AIO liquid CPU coolers are the trend nowadays. Most of the time they offer better cooling solution compared to an air cooler. They look neat and also provide better aesthetics for your (gaming) system. Deepcool, a PC chassis and CPU cooler manufacturing company, put their AIO liquid CPU cooler to the next level. They made an AIO CPU cooler that would stand out from the rest, by giving it a unique reactor-like looking CPU block. Today we are going to look at the DEEPCOOL Gamer Storm Captain 360 All-In-One Liquid CPU cooler, featuring a 360mm radiator (thus the name “Captain 360”). The company also has the smaller Captain 240 and Captain 120. According to the company the Deepcool Captain is “styled with Steam Punk appearance, built with visible liquid flow and LED lightening, offering an awesome sensation not only to your CPU cooling but also your aesthetic demand. Captain Series is sure to be your ultimate choice for computer case with side window.” Please continue reading my Deepcool Captain 360 review below and find out how good (or bad) the Captain performs.
DEEPCOOL Gamer Storm Captain 360 AIO Liquid CPU Cooler Review
Before we proceed I’d like to thank Deepcool for providing the Captain 360 for the purpose of this review.
The Deepcool Gamer Storm Captain 360 is an all-in-one liquid CPU cooler that features a 360mm radiator cooled with three special 120mm fans. As you can see from its pictures, it has a unique looking CPU water block that looks like a reactor with a pulsating or breathing red LED effect. It also has this obvious looking transparent tube that shows the liquid flow of the cooler.
The Deepcool Captain 360’s pump is composed of a three-phase induction motor built-in a closed impeller. This design is said to offer bigger power, de-vibration and lower pump noise. The pump is also composed of zirconia ceramic bearing that is rated up to 120,000 hours of running time. The base is made out of 100% pure copper with 0.2mm high-density water micro-channel that transfers the heat from the copper plate to the flowing water.
The three 120mm fans features Japanese fluid dynamic bearings with high quality IC offering lower noise level and longer lifetime. These fans are wrapped with a TPE (Thermoplastic elastomers) layer which can reduce vibration. The impeller is detachable and the fan itself is said to be dustproof, waterproof and oil-leakage proof.
The Captain 360, as well as the 240 and 120 variants, are compatible with Intel sockets LGA2011-v3, LGA2011, LGA1366, LGA1156, LGA1155, LGA1150 and AMD FM2+, FM2, FM1, AM3+, AM3, AM2+, AM2.
I’ll discuss more of its features as we take a closer look on the cooler itself.
Deepcool Captain 360 Specifications
|Fan Dimensions||120mm X 120mm X25mm (3pcs)|
|Fan Speed||600 ± 200~2200 ± 10% RPM|
|Fan Air Flow||273.36 CFM (MAX)|
|Fan Air Pressure||3.71mm H2O (MAX)|
|Fan Life Expectancy||100000 hours|
|Fan Noise Level||17.6~39.3 dB|
|Fan Bearing Type||Fluid Dynamic Bearing|
|Fan Rated Voltage||12VDC|
|Fan Rated Current||0.26 ± 10% (MAX)|
|Fan Power Consumption||3.12W|
|Main system Dimensions||89.0mm X 65.0mm X 82.0mm|
|Radiator Dimensions||395mm X 120mm X 32mm|
|Pump Life Expectancy||120000 hours|
|Pump Operating Voltage||6~13.8V DC|
|Pump Rated Voltage||12V DC|
|Pump Speed||3500 ± 10% RPM|
|Pump Current||0.50 ± 10% (MAX)|
|Pump Power Consumption||6.0W|
Packaging and Closer Look
Above you see the front and rear view of the Captain 360’s box. Only a few information can be read and seen from the outer view of the box.
The package includes pretty much everything you need to install the Deepcool Captain 360. The company also included a 4 slot PWM fan hub. Ideally, you should connect the three 120mm PWM fans in this hub so that all fans are controlled by a single PWM header on the motherboard.
