Gigabyte Aorus Waterforce X360 AIO cooler review: Impressive cooling performance for Alder Lake

Gigabyte Aorus Waterforce X360 AIO cooler review: Impressive cooling performance for Alder Lake

Choosing the best CPU coolers is one of the key decisions you have to make while building a PC or while upgrading and installing a new processor. The launch of Intel’s new 12th-gen Alder Lake CPUs has resurfaced a wave of CPU coolers on the market, and the Gigabyte Aorus Waterforce X360 AIO cooler happens to be one of them. This particular cooler belongs to the list of CPU Coolers for Intel Alder Lake socket LGA 1700 which includes both new and older coolers with compatible mounting brackets.

We were able to get our hands on the Gigabyte Aorus Waterforce X360 AIO cooler while testing the new Alder Lake CPUs. This $270 AIO liquid cooler comes with a 360mm radiator and is one of the first coolers on the market to support the new LGA 1700 socket. We decided to pair it with an Intel Core i9-12900K to check out its performance and tell you whether or not it’s worth considering for your next PC build. Here’s what we think about its overall cooling performance:

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Gigabyte Aorus Waterforce X360 AIO cooler: Specifications

Before we begin, here’s a quick look at some of the specifications of the Gigabyte Aorus Waterforce X360 AIO cooler:

Specification Gigabyte Aorus Waterforce X360
CPU Socket
  • Intel: 2066, 2011,1366,115x,1200,1700
  • AMD: TR4, AM4, sTRX4
LCD Display 60 x 60mm Full Color LCD
Radiator 360mm
Radiator Dimensions 394 x 119 x 27mm
Pump Dimension 82 x 82 x 74mm
Fan
  • Specs : 3 x 120mm ARGB Fan
  • Fan speed : 800~2500 RPM +/-10%
  • Bearing type :Sleeve (Graphene Nano Lubricant)
  • Air Flow :16.92~60.07 CFM
  • Air Pressure : 0.25~3.14mmH20
  • Life Expectancy :73,500 Hours
  • Noise Level : 7.9~37.6 dBA
Warranty 3 Years

The Aorus Waterforce X360 ships with mounting hardware for most common Intel as well as AMD CPU sockets out there including both AM4 and Threadripper. These interchangeable mounting brackets and a universal backplate make it very easy to carry the cooler to a different build. It’s also covered with 3 years of manufacturer warranty.

Gigabyte Aorus Waterforce X360 AIO cooler: Design & build quality

The Aorus Waterforce X360’s pump rests inside an aluminum housing. It’s got an offset face ring on the top covering a 60mm LCD panel. You can also rotate the ring on the outside to adjust the orientation of the LCD  itself. The coolant tubes are connected to the pump by means of a pair of rotating 90° fittings. The tubes are fully sleeved with braided black-colored nylon. This particular unit is an upgraded version of the original Aorus Liquid Cooler 360 that came out before, so there are some subtle differences.

One of the new additions to this new variant is a microSD card slot to the waterblock. This will allow you to store videos and pictures and play them on the LCD using RGB Fusion 2.0 software. The entire unit is powered by 12v SATA, while the active display can easily be managed via software UI from the 9-pin USB motherboard header. Be careful not to lose this USB cable since you’ll need it to customize the active display on the waterblock.

The base of the waterblock, as you can see, features a ringed-tooth retention system for holding the interchangeable mounting plates. The copper base plate of the waterblock comes with a pre-applied patch of thermal compound, but it’s always recommended to have an extra syringe of the best thermal paste at your disposal while building a PC or simply while installing a CPU cooler.

A CPU cooler backplate being installed on the back of a motherboard

The Aorus Waterforce X360 cooler uses a 360mm aluminum radiator. You also get three 120mm ARGB fans inside the box along with the radiator. Gigabyte has smartly moved the fan and LED cables to the side of the radiator, making it relatively easy to route the cables. This means you’ll only have to worry about connecting the SATA and the USB header from the waterblock. The fan connections can be handled separately using the aRGB male and female headers.

All things considered, it’s safe to say that the Waterforce X360 installation is fairly straightforward. As long as you know your way around AIO liquid coolers, you should be able to install this particular AIO cooler without any major issues.

Gigabyte Aorus Waterforce X360 AIO cooler: Cooling Performance

We paired this particular CPU cooler with an Intel Core i9-12900K along with an RTX 3080 Gaming GPU on a Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Pro gaming motherboard. The Intel Core i9-12900K is currently one of the most powerful CPUs out there, so this ended up being a solid testing ground for the cooler. We used HWInfo64 to track the real-time core temperature readings, CPU speed, power consumption, signs of thermal throttling, and more.

Use RGB Fusion 2.0 Software to customize what shows up on the LCD panel

We were able to record core temperatures as low as 25°C at idle conditions. This is more in line with what you’d expect from a top-of-the-line AIO CPU cooler. From there we began running a bunch of tests as a part of the testing process to see how far we could push the limits of both the CPU as well as the cooler itself. We logged the core temperatures of the CPU while gaming for an extended period of time and ended up with an avg core temperature of about 45°C. This is an impressive number itself but we continued the test with some CPU stress benchmarks.

Core i9-12900K CPU temperature under load

We ran a couple of CPU stress tests including the Cinebench R23 loop to push the limits of the CPU and ended up with a peak core temperature reading of 79°C. Even under overclocked conditions, the CPU temps never crossed 55°C while gaming, which means the Waterforce X360 cooler is indeed working as advertised. Here’s a quick look at the temperature readings to summarize our readings:

Note: All fans were set to 50% and the pump was set to 100% throughout the test.

Test Recorded Peak Core Temperature
Idle 23°C
Gaming 43°C
Gaming (Overclocked) 54°C
Stress 79°C

Gigabyte Aorus Waterforce X360 AIO cooler: Final Thoughts

The Aorus Waterforce X360 AIO cooler checks all the right boxes to score some good numbers in our test. The cooler managed to handily tame the 12900K’s thermal output without affecting the overall performance or resulting in CPU throttling. We also tested the Core i5-12600K with this particular cooler and saw a similar level of performance. The Waterforce X360 managed to keep the thermals in check for both CPUs even under extreme load.

One thing that’s worth pointing out about the cooler is that it can get very loud if you turn the fan speeds all the way up. We were able to record noise levels of up to 50 dBA, which is quite high. Your mileage may vary but this is definitely something to consider. But besides that, we think the Waterforce X360 is one of the best AIO coolers you can buy for your high-end gaming rig in 2022. With a price tag of $270, it’s certainly not the cheapest AIO cooler, but it’s hard to argue with its excellent cooling performance.

There’s no shortage of premium AIO CPU coolers on the market, so we’ll continue to get our hands on more coolers to test. In the meantime, you can check out our collection of the best liquid CPU cooler to find some great alternatives to the Waterforce X360 including the Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML360 Illusion and the Corsair H150i Elite Capellix cooler.

    The Aorus Waterforce X360 AIO cooler checks all the right boxes to score some good numbers in our test to become one of the best coolers around for Alder Lake CPUs.

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About author

Karthik Iyer
Karthik Iyer

Karthik covers PC hardware for XDA Computing. When not at work, you will find him yelling at his monitors while playing video games.

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