Hardware Labs Black Ice Nemesis 360GTX Radiator Review
Hardware Labs Performance Systems, Inc, is a pioneer in the computer water-cooling industry. HWLabs was the first company to develop and manufacture the first radiators specifically designed for PC water-cooling and is still the de facto benchmark in the business.
Their core philosophy remains to be the relentless pursuit of performance in the heat exchange industry, pushing the limits of design and engineering to provide our fellow enthusiasts and the industry with class-leading products and services.
Today we are taking a look at one of Hardware Labs’ newest products, Hardware Labs Black Ice Nemesis 360GTX. The Black Ice Nemesis GTX is a continuation of the original GTX line. Featuring a massive 54mm thickness and a new “Dark Matter” finish. A revised core promises improved flow and cooling over the previous versions.
Hardware Labs’ take on the Black Ice Nemesis 360GTX
The Black Ice® Nemesis® 360GTX® is designed for the professional case mod professional who takes a no-compromise approach to performance, design and build quality. Using the new Nemesis® platform makes it possible to take advantage of extreme triple-fan performance at ultra-stealth noise levels.
- 120 mm x 3 fan Xtreme form factor two-pass radiator
- 398mm x 133mm x 54mm (L x W x H)
- 16 FPI 25 Micron Copper Fins
- Now optimized for sub-800 rpm ultra-stealth fans
- Supercruise optimizations for scalable performance with higher speed fans
- 15% more tubing area in the same Black Ice® GTX™ 360 form factor
- Increased internal coolant flow rates
- Standard G 1/4″ inlet/outlet fittings
- Standard M4 mounting threads
- Compatible with Black Ice® Xtreme III, Black Ice® GTX™ 360 radiators
- Custom Dark Matter™ high quality finish
- Fully ROHS Compliant
- 100% Made from conflict-free materials
- Industry standard Black Ice® quality
- Lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects*
Let’s take a closer look…
The Hardware Labs Black Ice 360GTX comes in an understated black box with grey graphics and gold lettering.
On the back is some highlights of the new radiator’s features. Full dimensions are given as well.
Once inside the box, we are greeted with another box.
The Black Ice 360GTX is packed with multiple layers of protective cardboard.
A Closer Look
The new “Dark Matter” finish looks unlike anything else in the industry. It has a very rough texture and promises to be quite durable.
The are no names or logos anywhere on the radiator.
The end tanks are made of brass.
The fin density is 16 FPI, which is not extremely high. None tubes line up with the screw holes, so special care is not need to ensure a screw is ran too deep or punctures a tube.
12 M4 x 30mm and 12 M4 x 6mm screws are included. This is enough for 1 set of standard 25mm thick fans to be mounted in push or pull only.
On to Testing.
System Configuration and Performance Testing
PowerColor GA-Z97-SOC Force Motherboard
Intel Core i7 4790K Processor
Kingston HyperX Beast 16GB 2400MHz Memory
Crucial M550 256GB Solid State Drive
Spotswood Small Tech Bench
XFX PRO850W XXX Edition 850w Silver Power Supply
Koolance CPU-380i CPU Block
Laing DDC Pump
Bitspower Water Tank Z-Multi-400 Reservoir
Cooler Master JetFlo Fans
We try to set up the testing to be as close to a real world scenario as we can, while still eliminating any variables that would skew the results. Everything that is needed to operate a normal computer is installed (monitor, peripherals, motherboard w/CPU and GPU, radiator, power supply, etc.) and utilized as needed. Our Intel i7 4790K is overclocked to 4.5 GHz with a Vcore of 1.3 volts. The most extreme setting for line load calibration is used to ensure consistent voltage to the CPU.
The total system flow rate is tested using a Koolance INS-FM18D Flow Meter. The entire water cooling loop is assembled, filled, and bleed of any air. Only distilled water is used for consistency. Every component is connected by 7/16″ x 5/8″ tubing and matching compression fittings. The pump is directly powered from the power supply with a constant 12 volts.
The 360GTX makes some gains over the previous GTX 360. While flow rate does not have a dramatic effect on cooling, it does decrease the stress on the pump.
CPU load is provided by running an application on Prime 95 with a small FFT. This creates the most heat and the least varying load. Water temperatures are measured directly from the reservoir. 20-minute cycles between measurements allow for full water temperature stabilization. The Cooler Master JetFlo fans are sealed to each radiator to reduce air leakage and are ran in “push” configuration only.
Our plethora of radiators, provide a plethora of results. Thicker radiators have a tendency to perform great at high speeds, but less so at low speeds. We see this in the testing with the Hardware Labe Black Ice 360GTX as well. The core design allows for good low speed performance without sacrificing high speed performance. Once the fan speed reached 1500 RPM, the 360GTX outperformed all the other radiators we have tested so far.
The Conclusion and Final Thoughts are next.
Final Thoughts and Conclusion
The Hardware Labs Black Ice Nemesis 360GTX is a beautiful radiator. The textured black “Dark Matter” finish was completely free of any desirable defects. All the solder joints looked flawless as well. There is no doubt that when looking at the 360GTX that it is finely crafted.
While poor low-speed performance is not unusual for a radiator of this thickness, the 360GTX does not have that burden in excess. Low-speed fan performance is greatly improved over the GTX Gen Two Xtreme 360 we reviewed a short time ago and there is certainly nothing to complain about when it comes to the high-speed fan testing either. Here the Black Ice 360GTX outperformed every one of our test units.
Currently, the Hardware Labs Black Ice Nemesis 360GTX is available from Performance-PCS.com for $109.99. That makes it one of the least expensive thick core 360 radiators on the market. If you need strong performance and do not mind pushing some medium RPM fans or are planning on using a push/pull low-speed fan arrangement, it is one of the best in the class.
Thank you to Hardware Labs and Performance-PCS.com for providing the Black Ice 360GTX for testing.
- Excellent Build Quality
- Top Shelf Aesthetics and Finish
- Great Wide Speed Fan Performance
- Lifetime Warranty
- High Price
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