Top 8 Best 280mm AIO CPU Coolers in 2021 – Corsair / NZXT / Thermaltake / EVGA

By | May 14, 2021

Liquid coolers are arguably the most efficient way of cooling your processors because they can absorb heat faster than air and will require lesser power from the fans to replace the heated air. As a result, they will produce lower noise levels.

The use of the coolers is gaining traction because the usually high beginner barrier for liquid coolers was made negligible when the wave of All-in-One CPU liquid coolers flooded the market. Unlike the custom cooling setup, AIOs are generally simpler and cheaper to implement.

AIO CPU liquid coolers come in different sizes. The most common sizes are 120mm, 140mm, 240mm, 280mm, and 360mm. The criteria for picking AIO cooler sizes are factors such as the vertical clearance of your other components like your RAM, airflow of your system unit, and the type and size of your CPU cases.

For this article, we will be talking about AIO CPU coolers under the 280mm category. They are almost at par with regards to the cooling prowess of the 360mm variation and the majority of CPU cases can have no problem housing an AIO cooler of this size.

It should be noted that 280mm aio coolers have 2 fans of 140mm which is a different fan size compared to 120mm which is present in 120mm,240mm, 360mm aios. So the fans are slightly larger.

They offer better cooling prowess than the 240mm because the surface area of the radiator for the 280mm is larger than the 240mm category. A larger radiator surface area means better cooling because they can dissipate more heat.

The 360mm unit can cool better but they are quite bulky and medium-sized CPU cases will have trouble trying to accommodate it; but in terms of cooling prowess, the 280mm is not that far compared to the 360mm and offers a lot more clearance inside your CPU case.

Below are 280mm CPU AIO liquid coolers that rise above their category in terms of cooling performance, noise levels, and aesthetic addition to your setup.

Our Top Picks for Best 280mm AIO CPU Coolers

Below are some of our top picks for 280mm aio cpu coolers. Brands include Corsair, NZXT, Thermaltake, EVGA. If you want to learn about various specifications of aio coolers then check out our guide here: 6 Technical Specifications of AIO Coolers Explained - Socket, Radiator, TDP and more.

1. Corsair iCUE H115i RGB Pro XT 280mm - 12.6 x 5.51 x 1.18 inches, Up to 36 dB, Up to 97 CFM, 4-Pin PWM, SATA, Micro-B USB to 9-pin header, ARGB Pump Head, 2x 140mm Corsair ML140 PWM Fans, 400 to 2400 rpm Fan Speed, Zero RPM Mode, Corsair iCUE Software, Check Price
2. NZXT Kraken X63 280mm - 12.4 x 5.62 x 1.18 inches, 21 – 38 dBA, 27. 27 - 98.17 CFM, 4-Pin PWM, SATA, Micro-USB, 2x 140mm Aer P140 PWM Fans, 500 to 1,800 + 300rpm, Ultra-low Evaporation Rubber with Nylon Braided Sleeve, 360° Rotation Infinity Mirror Cap, Full CAM Integration Check Price
3. Thermaltake Floe Riing RGB 280mm TT Premium Edition - 12.4 x 5.5 x 1.1 inches, 19.8 - 27.2 dBA, 22.57 - 63.19 CFM, 2x 140mm Patented Riing Plus RGB Fan, Reinforced Sleeved Rubber Cable, 500 – 1500 RPM, Total RGB Fan Control, Digital Lighting Controller, Riing Plus RGB Software and App Check Price
4. EVGA CLC 280mm AIO Liquid CPU Cooler - 7 x 14 x 7.7 inches, 16.0 – 39.5 dBA, Up to 113.50 CFM, 2x FX13 140mm PWM Fans, 600 – 2200 rpm, EVGA Flow Control Software Check Price
5. ARCTIC Liquid Freezer II 280mm - 5.43 x 12.48 x 1.5 inches, Aluminum Radiator, 0.3 Sones, Up to 72.8 CFM, 2x ARCTIC P14 – PWM 140mm Fan, Fiber-reinforced, Long EPDM Tubing, 200–1700 rpm Check Price
6. NZXT Kraken Z63 280mm - 12.4 x 5.63 x 1.18 inches, Aluminum Radiator, 4-Pin PWM, SATA, Micro-USB, 21 – 38 dBA, 27.27 - 98.17 CFM, 2x 140mm Aer P140 PWM Fans, Ultra-low Evaporation Rubber with Nylon Braided Sleeve, 500 to 1,800 + 300 rpm, 2.36” LCD Screen Display, Full CAM Integration Check Price
7. Corsair Hydro Series H115i PRO RGB 280mm AIO CPU Cooler - 12.4 x 5.63 x 1.14 inches, Aluminum Radiator, 4-Pin PWM, USB Cable, 10 - 20.4 dBA, Up to 55.4 CFM, 2x 140mm Corsair ML Series PWM Fans, Dynamic Multicolor RGB Pump Head, Black Sleeved Low-Permeation Rubber, 1200 rpm, Corsair iCUE Software Check Price
8. NZXT Kraken X62 280mm - 13.66 x 6.1 x 8.23 inches, Aluminum Radiator,4-Pin PWM, SATA, Micro-USB, 21 – 38 dBA, 27. 27 - 98.17 CFM, 2x 140mm Aer P140 PWM Fans, Ultra-low Evaporation Rubber with Nylon Braided Sleeve, 500 to 1,800 + 300 rpm, RGB Infinity Mirror Design, Full CAM Integration Check Price

