Originally Posted by PepeLapiu
Sorry guys but you are both wrong. The king of silent slow speed rads is the Alphacool ST30. The SR1 and Airplex rads are tied for second place. Here is proof.
The Alphacool ST30 is all copper construction, lower restriction level than those other two, and it's just sexy!
The ST30 is also half as thick as the Airplex, which means you will be able to use push/pull on your rad for even better slow speed performance.
Furthermore, the Airplex 360 is 245$ at FrozenCPU while the ST30 is only 68$. So it's 75% cheaper, performs slightly better, and half as thick.
And BTW, Alphacool, Phobya, and Aquacomputer I beleive are all owned by the same people.
Sorry, I don't mean to pick on you, but....
That is not "PROOF", it is "ANECDOTAL EVIDENCE".... There is a humongous difference between the two, and while in this case it may be very good evidence, it does not equate to unquestionable fact.
I mention this only because I've noticed many people using the word "proof", when it shouldn't be used, and I wouldn't want for everyone to get into the mindset of taking anecdotal evidence as fact.
Point is, use the (unquestionably excellent) testing and research performed by Martin, Bundy, Stren, and the few other absolutely top-of-the-top, extremely elite, ridiculously knowledgeable reviewers/testers as ONE part of your decision process when it comes to purchasing equipment, but don't take their results as Gospel. Knowing that Martin is a fellow man of science, I feel confident that he would back me up on this (and also because, despite his quite-frankly A-List Celebrity Status in the Watercooling World, he is incredibly humble, driven to learn, and eager to spread his wisdom with us mere mortals).
There are many variables that are accounted for when a product is tested by a true expert like Martin, Bundy, Stren, et al, but for each controlled variable there are probably a dozen that cannot be accounted for. What's to say that one reviewer doesn't receive one of the best-made examples of a particular block/radiator/pump ever manufactured, while another receives one with a dozen internal defects invisible to any visual detection short of taking a hacksaw to the piece? We all know that manufacturing produces flawed products all the time (and many of you love that fact, as you sit here reading this on your $350-450 Yamakasi/Achieva/Auria 27" 2560x1440p IPS displays using panels from $800-1200 monitors
), and it is realistic to assume that even the standard allowable tolerances/variances from piece to piece can and do have perceptible impacts on performance.
I would say that due to variables outside of the control of those testing the products, it's not unreasonable to allow a 5% or even 10% margin of error, the exact amount perhaps depending on how intent a given tester is on measuring, recording/logging, and controlling as many variables as he or she is able to (or can afford to; that equipment ain't cheap!). Martin, again, is the perfect example of someone who has gone above and beyond what could be expected from "just another enthusiast" testing liquid cooling parts, and this is clearly visible when you take a look at the frankly incredible test bench he has invented. As a result, he has achieved a(n extremely well deserved) credibility that the average "I got this rad and my temps went down EIGHT BAZILLION DEGREES!!!!"-type "reviewer" cannot even dream of.
A bit more on-topic:
HWL Black Ice radiators are the best-finished radiators on the market (aside from Watercool products, although their price tag puts them in a different class altogether), they provide a very decent model line-up that does a decent job at covering some of the "big bases", and they are also very sturdy and well-built. However, they are incredibly expensive when compared to all or at least most of the other "black" radiators, they lack a model that covers the "intermediary" fan speed/fin density area of the market, and their products are typically extremely specifically-focused towards a narrow area in the performance/fan speed curve (not inherently bad, but it can be limiting).
Alphacool, XSPC, Swiftech, Phobya, Coolgate, Magicool, Koolance, EK, and the like all have their own unique approaches towards radiator design, their own view on how best to cover the entire noise vs performance spectrum, their own philosophies on design/construction/cost/quality control, and each has developed its own reputation, just as Hardware Labs has.
