Cooler Master Nepton 280L Reviewred454 - November 18, 2013
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Cooler Master Nepton 280L Closer Look:
Looking at the system we see the typical AIO setup: a water block / pump with power lead, the ribbed tubing, and, finally, the radiator. The radiator feels solid and is of course filled at the factory. The first thing I notice is the oversized tubes. Thick, yet very flexible. And long, which should ease up on the usual twisting and pulling that you go through when getting the radiator into positon in the case. I also notice that there is only a single 4-pin power lead coming from the pump, so the fans are not controlled by the pump. And this is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact it helps to keep the cable clutter down.
The radiator is the same size as a standard 240mm radiator and is constructed from aluminum. The inlet and outlet tubes are a hefty 13.7mm diameter and are secured to the radiator. The larger diameter tubes will allow a better fluid flow rate. There is a sealed fill port off to one side and it is clearly labeled with "Do not tamper with or remove" and "Warranty void if removed."
Here you can get an idea of the tube size. On both sides of the radiator there are tapped mounting holes for 120mm and 140mm cooling fans.
The pump cover has a thin hexagonal lens that surrounds the Cooler Master logo. When it is powered up, white LEDs make the hex shaped lens glow. Underneath you can see the two of the four mounting holes for the two brakcets that attach the water block / pump to the base. There are dedicated brackets for both AMD and Intel motherboards. Don't forget to remove the protective plastic cover that is stuck over the cold plate.
The inlet and outlets can be rotated slightly to allow for the tubing to conform to the way you mount the radiator. On the right you can see Cooler Master's new UltraFine Microchannel, which per Cooler Master is "designed for the best water flow and draws the maximum amount of heat away from the cold plate and transfers it to the coolant".
And here we have the included JetFlo 140mm fans. These are 4-pin PWM fans that use a rifle bearing and are rated at 0.8 amps and 54~122.5 CFM ± 10%. The speed is variable from 800~2000 RPM (PWM) ± 10%.
The JetFlo 140's have integrated rubber pads at each corner to keep any vibrations to a minimum.
The base mounting bracket has a green insulating layer and studs with adjustable plastic clips. You insert the studs through the appropriate holes in the base and then pop the clips on and slide them to lock the studs to the proper location depending on your socket type. The clips do a good job of holding the studs in place as you install the bracket to the rear of the motherboard. Flip the bracket over and you are ready for an AMD motherboard.
So now we go to the installation. It is an understatement to say that there is plenty of room in the Phanteks Enthoo Primo case. The long tubes give you some welcome flexibility when installing the radiator. Here is where the thumbscrews really shine and reveal the beauty and utility of Cooler Master's tool-free AIO watercooler. It can be a little bit of a challenge when trying to hold the radiator in position and get a fan in there, and then get a screw started. How many times do you drop a screw, then everything shifts out of place? Not with the thumbscrews. This is a really great idea. Need to clean the fan or radiator? No problem - in a few seconds you remove them without any tools, and have them back in action in a snap.
The pump is powered by the CPU fan header on your motherboard. There are no fan controls (power leads) on the water block / pump. The power cable for the fans is actually a separate 4-pin splitter that plugs into the CPU optional fan header on your motherboard and allows you to power both of the 140mm fans.
The sheer size of the Enthoo Primo case makes the 280L seem a little less dramatic, but it still takes up some space.
And now you can see the Intel mounting brackets. You use two screws to install one bracket on each side. Then you slide a plastic spacer over each stud on the base, place the water block over the four studs (on top of the spacers), and use the four thumbscrews to finally secure the water block to the base. The thumbscrews really simplify the pump installation.
Here is a better view of the two mounting brackets installed on the sides of the water block. I like to do a test install and check to see coverage and spread of the thermal paste, then I wipe it down and on to the final install.
And here we have the final build. It looks nice in there. The 140mm fans are ready to move some air.