Antec Kuhler H2O 950 AIO CPU Cooler Review
Antec has been in the cooler business for more than a few years, and it has finally updated its Kuhler H2O line of All-In-One (AIO) liquid CPU coolers. Today we have its mid-entry in the product line, the Kuhler H2O 950. This unit touts a copper cold plate, an "extra large pump," and is supplied with software to control it all.
The 950 is an interesting update for Antec and its Kuhler line of AIO coolers. On one side we have some new technologies included with the 950 that are attention grabbing but on the other hand we have some real problems that plague the unit.
Thankfully, the problems with the unit can easily be fixed with a revision B. If Antec can change the back plate, threaded inserts and hold down clamp, it has a unit that can be installed easily and perform well. Ultimately, it’s up to Antec how it wants to move forward and no company wants to admit its product is sub-par.
On the sound front you have your choice to run the unit is silent mode which truly is silent, or extreme mode which is again as the name sounds, extreme.
At the end of my testing I came away disappointed by my overall experience with the Kuhler 950. With each step I kept expecting my experience to improve but it only got worse. I am frankly surprised as I would expect these kinds of problems from a tier 2 company. Hopefully, Antec can be quick to make some key updates.
The charts below show the cost you will pay for each degree in temperature reduction the heat sink gives you over the stock cooler. The two areas that influence this chart are cost of the heat sink and its performance. An expensive cooler that gives you superior performance will be rated as average here since its cost hurts its rating. Inversely, a poor performing heat sink that costs next to nothing will be rated as average since its performance will hurt its ratings. We ideally look for low cost and high performance. All prices were gathered by doing a very quick search of the web for each cooler and listing it here sans S/H and tax (these can vary widely from region to region).
As an example, if a cooler outperforms the stock cooler by 10C and costs USD $5.00 it would be listed in our chart as $.50. You would pay fifty cents for each degree of better performance over the box cooler.
To arrive at a single number difference, we took the value of all four cores from our overclocked tests, averaged them and then compared them for analysis.
The Bottom Line
Value is always an interesting metric in our eyes. It can be the icing on the cake or the final nail in the coffin. It can turn an underperforming product into a decent recommendation or an exceedingly good product into something too expensive to suggest.
In this instance we have a product that is somewhat on the fence. It is more difficult to install than it needs to be and performs near the bottom of our tests. A low price can give the Kuhler 950 a big kick in the right direction. But we don’t have that. We have the second most expensive product listed and the lowest performance per dollar metric of all coolers tested.
This places the Kuhler 950 in a very tough spot. It doesn’t excel in any aspect unless noise is the utmost important thing to you. Then the Kuhler 950 may have found its niche. It came in as the second quietest cooler tested when it was to silent mode. Its performance at this setting was weak and it’s a hard sell when the True Spirit 120m is quieter, cheaper and far easier to install.
Overall, we can’t recommend the Kuhler 950 in its current form. A price drop and revision to the mounting kit will go a very long way to changing this but I can’t know if that will ever happen. The best we can do is present you the facts in a straightforward way and inform our readers best we can.