InWin BR24 Closed-Loop CPU Cooler Review
Most adults have seen at least one performance by classic film persona gone TV personality Uma Thurman, but who’s this UMA Thermal and why is she messing around with our motherboards? Including the concept in its BR24 closed-loop CPU cooler, InWin is here to fill us in.
|InWin BR24 IW-LC-BR24|
|Thickness||27mm (53mm w/fans)||Connectors||ARGB/SATA/PWM|
|Width||120mm (4.7″)||Weight||1238g (44 oz)|
|Depth||277mm (10.9″)||Intel Sockets||1700, 1200/115x, 2066/2011/1366|
|Pump Height||100mm (3.9″) incl. fan||AMD Sockets||AM5/2, FM2+/1, STRX4/STR4|
|Cooling Fans||(2) 120 x 25mm||Web Price||$130|
Builders delving into the nascent CPU liquid cooling market of two decades ago immediately noticed that removing the CPU fan caused voltage regulator temperatures to spike as a result of the loss of airflow over those heatsinks, which were designed to take advantage of the CPU cooler’s waste air. Motherboard companies began adding accessory fans to their high end boards, and builders whose motherboards didn’t include those started seeking out all sorts of fan attachment options fan to replace the airflow they’d removed from the CPU area of their motherboards when making the switch to liquid. Gigabyte even added a fan to the top of its water block before case manufacturers stepped in by adding a second exhaust fan above the CPU, which eventually grew to become our preferred radiator mounting location.
An acronym for Upper Motherboard Area, InWin’s UMA Thermal Solution refers to the fan that sits atop its water block and blows air over the voltage regulator and other nearby components (such as the inner DIMM and usually the upper M.2 drive). In light of the photo we linked above, we’re pleased to note that InWin has not claimed to be the first to do this: With the ARGB air guide between the fan and the base, InWin may instead be the first to do this well.
InWin updated the BR24 to support LGA1700 post-production, and we were surprised to find a second motherboard bracket given that it’s identical to the first. Four threaded collars sit in the off-center holes of four round disks, each of which may be spun to match the hole patterns of various Intel LGAs. The kit also contains different mounting posts for various sockets, a universal AMD bracket with holes for everything from Socket FM1 to STRX4, a bag of radiator/fan screws with a set of four top nuts that fit all standoffs, an SATA-powered InWin one-click ARGB controller with two standard outputs, a three way ARGB output splitter cable, two 120mm fans, and a fat cable bundle that turns the ARGB unit atop the water pump into a fan hub.
In Win says that its water pump fits into that little module seen bridging coolant lines two images up, and that would mean that there is no pump in its CPU water block. If that’s the case, this block is all about that base. The original machined finish shows through an apparently bead-blasted surface that’s smooth enough to satisfy our quality craving. Plastic tabs at the sides secure the cooler’s top brackets in your choice of Intel (square) or AMD (rectangular) flavors, and a big connector above it fits the giant main cable we mentioned above.
Whether your board needs a socket plate to secure its standoffs depends on whether it already has one: InWin provides a part that fills that role for most Intel LGAs, while most AMD sockets include a factory backing plate. Shown are the AMD standoffs affixed to our AM4 motherboard.
And here are the AMD brackets slide into the side slots of the water pump body. If you think that the main connector may be difficult to reach after the block is screwed down to the motherboard, feel free to plug it in now as shown.
The standoffs we placed two photos ago now fit into holes of the bracket as show above, to be secured with four included nuts as shown below. The water block’s ARGB cable has a pass-though output that we used to feed the fan’s ARGB splitter cable. We used one of our motherboard’s two ARGB headers, though the included one-click controller can also be used with either one or both outputs connected.
