Zalman LQ315 - Affordable Closed-Loop CPU Coolers

11/6/2012 9:26:51 AM

We’re seeing more and more variety in closed-loop CPU coolers these days, and the LQ315 is Zalman’s second bite at the apple (we checked out the CNPS20LQ in the August issue). The big addition with the LQ315 is a glowing blue LED that’s built into the water block/pump. Zalman has also changed the radiator exterior from a painted blue to a brushed aluminum black. Both the water block/pump and radiator now bear the phrase “Zalman Liquid Cooling Solution.”

Description: Zalman LQ315

Zalman LQ315

The closed-loop CPU kit includes support for pretty much all of today’s Intel and AMD sockets, including Intel LGA 2011 and AMD’s FM1. Zalman provides a universal backplate that can attach to either the AMD or Intel set of brackets. Accommodations for different socket configurations are built into the brackets, and all of the different socket holes are labeled, so you won’t even need the instructions to install the unit. To cool the radiator, Zalman includes one 120mm PWM (900 to 2,000rpm) fan, and they also provide the screws necessary to attach a second 120mm fan (such as the one that’s already built into your case). We installed our test unit onto the rear exhaust fan inside our Corsair Graphite 600T case.

Zalman preapplies the thermal compound to the copper block, so you won’t need to invest any extra in thermal paste for your CPU cooler. The installation process itself consisted of attaching the necessary pieces to the Intel bracket and mounting the water block/pump to the backplate. Then, we connected the pump’s 4-pin power connector, as well as the 4-pin fan connector to the motherboard. In all, it took us around five minutes to install the unit, which was less time than it took to remove the old CPU cooler/heatsink combo from our test system.

In testing, the LQ315 produced an idle temperature (tested after a half an hour of idle activity) of 29 C with Intel’s Core i7-3770K, which is comparable to the other closed loop CPU coolers we’ve tested. To gather temps under load, we ran three different tests. In Orthos, we set the affinity to two cores each. For POV-ray, we rendered on all cores and ran the test three times in a row. With Prime 95, we ran four instances using the Small FFT test for 10 minutes. The LQ315 delivered impressive temps of 45 C in Orthos, 56 C in POV-Ray, and 60 C in Prime 95.

This affordable closed-loop cooler adds a refined look to your system and it’s also capable of providing the headroom necessary to overclock your CPU. This powerful combination makes the LQ315 one to consider for your next build.


Price: $99.99


Specs: Water Block: Copper; Pump: 12V; Fans: one 120mm fan that can operate from 900 to 2,000rpm; Radiator: Aluminum


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