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Alphacool Core Ocean T38 360 Review

Introduction

With Alphacool's new Core series of products, they are aiming to bring incredibly affordable cooling equipment while maintaining excellent performance. Sometimes, this may come at the cost of noise. Let's have a closer look at their AIO and see if it comes with the same issue their Fans did!

 

Positive

  • Affordable

Neutral

  • Performs average

Negative

  • Not the best quality
  • Too Loud

 

 

What's in the Box?

 

Very similar to the Core Lineup fans, the Core Ocean T38 360mm AIO comes with minimalism in mind. Inside the relatively simple, yet still esthetically pleasing box we will find the following items:

  • Core Ocean T38 360mm Radiator
  • 3x Core 120 2500RPM Fans
  • Installation Material AMD / Intel
  • 1-3 PWM Splitter
  • Thermal Paste

On a side note, for some unexplainable reason, our box was also filled with manuals meant for other devices, like Alphacool's Eisbear water block. We are unsure how these manuals got there, but we assume it's been a mistake.

 

 

Down below we summarized the AIO's spec sheet:

Name Alphacool Core Ocean T38
Dimensions (Radiator) 397x120x38mm
Fan Airflow up to 62.8CFM
Fan Noise up to 34.4dbA
Fan Air Pressure up to 2.76mm/H2O
Fan Speed up to 2500RPM
Fan Connection 4-Pin PWM
Pump Connection 4-Pin PWM
RGB Thin line around Water block & little triangle on Water block

Compatibility

Although performance is the main and only focus for the Core Series of devices, compatibility is not something that has been lost in the process. Down below you will find a full compatibility list.

Intel AMD
LGA 1700 AM5
LGA 1200 AM4
LGA 115x  
LGA 2066  

Individual Components

Waterblock / Pump

 

Considering that Alphacool is mainly a water-cooling product producer, our expectations for the water block and pump are considerably higher than for the fans.

Thankfully, they seem to be up to Alphacool's standards. 

Below the water block pump combo, we will find a relatively big copper base with the 3500RPM quick ceramic PWM pump above.

 

 

Although this is a Core-Series device, we were surprised to find some esthetically pleasing features on here. All around the combo, there is a thin line of ARGB illuminating the whole block. Additionally, there is a little glowing triangle on the top side opposite to the stamped in Alphacool logo.

Even if the ARGB implementation is not the strongest we have seen so far, we do appreciate that there's something to look at. 

All of the ARGB is controllable at once using the 3-Pin ARGB cable.

Radiator

One of, if not the most important aspect of this AIO is the Radiator. 

Similarly to Alphacool's Liquid Freezer series, Alphacool decided to use a 38mm thick radiator instead of the usual 27mm that normal AIOs come with.

 

 

The additional thickness has been one of the reasons why Arctic has been dominating every Benchmark table for years. A spot that might need to be shared going forward.

 

Other than the immediately noticeable thickness increase, there is little interesting to note about the radiator, it's a relatively standard 360mm radiator, just slightly thicker.

Tubes

 

Although the water block might have escaped the "core" trap, the tubes have definitely not. 

Being only 400mm long, we believe that the tubes are short to begin with. But we also immediately noticed the incredibly cheap feeling they come with. 

Although they are sleeved and adjustable at the water block, there is very little positive to be said about them.

Fans

The Fans which come included in the Core Ocean T38 are Alphacool's Core 120mm 2500RPM fans.

Powered by a 4-Pin PWM cable, these little monsters are spinning at 2500RPM whilst pushing  62.8CFM at 2.13mm/H2O.

 

 

We have already independently tested these fans before. Although they did not perform badly for the price, their noise-to-performance definitely took some hits in development.

Appearance

 

Similarly to every other Core series product, the Ocean T38 in 360mm is designed with minimalism in mind.

Being black from top to bottom, there are very few optical features that are noticeable from far.

 

 

The only features that can be spotted would be the ARGB line and triangle present on the water block. But other than this little detail, everything else looks quite subtle.

One aspect we have definitely disliked about this AIO is the tubes. Ignoring their quite short length, they look incredibly cheap, something that could have been avoided with just slightly better sleeving.

Benchmark 

We Benchmarked the Core Ocean T38 on top of our usual Benchmark setup.

 

 

Whilst allowing all the fans to spin at their full 2500RPM, the Core Ocean T38 in 360mm managed to keep the CPU at 47.1°C above ambient.

This positions it right next to a few other 360mm AIOs like Phantek's Glacier One and Xilence's  LQ360.

Although this is a very acceptable result on its own, it is still a surprising one.

Considering the thickness of the radiator, we would have expected the Core Ocean T38 to perform much better, or at least comparable to Arctic's Liquid Freezer series of AIOs.

 

 

Slowly reducing the Fan speed in 10% steps allowed us to create a Noise-to-Performance graph.

Here we were able to see something quite shocking. 

Going down as far as 50% of the Fan's speed, it had absolutely no impact on the CPU's temperature.

We had to go as low as 40% fan speed to start seeing a change happen. Thankfully, at that "low" fan speed, the Noise of the T38 360mm caught up with other 360mm AIOs.

 

Although it was able to keep up with other 360 AIOs from start to finish, it was still one of the loudest, or hottest for the majority of the time.

Additionally, because the fans are already so loud, to begin with, it was not able to get the noise to a level low enough to be considered ambient noise, something that every other AIO has been able to do. 

Conclusion

 

Although we started this review by hoping that it would not be the case, it happened nonetheless.

The Noise created by the Core fans used on the T38 Ocean drags the overall Noise-to-Performance ratio of the whole product down to one of the worst 360mm AIOs.

 

However, Noise is not the main focus of this series, it was performance at an exceptionally good price.

 

 

On this front, unfortunately, the Core Ocean T38 did not score many points either.

Performing roughly like a Phanteks Glacier One 360MP or Xilence LQ360 does not make the Core Ocean a top performer, it makes it an average performer.

 

Additionally, the price is not exceptionally good. At 85€ as of writing this review, it is priced very, very well, however, the Xilence LQ360, is priced better, while its noise-to-performance ratio leaves the Core Ocean in the dust.

 

 

To make matters worse, the build quality and general feel of the AIO could maybe be described as "average", but surely not upper shelf. 

Although we did like the water block, the tubes just left us with a sour taste due to their incredibly cheap touch.

 

 All in all, the Core Ocean T38 360mm is not a bad product, it is exactly what Alphacool promised, a very affordable AIO with 360mm performance. And it does exactly that. However, the Noise it creates makes it hard to recommend this AIO as opposed to alternatives, which may even be priced more competitively. 

Additionally, although it was not promised, considering the much thicker radiator the T38 comes with, we did expect to perform it at least better than the average 360mm AIO, something that just did not happen.

 

 

Due to all of these reasons, we would like to suggest looking otherwise. If you are aiming for the best bang-for-the-buck, you might want to look into Xilence's L360.

strumace
Introduction
What's in the Box?
Compatibility
Individual Components
Appearance
Benchmark 
Conclusion
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