Above you see the front and rear view of the three GF120 120mm fans. These are the same black GF120 that are sold individually by the company. Well, except for the obvious color change to match the color of the water block of the Captain.
One thing I like about this fan is that the black frame you see above is actually flexible. You can literally try to bend the frame and it feels like a sturdy or hard rubber. The good thing about this kind of design is that noise vibration caused by the fans are significantly reduced, if not eliminated.
Again, the Deepcool Captain 360 features a 360mm radiator. You will need a PC case or chassis that can support a 360mm radiator. Otherwise you won’t be able to install the Captain 360 at all. A 360 radiator is usually installed either on the top portion of the case, or in front of the case.
One thing that I didn’t like though is the type of tube used in the Captain 360. It’s a corrugated tube that is somewhat stiff and not that flexible compared to other AIO tubes I have tried and tested before. The length of the tube is around 12-inches long, which I think is a little bit short.
The unique looking pump of the Gamer Storm Captain 360 is the real attraction of this cooler. It has this reactor-like looking design with a transparent tube sticking out. The water really flows through that tube, and the direction of the flow is from the bottom going to the top of the water block. Deepcool calls this as the “visual liquid flow design”.
That’s not all, the steam punk inspired reactor looking water block has a red LED with a breathing effect. Unfortunately, there’s no way to control the LED effect on the Captain and you only get that breathing effect.
I was a little bit worried about the fittings on this cooler, but it seems that the tubes are sealed properly. They can also be swiveled at a certain degree of angle. Out of the box, there is already a thermal paste applied on the copper base. The package doesn’t include an extra thermal compound, so I would recommend that you use a third party thermal compound instead.
The 360mm radiator in quite long, specially if you are used to a 120mm or 240mm radiator. The Captain 360 has a slim type of radiator measuring only 27.8mm and it’s also not that heavy. This is a very common type of radiator and I’ve seen this kind of radiator used in other 120mm and 240mm AIO liquid CPU coolers.
Just a reminder, you have to be careful not to accidentally hit the aluminum fins, as they bend easily. Once the fins are bent, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to return them to their original state.
Above are photos of the radiator at a closer angle. Notice that there is an inlet-like looking thing right next to the tubes. If I am not mistaken, it’s really an inlet for the water. But tampering it will void the warranty.
Installation of the Deepcool Captain 360 is fairly easy. The included installation guide is also easy to understand and follow. Above you see how the Deepcool Captain 360 would look like when the lights are turned on and turned off.
In testing the Deepcool Captain 360, I tested it with an Intel Core i7-4770K Haswell processor installed into a Gigabyte Z97X Gaming G1 WiFi BK motherboard. At the time the Captain 360 was tested, the room temperature was approximately around 29° degrees Celsius. I also used Thermalright’s Chill Factor III thermal paste during the test. Below are the rest of the specifications of the test bench.
Operating System: Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit
Motherboard: Gigabyte Z97X Gaming G1 WiFi BK
Processor: Intel Core i7-4770K
CPU Cooler: DeepCool Captain 360
Memory: KLEVV Genuine 8GB DDR3-2666
Graphics card: None
Storage Drive: Samsung 850 Pro 256GB
Power Supply: Seasonic 1050W Platinum
Chassis: DimasTech Bench Table Easy V3.0
Below are screenshots of the processor’s CPU-Z data. The screenshot on the left hand side, you see the CPU is clocked at 3.9GHz (Turbo), while on the right hand side the CPU is overclocked to 4.6GHz with 1.38 volts.
I took note of the CPU’s temperature while in idle to light load, and in full load at both clock speeds. The temperature you will see below were taken around 15 minutes after each test or scenario. In idle to light condition this includes the system doing nothing for several minutes, listening to some MP3 music, browsing the internet or just simple typing in MS Word. In the full load scenario, I used Prime95 to stress the processor to really bring up the heat.
