Black Ice Radiator

Radiator Test – Joe

SUMMARY: Very good performance for its size, although achieving high airflows requires an aggressive (noisy) fan.


It’s been knocked around by me but still very functional.

Size: 5 ¼” x 6 x 1¾”

Rad Side

The Black Ice Xtreme is a flat tube type – there are 11 tubes running the length and breadth of the radiator’s fins, cross connected by a dense fin array; the tubes are connected by plenums at the top and bottom of the radiator. This design gives a lot of cooling area but with relatively high airflow resistance (due to its thickness) and fairly low water pressure drop. The flat tube design is, IMHO, a much better radiator for PC water cooling than more traditional round tube types.

I should note that this is NOT a new unit – it’s been banging around for a while but the design is worth including – there are currently 8 different models of the Black Ice Radiators from Hardware Labs and
I will be testing some courtesy of Hardware Labs.

The Test

Radiator testing is carried out as outlined HERE. The results below are expressed in BTU/Hr at specific flow rates and cfm airflow through the radiator. These results are objective, relative performance data to be used to compare this radiator’s performance relative to others that will be tested over time.

Do not confuse each radiator’s relative rating with its absolute performance – a radiator twice the size of another will dissipate more heat than the smaller one, although perhaps not as efficiently as the smaller one. Surface area (hence size) does matter with radiators.

For this test, achieving airflow above 45 cfm with a single 120 mm fan would result in excessive noise levels and was not tested – high airflow resistance is due to this radiator’s thickness and fin density. Users unconcerned with noise can infer what performance might be using the performance curves below.

Rad Test


30 CFM

45 CFM

61 CFM

BTU/Hr @ 0.5 gpm – 0.09 psi




BTU/Hr @ 1.0 gpm – 0.21 psi




BTU/Hr @ 1.5 gpm – 0.42 psi




For watts, multiply BTU/Hr x 0.2932

Very visible is what more airflow does for performance, although getting much more than shown here costs in terms of noise. What is particularly noteworthy are the relatively low pressure drops – achieving good flow will not require an excessively large waterpump – a characteristic of the flat tube/plenum design.


The Black Ice Radiator looks like a very good choice for PC watercooling – good performance, relatively low pressure drops and fits a standard 120 mm case cutout; however, users looking for aggressive cooling will be better served by a radiator with a larger surface area cooled by two or three 120 mm fans.

Email Joe

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply