At TopTechHardware we’ve built dozens of water-cooled rigs over the years, and whether we’re building a custom system, filling the loop with coolant or just fitting an all-in-one liquid cooler, it can all be a pain. Large radiators can be tricky to install, which is unavoidable if you opt for an all-in-one (AIO) liquid cooler. DeepCool, though, has a way to make the whole process much easier with a pre-water-cooled case. The first Genome was released earlier this year, and here, we’re reviewing its successor, the Genome II, which features a few useful additions.
At $230, it clearly isn’t cheap. You can easily buy a similar cooling setup and a half-decent case for less money. However, rather than opt for a standard AIO cooler, DeepCool has added a separate reservoir – a feature that’s lacking from any AIO cooler we’ve seen. The reservoir is situated in the front of the case in purpose-made housing, so it’s clearly visible. Sadly, though, while it looks great with the internal green acrylic tubing, and is available in a range of colors (with the red shown on p18), there’s no coolant frothing around inside. The coolant only passes through these tubes, so it all looks a little static. It’s a flashy touch of pizzazz nonetheless though.
The case is made from steel and plastic. It feels sturdy, but there’s a little too much plastic on the exterior. Meanwhile, the interior is dominated by a massive triple 120mm-fan radiator in the roof, which is cooled by three pre-installed, white LED fans. Your only job is to connect the fans and install the CPU cooler on your motherboard. There’s also a 120mm fan in the rear, and all the fans have fluid dynamic bearings and act as exhausts. They’re also all powered by 4-pin PWM sockets and DeepCool has included a 4-channel PWM hub so you can power them all from a single fan header. The hub can be attached anywhere in the case too, using a bundled adhesive strip.
Then there’s the CPU cooler, which is a customized version of DeepCool’s Captain 360, sporting a U-shape section of tubing that’s mostly just for show, but livens up the otherwise all-white exterior(Also, there’s an elegant all-black version too). Thankfully, once powered on, the centre of the pump section lights up, making for one of the best-looking AIO coolers we’ve seen. Installation is simple too. You should be able to install the pump section with the motherboard installed in the case, thanks to a large CPU area cutout in the motherboard tray that’s big enough to fit the cooler backplate through it. A couple of metal mounting plates attach to pins protruding through the CPU side of the PCB, allowing you to screw two mounting pins on the pump section into them, fixing the pump section onto the CPU.
The case has decent ventilation too, and DeepCool has included some substantial holes in the roof to allow the radiator to expel hot air fairly freely, although it isn’t quite as effective as a proper mesh section or fan grille.
The front of the case sports more of the same chunky cut-outs, but sadly, this section lacks a removable dust filter. The front panel can be removed, though, revealing the detachable reservoir, and there are at least some fixed filters that will need occasional cleaning.
The base also includes a removable filter for the PSU, while the only fan mounts that aren’t filled are located in the front. DeepCool has added a 200mm fan mount to the front in this second version of the chassis as well, and there are two 120mm fan mounts here too, plus space for a further radiator, even if the cooling loop isn’t easily expandable and mostly sealed. Meanwhile, storage bays include a pair of 3.5in bays in a small cage in the base and two dedicated 2.5in trays attached to the rear of the motherboard tray.
Cable routing has also been improved compared with the previous case, with more space behind the motherboard tray, while a large PSU cover hides most of the cables and two rubber grommets allow the 24-pin ATX connector, SATA cables and PCI-E power cables to pass through to the motherboard.
Interestingly, one of the main selling points of the case, aside from the cooling system, is the ability to flip the graphics card on its side using a PCI-E riser cable. This feature wasn’t included with the original model, but DeepCool now bundles a riser with the Genome II. It plugs into your motherboard at one end, then secures to your case near the side window at the other. It has a large support base too, which screws directly onto the case, so there’s no chance of your graphics card wobbling around. If your graphics card has an attractive cooler or waterblock then this riser will give you a great view of it through the side window.
As the Genome II sports an integrated CPU cooler, we decided to ditch our usual testing method and perform a one-off test instead. Using an overclocked Intel Core i7-6700K and an AMD R9 390X graphics card, we fired up Unigine Heaven and Prime95 to see how the case coped, before removing the side panel to fit an NZXT Kraken X61 CPU cooler to roughly gauge how well the DeepCool cooler performs. With the side panel off, the CPU delta T was just 4°C cooler, so the large case vents clearly did a reasonable job of allowing air into and out of the case.
With the side panel off, the NZXT Kraken X61 managed to outperform the bundled cooler by 4°C, although it was considerably louder. In fact, both the DeepCool fans and pump were exceptionally quiet when idle. The graphics card was kept at a delta T of 51°C with the side panel on, mounted on its side, with this result falling to 47°C with the card mounted normally to the motherboard, and further still to 44°C with the side panel removed. It’s clear that mounting your graphics card on its side close to the side panel does impact on cooling, and the case would also benefit from a front intake fan.
The Genome II offers a unique look compared with your average PC with an AIO liquid cooler, thanks mostly to the attractive reservoir. Cooling is good, although not spectacular for such a large cooler, but it’s also very quiet. If all the bits were sold separately, the case would likely cost around $60, the cooling system around $140 and the PCI-E riser cable another $30, although using the latter may see your GPU run hotter. As such, while you could save money by buying a separate case and AIO cooler, the Genome II still offers fairly good value for money, while also giving you an attractive, quiet and easy-to-build system. It isn’t perfect, but if you have the money, want an easy setup process and like its looks then the Genome II won’t disappoint you.