The DeepCool Captain 240 EX RGB AIO Cooler Review: Pump it Up, Without the Noiseby E. Fylladitakis on December 14, 2017 9:00 AM EST
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Liquid cooling is far from a new concept when it comes to personal computers, with the first retail products having surfaced back in the 90’s. Still, liquid cooling remained an experts-only option for many years, both because of its cost and its complexity. That all changed not too long ago, when Asetek presented their first “all-in-one” (AIO) concept liquid cooler. As the name suggests, it was a preassembled liquid cooling system that the user only had to install into the case/system, a process of equal difficulty as that of any advanced air cooler.
With a product that is both economically competitive and ready to install, AIO coolers soon flooded the PC components market. Fast forward to today, there are dozens (if not hundreds) of AIO liquid coolers available from numerous manufacturers, even from manufacturers that do not produce air-based or other cooling solutions. With that much competition available, each manufacturer is trying to differentiate their products in their own way(s) and not necessarily compete in terms of raw performance.
In today's review we are taking a look at the Captain EX 240 RGB AIO cooler from DEEPCOOL, one of the best-established Chinese manufacturers of PC cooling solutions. DEEPCOOL upgraded their earlier series of Captain EX coolers and virtually added only RGB lighting. As we have not had a look at their products for quite a long time, we decided to put the new Captain EX 240 RGB to the test and examine its design and thermal performance, which should also be representative for the non-RGB version of the cooler as well.
Packaging & Bundle
DEEPCOOL ships the Captain EX 240 RGB AIO cooler in a large, strong cardboard box. The artwork is based on simple geometric shapes but is colorful, hinting the concept behind this cooler’s design. Inside the box, we found the cooler and its accessories well protected into a custom cardboard insert.
The typical bundle of AIO coolers consists of the mounting hardware and an installation guide. DEEPCOOL added a couple of extra items to it, which are a plastic fan hub and an RGB LED strip. The triangular fan hub can be attached to anywhere the user desires to power the cooler’s fans. It can power four fans, so two more fans can be added to the radiator for a push-pull configuration if required, or other case fans can also be attached to it. The RGB strip is a welcome addition that surely every user with a windowed side panel will appreciate. It comes with all of the necessary wiring/controller required for it to work in parallel with the RGB lighting onboard the cooler.
The two 120 mm fans supplied alongside with the Captain EX 240 RGB are unique designs from DEEPCOOL themselves, with the blades forming a rectangular channel across their bottom edge. This “2-layer” blade design is supposed to reduce air turbulence noise while maintaining a high pressure. The fans have fluid dynamic bearing (FDB) engines and, interestingly, the blades can be removed from the frame for easy cleaning or replacement. DEEPCOOL is offering the fan blades in several colors.
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Yuriman - Thursday, December 14, 2017 - linkIt would be nice to see some common heatsinks within the same price bracket included in the comparison charts, even if it's only a handful. They're direct competition after all.
HollyDOL - Thursday, December 14, 2017 - linkI have to agree, otherwise the results are quite relative.
Put in at least a couple for reference (like Intel highend stock, AMD highend stock, and some elite one like Noctua NH-D15), it would make the info much more worthwhile for general public
HollyDOL - Thursday, December 14, 2017 - linknot like stock coolers could hope to do anything except bbq with 340W load ofc...
Dr. Swag - Thursday, December 14, 2017 - linkAwesome! A decent alternative to the S24 when it comes to quiet AIOs that also has rgb!
sweetca - Thursday, December 14, 2017 - linkCatchy name.
Lord of the Bored - Saturday, December 16, 2017 - link"I am Captain DeepCool, of the Federation starship EX RGB."
ReeZun - Thursday, December 14, 2017 - linkSometimes I wonder... if some of these reviews are sponsored (either by one manufacturer or a group of manufacturers, to boost brand exposure and potentially sales)... and not necessarily direct monetary sponsorship. I also wonder... if the reason Anandtech didn't include a high-end air cooler (e.g., NH-D15)... is because it would make a strong case for the AIO solutions making a very poor value proposition... especially when considering noise/cooling ratios... and, in turn, rendering this entire review pointless.
E.Fyll - Thursday, December 14, 2017 - linkActually, the answer to your question is far less complicated than that. We only compare air coolers to air coolers and liquid coolers to liquid coolers because each represents a specific type of product. It's an "apples to apples" kind of thing. I also personally do not believe that these two actually compete with each other. Users are much more likely to go for an AIO cooler because they want easier access to their system, or because they just don't like a 2kg piece of metal hanging off their motherboard, or just because it "looks cool", than for the performance. If acceptable performance is all that a user needs, an average air cooler can do the job just fine, they do not even need a NH-D15 to begin with.
Besides that, the magic of having and using professional equipment like ours is that everything is both repetitive and comparable. They were all tested on the exact same device and everything is in our methodology page that can be found in every cooler review. Long story short, you can easily go to our review of the NH-D15 cooler (or any cooler that you'd like to compare, regardless of its type and platform) and just compare any of its performance figures to any AIO cooler that you want to, taking into account your personal requirements too.
tricomp - Thursday, December 14, 2017 - linkSorry no.. it is green apples to red apples in most buyers considerations.. or dreams, and they really need to know what they are paying extra in case their dream comes true.
rtfmx9 - Thursday, December 14, 2017 - linkI think that "apples to apples" does not hold here. After all, both liquid and air coolers serve the same purpose. It would be nice to be able to compare them without having to do research through Anandtech's archives. Is it possible that once comparison is made obvious liquid coolers don't make sense from the cost/performance point of view? I don't know since review does not try to inform me from that perspective. My guess is that there are many people who would like to inform themselves of whether upgrade to a liquid cooler would make sense or not but to do that you recommend that they dig though the past reviews instead of you offering that information in your review. All for the sake of keeping apples and oranges separated. I don't buy that reasoning.