Cooler Master Nepton 280L Review
Published: 28th March 2014 | Source: Cooler Master | Price: £104.99 |
First things first. Holy crap how close did the Cooler Master Nepton 280L come to taking the CPU cooler crown? 1.7 Degrees that's how close (did I just answer my own rhetorical question?). Not only was it close, but it actually held the lead all the way up to the final 4.6GHz test where, as you'll see from the charts, it was only just pipped to the post. If this was a horse race you'd have screamed yourself hoarse inside the last furlong only to have a photo finish confirm its loss by the narrowest of noses.
But enough of the embattled equine analogies, what we have here is a 280mm radiator based AIO cooler that thanks to additional mounting holes on both sides of the shroud can not only be mounted onto 140mm spaced holes, but also into areas designed for 120mm fans and radiators. That is of course provided its 75 x 69.8 x 49.1mm frame can be fitted into the desired cavity. Build quality is good, with the review sample having a perfect paint finish and little evidence of bent fins which is not always a given with any rad purchased these days. In use the noise levels at the high end, although loud were acceptable, no doubt with the design and vibration isolation pads of the JetFlo fans helping to keep things down a bit. The kit was easy to fit and set up with instructions being clear and concise.
We can't help but be drawn back to performance, and while we're pleased that it did so well we're a little surprised that it didn't beast the Kraken X60 in the final rest. If this was a game of top trumps the Nepton would have won hands down, the Nepton has a thicker rad, and despite having the same maximum 2000rpm, the Nepton's fans have higher airflow and higher static pressure. All we can really conclude is that the Kraken must have a slightly more efficient contact plate and perhaps a differing fin density in the radiator affording it that small edge leading it to victory over the Nepton. At the end of the day, 1.7 degrees isn't an awful lot, but then you could argue that neither is £15, personally, we’d argue that it is, and that's the price difference between the Kraken and the Nepton, with the Nepton being cheaper and coming off better in the performance per pound stakes than the Kraken. Of course although the Nepton does have an illuminating Pump head, it lacks the tricked out bling of the Kraken, which just might be where some of that £15 has ended up. Whichever you go for will down to personal taste or pocket depth, and either way you won't be disappointed. We think where the Nepton really has the edge over the Kraken though is its inherent ability to be mounted into spaces designed for 120mm fan based rads. The Kraken just doesn't offer this facility and so we feel is squeezed out, but just by a fraction. The Nepton may not beat the Kraken in outright performance terms, but it sure as hell makes up for it in price and versatility. It goes without saying that it's Gold for The Cooler Master Nepton 280L