280mm is my favourite AIO liquid cooler size – cheaper than 360mm coolers while offering better performance per square inch – you just need a case that can accommodate the slightly larger fans. Normally getting a good AiO of this size costs around £100 to £180, but right now Amazon is offering the MSI MAG CoreLiquid 280R for half price: just £50. That’s an awesome value for a high-performance CPU cooler that even includes RGB lighting.
So: why is this particular CPU cooler so heavily discounted? Basically, some early units had some reliability issues, and stopped working after a few months. MSI acted somewhat quickly to replace the affected units, but the negative press meant there wasn’t much interest in the CoreLiquid 280R afterwards. MSI’s since come out with a replacement, the C280 and the S280, but there are still a bunch of perfectly capable CoreLiquid 280R coolers sitting around doing nothing. Now, those units have been discounted to clear the shelves – and you can take home an underrated CPU cooler that should perform as well as models that cost twice as much.
Amazon is normally pretty good when it comes to returns and replacements, so if you do run into issues then you should be well catered for. Of course, you may well prefer to go with a model that doesn’t have a spotty early history, in which case I have a few pocket picks to recommend – but of course, they do cost a fair bit more.
- Get an NZXT Kraken X63 280mm AIO for £130 (was £190) – a good cheap-ish 280mm AiO that I used for years. Decent performance, good choice if you have an NZXT case and already use their CAM software. Get a Corsair H115i Elite Capellix 280mm AIO for £107 (was £160) – probably the best ‘cheap’ option on the market, with RGB fans and an RGB pump. Looks great, but requires a lot of wiring for the RGB. Get a Corsair H100i EliteLCD Display 240mm for £210 – the best display I’ve seen on a CPU cooler, with great fans and performance too. Of course, not a great value – you’re paying a lot for the novelty! – but it looks really cool. See also the Asus ROG Ryujin 2.
So there you are – bit of a different one here, but I hope you liked it regardless. Thanks for joining me, and let me know about these sort of slightly riskier deals – for me, I think the annoyance of potentially having to do a return is outweighed by the strength of the deal, but you now have the facts to make your own mind up.