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Fractal Design Kelvin S36 Review (Cooler)

Fractal Design Kelvin S36 Review (Cooler)

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Fractal Design Kelvin S36 Review – Installation

Next up its time for thermal paste on the CPU and then we stick our backplate onto the motherboard before screwing the CPU block to it (normal screw head). There is some assembly of the screw/tension required but it is well documented. After connecting the fans to our motherboard, which controls their speed, we are good to go!

Fractal Design Kelvin S36 Review – Performance

Test Platform: Z97, i7-4790K at stock and at 1.45v/4.8GHz.

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Fractal Design Kelvin S36 Review – Conclusion

Before we talk about performance, some words on the overall design and quality of the Kelvin S36. First up, build quality. Overall Fractal Design have done well on this front. We noticed no defects in the construction and materials used. The fittings feel solid and there were no areas of flex or cheap plastic on show. In fact the pump with its minimalist design looks rather nice compared to some alternate models.

In terms of design, we had one issue which caused us some annoyance. The use of custom screw heads. Sure, fancy screw heads look marginally better than normal but the fact we are forced to use a special tool to install them is just adding inconvenience. Especially when that tool is slower to use than a screwdriver. In fact for anyone who uses an electric screwdriver its even more frustrating. We just dont get what Fractal Design were thinking on this design element… that said, when the worst thing we can say about a cooler is that its screws are a bit annoying, we know things are looking pretty good. The unit installs easily for example, maybe the CPU block screws could be pre-assembled in some way to make them less fiddly but overall the install takes no more than 10minutes and the dimensions of the product have been kept to a minimum to maximise case compatibility. We also like that the unit can be easily topped up and that Fractal Design specifically note that it uses standard fittings, while also being suitable for upgrades, for example adding a GPU block in.

So that brings us to performance where the unit easily outperforms a performance air cooler, no surpise there though. When compared to other liquid coolers the Kelvin S36 also does well. It runs cooler than Antec’s high end model and also manages to knock a few degrees off our CPU temperature when compared to Cooler Master’s unit too.

Summary: Well designed, good build quality and potential for future upgrades. All good aspects which compliment some high end performance.

Performance Award

About Author

Stuart Davidson

Stuart Davidson is Senior Editor at HardwareHeaven having joined the site in 2002.

7 Comments

  1. THQ

    How do you think this compares with NZXT Kraken X61? Could you do a comparison? Swiftech is rarely available and has had reliability issues, so it appears at the moment the X61 seems to be the pick of the bunch of AIOs.

  2. jackjackduank

    Thanks for the review, now i know what i need for my future upgrade AIO cooler 😉
    FRACTAL DESIGN KELVIN S36 with expandable feature looks GREAT!

  3. I take it won’t outperform by a huge margin a coirsair h80 on push pull with a pair of NF-F12’s??
    I really would like to put this beast on my air 540, as it would look awesome, but in the end, it doesn’t look like a wise upgrade for me…
    As of now, my 3770k reaches 4.5ghz @1.28v, topping 65ºC after 1hour prime95 run.

  4. HardwareHeaven

    Kitty.