1. Corsair iCUE H115i RGB Pro XT 280mm Liquid CPU Cooler

The first on this list is the Corsair H115i RGB Pro XT. It is an upgrade to the previous H115i Pro. It was released with other different sizes such as the 240mm H100i Pro XT and the 360mm H150i Pro XT. It is manufactured with high cooling performance while having minimal noise levels. It has a dense radiator design and a couple of 140mm non-RGB ML fans.

Corsair iCUE H115i RGB Pro XT 280mm Liquid CPU Cooler

Corsair iCUE H115i RGB Pro XT 280mm Liquid CPU Cooler

Features

  • Dimensions: 12.6 x 5.51 x 1.18 inches
  • Brand: Corsair
  • Material: Aluminum (Radiator)
  • Power Connector: 4-Pin PWM, SATA, Micro-B USB to 9-pin header
  • Noise Level: Up to 36 dB
  • Air flow: 97 CFM
  • 2x 140mm Corsair ML Series PWM Fans
  • ARGB Pump Head
  • Black Sleeved Low-Permeation Rubber
  • Fan speed: 400 to 2400 rpm
  • Zero RPM Mode
  • Corsair iCUE Software
  • Compatible Socket and CPU: Intel LGA 1150, 1151, 1155, 1156, 1200, 1366, 2011, 2011-3, 2066 AMD AM2, AM3, AM4, FM1, FM2, sTR4, sTRX4

Review

This cooler might come off as expensive but the value it gives makes up for it. It is not very flashy, but the ARGB customizable pump will still make a great addition to your PC setup, which goes well with its black color scheme.

You can customize the lighting with Corsair's ever-reliable iCUE software. You can also monitor the temperature and the fan speed inside your unit using the software. Its fans can also enter a zero-rpm mode which will make zero noise when temperatures are below a certain threshold.

The fans are members of Corsair's ML series that provides better airflow for your unit, powered with magnetic levitation (ML) technology.

It can easily cool an overclocked CPU without raising its noise levels to relatively higher decibels. The installation process is straightforward if your CPU socket belongs to the wide range of supported sockets by the cooler.

The only possible con that this product has is the lack of RGB on its fans, but not everyone is on board with the bright lights of the RGB wave and the RGB pump makes up for it.

It looks simple but it shines on aspects that make a liquid cooler reliable, such as the thermal performance of the cooler that scales well with its noise levels.

2. NZXT Kraken X63 280mm - RL-KRX63-01 - AIO RGB CPU Liquid Cooler

The Kraken X63 is an AIO cooler that belongs to the mid-range series of NZXT, the Kraken X-series. It has a 280mm radiator along with two Aer P140 fans and Asetek's 7th Gen pump. The Z-series is known for being particularly flashy, but the X-series also offers the solid design that it brings at a reasonable price.

