Final words and conclusion
Final words and conclusion
As it turns out, the Sapphire NITRO+ S360-A and S240-A AIO are not far away from another in performance; that makes sense, though with CPU TDP's. The 240mm version comes recommended over the 360 models, with a 1~2 Degrees C differential. For the rest, it's all the same. Thanks to the gen7 Asetek pump design, the performance is downright excellent. On the other hand, the high RPM fans do not sit well with me because they can quickly boost acoustics to moderate levels, so some manual adjustment will be required to get the best out of them. The only way to solve this problem is to lower the fan speed; the product will become silent with a fan speed of 400-700 RPM.
On the other hand, lowering the RPM comes at the expense of cooling performance. You'll still be able to keep your temps under control with a 240mm radiator and close to 300~350 Watts of cooling capacity even at low RPM, as cooling capacity is not an issue. Another negative I deem to be that no RGB controller is included for this money. Speaking in fair terms, though, most new motherboards have an RGB port. However, performance matters most, and the cooler did not fail in this regard, passing Kraken's level of performance without the need for a software suite. A large amount of reserve and capacity are provided by this 240mm type. We did not reach 80 degrees C with the CPU overclocked and the voltage at 1.40v under load.
The acoustics are acceptable by default but not silent; the fans become audible if the processor is overclocked. They are indeed high static pressure fans that can spin and ramp-up to speeds of up to 2000 RPM, but that's too fast for anything that, in my opinion, needs to be silent. The solution is straightforward: lower fan RPM, establish a fan profile in your motherboard BIOS or have your fans fixed at an RPM level that meets your needs and expectations. You'll have a lot of room to experiment with the cooling performance you get. We could hear the pump softly.
Overall, the design is distinctive, in my opinion; the spider design seems a little icky; I would have liked something more stylish. Other than that, the black color scheme enhances the appearance of the radiator, fans, and water block. Everything appears to be well-balanced; the RGB effects, in general, give the cooler a more subtle appearance, but they also require extra wire to deal with. You can connect it to an aRGB 5V header on your motherboard and use it to sync everything together. The fans are all aRGB lighted, which is a lovely touch; nevertheless, the sheer quantity of wires to tuck away is mind-boggling, to say the least.
Overall it is straightforward to install with the mounting system, prefilled... it's one of the more accessible and comfortable kits on the market to use and install. We find the kit to have a bit too many screws and whistles and bells, though, which can be a little overwhelming after unpacking. For example, the backplate bracket needs four screws and four washers before you can even insert it. Then, you secure it with screws on the CPU side, but not before you mount it to the CPU block. It's all no biggy, but we wonder if that process cannot be simplified. We do dislike all the cabling needed for aRGB, though.
This is an AiO series radiator available in two different sizes: 240 and 360 mm. The ARGB version of the LCS for these AiOs begins at 179 USD for the 240mm model and the 360 models costing 229 USD.
The NITRO+ LCS series is a first for Sapphire. They perform well in a default baseline setup, but the cooler sits in a very saturated market. Pricing, however, is everything, and that's going to shoot Sapphire in the foot, as these units (as far as we're concerned) carry a too-steep price tag. Other than that, RGB lighting is something we like. AiO's cooling performance is excellent; the thing that may be improved is the noise level from the fans. Aggressive competition and pricing are the order of the day, putting these units in a difficult position. Other than that, the new NITRO+ is a well-designed and capable performer and a first for Sapphire. If you like the design, all you need is a bit of fan tweaking; in cooling performance, the product holds up well towards competing products.
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