As a premium components manufacturer, be quiet! has rarely found itself landing on the value side of the performance equation. Quality takes precedence. That explains why we weren’t all that surprised when its top model big-air cooler showed up at $115. That might have led the firm to ask itself what it might accomplish for the same price in the liquid-cooling sphere? Regardless of whether the question was voiced, the answer came in the form of its Pure Loop 2.
|be quiet! Pure Loop 2 (p/n BW017)
|28mm (55mm w/fan screws)
|PWM (motherboard typ.)
|(2) 120 x 25mm
|(3) 4-Pin PWM, (1) ARGB in
|1193g (42 oz)
|LGA 1700, 1200/115x
The Pure Loop 2 differs from most closed-loop liquid coolers in that it includes a fill port and uses an inline pump rather than a waterblock-mounted unit. The fill port is rarer than the inline pump, and be quiet! even adds a bottle of fluid to use in top-ups. As seen with the fans installed on the hose bib side, the ease of accessing that fill port will depend on your installation.
Given the fill port’s size and location, we were surprised to find so large a bottle of coolant. Also included are three cable ties, a tube of thermal compound, a fan splitter cable, 30mm and 5mm screws for mounting the fans and radiator, Intel and AMD mounting kids, the combined cooler with its water block, inline pump and radiator all connected via crimped hoses, and two 120mm fans (the cooler is also available in sizes to fit dual 140mm and triple 120mm fans).
Called a “coldplate” in CPU cooling lingo, be quiet!’s heat exchanger appears to have been cut on a lathe, lightly polished and plated in an anti-corrosive material (nickel would be expected, but this one appears to have a slightly yellow hue). The opposite side of the water block features a brushed aluminum cover with ARGB lighted plastic rim and a normally-keyed ARGB cable.
Because we use our CPU coolers to provide additional airflow over our motherboard’s voltage regulator, we began our Pure Loop 2 installation by screwing its fans to what would be the underside of its radiator, with the cables pointing to what would become the motherboard tray of our case.
|Thermaltake Ceres 500 TG ARGB
|AMD Ryzen 9 7900X: 12 cores/ 24 threads, 64MB L3 Cache
O/C to 5.00 GHz at 1.25 V Core
|ASRock B650E PG Riptide WiFi, BIOS 1.18
|Sabrent Rocket SB-DR5U-32GX2 64GB DDR5-4800
|HP SSD FX900 M.2 1TB NVMe SSD
Unlike the Intel mounting kit that includes a custom be quite! support plate, the Pure Loop 2’s AMD mounting kit uses the motherboard’s factory-installed plate by removing its factory-installed clip brackets and adding be quite!’s plastic spacers, cross bracket and screws.
After applying thermal paste to the top of our CPU, we turned the cooler’s captive screws into the holes of the Pure Loop 2’s cross brackets. We then used the short screws to attach the top of the radiator to the underside of our case’s top fan mounts, carefully positioning the unit as far towards the back of the case as possible to optimize airflow over the top rear corner of our motherboard. The water block’s ARGB cable is looped up around the motherboard’s top fan connectors to its upper front corner ARGB header, and the fan cables are connected to the included Y-connector which is then plugged into one of the top two fan headers on the motherboard. The motherboard’s other upper fan header feeds the pump.
Right-angle fittings are rotatable within the water block, and pushing the hoses down gives us a better look at the ARGB lighted ring that surrounds the pump’s decorative brushed aluminum cover.
It may cost as much as be quiet!’s premium air cooler, but other closed-loop liquid coolers of the same mounting format make better comparison fodder. The 240mm Pure Loop 2 places third in CPU cooling behind the H100i Elite LCD XT and MasterLiquid 240 Atmos.
The Pure Loop 2 accelerates into a second-place tie with the H100i Elite LCD XT in voltage regulator cooling, which only measures the impact that its fans have on airflow over those parts.
It may cooler a little less than the MasterLiquid 240 Atmos, but the Pure Loop 2 is also slightly quieter. Unfortunately, the noise difference does not
By now you may be wondering what might happen if we were to compare the $115 liquid cooler to the $115 air cooler? At the risk of spoiling any future air-vs-water tutorials, here’s how be quiet! air coolers compare at full fan speed.
Because localized fan coolers blow across the motherboard, they tend to have a beneficial impact on the voltage regulator. Minimizing this benefit is that most of the air bypasses the motherboard completely. The $115 Dark Rock Elite big-air cooler’s low noise gives it the highest cooling-to-noise ratio, but the identically priced Pure Loop 2 240 holds a slightly lower CPU temperature.
As our staff has been doing these kinds of tests since even before this site existed, we knew what to expect from the liquid-to-air comparison even before putting those last numbers together. Still, as a builder I rarely use a big-air cooler on other people’s systems because I’m afraid of what I’ll see if they set the things down too eagerly. Big Air systems are to be handled carefully.
When only a liquid cooling system will do, miserly buyers are left with only the $115 Pure Loop 2 240 and the $80 VATN 2400 to consider. And though parsimony is always a matter of degree, we think that most of you will put a little more faith behind the company who’s been with us for the past two decades.
|be quiet! Pure Loop 2 (p/n BW017)
|Shorter warranty than pricier competitors
|Pure Loop 2 undercuts most major brands in price, but the shorter warranty undercuts value.