Aorus Waterforce X 240 All-in-one Liquid Cooler

In late March Intel released their 11th Gen family of Core™ processors. Among these processors was the new Core i9-11900K (8 Core 16 Thread) that claimed to run up to 5.3GHz. As with most computer components, the faster the frequency – the higher the temperature, and in the case of the 11900K also running at power draws of over 200W (although rated with a 125W TDP) it was sure to need adequate cooling to run at peak performance. To try get the most of our 11900K sample Gigabyte offered us their Aorus Waterforce X 240 All-in-one (AIO) Liquid Cooler to put both the CPU and Cooler to the test.

Intel Core i9-11900K CPU Details

The Aorus Waterforce X 240 AIO features all the mounting hardware you’d expect to hook its copper block up to any modern Intel Socket 1200 or AMD AM4 processor, as well as the upcoming Intel Alter Lake Socket 1700 which is expected to launch sometime in the next year. The radiator is a standard 240mm aluminum one with two included 120mm ARGB Fans, these fans feature “Graphene Nano Lubricant ” sleeve bearings that Gigabyte claim will last up to 73500 Hours, or around 8.5 years of 24/7 operation. Gigabyte have also increased the diameter of the water tubes on the X 240 from 5.1mm on their previous Non-X 240 up to 7.8mm on the model we are testing. While we do not have the previous model for comparison, it’s worth noting that Gigabyte states their new design should allow for 37% more water flow to make heat dissipate quicker and more efficient. Finally the X 240 features a round LCD screen which is probably its main draw, but we’ll get to that later.

For our test system we used the above mentioned Intel Core i9-11900K, Aorus X 240 AIO, Z590 Aorus Pro AX Motherboard, 16GB Aorus DDR4 3733MHz RGB Memory, 2TB Aorus 7000s NVMe SSD, RTX 3090 Aorus Master, Cooler Master V750 PSU and CM H500 ARGB Chassis. Installation of the AIO was a quick and painless process as Gigabyte includes a quick and easy guide with simple steps to follow, and a nice large tube of thermal paste if you fail on your first application.

To test out the X 240 we ran Gigabyte’s Aorus Engine software, where Aorus allows you to set the fans and pump to Quiet, Balanced or Max profiles, but realistically all three profiles would max out both the fans and pump once the CPU reaches around 70 degrees Celsius. To properly test the thermal performance we instead used the custom profile and manually set the fans to 1000 RPM, 1500 RPM and their maximum of 2500 RPM while leaving the pump set to the balanced profile.

We ran a Cinebench R23 Multi Core benchmark across all 8 cores and logged the core temperatures using core temp for a period of 10 minutes. After each run we restarted the system and tested the next fan speed. To make it easier to actually see the data of the temperatures over the 3 different runs, we averaged the core temps of each of the 8 cores and compared them.

Due to Intel’s new Turbo specifications allowing for higher clock speeds for CPUs running under 70 degrees, we generally saw the i9-11900K running at its specced 5.1 GHz on all 8 cores when the fans were running at their maximum profile of 2500 RPM. When we lowered the fan speeds we did see the CPU spike between 4.7 and 4.8 GHz for a small period of time and as such on those runs got a slightly slower cinebench score when the chips were allowed to touch the 70 degree mark. The info above gives us confidence that when the i9-11900K is met with a small workload, it will be able to run at its highest frequency, and even when pushed to its limits in Cinebench where we saw it pull up to 220W of power. As long as the fans are set to any of the default profiles ramping up at 70 degrees, you will be able to effectively cool your CPU with the Aorus Waterforce X 240 and not leave any performance on the table, that is in the event you’re okay with the fans getting louder when pushed with a heavier workload.

Customizing the look of the Aorus Waterforce X 240 is made possible by installing Gigabyte’s RGBFusion 2.0 software. While Gigabyte has historically been known as having quite bad RGB software, we had no complaints using RGBFusion 2.0 with the X 240 AIO. For starters those who may have other Aorus hardware, such as our GPU, Motherboard and Memory can all synchronize with the AIO in the software, to ensure you’re both able to match a colour correctly but also potentially match a “RGB Rainbow” effect such as Gigabyte’s colour Cycle.

Changing the settings of the actual display on the cooler is also a simple affair, just clock on the actual cooler in the software, and you’re able to both change the colour of the attached fans, and once clocking “LCD Display Setting” you’re able to change between the different display profiles. There’s about a dozen different profiles, each allowing different display statistics such as CPU temperature, CPU Model Name, CPU Frequency, Liquid Temperature, VRM Temperature, Pump and Fan RPM among others. I eventually settled on the Enthusiast 3 profile showcasing the CPU name and temperature which you can see at the top banner of this review.

For those who may need to rotate the actual face of the LCD screen to allow for different installation locations of the radiator in different builds, you can quite literally just grab onto the face of the pump/block head and rotate it in 30 degree intervals in a full circle, one seriously smart move on Gigabyte’s part. Finally on top of the preset profiles, Gigabyte allows you to fully customize it as your own, by either putting custom text (with your own font and size), a custom gif or image (like some other manufacturers who now have LCD AIOs) or finally one seriously unique feature – custom videos. To allow custom videos on the Aorus X 240 Gigabyte added a MicroSD Card slot on the side of the device. I’m not kidding, there’s an actual slot to insert a FAT32 formatted MicroSD Card up to 32GB where you can upload video files with a maximum capacity of 256MB.

To test the video feature we took a small clip from the trailer of Zack Snyder’s Justice League, as obviously the director intended you to watch the video in anything but the normal 16:9 aspect ratio, and as such the scene fit perfectly on the cooler. It’s honestly absurd to even think an average user would generally go through the effort of putting a full length video on this device, as just uploading our 4MB file took around 10 minutes to complete. That said, if this tech gets adopted more in future, we’d love to see what custom mods and builds users create with more control over the “theme” of their build. It’s also the perfect tool to load up Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up on the cooler and ask your friend to look inside your case to see something special.

The Aorus Waterforce X 240 is a unique piece of hardware that took us some time to figure out how to evaluate. While yes, its thermal performance is honestly at the point where it can easily cool even the most power hungry of CPUs, its LCD screen and MicroSD card slot makes it one of the strangest devices we’ve used to date. One could argue that the screen is able to tell useful information such as your Pump RPM or Liquid Temperature on a fly, which could help you solve actual hardware errors in future, but in the same breath most users will likely load up a meme and forget about their coolers features after some time. For its price of R3849 at local reseller Titan-Ice the Aorus X 240 AIO is definitely not the best price to performance AIO we’ve tested, but it sure as hell is the coolest.

9.5/10

Aorus Waterforce X 240 All-In-One Liquid Cooler

A seriously unique and cool all-in-one liquid cooler.