NZXT Kraken X63 280mm - RL-KRX63-01 - AIO RGB CPU Liquid Cooler

NZXT Kraken X63 280mm - RL-KRX63-01 - AIO RGB CPU Liquid Cooler

Features

  • Dimensions: 12.4 x 5.62 x 1.18 inches
  • Brand: NZXT
  • Material: Aluminum (Radiator)
  • Power Connector: 4-Pin PWM, SATA, Micro-USB
  • Noise Level: 21 – 38 dBA
  • Air flow: 27. 27 - 98.17 CFM
  • 2x 140mm Aer P140 PWM Fans
  • Ultra-low Evaporation Rubber with Nylon Braided Sleeve
  • Fan speed: 500 to 1,800 + 300rpm
  • 360° rotation Infinity Mirror cap
  • Better Control with Full CAM Integration
  • Compatible Socket and CPU: Intel Socket LGA 1200, 1151, 1150, 1155, 1156, 1366, 2011, 2011-3, 2066 AMD Socket AM4, sTRX4*, TR4*(*Threadripper bracket not included)

Review

The cooling performance of this cooler is superb. When overclocked with up to 1.4V, it manages to keep the temperature below 75°C. The sound of the fans was also relatively quiet if you consider the ratio between the load and the noise levels. It can definitely handle the latest powerful processors out there.

The improved and enlarged LED ring and the 360° rotatable cap on 30° increments are great increments to your PC aesthetic by providing stunning visual effects. The CAM integration also leaves a lot of room for control over your RGB lights and pump speed.

The installation is also hassle-free as it supports a wide range of AMD and Intel processors. It is designed with a great user experience in mind.

The Aer P radiator fans are not RGB powered but you can spend a bit more to make it so. They make up for it by being durable, providing silent operations at load, and powerful cooling prowess, even with an overclocked CPU. The Kraken X63 is cemented among the top 280mm AIO coolers out there.

3. Thermaltake Floe Dual Riing RGB 280 TT Premium Edition CPU Liquid Cooler

The Thermaltake Floe Riing RGB 280 TT Premium Edition is one of the relatively older AIO coolers here. However, do not count it out just yet because it can still provide a top-of-the-line cooling performance on par with great visuals that can still keep up with newer releases.

It is also the world's first 16.8 million colors AIO cooler with two 140mm Riing Plus RGB fans and a water block with its circumference lined up with RGB colors.

Thermaltake Floe Dual Riing RGB 280 TT Premium Edition CPU Liquid Cooler

Thermaltake Floe Dual Riing RGB 280 TT Premium Edition CPU Liquid Cooler

Features

  • Dimensions: 12.4 x 5.5 x 1.1 inches
  • Brand: Thermaltake
  • Material: Aluminum (Radiator)
  • Noise Level: 19.8 - 27.2 dBA
  • Air flow: 22.57 - 63.19 CFM
  • 2x 140mm Patented Riing Plus RGB Fan
  • Reinforced Sleeved Rubber Cable
  • Fan speed: 500 – 1500 RPM
  • Digital Lighting Controller
  • Patented Riing Plus RGB Software and App
  • Compatible Socket and CPU: Intel LGA 2066/ 2011-v3 / 2011 / 1366 / 1200 / 1156 / 1155 / 1151 /1150 AMD TR4 / AM4 / FM2 / FM1 / AM4 / AM3+ / AM3 / AM2+ / AM2

Review

After being tested, the Thermaltake Floe Riing RGB 280 TT Premium Edition gave a decent cooling performance with noise levels scaling appropriately.

The accompanying software can control the fan speed and the RGB backlight of the fans and the water block pump. The build of the cooler is also compact and well-structured.

The installation also does not offer any difficulties on supported CPU sockets. When tested with an Intel Core i7-6800K at 1.25V, the Thermaltake Floe Riing RGB 280 TT Premium Edition managed to keep the CPU at below 80°C on close to maximum fan speed.

This AIO cooler is a testament to the quality of Thermaltake's AIO coolers by still giving outputs that match up well with newer AIO coolers.

4. EVGA CLC 280mm AIO RGB LED CPU Liquid Cooler

As the third item, the EVGA CLC 280 is also relatively older than the other coolers in this list. But again, like the Thermaltake Floe Riing RGB 280 TT Premium Edition, it still packs quite a punch.

