The Cougar Helor 240-360 CPU Liquid Cooler Review: A Top Tier Start In CPU Coolingby E. Fylladitakis on December 9, 2019 3:00 PM EST
The Cougar Helor 240/360 AIO Coolers
Aside from the obvious difference of the larger radiator, the Cougar Helor all-in-one (AIO) liquid coolers are practically identical. The core design of the coolers is the typical AIO configuration of a single radiator, two hoses, and a block that combines the CPU contact plate and a miniature liquid pump. Cougar is using high density rubber tubing that should minimize evaporation losses, with external nylon sleeve braiding for additional mechanical protection.
The radiators of the Helor AIO coolers are typical dual pass cross-flow designs, with tiny fins soldered on thin oblong tubes. This is by far the most dominant radiator design for AIO systems and rightfully so, as it offers the best efficiency within limited proportions and for the temperature differences that AIO coolers have to deal with. The hose fixings on the radiator side are immovable, making them a bit less flexible during installation. In an effort to maximize compatibility, Cougar made the radiators slightly less than 29 mm thick. Still, including the stock fans, the AIO system requires a total clearance of at least 55 mm, effectively requiring a case designed with AIO cooling systems in mind.
Cougar focused their design efforts on the main block assembly. With the exception of the contact plate, the rest of the assembly is made of plastic and acrylic. This includes the impeller of the mini pump. The mini pump is secured inside a compartment surrounded by dampening material to reduce its noise output. Users should not confuse the flow indicator visible inside the clear acrylic top with the pump – the pump lies further down inside the assembly. The 90° hose fixings can turn sideways, adding some installation flexibility.
One of the most distinctive features of the Helor coolers is that they are not really sealed AIO systems. A refill port is present on the main block assembly and Cougar includes a bottle of proper coolant in the bundle. A brand-new cooler does not require any topping up but it is good to know that Cougar’s engineers took into account the fact that evaporation could lead to significant coolant losses over the years, a nice gesture for users who like to keep parts for more than just a couple of years. If the original coolant is lost or somehow runs out, proper closed loop system coolant is easy to acquire. Note that under no circumstances water, even if distilled, should be used in such a system without additives.
Turning the main block assembly upside down reveals the octagonal metallic contact plate. It is made of copper but is nickel plated for protection against corrosion. It has been machined to a nearly perfect mirror finish and is held onto the rest of the assembly via eight screws. No thermal compound is pre-applied to it. The contact plate is not large enough for the massive surface of the Ryzen Threadripper processors and that is why Cougar does not supply a TR4 socket kit with the Helor.
Cougar strongly focused on the application of RGB lighting and the result is inspiring. The lighting is strong and yet smooth, perfectly diffused by the fan’s semi-transparent blades and on the acrylic top of the main block. If connected to a compatible motherboard, it will copy the programmed lighting theme of the system. For those who do not own a compatible motherboard or just do not want to have lighting synergy between different parts, Cougar’s controller offers a very broad range of options and the remote controller is very convenient.