Thursday, May 26, 2022

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Deepcool AK400 Air Cooler Review

Introduction

Deepcool has consistently offered quality products to the tech market at a very steep price tag. Their AK620 dual tower air cooler released last year is a prime example of this. Their latest offering, the AK400 is based on the same formula, but cheaper, to fit a much larger market.

The AK400 is a smaller brother of the AK620. It is a single tower air cooler, with a low profile design to fit the rather unique market on a budget. This cooler ticks a lot of requirements of the audience it is targeting with its price tag, which apparently makes it a great choice. But, does it live up to the expectations post-delivery? Let’s find that out.

Unboxing

Deepcool’s packaging keeps evolving, and this time around we got to see a clear white box with a huge focus on minimalism. Inside the box, we get the mounting hardware and extra fan holders in a plastic packet, a user manual, and the cooler protected in some nice foam brackets.

Closer Look

Bundled Accessories: This cooler contains mounting hardware for both Intel and AMD. But, it does not include any thermal paste. Instead, the paste comes pre-applied in the cold plate of the cooler and is protected by a small plastic placeholder. This is not a smart move when they just could have included the thermal paste in a small sachet along with the components. In these pre-applied scenarios, the thermal paste also ends up drying up sometimes. Users who don’t apply the paste over will get an uneven spread, thereby leading to poor contact and poor temps, which can put a bad name on the product.

Dimensions: The cooler is based on a single tower cooler, which is its biggest difference from the AK620. It comes in at 45mm by 120mm in the length and breadth segments. This makes it a bit smaller in terms of length and much smaller in terms of width thanks to the single tower design as compared to the dual-towers of the AK620. The height, also, has been turned down to 155mm from the 160mm towers of the AK620 to fit the market at the cooler’s pricepoint. 

Most mini ATX and ATX cases top out at around 155mm, with some budget offerings going for even less. So, this cooler will fill in the gap pretty well unlike coolers like the Cooler Master Hyper 212, which goes for a full 160mm tower despite being a budget offering.

Looks: The cooler, however, is very well designed. It is out of the box and does borrow a lot of “inspiration” from the AK620. The fins have an interesting and unique checkerboard design, that sets the AK series apart in terms of design. Although, this is something that the user would notice only while mounting this thing in most cases. 

The top is one of the best designs ever made. The checkered panel reflects light and has the Deepcool logo printed in teal. It is very easy to remove, and at least the vanity top comes off with a quick click. The plastic enclosure, however, requires some very fine Allen keys for removal. Removing this enclosure should theoretically improve performance as a lot of heat is dissipated through the top of heat pipes. But, we could not test the real-world delta because we did not have such an ultra-thin hex key on hand. 

Also, removing the top cover will reduce the height of the cooler by a few more millimeters, thereby increasing its compatibility.

Deepcool also has a completely white version of this cooler, the AK400 WH which will launch later this year. That cooler looks even better than the black version.

Base: The base of the cooler comes in at around 35x40mm, and it is a solid aluminum block with the copper pipes finding their way through. The base could have been a bit bigger provided how big the LGA1700 is and what the upcoming AM5 standard with 1718 pins is going to be.

Heat Pipes: The cooler has 4 6mm copper heat pipes for heat dissipation instead of the 6 on its bigger brother, and this is quite the standard at this price point. The pipes have been nickel-plated, and that matches the color scheme quite well. 

Now, Deepcool says that this cooler is rated for a massive 220W heat dissipation. These numbers vary from person to person and depend on how it is being calculated. So, we are not taking this number quite seriously.

Included Fans: The included fan is one of the new FC120P fans from Deepcool. It is the already available FC120 but without the RGB and some features. The fans look sharp and have some solid build quality. The corners have rubber stoppers that have been built to reduce vibration from the operation of the fans. 

Deepcool also has included a couple of extra fan holders in the box. This will allow you to put in an extra FK120 fan in the cooler to help performance, now that they are available loose in the market. You still cannot buy the FC120P for loose though. 

Installation

A lot of budget coolers have messed up mounting mechanisms. A big example is the Thermaltake UX200. But, Deepcool has come up with a very sophisticated design.

Both Intel and AMD mounting use the same mounting principle. In AMD, Deepcool uses the included backplate, adds 4 spacers to it, and then puts in a mounting plate. The cooler then snaps onto this plate using a couple of spring-loaded screws. Fairly simple.

For Intel, the company uses a backplate, that works for LGA 1200 and older and the newer LGA 1700 socket using a rather interesting flipping bolt design. Other than that, it is pretty much the same standard method as AMD. 

The fans slap on the grooves of the air cooler pretty easily.

Finished Looks

The cooler is very stealthy. It does not have a lot of imprint on your system, nor does it have any RGB on it to create some noise. It is quite minimalist and looks very visually pleasing when coupled with any system.

With the fan attached, the cooler comes in at just 70cm. Thus, it does not need to have any substantial RAM clearance. Even on a fairly small 226x174mm board like the H310M H 2.0 from Gigabyte, the cooler had enough space to easily populate both of the RAM slots with some Vengeance RGB RS sticks.

Graphics card clearance isn’t remotely an issue because of the low-profile design of this cooler.

Intel System Temperatures

We tested this cooler with a Core i5-9400F, which is much of a processor that would be realistically paired with a cooler at this budget. And, here are the results.

The cooler has extremely good temps as you can see. Compared to the stock cooler, the temps are much better. The 9400F isn’t a hot running chip, and thus, it is no surprise. Now, the mount on Intel chips is two-point, but that does not hurt the performance at all.

The thermal imprint of the Deepcool AK400 on the Intel Core i5-9400F

AMD System Temperatures

For AMD, let’s take something unrealistic, something that you normally wouldn’t pair with this cooler. The Ryzen 7 3700X. This chip is fairly hot running, and thus we can test what this cooler is truly capable of.

Even with this processor, this cooler scaled pretty well. At stock PBO, the cooler got quite hot. But, at 4100 MHz, the temps are quite decent. The results are quite competitive.

The thermal imprint of the Deepcool AK400 on the AMD Ryzen 7 3700X

This cooler was performing so well that we decided to snap the fan off, and even then the processor did not hit the max hard limit. The temps hovered in the upper 90s, and it got to a maximum of 98 degrees.

Fan Performance

The included fan is Deepcool’s FC120P, and this is their FC120 fan, but without the RGB and some features. These fans go from 500 RPM to 1850 RPM. That is quite a wide range. Also, this fan has a 4 pin PWM header, so that means we can fully control it from the computer.

We see quite okay results in the PWM control. However, 25% RPM is holding the fan much behind than expected. At 25%, the fan hovered at around the 600 RPM mark, which is almost 200RPM short of what is expected. But, as you put it to 35%, the fan speeds magically ramp up to almost 850 RPM and that is an acceptable number.

The noise performance is quite decent as well. We are looking at a difference of just 2-3 decibels as we go up. Remember that sound is a subjective metric, and the difference of 3dB means that the second sound has twice the intensity of the first.

Value & Conclusion

Now, this cooler will sell for around 2370 INR in the Indian market or around 30$ in the USA. At this price point, this cooler is a solid performer and it threatens some much more expensive coolers. It is extremely great value for money, and we recommend it to anyone looking for a solid cooler for their system on a budget.

This is undoubtedly one of the best budget coolers you can get on the market today, but the lack of RGB might be disheartening for an RGB fan. But if raw performance is what you are after, this cooler is for you.

Arka Mukherjee
Extreme PC enthusiast. Makes cool PC related videos over on YouTube!

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