The finest AIO (All-in-One) cooler for your new build or upgrade should take into account a number of crucial aspects. Whether you want a machine that operates quietly under load or greater sustained clock speeds (or why not both?).
AIO coolers, while not always the case, often create less fan noise and lower CPU temperatures than air coolers can. They are also far more practical and affordable than specialist liquid cooling circuits.
Make sure there is space for CPU heat to leave the case before installing an AIO cooler on the top or rear of your case. AIO coolers normally come in three sizes: 120 (one 120mm fan), 240 (two 120mm fans), or 360mm, depending on the radiator’s dimensions and the fan it is built for.
Although they are significantly more uncommon and frequently older versions, there are several 140mm and 280mm AIO coolers. Larger radiators, as you might think, often offer greater cooling, but other elements like radiator thickness, material makeup, and fan performance also have an impact on cooling performance.
A 120mm AIO that can typically be inserted into the rear exhaust fan region of your PC case should work if you don’t have a flagship CPU with many cores and speeds above 5GHz and don’t wish to overclock.
Alder Lake CPUs from Intel’s 12th generation, however, put more strain on the fans. And AMD’s Ryzen 7000 and the 13th generation appear to continue this trend. If you want higher temperatures and slower spinning fans, a decent 240mm AIO cooler is preferable, but they’re difficult to install and frequently don’t fit.
A 360mm AIO is often the most effective for running high-end overclocked CPUs above their listed speeds while retaining a respectable amount of cooling. Even fewer cases may, however, naturally accommodate these bigger coolers. Before making a purchase, please check the paperwork for your system or PC case to make sure the AIO cooler will fit.
In a hurry? Here are our top 3 favorite picks when it comes to the best 280mm AIO in 2023!
Is AIO Cooling 2023 Worth It?
AIO liquid coolers can lower temperatures to enable more overclocking in addition to providing quieter cooling than conventional air coolers. AIO is a relatively simple method of water-cooling your computer that eliminates the clutter and complexity of component selection.
A customized refrigeration circuit is something to think about if cost isn’t a major concern but low temperature and silent operation are. To understand more about how they normally operate, check to Blue Shift Build features (and how good they look).
Custom cooling loops are nearly always significantly more expensive than all other standard cooling choices, considerably more challenging to construct and install, and significantly more expensive to install for future components, particularly if the GPU is included in the cooling loop. Be advised that upgrading may be considerably more challenging.
How Long is AIO Effective?
Usually, an AIO water cooler may last 3-6 years if it is constructed correctly. In contrast to tailored solutions, which seldom last for very long. Without maintenance, it can often only be used for 1-3 years.
With an AIO cooler, don’t forget to add thermal paste or another sort of thermal interface material (TIM). The metal cold plate of the majority of coolers already has some kind of paste on it or has it in a little syringe.
The best thermal compound for your CPU may be found among the many manufacturers we thoroughly investigated, so check them out if you want to be sure you receive the optimum heat transfer between your CPU and heatsink plate. The seven top AIOs on the market are listed below.
1. Corsair RGB Pro XT – Best Overall
A superb 280mm AIO cooler in the long and illustrious Corsair AIO cooler line is the iCUE RGB Pro XT. The iCUE H115i Elite Capellix and this cooler have many similarities, but there are also some key distinctions.
Corsair’s iCUE Pro XT only has RGB on its pump head, whereas the Elite Capellix delivers it as part of its entire kit. If you can live with the less showy fans, you’ll save some money even if this is a minor drawback for someone seeking for a colorful, enthusiast-focused build.
Also, RGB-compatible fans can be used in place of the default fans. Also using Corsair’s iCue software is the Corsair RGB Pro XT. With the software, you can adjust the fan and pump speeds, set up the RGB lights, and view the current temperature. Since iCue is one of the best pieces of software for cooler management, its inclusion is heartening.
The H115i’s construction quality is also superb. Its hoses are covered in nylon sleeves, which not only looks nice but also extends the life of the hoses. A tiny radiator that is only 27mm thick and can easily fit into any small build is another benefit of this AIO.