It sports a fully controllable RGB logo on a 100% Copper base CPU water block. It also has two 140mm Teflon Nano Bearing fans with a curved housing for improved airflow.

EVGA CLC 280mm AIO RGB LED CPU Liquid Cooler

EVGA CLC 280mm AIO RGB LED CPU Liquid Cooler

Features

  • Dimensions: 7 x 14 x 7.7 inches
  • Brand: EVGA
  • Material: Aluminum (Radiator)
  • Power Connector: Pump Header, USB cable
  • Noise Level: 16.0 – 39.5 dBA
  • Air flow: Up to 113.50 CFM
  • 2x 140mm FX13 PWM Fans
  • Nylon Sleeved Ruber Tubing
  • Fan speed: 600 – 2200 rpm
  • EVGA Flow Control Software
  • Compatible Socket and CPU: Intel LGA2066, 2011, 2011-v3, 1200, 1150, 1151, 1155, 1156, 1366/AMD AM2, AM3, AM4, FM1, FM2, TR4

Review

This was EVGA's first attempt for AIO coolers and they did a great job. Even though it is one of the older AIO coolers, it still is considered one of the best in this size category.

The EVGA installation cannot get any easier for an AIO cooler. Its cooling performance does not disappoint, having relatively low temperatures at both full load and idle use.

When it comes to aesthetics, it might lack the certain panache of newer AIO coolers on their fans; but with the unique curved design of the fans, it still looks stylish with its black scheme.

The PWM fans can also be controlled by EVGA's Flow Control software, along with the RGB of the water block. The noise levels are a bit higher than the regular, but it comes with great cooling performance, so it is still a good trade-off.

5. ARCTIC Liquid Freezer II 280 - Multi Compatible AIO CPU Water Cooler

It has a unique structure and design as it strayed away from the usual OEM product base such as from Asetek or CoolIt. This AIO cooler can meet the cooling demands from high-end processors from both Intel and AMD, even when overclocking.

It has a PWM-controlled pump which led to having lower noise levels at moderate loads. The radiator also has a dense 38mm thick radiator that can get a larger amount of water to the cooling surface.

ARCTIC Liquid Freezer II 280 - Multi Compatible AIO CPU Water Cooler

ARCTIC Liquid Freezer II 280 - Multi Compatible AIO CPU Water Cooler

Features

  • Dimensions: 5.43 x 12.48 x 1.5 inches
  • Brand: Arctic
  • Material: Aluminum (Radiator)
  • Power Connector: 4-pin Fan Connector
  • Noise Level: 0.3 Sone
  • Air flow: Up to 72.8 CFM
  • 2x ARCTIC P14 – PWM 140mm Fan
  • Fiber-reinforced, Long EPDM Tubing
  • Fan speed: 200–1700 RPM
  • Compatible Socket and CPU: Intel 2066, 2011x, 115x AMD AM4

Review

The most promising feature of the Arctic Liquid Freezer II 280 is its cooling performance. It leaves the majority of its competitors in the dust with how efficient its cooling prowess is by staying at low sound levels.

The Voltage Regulator Module (VRM) fan is also a huge plus for effectively handling overclocking scenarios.

On an overclocked i7-6700k, the Arctic Liquid Freezer II 280 managed to be on top of its competitors, only falling a couple of degrees short to 360mm AIO coolers. The noise levels are also decent and still make the top of its category.

Due to the absence of aesthetic choices such as RGB lights, the Arctic Liquid Freezer II 280 has undercut its competitors in terms of its price range. But it did not completely ignore the visual component of AIO coolers. It still has a cool and sleek black color scheme with white accents on the tube.

The unique pump design and the improved radiator look good and improve cooling efficiency.

This AIO cooler sits atop of its class in terms of noise levels, price range, thermal performance, and unique design implementation. The efficiency to price ratio makes this product a good recommendation for anyone interested to explore 280mm AIO coolers.

6. NZXT Kraken Z63 280mm - RL-KRZ63-01 - AIO RGB CPU Liquid Cooler

As I have said earlier when reviewing the former NZXT entry in this list, the Kraken Z-series is the premium line of AIO liquid coolers for NZXT.

