Fractal Design Celsius S24 Review (Page 2 of 4)

Page 2 - Physical Look - Hardware; Installation

As with many other liquid coolers on the market today, the Fractal Design Celsius S24's design and color choice does not stand out of the crowd. This is not a bad thing, especially since a black color will most likely fit in every computer's interior color scheme. I do sometimes wonder what could change a water cooler's design a bit to make things more interesting. The Fractal Design Celsius S24 is nearly entirely black with a matte finish. However, the fans have white blades, creating a nice contrast. The top of the pump, as you can see in the above picture, has a glossy finish, which is a nice departure from the rest of the cooler. Part of a snowflake can also be seen on the pump, but it is a little difficult at some angles, as it blends into the black and gloss finish. The only issue I have with a glossy finish is how it attracts fingerprints; luckily in this case it is easy to avoid. Upon seeing the water block, I assumed it would light up in some way, because it is quite hard to imagine an enthusiast product without fancy LEDs. To my surprise, it does not light up at all, which I think is a nice change for subtlety. Many water coolers today have multiple cables leading out of the pump for all the connectors, but the Celsius S24 changes that with only one clean cable leading out. Overall, the Fractal Design Celsius S24 has a clean look, especially with only one connector cable in its simple design.

As for the dimensions of the Fractal Design Celsius S24, they come in at 284 mm by 122 mm by 31 mm. These are fairly standard radiator dimensions, and should give plenty of surface area for heat dissipation. With adequate surface area, the other important factor in heat dissipation is the material it is made out of. Aluminum is used for the radiator, which strikes a nice balance between weight and heat dissipation capability. If copper was used for the entire radiator, it would not just be more expensive, but quite a bit heavier as well.

The Fractal Design Celsius S24 has a traditional fin layout; looking like a crude drawing of some ocean waves. The tops and bottoms of the fins touch the liquid piping, which is where the heat will be transferred from the piping to the fins. The heat will then be dissipated by some fans; in this case, two 120 mm fans. The heat is transported via sleeved, low permeability rubber tubes to the liquid piping. The tubing is a little thick in diameter and is 400 mm long, which is definitely enough to reach anywhere in most cases. The thick tubing is not too rigid and easy enough to bend for the user to set it up in a comfortable way. Another reason the tubing can be easily configured is that the fittings turn slightly. The fittings are where the Celsius S24 slightly changes the traditional definition of all-in-one liquid cooling, but it has been seen with the previous version of this cooler in the Kelvin series. The included fittings are the G 1/4'' thread, which can be removed only on the radiator side, although removing the fittings voids your warranty. I understand why Fractal Design does this, but I find it questionable, since this product is meant to be tinkered with in a sense. Nonetheless, this feature is useful if anyone wants to expand the loop to include a graphics card as well. The expandability is definitely a plus, as it keeps your options open for future upgrades. It almost functions as a soft introduction to more custom water cooling.

Circular plates are becoming much more common, although I am not sure if there is any advantage to this in regards to performance, but it sure does look good. The thermal paste is pre-applied, which I both like and dislike at the same time. It is quite useful to just be able to clean off old thermal paste and stick the new cooler on, especially for new builders. It prevents any stress from figuring out how much thermal paste is required, preventing all kinds of issues that could bring. What I dislike is if there is ever a problem and I have to remove the cooler, I do not have any other thermal paste to use. It would be great if a tube of thermal paste could be included on top of the pre-applied paste. The copper plate is well constructed and smooth, while none of the screws around the edges will impact performance in any way. Copper is used for the baseplate, since it has better heat conductivity than aluminum. Along the top of the water block is the one cable leading out to connect to the motherboard, completing the clean look.

The Fractal Design Celsius S24 has two included fans, which are the Dynamic X2 GP-12 PWM fans. These are LLS bearing fans, which has a rated MTBF of 100,000 hours. The RPM range is from 500 to 2000, meaning it will ramp up under load. The noise level at full speed comes in at 32.2dBA, but we will have to see what that looks like in some real life testing on the next page. As for the maximum airflow, it is 87.6 CFM, and the static pressure is 2.30mm H2O; all of the technical specifications point to a well-balanced fan. Fans optimized for airflow are usually used for intake, while fans high in static pressure are used on heatsinks, or in this case on the radiator. Since the fans are well balanced, I think it is a good idea to mount the radiator at the front of the case, which I ended up doing as you will see on the next page.

I took a picture of the top part of the radiator, because I thought this feature is small but innovative. This is a small fan hub, ensuring a clean and good cable managed look without much effort. There is no need for the fan cables to be looped anywhere, as they just connect to the top. The already plugged in cable is then run along the inside of the sleeve back to the water block. This is the reason for the clean look of the water block, since only one cable now needs to be plugged into the motherboard. Its small features like these that make a product just more refined than others.

When I first started installing the Fractal Design Celsius S24, I could not find the installation manual anywhere. I got so frustrated I just decided to not use the manual at all. I thought maybe they did not include one, as I got this before the release date. I did end up finding it, as it was in the retail box. I felt like a fool, haha. Anyway, the instruction manual is quite good; basically perfect. The first page details all the included components and how many of each component there should be. This makes it easy to identify all the different screws included, exactly what is required for Intel or AMD installations, and so on. If there are any manufacturers out there unsure of how to make an effective manual, they should use this one. With manual in hand, I proceeded to install the cooler.

Installation of the Fractal Design Celsius S24 went well. I did not have any trouble figuring out which part goes where, and the installation process was simple. First, the backplate is secured with four screws from the front of the motherboard. From there, the water block is mounted and secured with four fat screws. I installed the radiator at the front of the case in a push configuration, so it would also intake air for the entire case. It was a little difficult to line up the fans with the radiator and the case, but luckily the case had a useful bracket for just such installations. Overall, the Fractal Design Celsius S24 has one of the most seamless and clear installation procedures out there.

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