ASUS already released the ROG Strix LC in three different sizes in fall 2019. The AiOs feature a black design, an illuminated ROG logo and ARGB fans. The flat heat sink including pump is a sixth-generation model from the Danish manufacturer Asetek, which is considered the global market leader in the field of liquid cooling.
The Strix LC II 280 ARGB, a version with a 280 mm radiator, followed in spring. The AiO is purely visually identical, but appearances are deceiving, which is why the Strix LC now also has the II in its name. The radiator has grown from 27 to 30 mm thick, the fans are a new model and the pump has also been renewed. The seventh generation from the manufacturer Asetek is now used, which is quieter and also starts at a lower speed. Furthermore, the warranty has been extended to six years, compared to five years for the first generation of the AiO.
We took a close look at the AiO and clarify in the following text whether the ASUS ROG Strix LC II, including the renewed pump, is convincing and cools well and quietly even in the current summer temperatures.
|Model||ASUS ROG Strix LC II 280 ARGB|
|Dimensions Radiator ( H x W x D)||315 x 143 x 30 mm (without fan)
315 x 143 x 55.5 mm (with fans)
|Compatible sockets||Intel LGA 1150, 1151, 1152, 1155, 1156, 1200, 1366, 2011, 2011-3, 2066
AMD AM4, TR4
|Hose length||380 mm|
|Features||ARGB fan, illuminated ROG logo|
|Price||€ 192.39 *|
Scope of delivery
ASUS ships the ROG Strix LC II 280 ARGB in a compact black and purple box, on which several ROG logos and lettering clearly indicate the series. The picture of the AiO with RGB lighting on the front, which is common for most manufacturers, is omitted. This can be found next to the technical details on the back.
Inside the box, everything is well stowed and secured against slipping. In addition to the water cooling system, the two 140 mm ARGB fans, mounting hardware, adapter cables, a manual and a sheet with several ROG stickers are included. The thermal paste is already applied and protected by a cover. Additional thermal paste, for later CPU changes or rebuilds, is not included.
Design and workmanship
The frames of the fans, the hoses and also the radiator are completely black. There is also a ROG logo on the latter. One wants to attract attention especially with the compact round radiator block. It is adorned with several ROG logos and can be illuminated in strips. The upper side of the flat cooler block is very glossy. When in use, or whenever desired, a ROG logo is illuminated here with various effects and colors. Unfortunately, unlike some other similarly priced AiOs, the logo cannot be rotated, so the tubing connections, for proper logo orientation, must always be to the right of the heatsink.
Furthermore, a micro-USB port stands out upon closer inspection. Besides the connection for the pump and the power and RGB connections for the fans, this is also needed for the ARGB lighting.
The two 140mm fans on the Strix LC II 280 ARGB feature black bezels and slightly transparent light gray fan blades. Again, reflective, centered logos and lettering on the frame very clearly indicate that they belong to the ROG series.
In operation, the ASUS Armoury Crate software can be used to set various effects and colors for the cooler block and fan, or to create your own effects or sequences. There are hardly any limits to creativity, so everyone should find something suitable.
The AiO’s material quality and workmanship are convincing all around. Sharp edges or minor flaws were not noticed during a close inspection. The casing of the hoses also leaves a very good and high-quality impression.
The scope of delivery includes mounting materials for all currently common CPU sockets from both manufacturers. The instructions are easy to understand and the assembly turns out to be very quick and uncomplicated.
First we attach the fan to the radiator and then to the case. We opted for the installation in the front. In general, it should be noted that the hoses are quite short at 38 cm, so an installation in the front of our case with connections downwards was only just possible. We then fasten the backplate with the help of the included screws. Due to the screws, no slipping or falling out of parts is possible, which makes the installation easier. Then we put the heatsink on top and fix it with the nuts.
