The importance of good cooling for your gaming PC can’t be understated. Keeping your components cool not only allows for maximum performance, but also reduces thermal stress over time. Lower temps can even help to avoid performance degradation and keep your CPU alive longer. This is why you often see liquid coolers advertised. The promise is lower temps than air cooling solutions, in addition to some other benefits we’ll get to later. This review covers the be quiet! Pure Loop 240mm CPU liquid cooler for gaming use, and it’s up against Intel’s powerful 12th gen Alder Lake i9-12900K.
240mm CPU liquid coolers are common choices for gaming PCs. This is because the 240mm surface area of the radiator is traditionally adequate for most gaming systems, the radiator size fits in most cases, and the pricing is still generally affordable for most.
However, AMD and Intel have been consistently increasing power consumption over the past several years, which leads to the question of whether a 240mm radiator is adequate for something like the i9-12900k. It can pull up to 240W in some applications if you let it. Thus, we’ll see how the offering from be quiet! performs when paired with this beast.
In this review of the be quiet! Pure Loop 240mm CPU liquid cooler, we’ll cover the general specs and features, our thoughts on the install process, and how it performed with our setup. Lastly, we’ll wrap up with a buying recommendation.
Specs and features overview
Here are the general specs and some additional info you’ll want to know about the be quiet! Pure Loop series.
|be quiet! Pure Loop 240mm|
277mm (H) x 120mm (W) x 27mm (D)
5500 RPM, non-variable
Serviceable, refillable CLC
x2 120mm PWM Pure Wings
Default, programmable via BIOS
White LED on CPU contact block
LGA 1150/1151/1155/1200/1700*, AM4, AM5
|Weight||1.05kg / 2.3lbs|
There’s a lot to like about this liquid cooler if you’re after something that’s not too flashy, affordable, simple, and reliable. Most gamers tend to gravitate towards those selling points, which makes this an potentially great candidate for a gaming PC. Liquid coolers are significantly more complex than air coolers, however, so a product can’t simply be recommended on these principles alone.
The spec table above tells most for what you need to know, but there are a few things we want to emphasize and additionally note. For starters, this review is only for the 240mm version. The Pure Loop series is also available in 120mm, 280mm, and 360mm radiator length sizes. There’s also now an updated line that’s essentially the same cooling components, but with RGB.
All of the designs come in the silver and black color scheme. That may not be to everyone’s taste, but it could definitely look good when paired with something like an Nvidia FE graphics card.
When it comes to compatibility, you will need to order the LGA 1700 bracket for Intel 12th and 13th gen CPUs if you want to pair the cooler up with one of those. Just send proof of purchase to be quiet! and you’ll get the bracket upgrade free in a short window. AMD’s Ryzen AM4 and AM5 fit the same with existing hardware in the box. You can pair this cooler to any modern CPU, and there’s compatibility for older Intel and AMD models as well if you’re still using something more, seasoned.
The unique pump design is what sets the be quiet! Pure Loop liquid cooler series apart from other brands. Since the pump is decoupled and of an inline design, it’s clearly visible on the liquid lines. The claim is that this helps things run a bit more quiet. Interestingly, this allows for a few more configuration options as well versus other liquid cooler designs.
One great advantage of this design is the reservoir access screw on the side of the CPU contact block. This marks the difference between a closed liquid cooler (CLC) and an all-in-one (AIO), as you can refill the fluid later. Fluid tends to evaporate over time, so this means you can truly run this cooler until the pump fails. There’s also a nickel coating on the CPU contact plate if you’d like to attempt to use liquid metal, though we’d recommend just sticking with thermal paste.
For more information regarding specs and compatibility, refer to the be quiet! website and product page.
A somewhat troubling installation process
The matter of installing a CPU liquid cooler is typically more complex than an air cooler. That was certainly the case when installing the be quiet! Pure Loop, but the lack of included instructions was the main culprit of frustration. Something strange about liquid coolers is that companies seem to rely on you scanning the QR codes on the inside of the box to get to more support info. If you’re not paying attention, you’ll quickly find yourself confused.
We recommend scanning said QR code, as it takes you to detailed install instructions and a supplementary video that are both far superior to the limited explanation included in the box instructions. With that said, we’ve also included some documentation within this review to further clarify the install process.
When you take things out of the box, you’ll immediately notice two wires coming off the main unit. The wire coming from the CPU contact block is the white LED. You can simply leave this unplugged if you don’t want any lighting on your build. The other wire comes out from the liquid pump, which is decoupled and easy to see on the liquid lines. You’ll plug that in to the SATA power adapter.
