ID-Cooling FrostFlow 120 CPU Cooler Review
   
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ID-Cooling FrostFlow 120 CPU Cooler Review

April 21st, 2017 James Leave a comment Go to comments

Overview

 

Well last time around ID-Cooling was the new kid on the block here at pcGameware, but this time around it’s’ different. Having already walked away with a Gold award for its FrostFlow 240L AIO CPU Cooler the ID-Cooling guys thought that we might like to take a look at another offering of theirs. Enter the FrostFlow 240L’s little brother the ID-Cooling FrostFlow 120.

The ID-Cooling FrostFlow 120 is, as you can guess a 120mm AIO liquid cooling solution with a 120mm radiator and a single 120mm PWM fan. The radiator itself is made from aluminium and is 27mm thick, this connets to the pump head by 315mm of rubber tubing. The FrostFlow 120 is compatible with both Intel (LGA2011/1366/1151/1150/1155/1156/775) and AMD (FM2+/FM2/FM1/AM3+/AM3/AM2+/AM2) sockets.

 

Why FROSTFLOW?
‘PC enthusiasts are always looking for the best hardware and components, either for overclocking or for gaming. When it comes to CPU cooling, All-in-one liquid cooling is the top choice for enthusiasts due to its high cooling performance and easy installation. FROSTFLOW series feature high efficiency pump designed to push 76L water per hour, micro copper base for fast heat transfer, and high static pressure fans to move away the heat. New fans are developed to provide higher static pressure so as to push the away through the radiator; the soft rubber dampeners on fan frame corners help absorb operating vibration, which makes the system quieter than others.’

 



 

The ID-Cooling FrostFlow 120 arrived at pcG in a simple black box with a large image of the AIO CPU Cooler on the front. In addition to the brand and product name ID-Cooling have chosen to highlight the following:

  • High Pressure Ceramic Bearing Pump
  • Durable EPDM Rubber Tube
  • Micro Fin Copper Base
  • De-vibration Rubber Design
  • PWM Fan for Silent Operation
  • As you can see from the images above and below the box is covered with a wealth of information. On the left there’s three technical drawings of the FrostFlow 120 complete with dimensions. On the right side of the box Id-Cooling provides further detail on the Copper Base, Radiator, Fan and Mounting brackets etc.

     

     

    The back of the box provides a full specifications table (see Specifications/Features below) and a chart showing both Intel and AMD compatibility. Note that at the time of writing the FrostFlow 120 does not support AMD’s AM4 socket. The base of the box also provides blurb (see above) relating to ‘Why FrostFlow’.

     

     

    On opening the box we can see that the ID-Cooling FrostFlow 120 ships with a basic installation guide and that the top of the box is sealed with a foam mat. On removing the mat we are greeted with the familiar recycled (egg carton style) packaging that seems to be synonymous with AIO Liquid CPU Coolers. General packaging and presentation is best described as adequate.

     

     

    Within the box other than the the cooler itself we find the 120mm fan, the aforementioned installation guide and a plastic bag containing a raft of mounting hardware for both Intel and AMD as well as some thermal compound.

     

    At the time of writing the ID-Cooling FrostFlow 120 is retailing on Amazon for approximately £40 and comes with a 1 year warranty.

     

    Specifications/Features

    courtesy of ID-Cooling

    Compatibility

     Intel
    LGA2011/1366/1151/1150/1155/1156/775

     AMD AM4/FM2+/FM2/FM1/AM3+/AM3/AM2+/AM2

     TDP

     150W

     Radiator Dimension

     154×120×27mm

     Radiator Material

     Aluminum

     Tube Material

     EPDM Rubber

     Tube Length

     315mm

     Waterblock Dimension

     Ф65×32.5mm

     Cold Plate Material

     Copper

     Pump Current

     0.25A

     Pump Speed

     2100RPM

     Pump Bearing

     Ceramic Bearing

     Pump Life Expectancy

     50,000 Hrs

     Pump Noise Level

     25dB(A)

     Fan Dimension

     120×120×25mm

     Included Fans

     1pcs

     Fan Speed

     8002000RPM

     Max. Air Flow

     84.5CFM

     Max. Static Pressure

     3.2mmH2O

     Noise

     2038.2dB(A)

     Rated Voltage

     12VDC

     Operating Voltage

     10.813.2VDC

     Started Voltage

     7VDC

     Rated Current

     0.38A

     Power Input

     4.56W

     Bearing Type

     Hydraulic Bearing

    * Additional details available here

     

    First Impressions

     

     

    Before we think about my first impressions of the ID-Cooling FrostFlow 120, we must consider one important fact and that’s the price. At under £40 the FrostFlow 120 is the cheapest 120mm based AIO CPU Cooler we have seen and it’s also likely the cheapest on the planet! So, let’s just keep that in mind…

    First impressions of the ISD-Cooling FrostFlow 120 is that despite its price the FrostFlow 120L is a good looking, seemingly well made cooler. Ok, so the tubing’s a little on the short side at 315mm and it’s simply rubber (EPDM Rubber) but just remember that price…

     

     

    Turning our attention to the pump head we can clearly see the ID logo in the centre as we saw on the FrostFlow 240l. But this time (due to pricing )the ‘Comet-Tail’ LED lighting ring around the outside is no longer present. 🙁 The pump itself has a maximum speed of 2,100RPM and is fitted with a ceramic bearing, with a life expectancy of 50,000Hrs.

