< BackJun 14, 2023

Alphacool Core Ocean T38 420 Review


Alphacools Core Ocean T38 series has not been the most high-performance series of AIO of this year. But the 420mm edition might change that! Let's take a closer look!



  • Affordable




  • Not the best quality
  • Too Loud
  • Performs more like a 360mm AIO



What's in the Box?


Very similar to the Core Lineup fans, the Core Ocean T38 420mm AIO comes with minimalism in mind. Inside the relatively simple, yet still esthetically pleasing box we will find the following items:

  • Core Ocean T38 420mm Radiator
  • 3x Core 140 2000RPM 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 420
Dimensions (Radiator) 460x140x38mm
Fan Airflow up to 92.3CFM
Fan Noise up to 36dbA
Fan Air Pressure up to 2.53mm/H2O
Fan Speed up to 2000RPM
Fan Connection 4-Pin PWM
Pump Connection 4-Pin PWM
RGB Thin line around Water block & little triangle on Water block


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.



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 420mm radiator, just slightly thicker.



For the Tubes, Alphacool decided to reuse the same Tubes they used on the 360mm Version. Although their relatively short length of 400mm was considered as "an issue" for the 360mm version, for the 420mm it becomes a real concern. 

Additionally, the tubes still have the same very cheap feeling to them. 


The Fans which come included in the Core Ocean T38 are Alphacool's Core 140mm 2000RPM fans.

Powered by a 4-Pin PWM cable, these little monsters are spinning at 2000RPM whilst pushing  92.3CFM at 2.53mm/H2O.



We have already independently tested these fans before. And in contrast to the 120mm editions, the 140s Noise-to-Performance ratio significantly improved making them a suitable candidate to lift the AIOs performance.



Similarly to every other Core series product, the Ocean T38 in 420mm 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.


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



Allowing the Fans to spin at their max 2000RPM catapulted the T38 in 420 to the top of the benchmark chart with the CPU sitting at 45.9°C above ambient.

Although this result is a lot better than the 360mm Model's, it is still showing that the Core Ocean series performs significantly worse than Arctic's Liquid Freezer which are using the same 38mm radiator thickness.

Looking at the whole graph, the 420mm Edition performs more like a 360 than a 420mm AIO.



On the noise-to-performance graph, the T38 420's overall noise-to-performance improved slightly compared to the 360mm edition. However, although it improved, it still landed behind most other 360mm AIOs. A quite devastating result.


Although Alphacool's Core Ocean T38 series still got a great price point as it's the main argument, the performance just doesn't make it the best option right now.



While its max performance might have placed it as one of the top dogs on our benchmark chart, the noise to performance ratio was still significantly behind most other 360mm AIOs, not even talking about another 420mm AIO.



Additionally to that, the Core Ocean T38 series doesn't shine in the best light when it comes to building quality. Sure, overall it is okay, especially for the price, but the 400mm long tubes and their cheap-ish feel did not leave us with a good feeling.


 Having all of that said, although max performance and price are quite good arguments, you might want to have a look at alternative 360mm AIOs, especially considering some of them perform just as well as this 420mm big, 38mm thick Rad. 

What's in the Box?
Individual Components
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