Before you go and place your cooler in the PC, you’ll need to lay the groundwork for attaching everything. This relates to orienting and attaching the fans to the radiator and installing the mounting hardware on the motherboard. Remember to order the free LGA 1700 adapter bracket upgrade if you plan to cool an Intel 12 or 13 gen CPU.
The only bit that’s really confusing with the installation is the bracket setup for attaching the block. Refer to the image above to see how it’s layered on. You can see it goes in the order of screwing in the motherboard backplate to the column screws/stand-offs, followed by the brackets which are then screwed in at a two points per bracket. Finally, screw in the two screws to apply mounting pressure via the cooler block.
As a tip, you want to make sure each layer is tightened as much as possible without stripping the screw heads. The first install I performed wasn’t as tight, which led to worse contact with the CPU heat spreader. The temps dropped by 2C after going back and tightening everything up appropriately. The rest of the install is easy enough and familiar if you’ve installed liquid coolers before.
Build quality and maintenance
Given the price, the be quiet! Pure Loop looks like a pretty decent cooler in terms of build quality. Compared to other brands, it’s a clear step above budget products. Certain aspects of the build quality like the pump operating noise and tubing are also on par with more expensive products. Once it’s installed, it looks great and by no means feels cheap.
The only thing to really criticize is the cheap plastic look of the mounting arms on the contact block. It’s difficult to discern if the arms are simply plastic or if there’s an enclosed metal frame to handle the stress from mounting pressure. Clearly visible metal arms would be far more preferable.
The two-point mounting design does come across as strange given most expect a four-point design to ensure better mounting pressure. It seems to handle alright, but the thermal results suggest perhaps that the two-point design leads to slightly worse performance than four-point mounting pressure designs.
The be quiet! Pure Loop is nice when it comes to maintenance. It comes pre-filled and sealed for several years of maintenance-free use, and there’s a bottle of coolant to refill everything when it comes that time. All you have to do is turn the screw on the side of the pump to drain the old coolant out.
Testing methodology and system specs
Just like with how we test CPUs, we test CPU coolers with uncapped in-game benchmarks. Streaming games is very popular and common now, and modern CPUs have enough cores to handle gaming and streaming with ease, so we test coolers in gaming and multi-tasking/streaming workloads.
The first set of tests are just in pure gaming workloads with Chrome, Discord, and the data capture software running in the background. We then apply the multi-tasking/streaming workloads which include Chrome, Discord, Steam, the Epic Games Store, Origin, Affinity photo editor, Slack, and OBS. The x264 media encoding puts more load on the cores, and helps to show extreme examples where temperatures and cooler/fan noise peak. This way, you’ll know if the cooler is able to meet your needs and operating preferences.
Test system specs
|Case||Corsair iCUE 5000X|
|CPU||Intel Core i9-12900K|
|Motherboard||ASUS ROG Z690 Strix-E Wifi|
|Memory||Corsair Vengeance DDR5 4800 64GB|
|Graphics card||EVGA RTX 3070 Ti FTW3 8GB|
|PSU||be quiet! Pure Power 11 FM 750W|
|SSD Storage||PNY CS1030 PCIe 3.0 (OS), WD Black SN850 PCIe 4.0, Samsung 870 QVO SATA|
|CPU cooler||be quiet! Pure Loop 240mm CLC (with Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut thermal paste)|
We tested on Windows 11 with up-to-date apps and optimized settings for maximum performance. The 12900K utilized the one-click OC in the Asus BIOS to reach a stable 5.3GHz across all the P-cores.
Power consumption fluctuated between ~115-140W in gaming workloads and ranged from ~160-206W in the multi-tasking tests. All data is gathered after 10 minute heat soak periods to ensure temperatures are representative of long gaming sessions.
Gameplay tests adhere to how we test CPUs on low settings. We tested Cyberpunk 2077 and Fortnite on low/lowest settings with DLSS Performance mode to reduce the GPU bottleneck in our tests and maximize CPU load. Data was collected from regular gameplay for Fortnite, and from the in-game benchmark in Cyberpunk 2077.
Thermals and gaming performance
We tested with the default out-of-the-box fan profile tuned by be quiet! since most users will likely use this and it strikes an appropriate balance between controlling temperatures and fan noise.
