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ID-Cooling SE-204K Review


ID-Cooling SE-204K Closer Look:

One thing I want to mention right away is that the pictures may appear somewhat dark, and this can be attributed to the dark nickel finish. It looks remarkably attractive in person, but it is difficult to photograph. At 161mm high, this cooler should fit most larger cases, but it is always a good idea to make sure you have the room in your case. I have always been drawn to red and black themed hardware ever since ASUS switched its ROG motherboard series to a red and black theme. Other manufactures have also used red and black, but ROG is where I got my first taste of it, and I still like it, so the red and black fan is a plus for me. In the side view it looks like the front and rear faces of the fin stack are slightly concave, and they actually are. It is not an optical illusion.





The size (surface area), thickness, and density of the fins play a major role in the ability of a cooler to effectively remove heat. Another significant factor is the placement of the heatpipes within the stack, which we will see shortly. All of these things come together along with good air flow, to deliver a cooler that will keep your CPU from cooking when the heat is turned up. The symmetrical fin stack consists of 46 fins and four Ø8mm heatpipes. While the fin stack itself is symmetrical, the entire stack is offset, to aid in memory compatibility and I am a little surprised that this feature isn't highlighted a little more in the feature list. I feel this is important and the engineering that went into it should not be overlooked. There are also dual fan clip grooves on the sides so fans can be installed on either face of the fin stack.



Three of the Ø8mm heatpipes take a path up the sides of fin stack, but one of the pipes curves inward toward the middle of the stack. This offers more surface area exposed to the air stream. The top of the base is a nickel plated aluminum extrusion with seven grooves in the center. Another thing to point out is the way the heat pipes are flattened out as they pass through the base plate. This provides a larger heatpipe footprint against the copper base plate. There are four tapped holes for the AMD or Intel mounting brackets that will secure the cooler to the base bracket, which we will see later.



From this angle, the offset of the base, which comes in handy for RAM clearance, is more obvious. The base plate is machined flat (after plating), which exposes a copper face. All of the nickel plated heat pipes are soldered between the two-piece base. Don't forget to peel off the plastic cover before you apply your thermal paste. In the left I have not yet installed the Intel mounting brackets, but on the right I have them installed, which is easy to do with the four included screws. If you gave the fan a test fit as I have, you will have to remove it during the installation in order to access the installation screws.



Let's talk about the fan. The first thing you will notice are the bright red rubber vibration isolators at each corner. They help keep the sound to a minimum. Another contributing factor to cooler capacity is of course air flow. To move a lot of air, you need a large fan or one that spins really fast, and while the red-trimmed seven blade 120mm PWM fan is not exceptionally large or fast, it can move up to 60.7 CFM of air. It is rated at 0.16 amps and the rated speed is 800 to 1800 RPM with a noise level of 16.2 ~ 19.2dBA.



ID-Cooling was nice enough to also send along a second 120mm PWM fan. It comes with mounting screws (for mounting in a case) and a special power cable to pull full power from a Molex lead if you like. The second set of clips can be put to use with the second fan. Again, being a fan of the ASUS ROG series of products, I immediately like the red and black theme of the fans, especially when there are two of them.



Here is the base mounting bracket. It comes with the foam insulator pads installed. You install the four studs into the corner holes based on which socket you have. After you push the studs and base through the motherboard, there are four spacers that screw on over the studs. These spacers set the cooler height. RAM clearance is facilitated by the offset of the base, so make sure you have the cooler turned the right way, because you can install it either way. This allows full access to the RAM slots. All you have to do now is attach the fan and plug it into one of the CPU fan headers and power it up.



With the fan installed, you can see that the first RAM slot is still accessible, and if you have RAM with tall heat spreaders, it will still fit, but may block a little of the fan towards the bottom. The red and black fan is right at home against the red and black theme used on the MSI Z87 GD-65 test system motherboard in the background.



Here I have added the second fan. The cooler looks more balanced with two fans installed. Even with two fans, things are not to crowded. Ok, everything looks good, so let's see what happens when we turn up the heat.


  1. ID-Cooling SE-204K: Introduction & Closer Look
  2. ID-Cooling SE-204K: Closer Look (Continued)
  3. ID-Cooling SE-204K: Specifications & Features
  4. ID-Cooling SE-204K Testing: Setup & Results
  5. ID-Cooling SE-204K: Conclusion
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