They are geared towards those who can spend quite a fortune on AIO coolers with better aesthetic choices and features, like the one present in the Kraken Z63, a full-fledged and full-color LCD screen that sits on top of the water block.

NZXT Kraken Z63 280mm - RL-KRZ63-01 - AIO RGB CPU Liquid Cooler

NZXT Kraken Z63 280mm - RL-KRZ63-01 - AIO RGB CPU Liquid Cooler

Features

  • Dimensions: 12.4 x 5.63 x 1.18 inches
  • Brand: NZXT
  • Material: Aluminum (Radiator)
  • Power Connector: 4-Pin PWM, SATA, Micro-USB
  • Noise Level: 21 – 38 dBA
  • Air flow: 27. 27 - 98.17 CFM
  • 2x 140mm Aer P140 PWM Fans
  • Ultra-low Evaporation Rubber with Nylon Braided Sleeve
  • Fan speed: 500 to 1,800 + 300rpm
  • 2.36” LCD Screen Display
  • Better Control with Full CAM Integration
  • Compatible Socket and CPU: Intel Socket LGA 1200, 1151, 1150, 1155, 1156, 1366, 2011, 2011-3, 2066 AMD Socket AM4, sTRX4*, TR4* (*Threadripper bracket not included)

Review

In terms of overall block design, the Kraken Z63 follows suit to those of other Kraken installments such as the 360mm X73. It has dual-pass crossflow designs on its radiator for more efficient cooling.

The tubing is also designed for ultra-low evaporation with it being made of high-density rubber. Noise levels are also decent, even with a heavy load.

The first thing that will get your attention for this AIO cooler is its attractive LCD display on its water pump. The 2.36” LCD screen can display 24-bit colors, containing either live CPU temperature data, other CAM software data, and even customized GIFs.

Even if the default fans do not have RGB interfaced with them, the addressable display surely outweighs its aesthetic value.

This wide customization can be configured with improved CAM software, where you can also adjust the speed of the fans. When tested with a Ryzen 9 3900X at 22°C ambient temperature and fan speeds at 50%, the Kraken Z63 provides formidable results. At idle, it shows 27°C and when stress-tested, it does not even reach 60°C.

The Kraken Z63 280mm definitely belongs to the top tier of AIO liquid coolers with its expensive price and luxurious features. If you can afford the luxurious features that this AIO cooler offers, it is heavily recommended for you and those who do not hold back when it comes to their PC.

7. Corsair Hydro Series H115i PRO RGB AIO Liquid CPU Cooler

The Corsair Hydro Series H115i Pro 280mm is the earlier version of the first item in this list, which is the H115i Pro XT. This cooler belongs to the first AIO coolers who implemented the 6th Gen Asetek pump. Its fans also use magnetic levitation technology for improved airflow and lesser noise levels.

Corsair Hydro Series H115i PRO RGB AIO Liquid CPU Cooler

Corsair Hydro Series H115i PRO RGB AIO Liquid CPU Cooler

Features

  • Dimensions: 12.4 x 5.63 x 1.14 inches
  • Brand: Corsair
  • Material: Aluminum (Radiator)
  • Power Connector: 4-Pin PWM, USB Cable
  • Noise Level: 10 - 20.4 dBA
  • Air flow: 55.4 CFM
  • 2x 140mm Corsair ML Series PWM Fans
  • Dynamic Multicolor RGB Pump Head
  • Black Sleeved Low-Permeation Rubber
  • Fan speed: 1200 rpm
  • Corsair iCUE Integration
  • Compatible Socket and CPU: Intel 1200, 1150, 1151, 1155, 1156, 1366, 2011, 2066 AMD AM4, AM3, AM2, sTRX4*, sTR4* *Purchase bracket CW-8960054 on CORSAIR webstore for compatibility with AMD socket sTR4/sTRX4

Review

This AIO cooler is designed to lower the noise levels of the usual AIOs with its ML fans and adjustable pump speed.

It also has a Zero RPM mode where the fans can stop entirely at low CPU load. These adjustments can be made via Corsair's integrated software, iCUE. It also has a decent thermal performance on par with the next item on this list, the NZXT Kraken X62.