The pump head has RGB lighting, but this cooler doesn’t include RGB fans. Additionally, the fact that the iCUE H115i has white fan blades rather than all-black ones is another potential drawback.
Even though this won’t affect how well it performs, it might be an aesthetic issue if you weren’t expecting to use any white in your build. However, alternatives with all-black designs and comparable cooling capacities include the NZXT Kraken X63 and the EVGA CLC 280, which are highlighted below.
Even if it is not the greatest in its class, the H115i RGB Pro XT is a good running companion in terms of performance. In a test using an Intel Core i9-9900k, the Corsair was able to keep the device running with 35°C when it was not in use and 72°C when it was under stress. At standby and under load, it came within 3°C and 1°C, respectively, of the Arctic Liquid Freezer II, the industry leader in its class.
Although the Arctic still holds the top spot when it comes to cooling performance, the Corsair RGB Pro XT will undoubtedly be of great use to you. It’s astonishing to get within a few degrees of the class leader.
In the end, Corsair’s iCUE H115i is the best option available if you’re creating a high-end desktop PC and want to add a high-performing 280mm AIO to it.
- Extreme CPU cooling performance is provided by 140mm Corsair series PWM fans, which have increased airflow.
- The pump head is illuminated by 16 individually controllable RGB LEDs, which produce amazing, programmable lighting options to complement your construction.
- Each fan operates at a speed between 400 and 2,400 rpm to provide outstanding cooling performance.
- PROFILE OF ZERO RPM COOLING At low temperatures, Corsair iCUE software enables fans to totally shut down, reducing fan noise.
- You can monitor CPU and coolant temperatures, change fan and pump speeds, and control and synchronize the cooler’s RGB lighting with all iCUE-enabled devices using Corsair iCUE software. all through a single, user-friendly interface.
- Adapter sockets: AMD AM2, AM3, AM4, FM1, FM2, sTR4, sTRX4 and Intel LGA 1200, 1150, 1155, 1151, 1156, 1366, 2011-3 2011 and 2066
- Purchase the CW-8960091 spare component, which is suitable for the new Intel LGA1700
Why is Corsair iCUE Pro XT the best in 2023?
Users consider Corsair goods as the best since they claim that they are 90% smaller than conventional LEDs. They operate cooler, are more effective, and offer better illumination. These elements work together to provide a lighting system that has more mounting possibilities, a more striking look, and fewer drawbacks and issues with power consumption and heat.
Although the iCUE software offers 16 individually programmable LEDs, you can only alter the pump. I had access to the CPU temperature, fan speed, and pump RPM in addition to RGB modifications. The H115i RGB Pro XT cooler is an effective and consistent cooler all around. It is thus advised to buy it right away.
2. CoolerMaster ML360R RGB – Runner Up
When it boils down to reducing temperatures brought on by excessive CPU load, Cooler Master is the newest cooling champion.
The MasterLiquid ML360R, which was just introduced and is the 360-degree version of the MasterLiquid ML240R RGB that we previously reviewed, has a 33% larger radiator surface area for improved cooling performance. What happened? even more effective at cooling than the robust NZXT Kraken X72.
Pay attention, to overclockers, gamers, power users, and system builders searching for a new massive CPU cooler. The Cooler Master ML360R RGB is currently the 360 AIO thermal performance champion. Even if the cost isn’t quite low, there are many of options that are both more expensive and have less exceptional performance.
- 1.1″ thick (2.3″ with fans)
- Width: 4.8″ (120.7mm)
- Depth: 15.5″ (393.7mm)
- (3) 120 x 25mm fans
- Intel 2066, 2011x, 1366, 115x, 775, AMD AM2(+), AM3(+), AM4, FM1, FM2(+) Socket Support
- Guarantee: two years
3. ARCTIC Liquid Freezer II 280 – Budget Pick
The ARCTIC Liquid Freezer II 280, in contrast to many AIO coolers, achieves cooling performance and noise reduction without the use of RGB LEDs. The Liquid Freezer II, the most potent AIO cooler and first on our list of best-in-class products, demonstrates how ARCTIC’s dedication to performance pays dividends.
