Cooler Master Nepton 280L Review (Page 2 of 4)

Page 2 - Physical Look - Hardware; Installation

As you can see in our photo above, the hoses, radiator, and pump are already pre-assembled in a closed loop design, so you don't have to worry about the mess involved in assembling one yourself. Its looks are simple and clean, and are especially pleasing to look at through a cleanly designed windowed chassis. You will notice there are only two included fans, which are most optimally used in a push configuration. Cooler Master's logo is stamped on the pump itself, and a white strip will glow once everything is hooked up and powered on.

Upon closer inspection, you will see there is a dense array of aluminum fins on the radiator. If you take a close look at it, the fins are designed in an S-shaped pattern, which is the same design as the WATER2.0 Performer and WATER2.0 Pro. One thing to point one is the fin design seems to be optimized for airflow and good aerodynamics. There are two tubes which are pre-assembled and sealed in a closed loop configuration, which leads to and from the radiator and the water block. These should be long enough for most configurations, and is flexible for anyone to work with. No maintenance is required, as there is negligible coolant evaporation due to the closed loop configuration, as mentioned previously.

Most of the time, bigger means better. The Nepton's radiator measures in at 311mm in height, 139mm in width, and 30mm in thickness, which gives a good amount of surface area for the heat to dissipate. The design of the Nepton 280L isn't all that special in particular. In fact, it looks very similar to other closed loop coolers such as the Thermaltake WATER2.0 Pro and Thermaltake WATER2.0 Performer Jonathan and I have reviewed, respectively, some time ago. Rest be assured that the Nepton 280L is Cooler Master's in house design, and are not made by some other OEM.

As with the pump, it rated at 12V, which is equivalent to 2.9W, following the formula P = IV and is powered by your motherboard's 3-pin header. Also, copper is used as the contact material on the base. For your reference, its thermal conductivity is 401 W/mK, and since we don't need to worry about weight due to its limited size, it is probably the best type of material to use for transferring heat. However, it would have been best if it was nickel plated, as nickel-base alloys generally have desirable properties that can withstand corrosive environments and high temperatures. For the most part, the Cooler Master Nepton 280L is solidly built, so if anyone has any question about its quality, you are in good hands.

Installing the fans on the radiator is pretty straightforward. Simply make sure that the fans are pointing the right way for a push configuration, align the holes, and take the long screws to mount them on. It is probably best to install the water block first before installing the radiator. If you are a cabling enthusiast like the staff at APH Networks, then the fans will come in last. However, for demonstration purposes, the photo above shows both fans installed for the push configuration of air through the radiator.

Up next is installing the backplate corresponding to your socket. In this case, I'm demonstrating this on the Intel socket because, quite frankly, I don't own any AMD products, haha. Once you figured out which holes you are using, slide in the respective screws. Before we actually start the process, make sure you have sufficient thermal paste applied to the copper side of the pump. Next, slide in the screws on the backplate after you have determined which holes to use. There are four plastic clips that will hold the screws in place, so you don't have to worry about them sliding out when you're aligning the pump on the other side.

With the backplate in place, set four plastic supports in place on the other side, and carefully align the pump in place. What we have next will require some coordination, as you will need to keep the backplate and pump in place while you screw the pump down. The screws come separate from the pump, so you'll need to keep them handy during the installation process. If the screws were implemented along with the pump brackets, the installation process would have been much more efficient. With that challenge out of the way, you can install the radiator into your chassis. I found that this is the most effective and efficient way.

To install the radiator, find a location on your chassis that supports the 280mm radiator. For my chassis, it was at the front. Other chassis will most likely have a different spot for it; usually at the top of the chassis. Simply align the holes and mount it. If you have the radiator installed first before installing the pump, this may prove to be a greater challenge, as there will be some stiffness from the tubes.

Page Index
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Hardware; Installation
3. Test Results
4. Conclusion