Review Ice Giant Prosiphon Elite Review: Catch the Biggest Air

Lord Tyrion

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Mar 27, 2020
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Outperformed on the i9 by the Noctua and barely better on the Threadripper, but twice the price, huge and loud! Not sure why you'd pay the extra over a Noctua or less for a regular water AIO. Strange conclusion imo.
 

helper800

Distinguished
Outperformed on the i9 by the Noctua and barely better on the Threadripper, but twice the price, huge and loud! Not sure why you'd pay the extra over a Noctua or less for a regular water AIO. Strange conclusion imo.
What this does outperform all traditional air coolers on is sustained cooling. There is so much more mass to transfer heat, coupled with a better method of exchanging heat leads to much longer heat soak times which means significantly longer sustained boost frequencies.
 

rubix_1011

Contributing Writer
Moderator
The majority of the evaluation is relative to existing solutions. Also, stop to consider that this is a new cooling technology to the performance/desktop PC space in terms of utilization. Similar to heatpipes but with a potentially larger overhead.

You are correct - it's incredibly difficult to beat the Noctua NH-D15, even though its an older cooler. It shows you how good it is and why EVERYONE is quick to recommend it if you can fit it into a case (and budget). It is also still $100, so again, we're looking at a market segment where someone is already spending large sums of money and 'wants to know what else is out there'. Not everyone wishes to opt for the same cooler just because it's been the benchmark for like....forever. This is also the same reason we have millions of flavors of ice cream, different car models in the same classification and why your local Foot Locker sells Nike, as well as Adidas .

Also have to consider that opinion is not the same as fact. Perspective is everything, and that all depends on your budget and goals. There is a huge trend in internet searches and inquiry about 'what is the best' (intersect of 'x', for example) when in fact, the question is 'what is the best but for minimal budget', making these types of questions not one of just being 'best' but also of 2-axis of evaluation ('X' against 'Y'). This does not apply to all, nor does it apply to all as a constant in every situation.

In terms of Threadripper usage - let's take for example our test system of a 2990WX and Gigabyte Aorus X399 Xtreme: The CPU is nearly $1900 alone. The motherboard is nearly $880. These are today's prices - March 31, 2021. High end TR4 system builders spending $2600+ on CPU/MB and would rather not have an AIO have options of only a real solid handful of powerful air-cooling options.

The IceGiant is large, but in terms of how large it is vs. the NH-D15, the IceGiant is more rectangular while the Noctua is more 'square' overall. Both are still huge.

And yes - it is heavy. By design it is significantly well-built and to be industrial-esque overall due to the roots of the parent company - one in which they've been applying this tech to large/heavy industrial and commercial machinery for quite some time. The prototype I tested was even larger (link to that is also listed) in the first paragraph. Always remember that there are backplates which distribute stress as well as the possibility that you can opt to have the motherboard horizontal if you'd prefer. No one is 'forcing' anyone to use a traditional/vertical case.

For noise - having a 360 AIO running fans at 100% can get pretty noisy, I have experienced this a lot in testing coolers over the past 4 years. This is why PWM curving is very important if you want to control noise levels.
 

g-unit1111

Titan
Moderator
Seriously, just buy a 280mm at that point, there's absolutely no need for this thing. It's bested by a tried and true cooler (the D15) and 280mm coolers aren't that much more expensive. Like... what's the point of this thing?
 

Jake Hall

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Running it on my 5900x and I'm happy with the performance so far, but I also haven't pushed the CPU for extended periods and it's not summertime yet. It really should have copper, instead of an aluminum contact. I got it for $120 and I hope to see more from the company.
 

Phaaze88

Polypheme
Ambassador
Oh yeah, I was waiting to see the review of this thing here - I'd already seen the review over at Kitguru.
Looks like the same result: This cooler can't really stretch its legs at anything below HEDT.
 

deesider

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What this does outperform all traditional air coolers on is sustained cooling. There is so much more mass to transfer heat, coupled with a better method of exchanging heat leads to much longer heat soak times which means significantly longer sustained boost frequencies.
Except that is not what is shown in the results for the i9. The results were from running Prime95 for two hours, during which the Noctua had significantly lower temps. Nothing to suggest that the Ice Giant would get better boost frequencies. That could be possible, but not from these results.

The Threadripper temps were higher on the Noctua due to saturating the heatpipes. That could be overcome by using thicker heatpipes; then the cooling is effectively limited by the ability of the fans to eliminate the heat. That can be achieved without all the extra weight of the Ice Giant.
 

