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Cooler Master Nepton 280L Liquid CPU Cooler Review

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Cooler Master JetFlo POM Fans

Speaking of additional fans, Cooler Master sent along a pair of their new 120mm JetFlo series of performance fans.  Utilizing a POM bearing just like their larger 140mm counterparts, these JetFlos are rated for 95 CFM of airflow and 2.72mm H2O of air pressure (+/- 10%).

CM_JetFloFront

The corners of the 120mm versions are blocks of rubber with a threaded steel insert for attaching them to a case or a cooler.  You won’t be able to use standard fan screws with these, but they come with a set of appropriate sized mounting screws.  While it may challenge the “standard,” it’s nice to see a properly threaded metal attachment point instead of relying on the end-user to carve a thread in a plastic hole.

CM_JetFloItems

The 120mm JetFlos are a 4-pin PWM fan, but they come with two fan speed (voltage, really) limiters to keep RPMs around 1200 or 1600 RPM if you don’t have access to PWM motherboard control or a fan controller.

CM_JetFloSide

See?  Entire blocks of rubber!  The JetFlo series of fans have a definite heft to them, and it gives the assembly an overall feeling of quality which will probably help last the stated life expectancy of 160,000 hours.  You’ll also notice that there aren’t any holes for LEDs or wires as the LEDs are contained in the fan hub, which really helps clean up the outside and provides for a nice even glow – no catching a blinding LED at certain angles with this configuration!

CM_Nepton280_120mm

The Nepton 280L is obviously designed to fit 140mm fans, but it is drilled to accept 120mm fans as well – here’s what a pair of 120mm JetFlos would look like on a 280mm radiator.

CM_Nepton280_JetFlosComparison

For a size comparison, here are the two JetFlo fans placed next to each other.  Incidentally, if you were bothered by the proximity of the 8-pin CPU cable, swapping out a fan for a 120mm version would free up more than enough room…not the best solution of course, but I love having options available!

CM_Nepton280_120JetFlosInstalled

Since the Nepton 280L comes with thumbscrews for installing the fans, it was simple to swap them out with the radiator already in place.  Powered on, the centrally located SMD LEDs illuminate the blades with a very even glow that gives the illusion of an illuminated disc (instead of individual beams of light highlighting the curve of a fan blade).  I really prefer this type of effect if I’m opting for illuminated fans, and Cooler Master has JetFlos in various colors (red, white, blue and a non-LED black with smoke-tinted blades – although I’m a little sad to see that green or orange didn’t make the list…).  Performance when mounted in place of the 140mm JetFlo fans on the Nepton 280L was pretty impressive, as the maximum core temp reached only increased by 2 degrees Celsius.  Of course, this is performance measured relative to 140mm JetFlo fans, it isn’t a very good indicator of absolute performance of the fans specifically.  In the next section we’ll compare the cooler to some of the competition, but don’t be afraid to take the time to read through some background information on how we prepare CPU coolers for testing.


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2 comments

  1. Greg

    I have one of these 280L Neptons cooling a heavily OC’d A10 7850K and it is far and away the best AIO out there. I have thrown an obscene amount of voltage at it for OC’ing review purposes and it has easily taken it by scaling the excellent Jet Flo 140mm fans. I think the SP may be underrated for some reason. Thus far I have been using it in push only mode, but I am going to see what effect push /pull adds.
    A very impressive unit to be sure.

    1. Tom Jaskulka

      Hey Greg, glad you enjoyed the review. The Nepton series certainly seem to be strong performers – you’ll have to check out Aidan’s review of a new Nepton cooler, as it seems to have fixed some of my noise complaints :) Hard to beat those twin 140mm JetFlo fans though…

      I’ve considered a Nepton for my A10-7850K as those things draw a surprising amount of power when overclocked! What do you have yours running at (and on what board)? I can’t seem to get mine completely stable above 4.6 GHz without pushing an uncomfortable amount of voltage. I’d be interested to hear if it’s just my chip (or board, for that matter) :)

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