is something premium. There are springs so they won’t bend. Simple but good idea.

 

Quick-lock closure

The “Eisbaer” was designed with expandability directly in mind. This is why you’ll find a quick-lock closure on one of the hoses. This quick-lock mechanism is compatible with Alphacool HF quick-lock closures (1010383, 1010394, 1010395, 1010442), with which the circuit can easily be expanded to include anything from a radiator to a graphics card cooler. Furthermore, the “Eisbaer” is compatible with the upcoming Alphacool GPX-Pro graphics card AIO, which will use identical quick-lock closures.

Quick-lock closure is actually the most interesting feature. The Eisbaer can be connected to other cooling components such as additional radiator or graphics card block what makes it ideal to all users who need the highest performance of water cooling in large computers.

While the typical AIO is a final product without many improvement options ( you can almost only replace fans ) then the Eisbaer allows you to modify and optimize the cooler for your needs.

 

Fans

The “Eiswind” fans were developed specially for radiators and generate a high static pressure in order to push cool air through the fan blades. Both fans are steadly running by 1100 RPM. A PWM Y-adapter is included with the “Eisbaer” so that both fans can be controlled by the motherboard or a separate fan control with a PWM connection.

Fans are in fact models which are offering high performance and high pressure which is great if you are looking for top performance. However, the Eiswind isn’t really quiet model. Actually the same issue had top AIO from Cryorig where we could see high performance but the the quietest work. I guess that enthusiasts who will be interested in this product will find a way to solve it. For many users it won’t be any issue.

 

Connectors

All connectors are based on the classic G1/4 inch thread, the standard thread in the water cooling field. This way, all attachments can be switched out for others any time as desired. This also means that, for example, you could later decide to switch to thicker hoses or even HardTubes and set your system uniquely apart.

All these features make the “Eisbaer” cooler into something extraordinary. Its enhanced appearance from the illuminated logo and the illuminated reservoir, which also contains the pump, lets the interior of your PC shine in a whole new way. The soft-touch surface of the pump case is a further visual highlight.
With the “Eisbaer”, you get an all-around perfect product that is not only extremely high-powered but also works very quietly.

Connectors are one of the elements which are making the Eisbaer unique. We can replace fittings to most popular models as connectors are in typical G1/4 size. I really like this modular design.

 

Pump

The basis of the pumps is the Alphacool DC-LT Ceramic Ultra Low Noise, also available separately. The pump runs extremely quietly and can be regulated to between 7 and 12V. It can also be regulated through the motherboard. If the “Eisbaer” is being run alone, the 7V setting will still have next to no performance loss, as shown in diverse test results. The insulated pump case further perfects the noise generation and ensures that vibrations are almost completely absorbed.
The smooth and shiny polished copper base of the cooler ensures optimal heat absorption and can relay the heat over the fine slit structure of the cooler to the water quickly and efficiently.

The pump works really quietly. Most competitive products have that quiet buzzing sound that is sometimes louder than the fans. Here we will not hear the pump.

There are also single things I don’t like. One is window which is informing us if there is enough liquid in the loop but after installing the pump we can not see anything. Inside ( which is hard to see ) is white LED which is giving some light but not enough to make it a significant element. On the other hand, the Alphacool sign on the top looks great ( which can be seen on the photos in this review ). It has nice, bright blue color.

Base of the Eisbaer cooler is made of copper and polished well.

 

Performance

Performance was tested on the Intel Kaby Lake platform which features an i7 7700K processor, set at 4.2GHz 1.20V. Not because this processor can’t run at higher frequencies, but so the results were comparable with both the Kaby Lake and Skylake processors. This voltage has allowed us to overclock our current sample to 4.7GHz. Voltage is the almost only factor that has significant effect on the processors temperature.

There were three test stages. Idle which is quite obvious, shows the temperature on the Windows desktop without any applications running. There may be some background services which can not be disabled.

On the CPU was used Gelid Extreme thermal grease which was added to the Eisbaer cooling. It’s probably the best thermal interface which we can find with water cooling kits.

The mixed tests are based on the PCMark 8 test set. This comparative test uses popular test applications, so it is close to the typical workload at home and in the office.

Maximum temperature was tested in AIDA64 stability test – CPU/FPU tests only.

The Eisbaer is the best performing cooling in our comparison. It can be said that Cryorig A80 is better but its fans at maximum speed reach 1500 RPM what makes a lot of noise. At about 1000 RPM, Aphacool Eisbaer is a bit better and if the fans were spinning faster then could beat the Cryorig A80.

On the other hand we don’t want fans to spin faster. Optimal speed at which they’re quiet is about 700-800 RPM. At 1000 RPM we can clearly hear them. So it’s up to you if you want top performance or silence at still high performance.

Even if we lower maximum speed to ~800 RPM then the Eisbaer is performing great and the CPU temperature isn’t much higher.

If you are thinking about overlocking mentioned i7 7700K processor then our sample is able to work without issues at 5GHz and 1.3V. At these settings Alphacool Eisbaer can keep it fully stable below 85°C ( full load in applications like Prime95 with AVX instructions ). If you are thinking of delidding processor and use at least Gelid Extreme thermal grease then this result will be about 10-15°C better.

There are many variables which are affecting final processor temperature so it may vary from your home PC results.

The Alphacool Eisbaer provides top performance and has many features which make it really interesting product for computer enthusiasts and gamers.

 

Conclusion and Verdict

The Eisbaer is what many computer enthusiasts were looking for. It’s AIO, but we can upgrade it or modify as we wish. Modular design has only advantages on the end-user side. Additional components are available in online stores and are easy to replace or add.

In our tests Eisbaer worked great and right now it’s the best performing cooling which we had a chance to test.

I won’t hide that I don’t really like the design of reservoir/pump. It’s quite big and looks “standard”. Even though there is nice Alphacool sign with blue light, then something is missing.

I guess that modders will find a way to build great looking rig with Alphacool Eisbear as it has high potential.

The Alphacool Eisbaer 280 is available for about €125 at www.aquatuning.de online store. It’s currently not available at Amazon but I guess it will back in stock soon.

 

Final words

The Eisbaer is a product for the most demanding enthusiasts who wish to have something more than typical AIO water cooling in their computer. Alphacool Eisbaer is clearly well performing product which has several of unique features and a modular design make it one of the most interesting water cooling kits on the market.

If you are looking for a ready-to-go AIO water cooling kit but at the same time think to improve it in some time then Alphacool Eisbear is a product for you.

Alphacool Eisbaer is definitely worth our recommendation!