HideOut

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Seriously, just buy a 280mm at that point, there's absolutely no need for this thing. It's bested by a tried and true cooler (the D15) and 280mm coolers aren't that much more expensive. Like... what's the point of this thing?
Most 280's and 360's are cheaper, especially on sale. Im confused as to why the Darkrock pro was on part of the review then disapeared. That thing is $85 at newegg today in fact.
 

escksu

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Aug 8, 2019
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My complain would be size and weight. The weight means it could easily break your board during transport. Then the size means you need to remove cooler to remove/install RAM!! Its not as good as noctua due to its big but thin aluminum base. IMHO, a thick copper base would be better but its going to weigh even more.
 

helper800

Distinguished
Except that is not what is shown in the results for the i9. The results were from running Prime95 for two hours, during which the Noctua had significantly lower temps. Nothing to suggest that the Ice Giant would get better boost frequencies. That could be possible, but not from these results.

The Threadripper temps were higher on the Noctua due to saturating the heatpipes. That could be overcome by using thicker heatpipes; then the cooling is effectively limited by the ability of the fans to eliminate the heat. That can be achieved without all the extra weight of the Ice Giant.
The ice giant has more mass to saturate than the noctua so the initial amount of time to reach the equilibrium temperature takes longer on ice giant cooler. It take longer to heat up more mass on more massive coolers which means lower temps initially for longer high-boost CPU frequencies. This is why AIOs are so much better than even the best air coolers. There is so much more medium to heat up so temps are lower in inconsistently taxing or unsustained workloads.
 
I tested out this ProSiphon Elite cooler last month. It's pretty interesting.

Good:
Tested WITH AVX! Passively cooled my Ryzen at 4.2GHz all-core OC.
Was able to OC to 4.375GHz all-core while running with fans.
Runs well with just 2 of 4 fans installed.
The included fans are the Arctic P12s. Very quiet, very good pressure.

Bad:
Would not fit in my standard ATX gaming mid-tower. Fit in my HAF XB perfectly fine though.
Would not fit very tall RAM like OLOy Warhawks, but RipjawsV were fine.
Needed a 90-degree 24-pin adapter for my motherboard cable not to be crushed. 2 dollar fix.

I'm still having sign-ups if anyone is interested in playing around with this cooler. IceGiant was awesome enough to send me a nice review kit and gave me permission to share. I have a sample for U.S. and Canada now.
 
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ceomrman2

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Outperformed on the i9 by the Noctua and barely better on the Threadripper, but twice the price, huge and loud! Not sure why you'd pay the extra over a Noctua or less for a regular water AIO. Strange conclusion imo.
This thing is ridiculous, there's no arguing that. It's of no use to normal enthusiasts. That said, I wouldn't call an 8 C delta on the 32-core Threadripper CPU "barely better." That's a very meaningful gap. Other sites report the same - kitguru found this beast cooled a 3990WX like a champ, too. When someone's paying thousands of dollars for a CPU, an extra $100 for a whopping giant cooler may be worth it, especially if the proud new owner is hesitant to pipe coolant all over their used-car-priced CPU.
 
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Phaaze88

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This thing is ridiculous, there's no arguing that. It's of no use to normal enthusiasts. That said, I wouldn't call an 8 C delta on the 32-core Threadripper CPU "barely better." That's a very meaningful gap. Other sites report the same - kitguru found this beast cooled a 3990WX like a champ, too. When someone's paying thousands of dollars for a CPU, an extra $100 for a whopping giant cooler may be worth it, especially if the proud new owner is hesitant to pipe coolant all over their used-car-priced CPU.
That was the prototype, and not the current retail version.
 

darknate

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precision milled? its a standard fly cut. precision grinding is a thing and would produce a better surface. fly cutting is only as good as the mating surface and the person setting it. coolant will cause inconsistencies between units and could leave units less than level.
 

tom2u

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Its perplexing why, with all that surface area to work with, did they limit themselves to 120mm fans? Why not 140mm? Too expensive? It seems they're on the cusp of something great here, then ruin it with fans that are just too small for the job. The newest Mac Pro case is testament to how important selecting the right fan and fan frequency is. If you can bring that tone down in frequency its much less noticeable by the user. Its all in the pitch. And larger, slower spinning fans produce noise at a much lower pitch while moving a lot of air. That's what we all should aim for. Its getting to the point now where the CPU cooling needs to be integrated into the case design.
 
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deesider

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The ice giant has more mass to saturate than the noctua so the initial amount of time to reach the equilibrium temperature takes longer on ice giant cooler. It take longer to heat up more mass on more massive coolers which means lower temps initially for longer high-boost CPU frequencies. This is why AIOs are so much better than even the best air coolers. There is so much more medium to heat up so temps are lower in inconsistently taxing or unsustained workloads.
The use of a water cooler is an advantage (slightly) for Ryzen cpus (possibly not Intel though) due to the frequency scaling over a wide range of temps, as shown by Gamers Nexus: https://www.gamersnexus.net/news-pc/3492-ryzen-cpu-thermals-matter-coolers-and-cases
Although I would say that the advantage is not due to the large heat sink of a water system, but rather that the cooling ability of a water system is not as dependent on temperature as a heat pipe system (you might consider it a rather pedantic difference).

