Pros: Performance, installation, ++
The Phononic Hex 2.0, where shoud I start...
I got this CPU cooler from Phononic for review. Usually I just water cool my builds and call it a day, but this cooler changed my view on water cooling, its performance is actually that good. I don't want to wait further in the review to tell you this. Below is my chart for temperature results on my 6600K, which did 4.7 GHz @ 1.488v under load. This chip is delidded with MX-4 and reseal.
Installation of this CPU is the easiest I've dealt with, period, which is the first thing I appreciated of this CPU cooler and was once the reason I hesitated to go with air cooling in the past.
The price is what everything is talking about of this CPU cooler. With an MSRP of $149.99 it's a good investement for a CPU cooler, but I honestly think the product you get is worth this much.
My normal procedure for reviews is to take the product out and test it quickly before to get a first impression, before reboxing and taking picture, it enables me to know what points to focus on, but this cooler is so good, I never put it in box again. I put it in a build for testing, then I just used it on a few builds and will be using it in my next build too.
The single thing I dislike about this cooler is motherboard compatibility. Let's take for example my ASUS Rampage IV Formula below, this was the single only configuration possible and it blocks the first PCIE slot. 90 degree on either side made the heatpipes and fins touch the RAM too much for my liking and a 180 degree rotation would've made the flow opposite to the cases air flow because this CPU cooler needs a specific direction on air flow. These challenges are also present on ITX motherboards.
I would've also like that the heatsink had a bracket on each side available for extra 92mm fans.
The quality of the packaging, the quality of every piece of the product, the performance, the features and software are also excellent and easy to use. My only negative is the compatibility, but this is usually the case with ALL air coolers. Also no coolers can do every single configuration so I can't remove too many points for this.
Spec shet : https://phononic.com/downloads/HEX_2-0_specifications-en.pdf
When we take a look at the 4.7 GHz results, we can see that versus my custom water loop using an AlphaCool XP³ Light Nickel paired with AlphaCool ST30 280 and 240 radiators was only 5 degrees cooler with the "Insane Mode". That's quite a feat for a CPU cooler this size.
Looking at power draw, it does draw 22 watts more at that same load from the wall compared to the water cooled setup.
Here's the link to my build log that will be using the cooler - http://www.overclock.net/t/1625743/build-log-duality92s-rgb-adventure-i7-7700k-matx-rgb-duh-also-heres-an-octopus/0_20