Both the Cooler Master Nepton 140XL and 280L came to us for testing and it was my job to find out how well they performed. When you’re spending this much money on a cooling system that isn’t even remotely customisable, it is important to know exactly what you’re buying and how well it performs. I wasn’t exactly impressed with the 280L given that it has a much larger radiator but the 140XL definitely has some potential. So should the Nepton 140XL or 280L be on your list if you’re in the market for a fuss-free cooling solution that is based on the All-In-One systems that everyone seems to want a piece of?
Let’s examine the options; On the one hand, you have the 140XL which is consists of a 140mm radiator with two JetFlo 140mm fans and on the other hand you’ve got the 280L with two JetFlo 140mm fans as well. From my testing and as you’ve seen in the graphs, the 140XL is actually better than the 280L which is something I did state was a possibility at the start of this review. I put this down to the fact that there is still nearly the same amount of fluid in the loop and the fact that the fluid can only absorb so much heat. Increasing your radiator space will not help in this instance as one 140mm radiator is clearly capable of expelling the heat from the water through the fins and into the air more effectively than a 280mm radiator. It does however sit in the bigger radiator for longer but you’re still not able to absorb any more heat into the fluid in the same space of time. A common misconception is that as water passes through the component water blocks, it rises in temperature and continues to rise when it goes through another component (in a custom loop environment) – that’s not the case. The water moves at such speed that it spends very little time in the block and the fluid is usually within 1°c over the entire loop. This brings me back to my original point that an increased radiator will have very little, if any effect on this system.
I did do something a little unusual and as I had the fans available, I figured I’d do it. I put the 280L into a push/pull configuration with, in other words with four fans, to see if it would increase the cooling performance. For the most part, it did increase the cooling performance by as much as 3°c under loaded conditions. However, when you’re spending as much as £105 on a cooling system and then you have to factor in roughly another £20 to £25 for two more fans, you’re getting dangerously close to a custom CPU only water cooling loop which would be a far better option, from both performance and (in my opinion) aesthetic perspectives. I admit it wouldn’t be a fantastic custom water loop as they can easily run into two or even three hundred pounds if you buy the best of the best.
When the fans were running at 100%, they were quieter than I first imagined they would be. I’ve got a fair few of the Thermalright TY 143 fans which come with the SilverArrow SB-E Extreme, and they are a little quieter than those even though they shift roughly the same amount of air. Due to the design of the JetFlo 140mm fans, they do feel like they’re pushing more air but that could be due to the fact that it is more focussed than the TY 143 fans, or so it seems anyway.
If I were to recommend either of the two coolers that I tested here today, it would undoubtedly be the 140XL as it performs better than the 280L and it’s also £20 cheaper too. The extra £20 is to cover the larger radiator but when the performance isn’t increased, it’s a waste in my eyes. Okay, so it may look better in the roof of your case but at the end of the day, if you’re after pure performance, the 140XL tops out and is the better option. Having said that, the 280L isn’t all that far behind but I guess I just expected a bit better, so I am a little disappointed with it.
Finally, it’s time to see if the products deserve any kind of rewards from us today. As this is a review focussed on two different coolers at the same time, I’ve broken them down into their relevant parts.
Cooler Master Nepton 140XL
Cooler Master Nepton 280L
I would like to thank Cooler Master for providing us with both the Nepton 140XL and Nepton 280L for today’s review and I look forward to seeing more from them in the near future.