Reviewed: Fractal Design Kelvin S24 & S36


The current street price sees the S24 available for $189 and the S36 at $219 making them the most expensive AIO water coolers of their size on the market at the time of writing. 

Final Thoughts

I was impressed with the S36. As a 3x120mm cooler, it was quiet and performed really well. The fans didn’t have to work hard to cool our overclocked i5-4670K. The pump on that unit also made less noise than the one on our S24 sample.

I’ve listed these points on previous pages but I’ll recap the quirks here.

  • The pump noise was audible at 12v on the S36 and more audible at 12v on the S24. We think the S24 review sample may have been a glitch because the pumps are supposed to be the same. Based on the S36 pump, I’d be more than happy to use this product.
  • The hose lengths are longer than average and understanding that Fractal Design did this for improved versatility, I’d consider it a small but necessary evil if you want the option of mounting the radiator in the front of your case.
  • The CPU bracket for 115x sockets is bad – It’s fiddly and one of the cheapest looking mounting brackets I’ve had to work with. It’s a let down and looks out of place with the other components – to the point where you could be forgiven for thinking that the CPU bracket belongs to another product.

With the gripes out of the way, there is still a lot to like about the Kelvin Series coolers. They perform well and easily managed our overclock with the fans remaining quiet. 

The build quality and component selection shows a commitment by Fractal Design to getting it right. Copper radiator, Alphacool pump, longer hosing, braided cables and quality thermal compound are clear indications on an effort being made to deliver quality. Mounting the Kelvin water block on our 2011-3 socket went smoothly and as we would expect.

This isn’t an AIO like the others and as such there are some things to note. Whilst I flagged the pump noise as being audible at 12v, this is due to the pump being rated at more powerful than the loop needs to cater for expansion. The thing that I’m not convinced about is the demand for an expandable, refillable AIO water cooler when you can buy kits like the XSPC Raystorm and build your own loop easily and at less cost. When builders buy an AIO unit, it’s usually because they don’t want to fiddle with it or else they’d be going custom. Sure, this allows you to hedge your bets and it’s great to see standard fittings but I’m predicting that the market won’t value the innovative features enough to pay the current street price.

What we are seeing here is an entry into the AIO water cooling market with a product that offers something new rather than just emulating the competition but I think the Kelvin series will end up being too expensive for most gamers.

  Fractal Design 
Kelvin S24 240mm Water Cooler
Fractal Design 
Kelvin S36 360mm Water Cooler





Good thermal performance
Quiet fans
Expandable and refillable
More mounting options due to longer hoses
Great thermal performance
Surprisingly quiet for a 3-fan unit
Fan speeds can stay low due to the size of the radiator’s surface area
Expandable and refillable
More mounting options due to longer hoses


crossCPU bracket is fiddly for 115x socket
crossOur sample had a louder pump than the S36
crossPriced out of reach for many
crossCPU bracket is fiddly for 115x socket




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