Make sure that the connectors are on the right if you want the logo to be properly aligned. Also, we recommend that you plug in the USB cable before attaching it, as the port is hard to reach when it’s installed. Then plug this cable into the USB connector of the motherboard, the pump into the AiO header, the fans into the CPU header and the ARGB cable into the 3-pin ARGB header. Y-cables for fans and ARGB lighting are included.
Cooling Performance and Volume
For the cooling performance comparison, we compared the ASUS ROG Strix LC II 280 ARGB to the Thermaltake TH360 ARGB Sync and Intel boxed cooler. All three coolers were tested in the same system, and the radiators of the AiOs were also both installed in the front.
For a better and easier comparison, at different room temperatures, we decided to indicate the difference between CPU and room temperature, i.e. the heating of the CPU compared to the environment, instead of the read CPU temperature. Lower values are of course still better, for the actual CPU temperature the difference given here has to be added to the measured room temperature.
For maximum CPU utilization, we use Prime95. We record the temperatures over a period of 30 minutes and consider the maximum values. To avoid readout errors, we also look at the exact course.
Our test system:
- ASUS ROG Strix B560-F Gaming WiFi Motherboard
- Intel Core i5-11400F processor
- 32GB G. Skill RipJaws V 3200 RAM
- MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT Gaming X 8G Graphics Card
- TeamGroup T-Force Cardea IOPS 1TB SSD
- Crucial P5 2TB SSD
- Seasonic Focus GX-550 Power Supply
- Fractal Design Define 7 Clear TG black/white
For the test, we installed the ASUS ROG Strix LC II 280 ARGB once in pull mode (fans pull the air through the radiator into the case) and once in push mode (fans push the air through the radiator into the case). Since the pump of the AiO can also be controlled, we tested two different settings here as well, in addition to the fans with 50 and 100% of the speed. Since many pumps don’t allow for too low a speed, we decided on 70% of the rotational speed, also in view of future tests. In this case, many pumps are much quieter and flow and temperature do not suffer too much, so the setting is also interesting for practical operation.
|Cooler||Settings||Difference CPU to room temperature|
|Intel Boxed||Fan 100%||47°C|
|Thermaltake TH360 ARGB Sync (Pull)||
|ASUS ROG Strix LC II 280 ARGB (Pull)||
|ASUS ROG Strix LC II 280 ARGB (Push)||
Despite the smaller radiator surface area, the ASUS ROG Strix LC II 280 ARGB pulls even with the larger Thermaltake TH360 ARGB Sync. The difference between pull and push turns out to be minor. While fan speed has a relatively high impact on temperature, it turns out to be much lower for the pump.
The fans remained quiet but audible at 50% and were loud at 100%, as expected. While we noticed a permanently audible whirring of the pump when the pump was at maximum speed and the fans were turned down, this disappeared at 70%. Thanks to the quiet, adjustable seventh-generation Asetek pump, the Strix LC II 280 ARGB is also suitable for sensitive ears. Due to the high cooling performance, down-regulation is unproblematic and recommendable for most CPUs, even at high room temperatures.
The ASUS ROG Strix LC II 280 ARGB thus not only convinces with high cooling performance, which can also compete with larger AiOs with 360 mm radiator, but also with a low noise level.
Overall, the ASUS ROG Strix LC II 280 ARGB knows how to convince in the test. The AiO offers a high cooling performance, with very low noise levels if desired. This is partly due to the new seventh-generation Asetek pump, which can be throttled without sacrificing much performance, but clearly audible.
We also like the looks of the AiO and it is very similar to the other ASUS ROG products, which makes it easy to achieve a uniform design. The installation of the AiO is simple, the scope of delivery includes everything that is needed, including adapters. The material and workmanship are also very good, as is usual for the somewhat higher-priced ROG products, and the 6-year warranty also represents the maximum in the current AiO market.
One point of criticism is the relatively high price. Other AiOs with a 280 mm radiator and ARGB are partly much cheaper. Those who don’t mind this or perhaps already own the visually matching motherboard should definitely take a look at the Strix LC II 280 ARGB.