Black ice radiator review: Hardware Labs Black Ice Nemesis 360GTX Radiator Review

Hardware Labs Black Ice Nemesis 360GTX Radiator Review



Hardware Labs Performance Systems, Inc, is a pioneer in the computer water-cooling industry. HWLabs was the first company to develop and manufacture the first radiators specifically designed for PC water-cooling and is still the de facto benchmark in the business.

Their core philosophy remains to be the relentless pursuit of performance in the heat exchange industry, pushing the limits of design and engineering to provide our fellow enthusiasts and the industry with class-leading products and services.

Today we are taking a look at one of Hardware Labs’ newest products, Hardware Labs Black Ice Nemesis 360GTX. The Black Ice Nemesis GTX is a continuation of the original GTX line. Featuring a massive 54mm thickness and a new “Dark Matter” finish. A revised core promises improved flow and cooling over the previous versions.


Hardware Labs’ take on the Black Ice Nemesis 360GTX

The Black Ice® Nemesis® 360GTX® is designed for the professional case mod professional who takes a no-compromise approach to performance, design and build quality. Using the new Nemesis® platform makes it possible to take advantage of extreme triple-fan performance at ultra-stealth noise levels.


  • 120 mm x 3 fan Xtreme form factor two-pass radiator
  • 398mm x 133mm x 54mm (L x W x H)
  • 16 FPI 25 Micron Copper Fins
  • Now optimized for sub-800 rpm ultra-stealth fans
  • Supercruise optimizations for scalable performance with higher speed fans
  • 15% more tubing area in the same Black Ice® GTX™ 360 form factor
  • Increased internal coolant flow rates
  • Standard G 1/4″ inlet/outlet fittings
  • Standard M4 mounting threads
  • Compatible with Black Ice® Xtreme III, Black Ice® GTX™ 360 radiators
  • Custom Dark Matter™ high quality finish
  • Fully ROHS Compliant
  • 100% Made from conflict-free materials
  • Industry standard Black Ice® quality
  • Lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects*

Let’s take a closer look…




The Hardware Labs Black Ice 360GTX comes in an understated black box with grey graphics and gold lettering.

On the back is some highlights of the new radiator’s features. Full dimensions are given as well.


Once inside the box, we are greeted with another box.

The Black Ice 360GTX is packed with multiple layers of protective cardboard.



A Closer Look

The new “Dark Matter” finish looks unlike anything else in the industry. It has a very rough texture and promises to be quite durable.

The are no names or logos anywhere on the radiator.

The end tanks are made of brass.

The fin density is 16 FPI, which is not extremely high. None tubes line up with the screw holes, so special care is not need to ensure a screw is ran too deep or punctures a tube.

12 M4 x 30mm and 12 M4 x 6mm screws are included. This is enough for 1 set of standard 25mm thick fans to be mounted in push or pull only.

On to Testing.



System Configuration and Performance Testing

Testing Setup

Testing Hardware

PowerColor GA-Z97-SOC Force Motherboard

Intel Core i7 4790K Processor

Kingston HyperX Beast 16GB 2400MHz Memory

Crucial M550 256GB Solid State Drive

Spotswood Small Tech Bench

XFX PRO850W XXX Edition 850w Silver Power Supply

Cooling Components

Koolance CPU-380i CPU Block
Laing DDC Pump
Bitspower Water Tank Z-Multi-400 Reservoir
Cooler Master JetFlo Fans

Testing Environment

We try to set up the testing to be as close to a real world scenario as we can, while still eliminating any variables that would skew the results. Everything that is needed to operate a normal computer is installed (monitor, peripherals, motherboard w/CPU and GPU, radiator, power supply, etc.) and utilized as needed. Our Intel i7 4790K is overclocked to 4.5 GHz with a Vcore of 1.3 volts. The most extreme setting for line load calibration is used to ensure consistent voltage to the CPU.