    The cold-plate of the pump features a Micro Fin Copper base and is protected by a plastic cover (Remove Before Installation), there is also no thermal paste pre-applied but there is a small tube supplied. Also worth noting that the two Intel brackets are attached to the pump housing by default, while the AMD brackets are supplied separately in the box.

     

     

    The radiator itself is made from aluminium and measures in at 154×120×27mm and is thus a 120mm radiator at its core. Attached to the radiator we find two captive (meaning that the unit cannot be easily disassembled) fittings that attach to two 315mm long durable EPDM rubber tubes.

    The supplied fan is a particularly good looking example it is equipped woth a hydraulic bearing, a red accent ring and also red LED lighting. The fan is 120mm in diameter, features a maximum rotational speed of 2,000RPM with a maximum airflow of 84.5CFM.

     

    Hardware Installation

     

  • Test Rig Setup

  • Case Cooler Master HAF XB Power Supply SilverStone Strider Platinum 750W
    Motherboard ASRock Fatal1ty Z170 GAMING K6 CPU Intel Core i5-6600K
    CPU Cooler ID-Cooling FrostFlow 240L RAM G Skill Ripjaws 4 16GB
    Graphics Card Asus GTX 1080Ti “Founders Edition” SSD Samsung SM951 512GB M.2

     

     

    Above you can see all (and there’s a lot) of the parts required for our socket LGA 1155 installation, seventeen parts in total. This comprised of eight screws for the radiator and fans, one back-plate, four screws, four washers, four spacers and four nuts. Really this number of parts needs to be reduced as other manufacturers have got the number of parts down to just nine! 😮

     

     

    The screws were first fed through the back-plate (centre hole for LGA 115x) and are automatically held in place by the tight fitting foam. The back-plate was then threaded through the back of the motherboard ensuring that the holes in the back-plate were lined up to the Motherboard (above right) and then held in place by the four washers and spacers supplied. I’m unsure as to the reason why there are the extra washers but the instructions call for their use nonetheless. With that done the back-plate is now held in position and ready to receive the pump head.

     

     

    Initial testing was performed within the usual HAF XB test Case and the Radiator/fan assembly was setup to take air from inside the case and push it out through the radiator acting as a rear exhaust setup. The same setup can be seen above when we used the FrostFlow 120 in a pcG build.

     

    Testing Methodology/Setup

     

    For CPU Cooler testing, we here at pcGameware run Prime95 for a 15 minute period. During this period the temperature is monitored via the NZXT CAM software and the maximum CPU temperature recorded. Between each stress test we allow a 15 minute cool-down to allow for more accurate results. A close eye is also kept on the ambient temperature, with the maximum being recorded for each run, this allows us to calculate the Delta temperature (Core – Ambient = Delta). Each run was performed with the Intel Core i5-6600K CPU at the following frequencies: 3.9GHz (Stock) and 4.4GHz (using the ASRock OC Tweaker, shown in the images below).

    * Please note: To ascertain the maximum and minimum noise levels produced by our test CPU Coolers, the dBA is recorded at a distance of 1 metre from the cooler, with all Case fans unplugged to isolate the sound in question.

     

    ASRock UEFI - main ASRock UEFI - Load Optimized CPU OC Setting

     

    Processor speed is set using the OC Tweaker tab within the UEFI, “Disabled” for stock speeds (3.9GHz) and “Turbo 4.4GHz” for the overclock tests. It should be noted that changing the OC settings resets the Fan Speeds, so these are checked on the next reboot and reset to “Full Speed”. All the fans installed in the system are set to 100% during testing to ensure an even playing field.

     

    Hardware Performance

     

    As stated above, to make our performance tests easier to follow and to get the most accurate recordings, all of the following tests have been carried out with all Case fans set at 100% and the two ID-Cooling FrostFlow 240L fans also set at 100% courtesy of the Motherboard’s UEFI.