The entire absence of RGB is seen negatively by some users, particularly those who require color coordination with other builds. The Liquid Freezer II 280 is still a great cold box, though. The cooler’s matte black surface and metallic hose accents give it a utilitarian appearance that distinguishes it from other coolers on the market.
The Freezer II has a very long service life because of its high-quality, robust construction. The copper cold plate is smoothly machined, the hoses are strengthened and coated to minimize kinks and leaks. The performance objectives of this AIO cooler are clear from its incredibly sturdy pump head, which also sports a small fan.
The cooling system has so far performed quite well. The ARCTIC Liquid Freezer II 280 is the most potent cooler in its class, keeping your CPU very cold in tests using an Intel I7 with a clock speed of 4.2 GHz. The test PC outperformed the Cougar Helor 360 in maintaining a temperature of 56°C or less than the surrounding air when under load.
It produces an astounding 25.7 dBa and thus exceptional cooling performance while retaining a substantial amount of quiet. This cooler is almost 10 dBa quieter than conventional coolers. Best in class, 8 dBa quieter than the Cougar.
In another test, the Liquid Freezer II performed well, outperforming rivals like his DeepCool Castle 280EX, another of his 280mm coolers with a reputation for performance. Few 280mm AIO coolers can compete with its cooling capacity and noise-free operation. from a highly powerful pump head with a modest fan.
- We have expedited the finest guarantee and control. QUALITY CONTROL APPROVED. The products underwent additional evaluations and were labeled with a QC decal.
- LGA1700 COMPATIBILITY:
- The Liquid Freezer II 280 works well with Socket LGA1700-based Alder Lake CPUs from Intel.
- AIO water coolers that are *COLDER THAN OTHERS
- Compared to other AIO water laptop fan coolers, the ARCTIC Liquid Freezer II stands out because to its more environmentally friendly cool plate, pump, and radiator.
- 15°C LOWER VOLTAGE REGULATOR TEMPERATURE: An additional 40 mm PWM-controlled VRM fan may provide further cooling for the bottom and voltage transformer after the pump.
- CABLE MANAGEMENT INTEGRATED: The enthusiast’s PWM cable is integrated into the sleeved tubing. Thus, to replace the messy usual connection setup, only one convenient fast cable is visible from the pump to the motherboard.
- 80% CONSUMPTION OF POWER IS LESS:
- In contrast to maximum pumps from our rivals, which operate at full load even when idle, our pump ticks down using far less power and making a lot less noise. If cooling is not desired
- WATER LOOP WITHOUT MAINTENANCE:
- With fantastic fiber-strengthened EPDM tubing, the water loop is sealed, so you no longer have to worry about replenishing.
4. MSI MEG CoreLiquid S360
The MEG CoreLiquid S360 from MSI has outstanding cooling, quiet fans, superb implementation of the user-friendly MSI Center UI, and a stunning on-CPU display that shows system performance data as well as your favorite pictures and animated GIFs. Here I am. Even though the cooler costs $280, MSI justifies the price with a considerable performance improvement.
If you don’t mind the expensive price and want limitless customization with excellent cooling and display, the MSI MEG CoreLiquid S36 is a strong contender. The Corsair H150i Elite cooler could be its closest rival, but I haven’t had a chance to test it yet.
MSI gave the AIO a lot of attention, beginning with the CPU block. The triangle area is centered by a luminous dragon symbol, which gives the cylindrical portion the required visual character. In order to place the cooler on your Intel processor without worrying about RAM clearance, you already have a thermal paste and a bracket.
This block is the lightest we’ve observed so far without a pump. It is instead incorporated into an aluminum radiator. The 140mm fan’s center is about where the pump is located, hence its effect on cooling effectiveness is negligible. The aforementioned fan is transparent and white, which allows a lot of light to pass through.