Builders end up with a bunch of options: Since we used the pump’s pass-through to feed the ARGB signal to the cooler’s fans, we needed only one of our board’s ARGB outputs to connect the entire cooler. We used the motherboard’s other ARGB output to feed the three-way ARGB splitter that was included with our case.
|Case||Cooler Master MasterBox TD500 Mesh|
|CPU||AMD Ryzen 7 3700X: 8 cores/ 16 threads, 32MB L3 Cache
O/C to 4.20 GHz (42x 100 MHz) at 1.3625 V Core
|Motherboard||MSI X570 Ace: AMD X570, Socket AM4|
|RAM||T-Force Vulcan Z TLZGD416G3200HC16CDC0 DDR4-3200|
|Graphics||Gigabyte GeForce RTX 2070 Gaming OC 8G: GeForce RTX 2070
1815 MHz GPU, GDDR6-14000, Maximum Fan When Listed
|Hard Drives||Toshiba OCZ RD400 256GB NVMe SSD|
|Sound||Integrated HD Audio|
|Network||Integrated Gigabit Networking|
|Power||Cooler Master XG 750 Plus Platinum: Fully modular, 80Plus Platinum|
|Load Software||Prime95 Version 30.7 Torture Test, Small FFTs|
|H/W Monitoring||HWiNFO64 v6.28-4200|
|SPL Monitoring||Galaxy CM-140 SPL Meter: Tested at 1/4 m, corrected to 1 m (-12 dB)|
The BR24 puts aside any serious doubts we had about the tiny inline pump’s ability to maintain adequate coolant flow by pushing some of the lowest CPU temperatures of any similarly-sized closed-loop cooler. It’s basically a dead match for the cooling capacity of Corsair’s iCue H100i Elite LCD.
InWin claims that its water pump fan can provide a voltage regulator temperature reduction of up to 20° compared to coolers that lack it, and we see a difference of 10° in our own system. The biggest difference between their maximum and ours is that we prioritize VR MOS cooling by placing our radiator’s fans directly above the voltage regulator, whereas many builders shoot for lower CPU temperatures by putting theirs on the case’s front panel. InWin’s design beats our optimum by 10°!
And now for the bad news: The BR24’s 120mm fans are loud. We knew that some readers would want to blame the little tornado fan that sits over the pump, but that fan is about 10db quieter than the pair of 120mm fans. And remember that decibels are logarithmic: Reducing the number of 120mm fans by one only reduces SPL by 3db. It’s the big fans making the racket.
We rescaled the Cooling-To-Noise ratio to a 100% baseline using the basic math trick of dividing by the lowest number (any number divided by itself is 1, which is 100%), and saw that the BR24 fell 9% behind the H100i and 12% behind the Celsius S24 in overall performance when using only the CPU as a metric. Basing the same calculations on VR MOS temperature, however, gives the BR24 a commanding 42% lead over the H100i and even a 28% lead over the quiet S24.
Many PC builders put their radiators on the front panel for the coolest air, only to find their motherboards burning hot as a consequence of the lost airflow. Solutions may include moving the radiator to the top panel so that its fans draw air away from the top of the motherboard, adding fans to cool the board without altering radiator placement, or upgrading to an open-loop liquid cooling system to add a voltage regulator water block. Yet with all the other parts that could perform better with an added water block, that last measure can snowball pretty quickly. Those without the ability to improve airflow or the time and money to build out an entire liquid cooling component system can instead pick the InWin BR24 and get all the air around the CPU socket they need, plus the attention-grabbing visual effect of the reverse funnel ARGB pump cover.
|With its unique performance attributes and ARGB appearance, we recommend the BR24 to anyone concerned about airflow to their system’s voltage regulator, memory, and upper M.2 module.|
While BR24 users can crank down the fan speed in motherboard fan management to reduce noise under most loads, users of the competing product can’t crank up their voltage regulator cooling as easily. We recommend the BR24 for any build where airflow to the components surrounding the CPU socket is in question.
Innovation typically applies to new ideas, but can also apply to new ways to package old ideas: Nearly two decades have passed since liquid cooled system builders first scoffed at Gigabyte’s water block fan idea…only to end up scrambling for other ways to do what Gigabyte was already doing. InWin’s updated version becomes an aesthetic enhancement that should win over novice builders…even as those with more experience repeat errors of the past.