Parts used for this review
|Cooler||BeQuiet Pure Loop 280 (sent by BeQuiet!)|
|Comparison Cooler||DeepCool AK620 Air Cooler (sent by DeepCool)|
Shadow Rock Slim 2 (sent by BeQuiet!)
|CPU||Intel i9-12900K (sent by Intel)|
|Motherboard||MSI z690 A-Pro (purchased from Amazon)|
|Computer Case||BeQuiet! Silent Base 802 Window (sent by BeQuiet!)|
BeQuiet sent me the Pure Loop 280 and a LGA 17xx/18xx Adapter for Alder Lake testing, so today we’ll be looking at how well this liquid cooler performs using Intel’s newest i9 CPU. I’ve compared it’s performance to two other coolers to get a sense of what it takes to keep Intel’s latest i9 running cool. For this I used one high end air cooler – DeepCool’s AK620 (previously reviewed here), I also used a basic air cooler – BeQuiet’s Shadow Rock Slim 2 (previously reviewed here)
BeQuiet’s Pure Loop 280
The Pure Loop 280 comes in a medium sized box, with molded cardboard for protection.
Included with the package are the user manual, thermal paste, zip ties, fan splitters, fans, extra coolant, and mounting for AMD & Intel systems.
|Cooler||BeQuiet! Pure Loop 280|
|Product Dimensions (including fans)||317x140x52mm|
|Noise Level||25% – 22.5 dB(A)|
50% – 26.8 dB(A)
100% – 38.1 dB(A)
There’s more to a cooler than just it’s heat sink. The fans included have a huge impact on cooling performance and noise levels.
|Fan||2x Pure Wings 2 PWM|
|Max Fan Speed||1600RPM|
|Bearing Type||Rifle Bearing|
|Voltage range||12 V|
The installation of the Pure Loop is similar to that of other BeQuiet Coolers – standoffs are screwed in against the backplate, and then support bars are screwed into the standoffs. The cooler is then mounted and screwed to the support bars.
What’s different from other coolers
The CPU block has an outline of white lighting, which adds a subtle effect to the cooler. You’re not able to modify the lighting – if you must have RGB, this isn’t for you.
Additionally the CPU block is just that – a block. It doesn’t contain the pump, which is now located close to the radiator – it’s the block between the tube shown in the image below. BeQuiet claims this new configuration reduces pump noise, allowing for an even quieter build.
Additionally, BeQuiet has made it easy to refill the radiator – a rare option in AIO Liquid Coolers – and also included extra coolant for that task. To do so, one needs only to remove the screw shown in the image below.
For each cooler, I used the thermal paste provided by the manufacturer.
To test the limits of thermal capabilities, I have tested OCCT & Cinebench with 140w & 200w power limits. I’ve also included some gaming results to show cooling results in less intensive workloads.
In Cinebench, BeQuiet’s Pure Loop 280 ran 5c cooler than the DeepCool AK620 at 200w, but in lower TDP tests they performed equally. These coolers both ran quite toasty when limited to 200w – with CPU temperatures reaching 93c. If power limits are removed, thermal throttling occurs with both coolers in these workloads.
BeQuiet’s Shadow Rock Slim 2 performed well at 140w – but it was unable to sustain 200w loads in OCCT & Cinebench, thermal throttling at ~190w of power consumption.
Gaming thermal results were genuinely surprising. Based on the high TDP results shown earlier, I expected the Pure Loop 280 to be roughly on par with DeepCool’s AK620 – but the Pure Loop kept the i9 up to 14c cooler! The Shadow Rock Slim 2 performed as expected, trailing the AK620 by a few degrees.
BeQuiet’s Pure Loop 280 is a little different from other AIOs, due to the customized pump and for having the ability to refill the unit. It’s nice to see an AIO which isn’t just a copy & paste of other coolers on the market. In workloads with high heat output, the Pure Loop 280 performs similarly to high end air coolers.
Intel’s latest i9 is harder to cool than previous generation 14nm CPUs, due to the increased thermal density of the Intel
10nm 7 manufacturing process. In my testing thus far, no cooler is able to prevent the 12900k from thermal throttling if power limits are removed in workloads like Cinebench.
In less heat intensive loads, such as gaming, the Pure Loop provides better temperatures than high end air cooling. If one is interested in overclocking Alder Lake for gaming, then it would be worth investing in a more powerful cooler such as BeQuiet’s Pure Loop 280.
For having great thermal performance, a unique design, and allowing users to refill the unit – and providing the fluid needed to do so – I am awarding BeQuiet’s Pure Loop 280 our Silver Award. This is a quiet, effective liquid cooler backed by BeQuiet’s excellent customer service – you can’t go wrong with the Pure Loop 280.