A heat pipe only works effectively once it gets above a certain working temperature, at which point it is almost isothermal - meaning that the hot end on the cpu is kept practically the same temperature as the cool end at the radiator. That working temp is usually around 50C, so a heat pipe system will always have a natural low at around that temp. Based on the Gamers Nexus data, there is still a boost freq advantage below 50C, so a water cooled system would have a slight edge there since it is cooling as effectively below 50C as above. On the other hand a heat pipe will rapidly rise to around 50C.

The results of the Ice Giant tests vs Noctua show that the Threadripper is saturating the heat pipes, where the cooling fluid is effectively drying out at the hot end. This can be overcome by using larger diameter heat pipes which have a greater amount of sintered wick that holds a larger amount of fluid. The way that heat pipes function and the parameters that determine their effectiveness is really interesting (to me at least). If I have time, I'd like to write up an article one day discussing some of the physics of the different cooling systems.
 
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tom2u

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The use of a water cooler is an advantage (slightly) for Ryzen cpus (possibly not Intel though) due to the frequency scaling over a wide range of temps, as shown by Gamers Nexus: https://www.gamersnexus.net/news-pc/3492-ryzen-cpu-thermals-matter-coolers-and-cases
Although I would say that the advantage is not due to the large heat sink of a water system, but rather that the cooling ability of a water system is not as dependent on temperature as a heat pipe system (you might consider it a rather pedantic difference).

A heat pipe only works effectively once it gets above a certain working temperature, at which point it is almost isothermal - meaning that the hot end on the cpu is kept practically the same temperature as the cool end at the radiator. That working temp is usually around 50C, so a heat pipe system will always have a natural low at around that temp. Based on the Gamers Nexus data, there is still a boost freq advantage below 50C, so a water cooled system would have a slight edge there since it is cooling as effectively below 50C as above. On the other hand a heat pipe will rapidly rise to around 50C.

The results of the Ice Giant tests vs Noctua show that the Threadripper is saturating the heat pipes, where the cooling fluid is effectively drying out at the hot end. This can be overcome by using larger diameter heat pipes which have a greater amount of sintered wick that holds a larger amount of fluid. The way that heat pipes function and the parameters that determine their effectiveness is really interesting (to me at least). If I have time, I'd like to write up an article one day discussing some of the physics of the different cooling systems.
That was one fabulous explanation!
 
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helper800

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The use of a water cooler is an advantage (slightly) for Ryzen cpus (possibly not Intel though) due to the frequency scaling over a wide range of temps, as shown by Gamers Nexus: https://www.gamersnexus.net/news-pc/3492-ryzen-cpu-thermals-matter-coolers-and-cases
Although I would say that the advantage is not due to the large heat sink of a water system, but rather that the cooling ability of a water system is not as dependent on temperature as a heat pipe system (you might consider it a rather pedantic difference).

A heat pipe only works effectively once it gets above a certain working temperature, at which point it is almost isothermal - meaning that the hot end on the cpu is kept practically the same temperature as the cool end at the radiator. That working temp is usually around 50C, so a heat pipe system will always have a natural low at around that temp. Based on the Gamers Nexus data, there is still a boost freq advantage below 50C, so a water cooled system would have a slight edge there since it is cooling as effectively below 50C as above. On the other hand a heat pipe will rapidly rise to around 50C.

The results of the Ice Giant tests vs Noctua show that the Threadripper is saturating the heat pipes, where the cooling fluid is effectively drying out at the hot end. This can be overcome by using larger diameter heat pipes which have a greater amount of sintered wick that holds a larger amount of fluid. The way that heat pipes function and the parameters that determine their effectiveness is really interesting (to me at least). If I have time, I'd like to write up an article one day discussing some of the physics of the different cooling systems.
Another thing to note is that the water in an AIO is the medium that siphons heat away from the CPU to then dump that heat into the radiator and because the pump inrushes the water so quickly through the copper fins on the inside of the faceplate, the range of the water temperature does not diverge from the average quickly or by a large amount either. (meaning that the hottest point in the water is only 5-10 C above the coolest point) This effect of transferring the heat away from the CPU much quicker into the radiator and the dumping it into the air means that temps stay lower for longer. The system in place on an AIO takes much more time to heat up to is balancing or equilibrium point than any heatpipe / finstack based cooler on the market today because of the aforementioned.
 

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