The Corsair H115i Pro can be easily installed with its mounting system if you follow the instruction manual. It looks fresh, especially to those who usually opt for the low-key set-up with its black color scheme and a programmable RGB lighting on its pump.

8. NZXT Kraken X62 280mm - RL-KRX62-02 - AIO RGB CPU Liquid Cooler

The Kraken X62 is the older brother of the 2nd item on this list, which is the NZXT Kraken X63. It is also supported by NZXT's CAM software, and generally the same with the pump and radiator design. The X62's RGB infinity mirror on the top does not rotate and is slightly smaller than the newer X63.

NZXT Kraken X62 280mm - RL-KRX62-02 - AIO RGB CPU Liquid Cooler

NZXT Kraken X62 280mm - RL-KRX62-02 - AIO RGB CPU Liquid Cooler

Features

  • Dimensions: 13.66 x 6.1 x 8.23 inches
  • Brand: NZXT
  • Material: Aluminum (Radiator)
  • Power Connector: 4-Pin PWM, SATA, Micro-USB
  • Noise Level: 21 – 38 dBA
  • Air flow: 27. 27 - 98.17 CFM
  • 2x 140mm Aer P140 PWM Fans
  • RGB Infinity Mirror Design
  • Ultra-low Evaporation Rubber with Nylon Braided Sleeve
  • Fan speed: 500 to 1,800 + 300rpm
  • Full CAM Integration
  • Compatible Socket and CPU: Intel 1200, 1151, 1150, 1155, 1156, 1366, 2011, 2011-3, 2066 AMD TR4, AM4, FM2+, FM2, FM1, AM3+, AM3, AM2+, AM2

Review

It has a refined look with an all-black exterior which accented the already-eye-catching RGB infinity mirror ring in its CPU block. This ring can be configured on NZXT's CAM software.

You can also view the temperature of your components inside CAM's interface. You can view other settings inside CAM like the fan control mode, pump control mode, and RGB lights control.

Upon testing with other CPU coolers on its category and generation, it belonged to the top performing coolers on both idle and an overclocking CPU. Its noise levels do not gracefully scale with load, but it is understandable, given how efficient its cooling prowess is.

The NZXT Kraken X62 aged gracefully with time as it can still keep up with newer installments on aspects that make a great AIO liquid CPU cooler.

Conclusion

The 280mm AIO liquid CPU cooler is not the most common size of AIOs, compared with the other variants such as the 240mm and the 360mm. But you still have a wide range of selections, as proven by the list above. You can take a lot of factors into consideration as you select what is best for you.

You can depend on the size of your CPU case, ease of installation, RGB lighting, color scheme, and good value-for-money for picking the right 280mm AIO cooler for you. You can find an AIO liquid CPU cooler above that will satisfy your cooling needs and aspects that you give prioritization to.

And again, it would not hurt to spoil your CPU with a powerful and visually stunning cooling device, as it is the centerpiece of your whole PC set-up.

Links and Resources

For more information about the products, check out their official site at the following links:

#1. Corsair iCUE H115i RGB Pro XT 280mm Liquid CPU Cooler
#2. NZXT Kraken X63 280mm - RL-KRX63-01 - AIO RGB CPU Liquid Cooler
#3. Thermaltake Floe Dual Riing RGB 280 TT Premium Edition CPU Liquid Cooler
#4. EVGA CLC 280mm AIO RGB LED CPU Liquid Cooler
#5. ARCTIC Liquid Freezer II 280 - Multi Compatible AIO CPU Water Cooler
#6. NZXT Kraken Z63 280mm - RL-KRZ63-01 - AIO RGB CPU Liquid Cooler
#7. Corsair Hydro Series H115i PRO RGB AIO Liquid CPU Cooler
#8. NZXT Kraken X62 280mm - RL-KRX62-02 - AIO RGB CPU Liquid Cooler

About Silver Moon

A Tech Enthusiast, Blogger, Linux Fan and a Software Developer. Writes about Computer hardware, Linux and Open Source software and coding in Python, Php and Javascript. He can be reached at [email protected].

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *