The AlphaCool Eisbaer Aurora 360 AIO Cooler Review: Improving on Expandable CPU Coolingby E. Fylladitakis on August 11, 2022 8:00 AM EST
Alphacool brings the Eisbaer Aurora as an update of the revered – yet now aged – Eibaer AIO liquid cooler that they released roughly six years ago. The Eisbaer was an exceptional cooler at the time of its release, so the new version has very big shoes to fill.
It may seem like the only upgrade is the addition of RGB lighting, but Alphacool knew this would not be enough to compete in today’s market. Their engineers updated practically everything over the previous version, increasing the dimensions of the contact surface, making the radiator denser and better, and changing the corrugated hoses with flexible TPV ones. The fans are also better in terms of mechanical performance, as they have a much higher maximum speed and 0 to 2500 RPM PWM adjustability.
One of the primary selling points of the first Eisbaer liquid cooler was its very low noise levels. The new Rise Aurora fans are more powerful, and although that may have been a necessity to combat the higher resistance of the denser radiator, that makes the Eisbaer Aurora quite a bit louder. The full range speed control does help and it is highly unlikely that most systems will have this cooler’s fans running at a high speed under reasonable circumstances, as a single CPU cannot stress the capacity of such a monstrous cooler even if heavily overclocked. Regardless, when looking at the thermal performance to noise ratio, we can see that the Eisbaer Aurora 360 is not really significantly ahead of its direct competition.
Ever since the first cooler of the series, the expandability of the Eisbaer coolers was one of their main features. The Eisbaer Aurora 360 is very versatile, with a relatively powerful liquid pump and a radiator that can handle very heavy thermal loads, effectively offering expansion options depending on the user’s skill and needs. It has a quick release connector on the tubing for users that want to keep things simple and expand using parts that the company supplies specifically for the Eisbaer series, plus the company has simple tube compression fittings installed on every part that allow the user to completely remove the tubing if necessary. The Alphacool Eisbaer Aurora 360 practically is a standard, divisible liquid cooling kit that is being supplied preassembled and prefilled by the company.
Expanding the Eisbaer Aurora may be a relatively simple process, but the user has to take into account the impact that such an expansion will have on the performance of the system. For example, inserting a GPU block will add both resistance and thermal energy into the system, respectively reducing the flow of the pump and increasing the load on the radiator. The huge radiator of the Eisbaer Aurora 360 can certainly handle it, but every single part added will definitely drive operating temperatures up. In theory, a single loop can be expanded to cover multiple GPU blocks and more than one radiator but, as the pump cannot be upgraded, we advise against the installation of more than three items per system. It is technically possible to add an external pump into the system but that would beat the purpose of having an AIO solution in the first place, as a customized kit would perform better and cost less at this point.
In summary, the Alphacool Eisbaer Aurora 360 is a one-of-a-kind preassembled liquid cooler that combines the convenience of AIO coolers with the upgradability of a custom cooling kit. Its performance is not mind-blowing, but it is comparable to that of the best similarly sized AIO coolers currently out in the market. The retail price of the Alphacool Eisbaer Aurora 360 is its only drawback, as the cooler is currently retailing for over $200. This is quite a bit more than similar products from other reputable manufacturers, leaving Alphacool's marketing team with the less-than-easy task of convincing end users that the high quality and potential expandability of the Alphacool Eisbaer Aurora 360 are worth the premium.