Specifications, Unboxing & Installation

The Specifications, Unboxing and Installation

Here are the EVGA 280 CLC’s specifications and features from EVGA’s site.

Specifications:

The EVGA 280 CLC arrived in a retro-style retail cardboard box packed with everything necessary to cool any modern CPU that you may buy. This cooler is “universal” – engineered to fit any modern Intel or AMD CPU’s cooling needs – overclocked or stock.

 

The main difference between the EVGA CLC 280 and the other two watercooling units are the size of their radiators.  The 280mm CLC has a much larger cooling surface area as it uses its two 140mm fans side-by-side to cool its large radiator while the Seidon 240M uses two 120mm fans and the Corsair H60 uses a single 120mm fan. 

The EVGA CLC 280 specifications are printed on the other side of the box.

The contact plate itself is very smooth and it uses a retention ring that pre-installed for Intel CPUs. The ring is easily removable so as to use the AMD retention ring instead.  The thermal interface material (TIM) is pre-applied by the factory but we used Arctic Silver 5 for all of our thermal testing.  Having the TIM pre-applied in addition to including a tube of it might be a real plus for subsequent installations as the pre-applied TIM can only be used once.

The EVGA CLC 280 is fully featured and the specifications are excellent so let’s get it out of the box and install it.

 

Unboxing 

The EVGA CLC 280 is well packaged inside its cardboard box.

Here is everything out of the box.

There are common parts and also parts included specifically for Intel and for AMD CPUs.

We had no difficulty following the instructions for installing a watercooler on either an Intel or AMD CPU platform as we were already used to working with other liquid cooling systems, but we soon found out that the mounting instructions for the EVGA CLC 280 are very different than for the Seidon 240M.

Above is our EVGA CLC 280 out of the box and ready for installation.  There are very clear step-by-step instructions supplied.

The fans work next to each other and they already pre-installed directly onto the radiator.  These fans are not as well protected as other fans, so one must be aware of finger placement when they are spinning.

We’re ready to go!  Let’s install the EVGA 280 CLC.

 

Installation

The installation of the EVGA CLC 280 is pretty straightforward. The radiator needs to fit properly and the “normal” installation with the fans below the radiator caused the blades to contact the heatsink of our ASRock Z7170M mITX board.  Our solution was to turn the radiator and fans over and fit the radiator which is slightly recessed right on top of the heatsink with zero room for any further tolerance.

We rotated the fans in relation to the radiator so that they would be bringing in cool air directly in from the top of our case.  That means that we have two 140mm intake fans bringing in cool air from the top of the case and two more 140mm intake fans at the front of our case.  To keep a positive and balanced airflow through our tower, we use our 150mm exhaust fan at the back of our case coupled with a 480mm exhaust side case fan.

We were able to use 4 pre-drilled holes in the top of the chassis of our Chaser MK-1 Tower to securely lock down the EVGA 280mm CLC radiator.

Next we installed the backplate behind the motherboard taking care to line up the mounting holes.Installing the radiator was a really tight fit.  Because we use a fully-featured mini-ITX ASRock Z7170M motherboard, there was zero tolerance between the top heatsink and the radiator cooling fins.

Next we installed the risers into the standoffs which come through the motherboard.  Unlike most coolers that we have installed where the risers are held firmly to the motherboard, in this case, the risers are quite loose.  We had some difficulty installing the cooler head so that it made firm contact and EVGA sent us a second backplate that had slightly shorter risers.  

Even with the second backplate, we noticed the risers’ looseness and we then called EVGA’s toll free phone number for assistance.  Although we called on a Friday morning and didn’t mention that we were reviewing the cooler, we had no wait time and we were soon routed to a tech support person who actually had experience installing the EVGA CLC 280.  He assured us that the entire assembly would tighten down once the cooler head was fully installed and he was right about the second backplate.

Below, the cooler head of the EVGA CLC 280 is tightened down with a screwdriver onto the risers and it finally makes a very solid contact.  Make sure to not overtighten the screws!

Below is the EVGA CLC 280 fully installed.  The bottom of the cooler head has a connnector for a supplied USB cable that may be installed into the motherboard’s USB 2.0 front panel header to enable PWM-tuning via software.  The two fans’ power leads fit into a Y-adapter that connect via a single power lead into the motherboard’s CPU fan header, and the fan speed may be adjusted in the BIOS now as we await EVGA’s Flow Control software.

Here’s a look at our PC with everything running below.  Along with two 140mm intake fans at the front of the case, the EVGA CLC 280’s two 140mm fans bring cooling air from the top of the case through the radiator, and two large exhaust fans keep the PC’s air flowing through the case.

Except for our original issue with the original backplate and our questioning of the looseness of the risers, installing the EVGA CLC 280 was reasonably quick considering the large size of the cooler and that it barely fit.  

EVGA has an excellent video which details the step-by-step installation of the CLC 280.  However, when the tech says do not overtighten the risers, he does not mention that “loose” is normal.

Noise

The custom EVGA fans do a fine job of quietly keeping the radiator and the liquid cool at regular rpm using power management with our BIOS set to ‘normal’. However, under ‘performance’ mode (high), when the cooler is under load, the fans spin up as the CPU is overclocked and you can hear them. In contrast, when the fans are set to ‘silent’ (low) in the BIOS, the pump can be heard over the fans.

Let’s head over for the thermal test.

Contents

2 COMMENTS

  1. You all must be doing something wrong as I’ve been running a 6700K at 4.7/4.8ghz for months using a Corsair H115i and I can run OCCT for days and never break 80C … not that I think the Corsair is so great .. it’s just about on par with every other AIO cooler I’ve read about but load temps in the 90’s???? Maybe your testing in 30C ambients? 😉 … but those are ridiculously high temps for a 6700K at 4.7ghz …

  2. How this compare my x61 from NZXT and what’s better Corsair I will say I do not like NZXT software can have had major issues and had replace one my units

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