Overclocking your CPU isn’t as difficult as it used to be. Most motherboard BIOS and accompanying software come with overclocking presets which, if you have the right CPU cooler, can provide a stable overclock that’s guaranteed to give your computer a new lease of life. However, there are a lot more things one needs to consider while overclocking, we aren’t bothered with all of that, just the CPU cooler. 2017 has been especially good to the DIY segment in PCs and just about every peripheral brand is jumping onto the DIY bandwagon. Gone are the days when having a liquid cooling system would cost an arm and a limb. It’s much more feasible and certain kits cost a fraction of a fully custom cooling setup. So if you fancy getting yourself a water cooling kit, then look no further.
Zero1 2017 Winner : Thermaltake Water 3.0
The Thermaltake Water 3.0 was a tremendous surprise for us. We never assumed an AIO would match up to the more custom liquid coolers that we’ve tested over the years. And we’re glad that Thermaltake proved us wrong on this front. The Water 3.0 comes with three really good fans coupled with a 360mm radiator. This results in some stellar cooling performance and efficiency. The coating on the fan wires can certainly be improved because they feel a bit sticky over time but we’re nitpicking here.
When it comes to performance, load temperatures were the least that we’ve ever seen so we overclocked the system to see how well the Water 3.0 could scale and it ended up being the best again. Even the fans, when ramped up to their maximum RPM don’t end up making a racket. So at the end of the day, you’re getting the best of both worlds with the Thermaltake Water 3.0 and that’s why it ends up with this year’s Zero1 Award.
Runner-up : Antec Mercury 360
Sporting a new and improved pump, the Antec Mercury 360 brings a lot to the table just the like Water 3.0. However, the radiator isn’t as thick as some of the competing products. So we see the Mercury 360 falling short under load conditions for this reason. We say this because the fans included with the Mercury 360 don’t hold back at all. What’s even better is that the newer fans, despite the higher RPM are quite silent. It would appear Antec went with the tradeoff between the radiator thickness and fan noise, ending up with slightly lower performance than the Water 3.0 but is more silent in comparison. We believe a lot of consumers might actually prefer the Mercury 360 for its silent performance.