ID-Cooling Frostflow+ 280 AIO Cooler Review

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ID Cooling Frostflow 280 feature

Introduction & Closer Look

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It’s been more than 5 months since we had an ID-Cooling product on our test bench, but today we wait no longer, as we have the privilege of being able to test their newest product on the market…namely the Frostflow+ 280.

ID Cooling Frostflow 280 box

The previous three AIO coolers we have tested have all performed really well, and all have walked away with our recommended award. This time we have our first 280mm variant from ID-Cooling, that comes with the promise of the very best value for money possible, without compromising on performance.

ID Cooling Frostflow 280 contents

Upon unboxing the Frostflow+ 280, the contents are pretty straight forward; we get the pump, cooler and radiator main unit, two 140mm static pressure fans, and a bag of fittings for various socket types.

The Frostflow+ 280 has support for all the major Intel and AMD sockets, including AM4. The sockets supported are:

Intel

LGA2011v3/2011/1366/1150/1151/1155/1156/775

AMD

AM4/AM3+/AM3/AM2/FM2+/FM2/FM1

ID Cooling Frostflow 280 fan

The included fans look fairly basic in build quality, with white blades contrasting against the black casing, and have a speed range of 800 to 1600 rpm.

ID Cooling Frostflow 280 rad

Moving onto the 280mm radiator, and again we see a no-frills design. Made of aluminium, and featuring a simple splash of branding to the side of the unit, its apparent that the finished look once inside your case is going to be a fairly understated look. One positive thing to note with the radiator is that the fin density looks to be really good, which should help with the dissipation of heat when in operation.

ID Cooling Frostflow 280 pump

For anyone that has read my previous review of the Frostflow 120 AIO from back in April of this year, the design of the CPU block will look a little familiar. It has the same dimensions, but this time features an illuminated ring around the outer edge of the top face.

ID Cooling Frostflow 280 coldplate

Flipping over the CPU block we find that the cold plate also retains the same design as the Frostflow series, with a solid piece of copper plating being held down with 8 screws.

Finally, just a mention for another design element that remain the same from the last AIO cooler from ID-Cooling that we tested, and that’s the mounting brackets. It’s all too common for companies to over-complicate the bracket design, which causes unnecessary frustration when fitting the CPU block. The fitting of the ID-Cooling AIO’s to date has been some of the easiest we have witnessed, and it’s nice to see that they have resisted the temptation to tinker with something that already works perfectly well.

Specifications

 TDP  200W
 Radiator Dimension  311×138×27mm
 Radiator Material  Aluminium
 Tube Material  Premium Sleeved Rubber Tubing
 Tube Length  380mm
 Waterblock Dimension  Ф65×43mm
 Cold Plate Material  Copper
 Pump Current  0.25A
 Pump Speed  2300±10%RPM
 Pump Bearing  Ceramic Bearing
 Pump Life Expectancy  50,000 Hrs
 Pump Noise Level  25dB(A)
 Fan Dimension  140×140×25mm
 Included Fans  2pcs
 Fan Speed  800~1600±10%RPM
 Max. Air Flow  76.8CFM
 Max. Static Pressure  2.14mmH2O
 Noise  16.8~32.6dB(A)
 Rated Voltage  12VDC
 Operating Voltage  10.8~13.2VDC
 Started Voltage  7VDC
 Rated Current  0.3A
 Power Input  3.6W
 Bearing Type  Hydraulic Bearing

Thermal Performance

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.

Test Setup

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.

Results

ID Cooling Frostflow 280 4.2Ghz idle

ID Cooling Frostflow 280 4.2Ghz load

ID Cooling Frostflow 280 4.5Ghz idle

ID Cooling Frostflow 280 4.5Ghz load

Conclusion

Performance

The previous ID-Cooling AIO’s we have tested have all been solid performers…and the Frostflow+ 280 is no different. Thermals were kept under control superbly well, and beat off competition from some pretty big names in our ever-expanding league tables.

The one down side that I witnessed was that the pump is fairly noisy. This was perhaps exaggerated by running it on our open-air test bench, and it wouldn’t be as distracting when installed into a case, but it was still the loudest I have come across for quite a while.

Design

The design is nothing ground breaking, but the beauty of the Frostflow+ 280 is in it’s simplicity. The monochrome looks of the white LED’s on the pump, and the white fans blades, means it will fit into just about any colour build the end user has.

ID Cooling Frostflow 280 LED

It’s not the most robust in terms of build quality, but this is reflected in the price that you have to pay for this unit…which leads us nicely onto Value!

Value

At the time of the review, ID-Cooling have advised me that the Frostflow+ 280 will have an MSRP of just £59.99 here in the UK. For an AIO cooler of this size, and given it’s excellent performance, this gives you serious bang for your buck!

Final Thoughts

It’s not the sexiest all-in-one CPU cooler on the market (if there is such a thing), and it can’t match the quality of build or materials used of some of the more premium brands & models in our list…but let’s not forget, this is less than £60!

At this price point, boasting the performance I have witnessed, the ID-Cooling Frostflow+ 280 gets a Play3r Gold Award…and it’s very well deserved.

Buy from Overclockers UK: £59.99

awards-gold

Massive thanks to ID-Cooling for send the Frostflow+ 280 in for review.

  • Performance
  • Design
  • Value

Summary

Pros:

- Great performance
- Cheap price offers great value for money
- Simple but stylish design

Cons:

- Quality of materials used not the highest (but this is reflected in the price)
- Pump is quite noisy when in operation

4.3

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