Edited 3/18/23 to say:
If you’re looking at this article, be sure to check out my latest review of DeepCool’s AG500 air cooler for updated results with more comparison coolers for both Ryzen 7700X and Intel’s i9-13900K!
TLDR: Strong cooling performance, decent price of $109 USD, but it runs a little louder than the competition
Today we’ll be looking at DeepCool’s LT520, which they sent to us for testing. It’s based on their 4th generation in-house design water pump and features a snazzy infinity mirror CPU block. To see if it’s truly capable of handling the heat, I’ll be challenging it by pairing it with one of the hottest CPUs on the market, Intel’s Raptor Lake i9-13900K.
I have to admit – I’m a bit biased towards DeepCool. They are one of the few companies I believe are pushing both innovation and value in the PC cooler space. Their AK620 is one of my favorite air coolers, providing similar performance to Noctua’s NH-D15 at a fraction of the cost. The LT520’s “bigger brother”, the LT720, is the strongest cooler that I’ve tested with Raptor Lake thus far. Will the LT520 continue DeepCool’s trend of providing performance and value? Read on to find out.
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The 240mm liquid cooler comes in a box that uses molded cardboard, foam, and plastic for the protection of the inner contents.
And here’s a view of all of the included components
|Motherboard||ASUS Z690 PLUS WIFI D5|
|Computer Case||Cooler Master HAF 700 Berserker, system fans set to 35%|
|Storage||1TB Micron P3 Plus, 1TB Micron P3|
|GPU||Intel ARC A770 LE|
|RAM||32GB (16gb x2) Crucial DDR5-4800|
|Comparison Coolers Tested|
(See Tom’s Hardware for more comparison data)
|BeQuiet! Pure Loop 2 FX (280mm)|
CoolerMaster PL360 Flux (360mm)
Enermax AquaFusion ADV 240mm
Thermalright Frozen Notte 360 (360mm)
|Pump||4th Generation DeepCool Pump|
|Pump Speeds||3100 RPM±10%|
|Pump Dimensions||94×80×68 mm|
|Pump Rated Noise|
|Radiator Dimensions||282×120×27 mm|
What’s unique about this unit?
Patented Anti-Leak Technology
DeepCool’s liquid coolers include anti-leak technology, so that the cooler won’t become a hazard as it ages.
Infinity Mirror CPU Block
The CPU block has an infinity mirror with aRGB lighting, giving an accented flare to it’s appearance.
4th Generation DeepCool Pump
While most AIOs on the market are based on Asetek designs, DeepCool’s AIOs use a 4th generation pump designed in house by DeepCool. It utilizes a 3-phase drive motor which runs at up to 3100RPM, and features an improved microchannel design for better coolant flow vs previous generation products.
There’s more to a cooler than just it’s heat sink, the fans paired with a cooler have a huge impact both total cooling potential and noise levels. Included with the the LT520 are 2x FK120 fans, which are solid black 120mm fans with no aRGB.
One thing I like about DeepCool’s fans is that they have indicators showing the direction the fans spin and the direction of the airflow – this makes it easy for a person new to building PCs to know which direction the fans should be installed.
|Rated Noise Level||≤32.9 dB(A)|
|Fan Size||120 x 120 x 25mm|
Full Copper CPU Plate
Mid-thickness radiator size
The radiator included with LT520 isn’t the thinnest or thickest radiator we’ve tested, it should be compatible with most cases on the market.
Accessible Refill Port
While this unit does have an accessible refill port, DeepCool advises to send it to them if refill or repair is necessary. With this unit’s 5-year warranty, you’re covered in the unlikely event occurs where service is required.
I was going to take pictures of the cooler installation, but DeepCool has a video posted showing how to do it on YouTube which is much better than anything I could show you…. I just wouldn’t recommend using an electric screwdriver as shown in the video, which is embedded below.
Thermal Performance and Noise Levels
- Power Limits Removed
With power limits removed, Intel’s i9-13900K in a “stock” configuration can consume over 350W in this scenario and brings every cooler to it’s knees – well, at least every cooler that I’ve tested. Because of this, we’ll be judging the results in this by two measures : total watts cooled, and loudness of the fans.
There are a limited number of results here. However my latest review for Tom’s Hardware covered Arctic’s Liquid Freezer II ARGB and has results from 13 coolers not shown here. The type of tests I perform with coolers are the same both on here and on Tom’s Hardware – which means the results on both platforms are comparable to each other.
In terms of total wattage this liquid cooler can handle, DeepCool’s LT520 shows the strength of their 4th generation pump design – handling 288W (on average) during the course of the Cinebench testing. This is similar performance to BeQuiet’s and Enermax’ offerings of this size class, and even 360mm models from Arctic & MSI that I’ve tested on Tom’s Hardware (see results here).
Total cooling capacity is nice, but that’s only one way to judge a cooler. How loud it gets in those loads is also something you should consider when looking at coolers to purchase. When the fans are running at full speeds, DeepCool’s LT520 does get a bit loud – but not annoyingly so. With a total system noise level of 52.9 dBA it’s near the limits of what I consider acceptable noise levels – but much quieter than the jet engines of the Thermalright and Enermax coolers tested here.
If you’re wondering why the chart below starts at 36, it’s because that is the reading my noise meter records when my computer is turned off. This makes it the floor for my acoustic results. However, one should keep in mind that dBA results are logarithmic, meaning that differences in loudness will actually be more significant than what my dBA charts might seem to suggest.
200W is still a fairly demanding workload, but much easier to cool than unrestricted workloads. In theory, this should also be comparable to Ryzen 7000 CPUs when pushed to their maximum power consumption – but don’t quote me on that, as I haven’t tested modern Ryzen CPUs for thermal testing.
I expect all but the weakest coolers to pass these tests – i.e. they should be able to keep the CPU under TJMax with a 200W power limit, so we’ll be judging this scenario with a typical delta over ambient thermal measurement as well as the loudness of the fans.
When restricted to 200W, the LT720 kept Intel’s i9-13900K CPU at 52c over the ambient room temperature. This is a better thermal result than you’ll see from any air cooler, and it is in line with most liquid coolers on the market that I’ve tested – where I’ve seen a range of 49-52C over ambient. Given the very similar results in liquid coolers here, I’ll likely add 250W testing in the future to better show the performance differences of liquid coolers.
Dropping the power consumption of the CPU causes the noise of the LT520’s fans to drop ~5 dBA vs full speed noise levels, bring the noise measurement down to 48 dBA.
When limiting Intel’s i9-13900K to 125W, the CPU is extremely easy to cool – I wouldn’t be surprised if one of Intel’s old stock coolers could handle it without any problems. So while we will look at thermal performance by measuring the delta over ambient temperature, I consider noise levels more important than thermal performance in this scenario.
This is also the lowest TDP level I test at this power level, many coolers will run so quietly I’d have to disable my system fans to get lower noise readings.
With a total system noise level of 43.4 dBA, the LT520’s noise levels aren’t quite what I would consider “silent”, but it doesn’t run loud in any sense of the word at all.
The 4th generation of DeepCool’s pump brings improvements needed to tame Intel’s strongest CPUs, and the LT520 does well – handling 288W when power limits are removed. This performance is similar to Arctic’s Liquid Freezer 360 and MSI’s MAG CoreLiquid P360 – but comes with a cheaper price tag of $109 USD. The only downside to DeepCool’s AIO is that it runs a little louder than other coolers – but it’s not noisy by any stretch of the word.
For it’s combination of above average value and total cooling performance, we’re giving DeepCool’s LT520 a Silver Tier Award.
Boring Text Reviews Silver Tier Award