Flow Rate

The total system flow rate is tested using a Koolance INS-FM18D Flow Meter. The entire water cooling loop is assembled, filled, and bleed of any air. Only distilled water is used for consistency. Every component is connected by 7/16″ x 5/8″ tubing and matching compression fittings. The pump is directly powered from the power supply with a constant 12 volts.

The 360GTX makes some gains over the previous GTX 360. While flow rate does not have a dramatic effect on cooling, it does decrease the stress on the pump.


Thermal Testing

CPU load is provided by running an application on Prime 95 with a small FFT. This creates the most heat and the least varying load. Water temperatures are measured directly from the reservoir. 20-minute cycles between measurements allow for full water temperature stabilization. The Cooler Master JetFlo fans are sealed to each radiator to reduce air leakage and are ran in “push” configuration only.

Our plethora of radiators, provide a plethora of results. Thicker radiators have a tendency to perform great at high speeds, but less so at low speeds. We see this in the testing with the Hardware Labe Black Ice 360GTX as well. The core design allows for good low speed performance without sacrificing high speed performance. Once the fan speed reached 1500 RPM, the 360GTX outperformed all the other radiators we have tested so far.

The Conclusion and Final Thoughts are next.



Final Thoughts and Conclusion

The Hardware Labs Black Ice Nemesis 360GTX is a beautiful radiator. The textured black “Dark Matter” finish was completely free of any desirable defects. All the solder joints looked flawless as well. There is no doubt that when looking at the 360GTX that it is finely crafted.

While poor low-speed performance is not unusual for a radiator of this thickness, the 360GTX does not have that burden in excess. Low-speed fan performance is greatly improved over the GTX Gen Two Xtreme 360 we reviewed a short time ago and there is certainly nothing to complain about when it comes to the high-speed fan testing either. Here the Black Ice 360GTX outperformed every one of our test units.

Currently, the Hardware Labs Black Ice Nemesis 360GTX is available from for $109.99. That makes it one of the least expensive thick core 360 radiators on the market. If you need strong performance and do not mind pushing some medium RPM fans or are planning on using a push/pull low-speed fan arrangement, it is one of the best in the class.

Thank you to Hardware Labs and for providing the Black Ice 360GTX for testing.



  • Excellent Build Quality
  • Top Shelf  Aesthetics and Finish
  • Great Wide Speed Fan Performance
  • Lifetime Warranty


  • High Price



Hardware Labs Black Ice SR2 420 MP Radiator Review

1. Introduction2. Technical Specifications3. Flow Rate Testing4. Thermal Testing5. Data Analysis6. Summary7. View All

Hardware Labs Black Ice SR2 420 MP Radiator Review

Welcome to another Extreme Rigs radiator review. This time we’ll be taking a close look at the SR2 420 MP from Hardware Labs which became available for retail purchase last week.

Since we published the most recent of the 360mm radiators for inclusion in the Extreme Rigs Rad Round Up 2015, we had completed thermal testing on 8 various sized 140.x radiators before our chosen 140mm fans starting failing. This meant we had to find a reliable model 140mm fan for use in the thermal chamber. With assistance from a new ER sponsor we believe we have just the fan, Noctua’s NF-A14 IndustrialPPC-2000 IP67 PWM.

We’d like to say a public Thank You to the Noctua Team for their understanding of the situation, their generous support and for arranging lightning fast delivery half way around the world. Without Noctua’s support this review may still be in the planning stages.

Of course we’ll be doing a full review on these Noctua Industrials once we have completed some more tests and compiled the data from it and some other 140mm fans for comparisons.

With new fans in hand, we restarted our 140.x radiator thermal testing from scratch, and after crunching the data we are now able to publish the first of our 140.x radiator reviews.

First up is the SR2 420 MP from Hardware Labs. We’ve already reviewed the 240 mm and 360mm versions of the SR2 MultiPort so be sure to check them out after you’ve finished reading this one. We’ll do some comparisons to those 240 & 360 results, but for the most part the SR2 420 MP will be compared against the other 420 radiator which we have finished re-testing – EK’s CE 420.