In the idle to light scenario, the fans were running around 1,000 RPM (±100 RPM). The fan speed increased to around 2,200 RPM when I started to stress the CPU. When it comes to fan noise, the GF120s are silent at 50% or below speed. However at 100% fan speed, they do become audible, but not obnoxiously loud. These are not the most silent fans I have tried and tested, but they are not the loudest fans as well.
Since temperature fluctuates constantly, I’m not going to show you some graphs in this review like what you typically see in most reviews. Instead, I’m going to show you the actual screenshot of the Hardware Monitor’s reading during the four different scenarios.
Please note that the first column from the left is the actual value or temperature at that exact moment; the middle column is the minimum temperature during the scenario and; the third column on the right is the highest or maximum temperature reached during the said scenario.
Intel Core i7-4770K @ 3.9GHz Idle to Light Load:
Intel Core i7-4770K @ 3.9GHz Full Load:
Intel Core i7-4770K @ 4.6GHz Idle to Light Load:
Intel Core i7-4770K @ 4.6GHz Full Load:
As you can see from the screenshots above, the lowest temperature I got with the Deepcool Captain 360 was around 32 degrees Celsius. The temperature increased up to 61 degrees Celsius when the Core i7-4770K was running at full load with a clock speed of 3.9GHz. That’s actually the turbo boost speed of the CPU. If your CPU is not overclock and is running around this clock speed or below. Most probably you will be getting the same temperatures as well.
Things get really hot when I overclocked the CPU to 4.6GHz with a voltage of 1.38V. Temperature during idle to light load was already around 40 to 60 degrees Celsius, and the temperature was playing within those values. But once the CPU was fully stressed with the help of Prime95, temperature rose up to 100 degrees Celsius. And we don’t want our CPU to be running at those temperature at all.
Price and Availability
The Deepcool Gamer Storm Captain 360 AIO liquid CPU cooler is now widely available. At the time I posted this review, the Captain 360 has a retail price of $129.99 USD or £139.99. Of course the Captain 240 and Captain 120 are the cheaper options.
Deepcool Captain 360 Review: Conclusion
When the whole AIO liquid CPU cooler business became popular, almost every PC cooling manufacturer joined the bandwagon. Usually the price and performance are the determining factor. But we can’t deny that brand and aesthetics have become determining factors as well in choosing a CPU cooler. Deepcool might have not a strong branding compared to Corsair, Cooler Master or Swiftech, but they entered and attacked the market in a different way by making their AIO CPU cooler unique.
The reactor-like water block do stand out and it will surely add to the aesthetics of your system, specially if you have a Red and Black color theme. In terms of performance, the Captain 360 was able to perform well. Although, I was expecting more since it had a 360mm radiator and should outperform an AIO liquid CPU cooler with only a 240mm radiator. I guess a 240mm radiator is really the optimal solution for an AIO liquid CPU cooler. A 360mm radiator would be good if paired with a more powerful pump and can be expanded to cool other components.
The Deepcool Captain 360 is a great product, but I think it’s not perfect yet. There are rooms for improvement like changing the tubes with a better looking one and using a more silent type of fan. The larger 360mm radiator may be a con for some, specially for those who have a case that can’t support a 360 radiator. But Deepcool got you covered with the Captain 240 and Captain 120. Also, at the time of publishing this review, the Captain 360 is cheaper compared to one of its competitor, the Thermaltake Water 3.0 Ultimate that retails for $138.
Finally, the Deepcool Captain 360 is a well-built AIO liquid CPU cooler that will surely add to your system’s aesthetics. If you have an Asus ROG, MSI Gaming or Gigabyte Gaming motherboard, I’m sure you won’t have any problem matching this CPU cooler with your system’s color. It may not have a groundbreaking cooling performance but it does deliver, and makes your system look like it is being powered by a reactor (which is pretty cool).