Fractal Celsius S36 Review. The Fractal Celsius S36 is an all in one CPU cooler from Fractal Design’s Celsius series, and we’re going to see how well Fractal Celsius S36 does at cooling an overclocked 8700K CPU at 5.1GHz, as well as find out what the cooler’s got to offer to help you decide if it’s worth buying.
Before the benchmarks let’s start with some basic specs of the cooler. As you’ve probably noticed there are three 120mm fans included, and they come in white which I admit is one of the main reasons I picked this cooler for my white build.
The aluminium radiator, or aluminum depending on where you’re from, is 403mm by 123mm by 30mm, and has a fan hub on the side to connect the fans to. The 400mm long black sleeved tubes which run down to the copper cold plate are only a little flexible, and that cold plate also comes with pre applied thermal paste which is what I’m using.
To get started you’ll need to install the fans onto the radiator using the included screws, so you can decide if you’re doing a push or pull configuration, and you can attach the fans on either side of the radiator. One of the issues I had while installing was that the fan cables are only just barely long enough to make the distance to the hub on the radiator, you have to place the fan with the side where the cable comes out facing the hub, just something to take note of or you’ll have to unscrew the fan like I did to get the cable to reach.
You’ll also need to run the cable between the fans and radiator to get it to reach, I don’t think this is the intended design, it looks like the cables should run along the sides of the fans but I found that almost impossible to get them to reach the hub. In any case what I’ve done completely hides the cables, and there’s a little clearance room between the fans and radiator so the fans don’t press against the cables. Installation is fairly straightforward, you first place the included backplate behind the motherboard and then screw in the four standoff screws.
Once the motherboard is installed you can install the radiator into the case, and then simply place the cold plate onto the CPU and screw down the included thumb screws until tight. Connect the cable to the CPU header on the motherboard and you’re ready to roll.
The cold plate can be installed onto quite a large amount of different CPU sockets, and as mentioned in this case we’ll be mounting with Intel’s Coffee Lake socket. There’s a rubber ring around the cold plate which can be twisted to adjust the cooler between two different settings. You can either set it to run on auto mode which is a temperature controlled mode where the fan and pump speeds will adjust to keep a balance of cooling performance and silence, or you can turn the ring to run it in PWM mode which allows for manual tuning. Now that we’ve got the cooler installed, let’s get into some benchmarks.
As mentioned I’m testing with the 6 core Intel 8700K CPU, both at stock speeds and while overclocked to 5.1GHz. I’ve also run my tests in the temperature controlled mode so that I don’t have to change anything manually, because that’s just how I use it myself, I’m not really interested in manually tweaking things slightly and I was keen to see how it works out of the box.
I got these temperatures with an ambient room temperature of 25 degree celsius, and I’ve used Aida 64 to simulate a full load as I find it to be a bit more realistic to the real world compared to something crazy like Prime 95. Even while overclocked we’re only averaging 81c which I think is pretty acceptable at 5.1GHz, and while playing actual games like PUBG the temps look quite good.
I found the cooler to be pretty quiet too. The three included fans are Fractal’s Dynamic X2 PWM fans, which run between 500-2000 RPM and at max speed get to 32.2 decibels, while the pump running flat out gets up to 20 decibels. I’ve measured the sound produced from the whole system both at idle and full load, however it’s important to keep in mind that this is the overall system sound, I’ve got 4 additional fans and GPU inside the case that are contributing to the overall volume. I didn’t turn them off for testing, as I don’t think that represents a real world example, and I didn’t want the case to overheat without any exhausting air.
There wasn’t very much difference in the overall system sound, the results between idle and a full CPU load with Aida64 are realistically within margin of error territory, and while gaming with PUBG at ultra settings the system sound increases more as the fans on the graphics card start to spin up. In any case the system didn’t sound very loud to me and I was very happy with the results.
Not only does the cooler perform well, I think it looks pretty nice too. As mentioned I picked it for the white fans, but the sleeved tubes and subtle fractal logo on the back of the cold plate look great in my personal opinion. It can also grow with you too, as you can optionally attach your own tubing to the radiator and expand, for example by adding in a GPU block, this isn’t something I’ll be testing here but it’s great to have that expandability option. Overall the Fractal Celsius S36 seems like a great cooler, and I’m happy with the performance on the 8700K at 5.1GHz, I didn’t actually think I’d be able to go that high.
The Fractal Celsius S36 comes with a 5 year warranty, and it does feel like it’s been made with pretty good quality parts, so hopefully it should last, this is my first AIO cooler and I was pretty nervous about leaks in the future, but so far no problems at all and I feel pretty confident that there won’t be any issues, as it’s using Asetek parts. At the time of recording the cooler can be picked up for around $120 USD, and I got it for $169 AUD here in Australia.
You can optionally get the smaller S24 instead, which is basically the same but with a smaller radiator and 2 120mm fans instead of 3, which is probably a good option if your case has limited radiator space, but the price difference only seems to be about $10 or so. Be sure to let me know what you guys thought about the Fractal Design Celsius S36 cooler down in the comments, and leave a like if you found the information useful.