Firstly a big thanks to Hardware Labs for providing the review sample of the SR2 420 MP!

What’s in the Box?

The SR2 420 MP sample arrived in full retail packaging. Existing packaging from the SR2 420 has been used, as the “MP MuiltiPort” labelling is a sticker which has been strategically placed on the front of the retail sleeve.

The front of the retail sleeve leaves us in no doubt as to what to expect, while on the back we find some technical drawings and list of features.

Note in the last sentence I said simply the SR2 420, and together with the sticker placement on the front, we conclude that the SR2 420 MP has exactly the same cooling package (core) as the single port version. HWLabs has confirmed this is correct, and the extra ports are the only changes in the MP version.

On one side we find some performance ratings on the various SR2 models.

Our feelings about this chart are well known to regular readers by now.  Suffice it to say that the test conditions are a standard that we don’t think applies well to most end users.

Removing the outer sleeve we find a sturdy shipping box with a factory seal sticker that gives us a warning about using correct length screws.

Just to clarify: when using the supplied mounting hardware there is no risk of causing damage to the radiator.

I really like the HWLabs style of boxing as the compartment at one end keeps the provided accessories away from the core. It would be nice to see a bubble wrap sleeve over the rad, but otherwise the SR2 420 MP has great packaging that should ensure safe arrival to the end user.

Under the flap on the right hand side, we found 3 bags with the supplied accessories.

Extent of delivery:

Included in the SR2 420 MP package is the following:

1 x SR2 Multi-Port Radiator
12 x M4 x 28mm screw s for mounting fans.
12 x M4 x 5mm screws for attaching to chassis
4 x G 1/4 port plugs.

Note that the 28mm screws are only just long enough to mount fans to the radiator. If using a mounting bracket, or placing fans between the chassis and rad, you will need to provide your own M4 screws of suitable length. In most instances M4 x 30 screws will be suitable.

HWLabs also provides some spare port plugs, aka stop fittings. 4 x extra port plugs come with the Multi-Port version of the SR2 420. These are in addition to 6 that are pre-installed into 6 of the 8 the ports of the radiator. This is fantastic because the radiator is ready for flushing straight from the box. This means it comes with a total of 10 stop fittings, which is great, but somewhat overkill. Because of this HWLabs had to keep the cost down and so these are not made of brass but instead of POM, aka Delrin. In other words they are plastic and if you note there is an allen key socket in the head for tightening it.

HWLabs recommends only using fingers to tighten down the port plugs. However given that using an allen key is an optional method of tightening/loosening these plugs, the recessed key hole will (and does) round off after a couple of uses. Ultimately end users will decide whether or not they choose to replace these factory fitted plugs with plated/painted brass ones. I suspect that most will be happy to keep the stock plugs in place as they certainly are convincing and do look good. I think HWLabs made a good decision to include all the port plugs (inc. the 4 extra) and so the cost saving benefit of using the plastic material is justified.

Onwards to technical specifications!

Kitfort KT-1806 ice maker review

Household small-sized ice makers are rare. But just imagine: you receive guests, invite them to mix cocktails, and you forgot to freeze the ice. Or in the freezer it is, but some kind of ugly, covered in hoarfrost. If this happens, the second … If you are hospitable and experimenting with chilled drinks, then it seems that you should automate the production of ice.

For the preparation of drinks, ice of various forms is used, each of which has its own purpose. Ice balls or cubes have the smallest volume to surface area ratio, so they melt the slowest, retain the cold best, and are often used to chill strong drinks directly in the glass to avoid over-diluting the noble drink. Ice in the form of “fingers” (bullet type), on the contrary, has the largest surface with a relatively small volume, is prepared the fastest and can be used both for cooling low-alcohol cocktails and soft drinks in shakers, and when served directly with a drink. nine0003

Ice maker Kitfort KT-1806, the review of which we present to your attention, is designed to make «finger» ice. We will take a closer look at it and check whether its technical characteristics correspond to the declared ones and how convenient it is to use it for a home bartender.


