Introduction & Closer Look
Back in July of this year, I reviewed the new 360mm variant of the already hugely successful Silent Loop range from be quiet!. That cooler shot straight to the top of our cooling charts, and has remain unbeaten ever since. When reviewing our league table of coolers recently, I realised that we have never reviewed the 280mm variant… until now!
Inside the now familiar be quiet! branded box, we have the 280mm radiator accompanied by two Pure Wings 2 fans, every mounting kit imaginable, and a full tube of thermal paste. We won’t be using this, as we always use the same Noctua NT-H1 grease in order to keep all tests equal, but it’s nice to get enough paste for multiple applications.
Pure Wings 2 fans are again included as standard on this Silent Loop cooler. Featuring PWM speed control functionality, and a maximum RPM of 2000, we already know from our time with the 360mm variant, that these are top notch performers.
I’m not going to dwell too much on the quality of build and materials used, as apart from the obvious difference in radiator size, the Silent Loop 280 is identical to the 360 model.
Safe to say though, that I am big fan as the quality all round is high. We are really here for one thing… how does it perform???
Therefore, before we look at our performance league tables, a quick look at the specifications.
- Innovative decoupled reverse-flow pump runs smoother, quieter and with less vibration than conventional pumps
- Full copper radiator for an impressive cooling performance
- Two Pure Wings 2 PWM fans provide quiet operation with high air pressure
- Customized fan speed thanks to PWM function
- Easy handling due to flexible bend-protection tubes and convenient mounting
- Full copper parts and a refill port extend the product’s life span
- Nickel-plated cold plate allows optimum use of heat-conducting metallic paste
- Compatible with Intel® and AMD™ sockets
- 3-year manufacturer’s warranty
- Product conception, design and quality control in Germany
- Dimensions radiator, incl. fan (H x W x D), (mm): 319 x 144 x 55
- Maximum power capacity (W TDP): 400
- Pump Type: Reverse Flow Pump
- Pump Speed: 2,200
- Pump Connector: 3 Pin
- Radiator Dimensions: 319 x 144 x 30
- Radiator Material / Finish: copper / black spray painted
- Base Material / Finish: copper / dark nickel plated
- Fan dimensions (mm) / Quantity (pcs.): 140 x 140 x 25 / 2
- Noise level (dB(A)) @ 25 % / 50% /100% rpm: 16.1 / 24.1 / 37.3
- Speed @ 100% PWM (rpm) : 1,600
- Airflow @ 12V (cfm / m3/h): 94.2 / 160
- Air pressure @ 12V (mm / H2O): 1.82
- Bearing type: Rifle
- Motor technology: 4-pole fan motor
- Connector: 4-pin PWM
- Lifespan (h / 25°C): 80,000
Since our previous cooling reviews prior to November 2016, we have decided to update the method accordingly for better and consistent results. It isn’t ideal running Prime95 for a prolonged period of time and if you get called away to do something, it could be left running for much longer than needed. Our new methodology involves running a very stressful multi-threaded performance benchmark called ROG RealBench.
It should also be noted that the reason we omit acoustic/noise testing is due to an inaccuracy within the readings and method. To provide truly accurate readings, you need a lab setting with the same ambient noise on an hour by hour, day by day and week by week basis. As ambient noise can increase at different times of the day, we believe that it’s pointless providing noise testing if we can’t measure consistent and accurate data due to our office being a busy setting.
- CPU – Intel Core i7 6700k – (4.2GHz at 1.25v & 4.5GHz at 1.38v)
- Motherboard – Asus ROG Maximus VIII Hero Alpha
- GPU – ZOTAC GTX 1060 AMP! Edition
- RAM – Crucial Ballistix Elite 16GB DDR4 3000MHz
- PSU – be quiet! Dark Power Pro 11 1000w
- SSD – Crucial MX300 525GB SSD
- Case – Cooler Master Test Bench V2
- Monitor – Philips P-Line 241P6 4K Ultra HD
Idle Testing Methodology
To test each cooler at idle, the minimum temperature is taken after leaving the PC with only start-up programs on Windows 10 being allowed to run for 5 minutes. After this, the minimum temperature with the core temperature being offset against the room temperature; thus achieving delta.
Load Testing Methodology
To load test, we run RealBench while selecting the heavy multitasking benchmark only. We run this a maximum of 3 times concurrently and the maximum temperature recorded is taken. This temperature is deducted from the current room temperature and our final delta temperature is provided.
Today’s test was all about the performance… and once again be quiet! haven’t disappointed us, with the Silent Loop 280 only being beaten by its 360mm, triple fan sibling. I never fail to be amazed at just how little noise the superb Pure Wings 2 fans make, even under load.
Nothing extra to say about the design, as the aesthetics are identical to the other sizes in this range. Safe to say however, build & materials quality is all top notch here.
The only downside to the Silent Loop 280, is the cost. At the time of the review, the cheapest price I could find was £132.98 at Scan Computers in the UK. That places this 280mm variant almost on a par with the 360mm variant, and substantially more expensive that the other 280mm AIO coolers in our charts.
Another Silent Loop variant from be quiet! that is a top performer. Build quality is excellent, using top quality materials… but you will have to pay a premium to get it. It gets a gold award for its performance alone, as it beats every other 280mm AIO cooler we’ve ever tested, but there are cheaper alternatives if you have a limited budget.
Massive thanks to be quiet! for sending in the Silent Loop 280mm for review
- Great cooling performance
- Solid build quality with quality materials
- Expensive compared to competitors