Here is the gaming thermal performance of the be quiet! Pure Loop 240mm cooler when paired with the Intel 12900K:
When it expressly comes to gaming workloads, it’s still entirely possible to use a 240mm cooler for even Intel’s i9 CPUs if you’re sticking with non-overclocked settings. Lightweight competitive games like Fortnite stay well within acceptable temperature ranges even at ridiculously high framerates. Once you start to play the more demanding titles like Cyberpunk 2077 though, temps get a little more borderline. As detailed by the graph, temps can potentially spike into the low 80s in some scenes in Cyberpunk 2077 with this configuration. However, these are brief temperature spikes and will likely not even occur if you’re playing at framerates below the 160 fps average in this game.
You can definitely use this size of cooler with a 12900K for gaming, but you should probably forego the overclocking if you want to avoid occasional temperature spikes into the low 80s while pushing high framerates in the most demanding titles. To be clear, it’s perfectly fine if you have a rare spike into the low 80s, but it’s fine if you prefer to err on caution and stay in the 70s. You should be fine over the long term with using this 240mm cooler on a high end CPU, and it’s more than enough for cooling an i7 or i5 without getting too loud either.
Here is the gaming plus multi-tasking performance of the be quiet! Pure Loop 240mm cooler when paired with the Intel 12900K:
It’s a different story when discussing heavier workloads on a 12900K paired with this 240mm cooler. The temperatures are simply too high to make it a viable pairing. You’ll want a 360mm radiator to avoid risk of performance degradation over years of regular use. Mid to high temps in the 80 range is not recommended unless you’re doing a rare recording and don’t make a habit of encoding on the CPU. It would be smarter to just use GPU encoding instead, which is more efficient on modern GPUs anyway.
Concluding thoughts on the thermal performance for the be quiet! Pure Loop 240mm aren’t overwhelmingly positive, but it’s good for the price. There are more efficient 240mm CPU coolers out there. For instance, the Corsair H170 Elite LCD we used for our 12900K review often kept the CPU package temperatures 5C cooler at about the same noise levels. This also made the Corsair H170 viable for heavier workloads like h.264 gameplay capture. As it stands, this is a decent quality cooler that’s very affordable, but it’s far from being one of the best options out there.
Despite the marketing claims, there’s nothing extraordinarily different about the be quiet! Pure Loop 240mm compared to liquid coolers from other top brands. It performs relatively silent when idling aside from a light hum from the pump. The Silent Wings fans are totally silent until you put the CPU under serious load.
We recorded an average idle noise level of 36db and measured an average load noise level of 45db while pushing Cyberpunk 2077 with under the multi-tasking conditions. You’ll definitely notice the fan air noise produced from multi-tasking on the 240mm radiator, so that’s something to keep in mind regarding sensitive microphones. It remains reasonably quiet during just gameplay and shouldn’t be anything to worry about.
Pump wasn’t particularly an issue either. The sample we tested didn’t whine under normal gaming conditions, except when pushed at uncapped framerates in 1080p that pushed hundreds of fps in CPU-intensive games. That will happen with any pump attempting to manage more heat output, though. If you’re capping your framerates at 120, 144, 165, or 240 fps, pump whine shouldn’t be an issue.
Should you buy the be quiet! Pure Loop 240mm CPU liquid cooler?
To summarize up this review, the be quiet! Pure Loop 240mm CPU liquid cooler isn’t a bad product for the money. But, if you’re buying an Intel i9 or Ryzen 9 class CPU, it’s worth spending more for something with better cooling performance so you can get the full performance you paid for. The thermal performance likely falls flat from worse contact with the CPU IHS, which makes the be quiet! Pure Loop series better suited to midrange CPUs that are easier to cool in the first place.
If you like the brand and design of the cooler, you could opt for the 360mm radiator if you have the space. It only costs an extra $15 USD. That would help net better temperatures. If you’re limited to 240mm and expect to push the CPU hard, you might want to look at other options though.
The lack of software support feels like a tough thing to get over as well, coming from someone that’s used to how simple and flexible the Corsair iCUE software is to tweak on a moment’s notice.
Other than that, the build quality of the be quiet! Pure Loop liquid cooler series appears nice, white LEDs always look clean, it’s backed by a five year warranty, it’s refillable, and the black on silver design would look great with an Nvidia FE graphics card. The CPU block cover plate is even removable if you’d like to paint it. With these things in mind, this is a great cooler option for the right type of customer, but it’s not something we can recommend for anyone.