- 1.125″ or 28.6mm thick
- Generally: 4.75 inch / 120 mm
- depth: 393.7 mm (15.5 inches), fan:
- (3) 120×25mm
- Supported sockets include those for Intel 2066, AMD AM2, AM3, FM1, AM4, TR4, sTRX4, SP3, and AMD 2011x, 115x, 1200, and 1700.
- three years’ guarantee
5. DeepCool Castle 280EX
DeepCool’s newest 280mm model, the DeepCool Castle 280EX, represents the company’s further entry into the AIO cooler industry. On your tower, the DeepCool Castle 280EX pump head with stylish RGB looks fantastic. Fan blades are arranged in a complex design as well.
However, the fan itself is not ornamented with RGB. The remainder of the AIO is covered in glossy black, like the majority of coolers. Though not particularly innovative in terms of design, it is unquestionably elegant.
This cooler is compatible with nearly all modern sockets, including Intel 2066, 2011-3, 2011, 1151, 1150, 1155, and 1366. AMD chips TRX4, AM4, AM3, AM2, AM2+, FM2+, and FM1 are all compatible with Castle 280EX. Due to its compatibility with the whole lineup of AMD CPUs, this cooler is a highly popular choice.
Although it didn’t top the rankings, the DeepCool Castle 280EX did a great job. He was a reliable combat partner. When tested with an Intel Core i9 at the base clock, the Castle 280EX maintained the PC’s idle temperature at 34°C. Under stress, the computer’s temperature rose to 73°C.
The Castle 280EX also has excellent audio quality. It is also marginally quieter than ARCTIC, although it is still one of the most silent 280mm AIO coolers available. The rubberized fan casing unquestionably makes a big difference in the low noise level.
In conclusion, the DeepCool Castle 280EX is an excellent cooler at a reasonable price. It enables silent, unobtrusive operation even when under severe loads and provides best-in-class cooling performance. If you want a high-quality AIO cooler at a reasonable price, the DeepCool Castle 280EX is a fantastic choice.
- To increase operating safety and reduce leakage, internal leak-proof technology regulates pressure buildup.
- To increase the airflow and static pressure of liquid cooling radiators, two TF140 S PWM fans are used.
- More surface area for efficient cooling is provided by a larger copper base with 25% more shaved fins. suitable for TR4 socket.
- The pump block’s addressable RGB LEDs illuminate any construction and have replaceable branding for a more personalized appearance.
6. NZXT Kraken X63
With its elegant design and vibrant RGB lighting choices, the NZXT Kraken M22 is a very compact and potent liquid cooler that supports the newest AMD and Intel chip sockets. The Kraken M22 provides excellent cooling in a compact cooling design. particularly if you’re creating a compact home theater PC or a basic gaming setup.
To link to a Threadripper system, however, is not advised. The high-end CPUs’ tremendous heat and substantial surface area are too much for this cooler to manage. Performance-wise, the X63 and H115i are comparable.
Its Aer P fan can spin at up to 1800 RPM and works in the 21-38 dBA decibel range. It is not any noisier while operating at maximum speed than the ML140 PWM fan on the Corsair iCUE H115i. The Kraken X63 can’t operate as silently as his H115i-powered machine under little CPU load since the Aer-P fan doesn’t have a zero RPM setting.
The H115i now costs around $15 more than the X63, but that is the one extra drawback keeping it from being entirely competitive. As a result, the Kraken X63 is presently only appropriate for system builders who desire a high-performance all-black 280mm AIO cooler. The H115i is a superior option and more affordable if you don’t mind the white fan blades, though.
- DESIGN: The new Kraken X enables for modifying the position of the pump head to fit without changing the direction of the logo thanks to a redesigned cap and a wider infinity mirror ring LED.
- Brighter and larger More vibrant RGB is possible thanks to the 10% larger infinity mirror cap, and a rotating cap allows for logo reorientation regardless of the cooler’s installation direction.
- BETTER CONTROL: Complete CAM integration lets you precisely control the performance of your Kraken INCREDIBLE PERFORMANCE: The fluid dynamic bearing and chamfered intake of the Aer P radiator fans enable them to operate quietly, durably, and effectively cool surfaces.