     

    • Intel Core i5-6600K – 3.9GHz (stock)

     

    NZXT CAM – CPU @ 3.9GHz @ 1.136v (fans @ 100%)

     

    CPU Cooler Air/Liquid Fan Speed Ambient Temperature Max CPU Temperature (core average) Delta Temperature Noise Level
    Cryorig A40 Liquid 100% 24.00 42.00 18.00 54dB
    NZXT Kraken X62 Liquid 100% 23.00 42.00 19.00 50dB
    ID-Cooling FrostFlow 120 Liquid 100% 22.00 43.00 21.00 43dB
    ID-Cooling FrostFlow 240L Liquid 100% 20.00 41.00 21.00 52dB
    Alpenföhn Atlas Air 100% 21.00 42.00 21.00 39dB
    NZXT Kraken X31 Liquid 100% 22.00 43.00 21.00 39dB
    Noctua NH-U12S Air 100% 22.00 44.00 22.00 38dB
    Scythe Fuma Air 100% 22.00 45.00 23.00 44dB
    be quiet! Dark Rock TF Air 100% 22.00 48.00 26.00 38dB
    Cryorig H7 Air 100% 24.00 51.00 27.00 41dB

     

    Above you can see a screenshot of the NZXT CAM monitoring software and you can also see the recorded temperature that we recorded after 15 minutes of Prime95 (Torture Test). Now I must admit I wasn’t really expecting the FrostFlow 120 to do all that well considering its sub £40 price tag, but it sure looks like I was wrong. With the maximum temperature of 43 degrees Celsius the FrostFlow 120 matches the performance of it’s bigger brother, now that’s impressive.

     

    • Intel Core i5-6600K – 4.4GHz (OC Tweaker)

     

    NZXT CAM – CPU @ 4.4GHz @ 1.312v (fans @ 100%)

     

    CPU Cooler Air/Liquid Fan Speed Ambient Temperature Max CPU Temperature (core average) Delta Temperature Noise Level
    Cryorig A40 Liquid 100% 23.00 59.00 35.00 54dB
    ID-Cooling FrostFlow 240L Liquid 100% 24.00 60.00 36.00 52dB
    NZXT Kraken X62 Liquid 100% 23.00 59.00 36.00 50dB
    Scythe Fuma Air 100% 22.00 58.00 36.00 44dB
    ID-Cooling FrostFlow 120 Liquid 100% 23.00 60.00 37.00 43dB
    Alpenföhn Atlas Air 100% 21.00 58.00 37.00 39dB
    Noctua NH-U12S Air 100% 21.00 59.00 38.00 38dB
    NZXT Kraken X31 Liquid 100% 22.00 61.00 39.00 39dB
    be quiet! Dark Rock TF Air 100% 21.00 63.00 42.00 38dB
    Cryorig H7 Air 100% 22.00 65.00 43.00 41dB

     

    Turning up the Frequency to 4.4GHz and the voltage to 1.312v sees the FrostFlow 120 lose out to it’s bigger brother the 240L and the 240mm radiator equipped AIO coolers in general. But really there’s no surprise there. What the ID-Cooling FrostFlow 120 does do though is put in a very good performance given its sub £40 price tag with a maximum temperature of 60 degrees Celsius. Note also the low noise levels emitted by the 120L with a maximum noise level of just 43dBA the noise is quite bearable for a change. Of course this can be further controlled via your Motherboard’s UEFI thanks to the PWM controlled fan.

     

    Final Thoughts

     

    Those looking for an AIO liquid CPU Cooler with a 120mm radiator need look no further as what the ID-Cooling FrostFlow 120 offers for under £40 is simply amazing. The FrostFlow 120L looks good, includes LED illumination, it’s well made, offers very good cooling and is quiet. What more could you want…

    The ID_Cooling FrostFlow 120 arrived at pcG in a smart predominately black box with the usual eco-friendly recycled cardboard packaging that now seem to be synonymous with all AIO CPU Coolers. Within the box there’s not much other the the 120mm AIO CPU Cooler, a single 120mm fan and a raft of Intel and AMD mounting hardware.

    My overall impression of the FrostFlow 120 is extremely good as its look and build quality belies its sub £40 price tag. For that you get a goos looking pump head that features an illuminating (white) ID logo with the radiator featuring a red LED 120mm fan. The only possible gripe is that the tubes are simply rubber and a little short at 315mm.

    Installation of the FrostFlow 120 was very easy, although there are a few too many parts for my liking. To get the back-plate installed on the Motherboard takes 13 parts (although 4 are washers), but the NZXT Kraken X62 can achieve the same thing with just 5, now that is impressive. But let’s be fair you’re only likely to do this once anyway.

    Not only does the FrostFlow 120 belie its £40 price tag when it comes to look and quality but it also punched above its weight when it comes too cooling too. And, it manged to do this while remaining pretty queit also with a maximum recorded noise of just 43dBA. Amazingly the FrostFlow 120 managed to equal the cooling performance of its bigger brother the 240L in the stock Prime Torture test. It was only a degree behind the 240L in the overclocked 4.4GHz test also.

    The ID-Cooling FrostFlow 120 is one of those great products that simply does everything you ask of it when considering the price tag. To get this level of product, with this level of cooling for under £40 is truly impressive. The FrostFlow 120 may not have braided hoses, may not have RGB illumination and may not have software control but it’s certainly got it where it counts.

     

    Verdict

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    Design/Quality pcGameware awards the ID-Cooling FrostFlow 120 a Platinum
    Performance
    Value
    Overall

     

    Many thanks to ID-Cooling for providing this sample for review

     


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