When a CPU manufacturer rolls out a new CPU socket design, we expect an inevitably poor stock CPU cooler to appear with it, offering the bare minimum of cooling to run the CPU at its stock speed. However, with the high thermal demands of Sandy Bridge E, Intel has decided to skip the aluminium paperweights this time.
This hasn’t stopped it developing its own cooler, though. Intel has partnered with liquid cooler specialist Asetek, the company behind Antec’s excellent Kühler H2O 920, which unfortunately doesn’t support LGA2011 yet. The result is the excitingly named Intel Thermal Solution RTS2011LC, a closed-loop liquid cooler.
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Essentially a miniaturised, self-contained water-cooling loop, the RTS2011LC’s CPU block combines a CPU waterblock and pump, with tough, rubber hoses connecting the unit to the single 120mm-fan radiator and accompanying 120mm fan. Both the fan and the CPU block are lit by bright blue LEDs, and with a back-lit Intel logo on the CPU block itself there’ll be no question which CPU your PC is running. Unlike the Corsair H80, the RTS2011LC’s fan is fitted as an exhaust, so it shouldn’t interfere with most case cooling layouts.
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Installing the RTS2011LC was tricky: while the CPU block was easy to mount using the accompanying circular mounting bracket, which screws directly into the LGA2011 socket’s screw holes, the radiator caused problems. This is because, unlike the Corsair or Antec, the RTS2011LC’s radiator mounts directly on the case rather than placing a fan between the two.
With our test system, the large radiator wouldn’t line up with the rear 120mm mount’s screw holes, although we managed to wedge it securely in place. Large, spacious cases will have fewer issues but for those with smaller chassis, it’s worth bearing in mind.