Manufacturer Kitfort
Model KT-1806
Type ice cube maker
Country of origin China
Warranty 1 year
Service life * 2 years
Power 105 W
Ice type finger
Housing material plastic
Water supply type filling tank
Tank capacity 1. 9 l
Climate class ST/SN/N/T
Refrigerant isobutane R600a (cyclopentane)
Refrigerant quantity 29 g
Noise level 60 dB
Control electronic
Weight 8.3 kg
Dimensions (W×H×D) 348×249×325 mm
Network cable length 1.8 m
Retail offers

ask price

* Quite simply, this is the period during which spare parts for device repair are delivered to official service centers. After this period, any repair in the official SC (both warranty and paid) is unlikely to be possible. nine0144

Package contents

The Kitfort corporate identity is recognizable from afar: a schematic image of the device on the front side, the model name, the manufacturer’s logo and a playful slogan — different for each type of household appliances. For ice makers, the company’s marketers found it appropriate to use the phrase «My ice is flying!»

Inside the box, in addition to the device itself, we found an ice scoop dispenser, user manual, warranty card and some promotional materials. nine0003

At first glance

The case is made of smooth black plastic without unnecessary decorations — the only eye-catching element is a light strip separating the cover from the main unit.

On the right side wall of the appliance there is a round hole for the release of warm air. Behind its plastic grille, a fan is visible, and under it is a radiator grille.

On the back wall, we found a label with the model name, brief technical specifications, serial number and information about the country of manufacture. nine0003

A plastic drain valve plug is located on the bottom panel. It is attached to the body with a collar made of the same material. The metal bottom is equipped with ventilation holes: for compressor equipment, additional cooling is not superfluous. The device rests on four rubber feet.

A large part of the top panel is occupied by a hinged cover of the working area. It has a transparent window through which you can watch how the container is filled with ice. It is removable, made of white plastic, with holes for draining melt water. nine0003

There is a water tank under the container. Its walls are marked with minimum and maximum levels, and at the bottom there is a water intake valve.

In front of the working area of ​​the cooler there is a filling sensor, which is an optocoupler of an infrared emitting LED and a light-receiving diode. When the overflowing container ice crosses the invisible beam between them, the sensor is triggered and the device stops working.

The unit also includes a white plastic ice scoop. nine0003


The 14-page user manual in A5 format is made in the corporate style of the manufacturer and, like all documentation for Kitfort equipment, is of high quality printing.

As usual at Kitfort, the instruction is preceded by a detailed story about the principle of operation of the device. And yes, she is very helpful. True, the picture illustrating the scheme of the device, most likely, migrated from another manual: it shows an ice cube generator. This almost misled us, but no — KT-1806 prepares thimbles of ice. nine0003

The rest of the management is top notch. It contains detailed information about the structure of the ice maker, safety precautions for handling it, tips for caring for the appliance, troubleshooting tips, and detailed technical specifications.


Kitfort KT-1806 ice maker is extremely easy to operate: the only button on the top panel turns the device on and off.

Green LED «Ice» blinks slowly in standby mode and lights up continuously when the device is operating. nine0003

Malfunctions are reported by the generator with two orange signals: when the container is full, the «Basket full» LED lights up, and when the tank is empty, the «Add water» light lights up.


The unit must be placed in a room of sufficient volume to avoid the risk of fire in case of refrigerant leakage (at least one cubic meter of free space for every 8 g of refrigerant — in the case of KT-1806, three cubic meters should be left free). nine0003

Do not install the ice maker close to walls, furnishings or heat sources. To ensure the necessary air circulation, a gap of at least 15 cm must be maintained on all sides.

Before switching on, the completely unpacked device should be left in the room for several hours to equalize temperatures and start the cooling system normally.

Using the generator is extremely simple — just fill the tank with water (it is better to use boiled or filtered water) and press the power button. The first portion takes longer to cook, and as the device cools down, the process takes less and less time. This should be taken into account when preparing for a party: it makes sense to turn on the device at least an hour before you need ice. nine0003

Before the start of the freezing cycle, the water from the tank enters in dosed portions into the white semi-cylinder of the cooling tank. Nine polished cylinders with rounded ends are immersed in it. They communicate with the evaporator, and when the compressor is on, ice freezes around them.

