Introduction & Closer Look
Regular visitors to Play3r will know that we have been impressed with the two 240mm AIO coolers that we have been sent by ID-Cooling to date… namely the FrostFlow 240L and the ICEKIMO 240W. This time we have one of the 120mm varieties on the test bench in the shape of the FrostFlow 120. Does half the size equal half the performance? Or will it rub shoulders with its bigger brothers on the Play3r CPU cooling charts?
First impressions are that this is a pretty nice looking unit. Most noticeable is that the pump on this model has a much more conservative look than either of the previous AIO coolers we’ve seen from ID-COOLING. There’s no comet tail LED effect that the 240 sports, nor anything like the intricate design from the ICEKIMO.
To be honest, I much prefer this more minimalistic look for the CPU block. A simple solid block, all decked out in black, with just the manufacturer logo taking centre stage. This illuminates white during operation, but there is no way to change this to any other colour.
The FrostFlow 120 has support for all the major Intel and AMD sockets, including AM4. They are as follows:
The remainder of the unit follows the design we have seen before. Rubber tubes link the block to the radiator, and they are extremely flexible, which helps when mounting inside your chassis. They don’t feel as robust as other AIO’s that feature braided outers, but the trade-off is that they are nowhere near as stiff.
The 120mm fan supplied is exactly the same in design as we have seen before, but performance on this one ranges from 800 to 2000RPM. With this increase in speed, also comes an increase in airflow; this one rated at 84.5CFM. At the time of writing there are no other colour variations available, so it’s an all-black unit, with red LED fan, or nothing.
|Tube Material||EPDM Rubber|
|Cold Plate Material||Copper|
|Pump Bearing||Ceramic Bearing|
|Pump Life Expectancy||50,000 Hrs|
|Pump Noise Level||25dB(A)|
|Max. Air Flow||84.5CFM|
|Max. Static Pressure||3.2mmH2O|
|Bearing Type||Hydraulic Bearing|
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 – ASUS GTX 1060 STRIX
- RAM – Crucial Ballistix Elite 16GB DDR4 3000MHz
- PSU – BeQuiet Dark Power Pro 11 1000w
- SSD – Crucial MX300 525GB SSD
- Case – Cooler Master Test Bench V2
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.
After reading Gavin’s reviews of the last two ID-COOLING AIO’s we had here at Play3r, I was looking forward to putting the FrostFlow 120 through it’s paces… and it didn’t disappoint. At the time of writing the FrostFlow 120 is available on Amazon UK for just £39.89. Let’s take a look how it scores in each of our three categories:
At 4.2Ghz the FrostFlow 120 performs very respectably indeed, so well in fact that it outperformed one of it’s bigger siblings! It didn’t fare quite as well at 4.5Ghz, but that’s not to say that it wasn’t still very adequate whilst overclocked… it just set the bar very high at stock speeds.
The simpler design of the CPU block is much more pleasing to me personally, and makes it look more premium in my opinion. The fan used here is identical in design to our previous ID-COOLING products, and I note Gavin’s observation that they look a little “plasticky”. I do see where he’s coming from to be honest. In its defence however, it does look pretty good when its LED’s are in full operation. All in all, it’s a pretty nice unit overall.
All of the concluding comments have all been written on the FrostFlow 120’s own merits. The fact that this is a sub £40 AIO cooler makes it an extremely attractive proposition. For the performance it delivers, and the price you have to pay, the value for money is up there with the best.
It’s hat-trick for ID-COOLING…three AIO coolers sent to us at Play3r, and three Recommended Awards! It performs great, it looks good, and pitched at a really competitive price point.
It would be great if you could change the LED colours on the CPU block & fan, but that would mean an increase in price, which would take away one the biggest reasons it gets the award that it does. It also only comes in this Black/Red variant… adding further colours to the line-up would really increase the reach of the FrostFlow 120 in my opinion. If you are listening ID-COOLING, I’d personally pre-order a white one right now!
Finally, the biggest issue of all… and I’m afraid I am going to echo something from our previous reviews… it’s not easy to purchase in the UK. At the time of writing I have 2 options to purchase this product; Amazon or eBay, and both of which appear to be shipped from China! ID-COOLING really need to arrange a UK distribution network, because they would surely be on to a winner if our experience here at Play3r is anything to go by.
Despite your potential struggles to purchase one, if you are on a budget and the black/red colourway is what you are after, I would wholeheartedly recommend the FrostFlow 120.
Massive thanks to ID-COOLING for sending the FrostFlow 120 in for review.
- Good cooling performance
- Nice design, especially the CPU block
- Price for performance is stunning
- UK availability is still severely lacking
- Only currently available in black/red