XSPC, for example, is what I would consider a very innovative company (at times), most recently due to their use of split fins in their EX (and consequently, AX) series of radiators, allowing a relatively thin radiator to perform within spitting distance of its "better endowed" brethren. They effectively created a radiator that has 38 fins in the same inch where most radiators have 8-20, yet thanks to the relatively slim profile and smart design, it doesn't suffer from the extreme restriction seen in other thin-profile high-FPI radiators (such as the Black Ice GT Stealth, at 30mm thick and with 30FPI). Best of all, you can get one of these radiators for almost exactly 1/2 the cost of a comparable HWL model, yet the HWL radiator doesn't provide two times the performance, in fact it may provide no more performance at all (although it will likely end up ~1-5% better depending on fan speeds).
HOWEVER... XSPC is only 2nd Place in the "Innovation in Product Design and Development Award" from the nleksan Institute of Inscrutable Uncertainty, Debatable Diatribes, and Anticlimactic Alliteration....
The 1st Place Prize goes to Alphacool, not because they designed, produced, and sell "all copper" radiators, as they certainly weren't the first to do so. What they did do was to produce an entire product lineup of All-Copper Radiators encompassing 3 different fan sizes, 4 different thicknesses, lengths ranging from single to quadruple fan-lengths, incorporate up to 7 G1/4-threaded ports on a single radiator for immense flexibility, and they managed to do all of this while keeping prices at a more-than-competitive level!!! The Alphacool Monsta, UT60, XT45, and ST30 radiators are perhaps the most versatile, best performing, and biggest bargain out of all currently available radiators! They scale almost completely linearly with fan speed, an incredible feat considering these 9-11FPI radiators are able to perform like an SR1 at ~800rpm yet outperform former Heavyweight Champion the Black Ice GTX at fan speeds of ~2600rpm!
The only other "full copper" radiators available, those from Watercool and Aquacomputer, cost $220-270 for a 3x140mm unit. The Alphacool UT60 420 costs $99. How is that not the deal of a century??
Apologies for the lengthy post, although as painful as it may have been to read just imagine how my hands feel from writing it
I just want to finish by saying that while the Alphacool NexXxoS radiators are certainly not perfect, and they certainly won't be winning any awards for their looks...if you can look past the trivial flaws, you will end up with what is perhaps the best bargain ever to enter the water cooling arena, knocking out every contender when it comes to performance, availability, options, and especially cost. Whether you have $60 left in the budget for a radiator and you need to get the absolute best bang for each one of those sixty bucks (ST30 360mm for $58.99 @ PPC's), or you're feeling especially sadistic towards your wallet (or perhaps masochistic, if you're married!) and decide to order up a CaseLabs TX10 with the largest extended top, the XL pedestal, and a multitude of radiator braces to fill to the brim with the biggest and meanest radiators you can find (7x Monsta 560mm for $177.99 ea @ PPC's), you would be very hard-pressed to find a better performing option than the Alphacool NexXxoS line, much less one that can come anywhere close to competing price-wise.
Yes, the little Alphacool stickers suck terribly (seriously, sticky on the OUTSIDE? What is THAT?), the fins aren't all perfectly aligned by OCD factory workers on a diet of coffee and Dexedrine, and the copper G1/4 stop/plug fittings and M3 screws are too easily deformed or scratched.
However, look past the idiosyncrasies, grab some of your favorite radiator fans (Koolance 120x38mm 2600rpm 6.5mmH2O/117CFM for me), spend another $12-24 on Phobya 120x7mm or 140x7mm Shrouds/Decouplers to provide a shroud effect, prevent air leakage thus increasing effective pressure, and reduce noise via both decoupling and lowered wind noise from the increased distance between the fins and the fan blades.... Throw your fans on in push-pull, screw in your fittings, connect the tubing, and enjoy a radiator so desperate to please that it will perform remarkably no matter the loop, the airflow or fan speed, the mounting, or any other variable I can think of.
Truly, the NexXxoS radiators when paired with a fan controller and good fans with a wide RPM range arranged in a push-pull configuration, truly it is the epitome of "best of both worlds"....