At the end of the freeze cycle, the cooling tank rotates, the remaining water from it drains back into the tank, and the frozen “fingers” slide off the cylinders under their own weight. The spatula below them scoops them up into the ice box. In order for the ice to fall faster, warm air is supplied to the work area. nine0003

Ice thimbles are opaque, milky white. This is normal for generators of this type: the formation of ice occurs in a stationary mass of water, and the color of the ice is given by air bubbles that remain in the thickness of the formed crystals.

The noise emitted by the generator is even, not too annoying and not loud: you can talk near the working device without raising your voice.

If a power failure occurs during cooking, when the appliance is turned on again, it runs the rinse cycle, dumps unfrozen ice into the container and starts the cycle again. nine0003

The generator freezes a portion of ice (nine pieces) on average for about 10 minutes. It is enough to prepare one or two servings of a cocktail. With a reasonable rate of consumption of drinks, this provides the needs of ice for a company of four to six people. If you plan to invite more guests to the party, it makes sense to take care of creating some stock in advance. Ready ice can be stored in the refrigerator without cluttering up the freezer compartment: at a slight positive temperature, the product does not melt for several hours. nine0003


The ice maker body can be wiped with a dry or damp cloth.

The water tank should be cleaned once a week. Before this, the device must be disconnected from the mains and drained of water. To empty the tank, the device must be pulled out 6 cm from the edge of the table, put a bucket or other similar container under the drain hole and pull out the drain plug.

Clean the inside of the ice maker with a soft cloth dampened with warm water and vinegar (1:1 ratio). After that, you need to rinse the surface with clean water and drain the water again. It is not recommended to clean the evaporator. nine0003

When not in use for a long time, the water tank must be completely drained and all parts of the appliance must be dried.

The ice maker is charged with refrigerant for life and does not need to be recharged.

Do not wash any part of the appliance, including the ice box and scoop dispenser, in the dishwasher.

Our measurements

Making the first portion of ice (9 pieces with a total weight of about 70 g) at room temperature (23-24 °C) takes about 11 minutes. However, after an hour of continuous operation, when the body of the device and the water in the tank have cooled sufficiently, the cooking time for one portion is reduced to 8.5 minutes. Thus, the longer the ice maker works, the less heat loss and, therefore, the higher the performance. nine0003

The volume of the water tank, filled up to the maximum mark, is, according to our measurements, 2020 ml.

The appliance consumes the most electricity (140 W) when the compressor is started. During operation, the power is significantly lower — an average of 98 watts.

The noise that we have measured, which the ice machine emits during operation, does not exceed 54 dBA. It is noticeably quieter than promised by the manufacturer.

Practical tests

Of course, we did not miss the opportunity to test the Kitfort KT-1860 in action. We measured the performance of the device in real conditions and checked whether the resulting ice is enough for a good party with chilled drinks. nine0003

Six hours of continuous operation

We were interested in how much ice the appliance can make over a long period of time. We poured water into the tank, turned on the generator and prepared to wait.

The final volume of the product significantly exceeded the volume of the ice container, because once an hour we emptied this container, weighing the resulting ice. The measurement results are given in the table.

Operating time, hours Productivity, g/hour
1 375
2 381
3 468
4 493
5 518
6 528

In the six hours since launch, the ice maker has made 2,763 grams of great ice, enough to make for a great cocktail party. nine0003

During the test, the device consumed 0.614 kWh of electricity.

Result: excellent.


The Kitfort KT-1806 ice maker allows you to get a good amount of ice in a short time, suitable for making frozen cocktails or chilled drinks and for storing food.

Relatively compact dimensions make it convenient to store the device, and low power consumption will allow you to use it on a picnic or on a road trip — it will not overload even a not very powerful car inverter. nine0003


  • good performance
  • small size
  • comfortable handle
  • low noise


  • lack of a drain tube to facilitate draining water from the tank
  • rather heavy weight

what is this phenomenon and why is it dangerous?

