Sound Level Testing

While we were testing cooling capabilities, we were also tracking the sound level of each of the coolers using a Risepro SPL meter attached to a boom arm pointed directly at the fans of the radiator at a distance of 12 inches. We recorded the dB(A) level for each fan and pump speed tested. The ambient room sound level measured 33 decibels.

100% Fans – 100% Pump

At maximum fan levels, the Enermax LIQTECH II 360 hit 56.8 dB(A) while the Corsair H115i Platinum landed at 49.4 dB(A). From a subjective perspective, both coolers sounded loud but not high pitched. We suspect the difference in sound is mostly related to the maximum RPM of each fan between the Enermax and Corsair units at 2250 RPM and 1800 RPM respectively.

1500 RPM Fans – 100% Pump

Dropping down to 1500 RPM, the Enermax LIQTECH II 360 took the lead at 44.7 dB(A) and the Corsair H115i Platinum was just behind at 47.8 dB(A). Both units were far less obnoxious at his fan level, but still would not be a level we would want to run on a day to day basis.

1000 RPM Fans – 100% Pump

When we lowered the fans down to 1000 RPM, both AIOs tied at 39.9 dB(A). At this point, the noise sounded like it merged with the background noise and would make a good day to day fan speed.

600 RPM Fans – 100% Pump

Lowering the fans to 600 RPM (the lowest level we could keep them spinning at), the Enermax LIQTECH II 360 was at 38.7 dB(A) while the Corsair H115i Platinum was 1.3 dB(A) lower at 37.4 dB(A). At this fan level, the whirr of the pump was louder than the fans.

600 RPM Fans – 50% Pump

Finally, reducing the pump speed to 50% caused both units to tie at 35.8 dB(A). We could not ascertain a difference between ambient noise in the room (measuring 33 dB(A)) and the AIOs running.

David Schroth

David is a computer hardware enthusiast that has been tinkering with computer hardware for the past 25 years.

Join the Conversation

5 Comments

  1. Very nice article.. Just a one minor criticism though:

    In the testing setup portion of the article, you mention the Corsair H115i Platinum, but don’t dive into any of the specifics of the model. I had to go look up what the cooler was, its dimensions, and its cost. Even when comparing a wide range of coolers in a round-up you’d have listings of specifications for each cooler.

    Looks like the 280mm cooler took the 360mm cooler to school. Maybe a 360mm vs 360mm comparison down the road now that you have 1 360mm in the database? :)

    Again, thank you for a very nice article and I look forward to more content down the road!

  2. Wow, the Corsair definitely schooled it with less of a radiator. Was surprised by those results.
  3. Very nice article.. Just a one minor criticism though:

    In the testing setup portion of the article, you mention the Corsair H115i Platinum, but don’t dive into any of the specifics of the model. I had to go look up what the cooler was, its dimensions, and its cost. Even when comparing a wide range of coolers in a round-up you’d have listings of specifications for each cooler.

    Looks like the 280mm cooler took the 360mm cooler to school. Maybe a 360mm vs 360mm comparison down the road now that you have 1 360mm in the database? :)

    Again, thank you for a very nice article and I look forward to more content down the road!

    Well, once I review the Corsair H115i Platinum, we’ll have all the specs listed for it, and that review can reference back to the Enermax LIQTECH :).

    Next up, I have a Silverstone 360mm, and it will be directly compared to these other two. As we gather data about each one, it’ll be included 1. where relevant in the reviews (though, we may not get into 50 item absurd chart range) and 2. In a way that you can explore data / compare models dynamically (which will have the 50 item absurd chart data behind it).

    You’ll see on the conclusion page that I’m also testing out a dynamic graphing plugin (still working to get our logo on it) – that will become an output target for the datasets for the #2 item assuming everything works magically as I think that it should.

    Wow, the Corsair definitely schooled it with less of a radiator. Was surprised by those results.

    I was surprised as well.

  4. Well, each individual review probably shouldn’t include 50+ samples to compare to, however, there was one site that did heatsink reviews and it would should ~10 coolers to compare them too (usually the newest ones, best one, etc… it compared to) however, it did have a chart that showed 50+ coolers all compared to each other. That was cool as heck to use and I used to use it all the time, but I can’t seem to find it anymore.

    edit
    I thought it was https://www.frostytech.com/ but they seem to be redoing the site and nothing is available anymore.

  5. Thanks David for all the hard work in getting these up and running. Really looking forward to your next round. Liquid cooling is something I’m always considering and taking note of both pump & noise is of major concern to me. The fact that AMD is not even bundling a cooler for their high end CPUs now paints a picture of whats needed the big monsters out there in either field.
Leave a comment