- CONVENIENT INSTALLATION: The rubber tubing is strengthened with tiny nylon mesh sleeves, increasing its longevity and safeguarding it from improper handling.
7. Thermaltake Floe
If you’re looking for a way to enhance your PC build while also including extra RGB lights, the Thermaltake Floe Riing RGB cooler is a 280mm AIO worth taking into consideration. The Thermaltake Floe AIO cooler has two 140mm Riing Plus RGB fans.
The fans are less powerful than some of the other options on our list because they can only spin at a maximum speed of 1500 RPM. The cooler will however continue to work correctly and enable mild overclocks.
When operational, the Riing Plus fans make noise between 20 and 27 dBA. In lower CPU temperature circumstances, they won’t operate as quietly as alternatives like the H115i or EVGA CLC, but they also won’t be as noisy as some of the other options on our list (because of their lower maximum fan speed).
However, the customizing application might need some work on its usability. Simply put, switching cooling profiles while the system is operating is not practical since doing so necessitates a full system restart. Additionally, the app’s functionality is fairly constrained because it just regulates the lights, not the fan or pump speed.
But ultimately, if you want a 280mm AIO with RGB fan, the Thermaltake Floe is one of the best solutions available right now.
- When operational, the Riing Plus fans make noise between 20 and 27 dBA. In lower CPU temperature circumstances, they won’t operate as quietly as alternatives like the H115i or EVGA CLC, but they also won’t be as noisy as some of the other options on our list (because of their lower maximum fan speed). However, the customizing application might need some work on its usability. Simply put, switching cooling profiles while the system is operating is not practical since doing so necessitates a full system restart. Additionally, the app’s functionality is fairly constrained because it just regulates the lights, not the fan or pump speed.
- But ultimately, if you want a 280mm AIO with RGB, the Thermaltake Floe is one of the best solutions available right now.
How To Choose The Best AIO Liquid Cooler?
I always advise users to consider all available options before deciding on his AIO for a CPU. With so many choices, choosing an AIO cooler can be difficult. But don’t worry. We have compiled a number of buying tips to make your purchase easier.
Always keep your requirements in mind when choosing the right AIO size. For casual users who perform occasional tasks, the 120mm AIO may be sufficient. However, if you do a lot of overclocking in addition to rendering, consider buying a 360mm radiator. Always buy according to your needs.
AIO Compatibility for 280mm
You’ll need to conduct some study to ensure AIO is compatible with your CPU because different CPUs have different socket sizes. On your CPU box or the manufacturer’s website, you can always verify the socket specifications. Visit the manufacturer’s website and look up the AIO specs to verify whether your CPU socket is supported.
The New 280mm AIO Will fit in my Luggage, right?
A 280mm radiator may be selected by users with smaller tower cases, but it won’t fit. To ensure that your case will accommodate your new radiator, please check the product description of your case to see what radiator sizes it can support. You certainly want to steer clear of a radiator that won’t fit in a case.
Amount of Noise
AIO obviously has more components than other goods, which is well-known to cause increased noise. You may always utilize the internet to find out which AIO is the quietest, or you can take our recommendation and go with that one! The Silent Loop 2 is our top-of-the-line 280mm silent AIO cooler.
If you want your entire system to appear nicer, you can always buy AIO. Alternatives to the conventional cuboid pump heads include RGB AIO, AIO with an LCD in the pump head, and circular pump heads. Depending on your personal tastes, you may always select from a variety of choices.
The top 280mm AIO at the moment is the Corsair iCUE H115i. 280mm AIO cooler alternatives are less plentiful than 120mm, 240mm, and 360mm options, but there are still enough options to provide a variety of features and pricing ranges. expensive 280mm AIO coolers, cheaper alternatives with AIO fans, or both Cool coolers can be purchased.
In this article, we’ve also made an effort to offer a variety of options, allowing you to pick the 280mm AIO cooler that best meets your requirements. So, have a look at my recommendations above if you’re searching for a 280mm AIO.