Fractal Design Celsius+ S36 Prisma – Scandinavian minimalism

Key features

We have another flagship among all-in-one liquid coolers, this time from Fractal Design. We will focus in detail on the cooler Celsius+ S36 Prisma, which offers a pleasantly minimalist design with a pinch of ARGB lighting. And due to the size of the cooler, high cooling performance can be expected. The question remains, above all, whether it is not at the cost of too much noise, and also whether the cooler can defend its high price.

Key features of the cooler

   

The Celsius+ series of coolers from Fractal Design includes a total of six variants depending on the size of the radiator and the fans used. Today we will focus in detail on the highest-end model on offer, i.e. the S36 Prisma.

The heart of all coolers from the Celsius+ series is the Asetek pump, which takes care of the circulation of liquid in the loop. The liquid then flows through hoses into a large radiator, where it is cooled by three 120 mm fans. In addition to cooling the radiator, the fans also offer ARGB backlighting.

Unfortunately, the radiator itself is made of aluminum, as is currently the case with the vast majority of AIO coolers. I see this as a missed opportunity to stand out from the crowd of generic coolers, especially considering that Fractal Design has in the past offered copper radiator coolers that were also cheaper.

The hoses that connect the cooling block and the radiator are 400 mm long and are equipped with a braid for higher durability and a more attractive appearance. Their connection to the radiator block is solved by means of rotating adapters, which is useful for easier handling and simpler for routing the hoses inside the setup.

   

The contact surface of the cooling block is made of copper and is already provided with a thin layer of thermal paste from the factory. However, my test sample had already been installed in another setup, so unfortunately you will not find the mentioned layer of paste in the photos. In addition, the package is somewhat incomprehensibly missing a tube with additional paste if you would like to reinstall the cooler to another processor or reapply the paste as part of maintenance. Therefore, make sure that you install the cooler correctly on the first try.

The upper surface of the cooling block is made of tempered glass for a more attractive appearance, which is unfortunately a literal magnet for fingerprints and dust particles. Along the edge of this glass there is a thin strip of ARGB backlight.

The cabling of the Celsius+ S36 Prisma is quite ingeniously designed. Two cables under the braid of hoses are run from the cooling block to the radiator, where the hub is located. You can connect all three fans to this hub. Then just connect a single cable from the cooling block to the motherboard and you can control the speed of the pump and fans at the same time.

The ARGB backlight for fans is solved very similarly. The cables on the fans allow connection in series and you can also use the connector in the hub on the radiator. Subsequently, it is enough to connect a single cable from the block to the connector on the motherboard and thus ensure the synchronization of the fan backlight and the cooling block. This solution is therefore very elegant and practically eliminates the risk of a messy ball of cables in your setup.

   

The cooling block with the pump has one more practical feature. The rotary switch can be used to switch the cooler from Auto mode to PWM mode. Auto mode, as the name suggests, takes care of regulating the speed of fans and pumps without the need for user intervention according to the temperature of the liquid inside the loop.

However, if you want to control the cooler fan speed yourself, just turn the switch to the PWM position and you can now adjust the speed curve yourself. The user mode is additionally equipped with a limiter against overheating. The fans and the pump cannot be regulated below the level of 15% PWM. An additional level of security is provided by the fluid temperature sensor. When this temperature reaches 55 °C, the speed curve rises sharply to the maximum pump speed at 60 °C.

   

The accessories of the cooler are quite poor considering the price. Here you will only find the mounting kits for installing the cooler on all current processor sockets except TR4/sTRX4. The installation of the cooler itself is very quick and easy. The package also includes a set of screws and washers for mounting the fans to the radiator, or for mounting the radiator to the computer case. Unfortunately, you will not find any tube of thermal paste here. There is only a pre-applied layer on the base of the block, which is simply incomprehensible with a high-price cooler.

Specifications of the cooler and fans

Interestingly, I compared the Celsius+ S36 Prisma with the recently tested AIO cooler MPG Coreliquid K360 from MSI. The dimensions of the radiator are very similar, which is understandable when in both cases it is a radiator for three 120 mm fans. However, the dramatic difference is in the size of the block. The cooler from Fractal Design does not offer any LCD panel or fan, so the dimensions of its cooling block are pleasantly compact.

Interestingly, I compared the Celsius+ S36 Prisma with the recently tested Prisma AL-12 PWM ARGB fans, which make up practically a third of the price of the entire cooler. These are 120 mm fans optimized for high static pressure. However, I am afraid that it is at the cost of high speed, and therefore also at the cost of higher noise, which we will see in the tests after all.


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