  • Introduction
  • What is black ice and how to spot it0310

  • Where does black ice appear most often
  • What will help if the car had to drive on black ice
  • Conclusion. The main secret of black ice


Roads in the off-season become dangerous due to changes in temperature, humidity, precipitation and other features of this period. Weather websites sometimes warn drivers about road conditions. The features of the pavement on a particular day can be marked with the words «Hoarfrost», «Dew», «Wet Road», «Black Ice», etc. nine0003

In the article, we will find out what is characteristic of the “black ice” phenomenon and how to recognize it in order to correct the behavior on the road in time. At the end of the article, we will reveal the main secret of black ice.

What is black ice and how to spot it

Black ice is a thin, transparent film of ice on roads that appears at temperatures from 0 to below. Such ice is called black because dark asphalt shines through it.

Black ice is dangerous because it is not visible on the roads. Driving on such a surface, it may seem to the driver that he is just driving on a wet road — this causes many accidents. Moving on the thinnest slippery film at high speed, the tires easily lose contact with the surface, and the car can easily skid. nine0003

Black ice often appears on the roads when the air temperature is slightly above zero during the day, the air is humid, it is raining or drizzling, and in the evening the temperature drops to just below zero. Due to high humidity, the smallest particles of water settle on the road and form a thin water film. When the temperature drops, it turns into ice. Moreover, the thermometer can show positive temperature, and on the road surface it will be below zero.

Observation will help determine that black ice is in front of you. Take a closer look: if there are dark spots or shine on the asphalt, this may be a sign of an insidious ice film. nine0003

When driving on black ice, the driver may feel that the steering wheel has become light, the car does not obey well, and there is almost no noise from the tires. This makes the asphalt look clean.

Watch for cars ahead. If it seems that the asphalt is wet, but water splashes do not appear from under the wheels of traffic participants, it is highly likely that a thin ice film has bound the road.

In the off-season, for your own safety, it is especially important to monitor the weather: temperature changes, the presence / absence of fog — in order to adjust your driving style to the situation. Just before driving, assess the weather and road conditions on the street and guess what kind of coverage you will have on the way. Starting the path, if it is safe around, you can try to do a test braking. This will help to understand the level of grip of the wheels with the road. If the ABS system is activated, this is a sign that the tires have poor contact with the surface. nine0003

Where does black ice appear most often

There are sections of roads where black ice appears and lingers most often:

  • bridges and flyovers;

  • roads that are well blown from all sides by the wind;

  • roads passing through hilly terrain with deep ravines into which fog often descends;

  • small roads in the regions in appropriate weather — a thin ice film forms on them more often than on the highways of megacities; nine0003

  • stretches of road that receive almost no sunlight.

The I-35W bridge in Minnesota, USA was notorious for its black ice. So, in 1985, when the temperature dropped to -34 ° C, the bridge was covered with the thinnest film of ice. Drivers following the bridge lost control and a huge number of broken cars accumulated on the north side of the bridge.

In 1996, the bridge was named the most dangerous cold weather site on the local freeway system. The black ice that formed there had little to no friction when the temperature went below zero. In addition, the situation was aggravated by the proximity to the St. Anthony Falls — it increased the humidity of the air in the area of ​​the bridge. By the way, this dangerous bridge collapsed into the Mississippi River in 2007. nine0003

What will help if the car had to drive on black ice

If by all atmospheric indications the roads appear to be covered in black ice, slow down considerably, double your distance and increase your lateral spacing with other vehicles. It’s best to avoid driving on a track that’s been covered in thin ice if possible. Even if your car’s tires can handle this, you can’t be sure other drivers will be as lucky. It will be safer to get off the icy road, if possible, and find another way. It is important to remember: standing on the sidelines in such conditions is extremely dangerous! nine0003

Keep an eye on the weather and prepare for off-season surprises in advance.