The Best 360mm AIO Liquid Cooler Shootout (2021)
Here at TBG, we have a thing for coolers. In fact, we’ve tested well about 70 at this point, of all types, from low-profile to towers to liquid models. In fact, we’ve conducted multiple shootouts for each of these categories, which we believe gives our audience a much better understanding of the market than one-off reviews do. It also forces us to choose winners, and therefore give you a sense of what’s actually worth buying. Hence the name The Tech Buyer’s Guru!
So with that as context, we present our third liquid cooler shootout, this one with the most refined and complete methodology we’ve ever implemented. We hope you’ll find this enlightening, instructive, maybe even compelling, in that it encourages you to consider an upgrade for your PC!
Here are the coolers included in this test:
- Arctic Liquid Freezer II 360 ($125)
- Corsair iCUE H150i RGB Pro XT ($160)
- Deepcool Castle 360EX
- SilverStone Icegem 360
For good measure, we included our two favorite air coolers as baselines:
- Noctua NH-D15 Chromax.black ($100)
- Scythe Fuma 2 ($60)
And here’s the system setup:
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 3900X
- MB: Asus X470 Crosshair XI Hero
- Case: be quiet! Silent Base 802
- Thermal Paste used for all coolers: Noctua NT-H2 10g
As with all of our reviews at this point and going forward, this review appears exclusively on YouTube, which you can see below. Not only do we show you what comes in the box and share some benchmarks, but we give you a good look at what it’s like to use each product!
Don’t forget to like the video and subscribe to our YouTube channel to get in on all our content as soon as it goes live!
All right, we have a winner! You’ll need to watch to video to see all the countless reasons the Arctic Liquid Freezer II 360 is truly peerless, but in short, it offers the best noise-normalized performance of any other 360mm cooler, it costs less than any other 360mm cooler, and Arctic has been diligent about listening to critical feedback to continually improve the product since launch.
Here are our complete recommendations:
- Winner: Arctic Liquid Freezer II 360 ($125) – UPDATE: now available in an ARGB version with better-looking and better-performing fans!!
- Runner-up: Deepcool Castle 360EX
- Best Extreme Air Cooling Alternative: Noctua NH-D15 Chromax.black ($100)
- Best Overall Air Cooling Alternative: Scythe Fuma 2 ($60)
As always, check out our CPU Cooler Buyer’s Guide, updated quarterly, for all our latest recommendations.