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Gigabyte Aorus Waterforce X II 360 AiO review: Enthusiast CPU cooling sans the clutter

Stay frosty! Gigabyte recently launched the Waterforce X II 360 as the successor to the well-received Waterforce X. While the Waterforce X II 360 does a great job in cooling our Intel Core i9-13900K, improvements this time such as a larger pump for AMD Threadripper CPUs, customizable LCD, and magnetic daisy-chain FDB fans do not come cheap.
Gigabyte Aorus Waterforce X II 360 AiO water cooler

Gigabyte has several all-in-one (AiO) water coolers that make use of in-house pump design (in collaboration with an ODM) instead of Asetek IP. The company recently introduced the Waterforce X II 360 AiO liquid cooler as the successor to the popular Waterforce X 360.

The Waterforce X II 360 builds upon its predecessor and comes with some nifty quality-of-life improvements such as daisy-chained fans and a larger pump assembly.

Contrary to its predecessor, the Waterforce X II comes only in 240 and 360 options. Additionally, Gigabyte also offers a Waterforce II series targeted at mainstream Intel and AMD CPUs without any of the custom display pizzaz and with hydro dynamic bearing (HDB) fans.

In this review, we test the efficacy of the Gigabyte Aorus Waterforce X II 360 in keeping an Intel Core i9-13900K performing well without hiccups.

Aorus Waterforce X II 360: Specifications

Component Specification
Radiator material Aluminum
Radiator dimensions 394 x 119 x 27 mm
Pump base plate Copper
Pump dimensions 87.6 x 87.6 x 77.7 mm
Pump speed 2,500 to 3,000 RPM +/- 10%
LCD display 60 x 60 mm full color
Fans 3x 120 mm
Fan speed 800 to 2,400 RPM +/- 10%
Fan characteristics FD bearing
Air Flow: 72 CFM
Air Pressure: 3.15 mmH2O
Rated noise level: 12-37.5 dB(A)
CPU socket support Intel 115x, 1200, 1700
AMD AM4, AM5, TR4, sTR5
In the box Intel/AMD mounting brackets
Cooler and radiator mounting screws
Fan cable
Thermal paste
Warranty 6 years (all parts, valid globally)
Pricing ₹22,000 / US$290 (Black)
₹23,500 / US$300 (Ice)

Design: Magnetic daisy-chaining FTW

At first glance, the Waterforce X II 360 isn't too different from its predecessor or its cousins. With dimensions of 87.6 x 87.6 x 77.7 mm, the X II 360's pump is 20% bigger than that of the Waterforce II 360, making it amenable to effectively cool AMD Threadripper HEDT CPUs. According to Gigabyte, the coolant is a proprietary anti-freeze recipe.

Unlike the Waterforce II, the X II's display cannot be physically rotated. However, the Gigabyte Control Center (GCC) allows rotating the image on the LCD display to suit the desired orientation.

The pump sports a 60 mm x 60 mm LCD display that can be customized using several presets and info options available in GCC. The LCD isn't super hi-res but is crisp and bright enough to show most info without having to squint.

Unlike the X 360, the X II's pump display does not feature a microSD card slot. Instead, Gigabyte offers 40 MB of onboard storage to store your favorite GIFs and MP4 videos.

The base of the pump puts up a subtle light show in tandem with fan lighting, which will please RGB afficionados.

Aorus Waterforce X II 360: Firmware update
Aorus Waterforce X II 360: Firmware update
Aorus Waterforce X II 360: Pump LCD display
Aorus Waterforce X II 360: Pump LCD display
Aorus Waterforce X II 360: RGB effects at pump base
Aorus Waterforce X II 360: RGB effects at pump base

The Waterforce X II 360 makes use of a 360 mm aluminum-fin radiator with 3x 120 mm PWM fans that can be magnetically interlocked and daisy-chained to each other. This effectively reduces a lot of clutter and makes cable management a breeze.

Gigabyte has gone the extra mile to route the cables via the tubing itself. Therefore, the only cables that are seen outside are the fan cable that includes the fan and ARGB connectors, the USB cable from the pump that connects to a USB 2.0 header on the motherboard, and the SATA power cable.

The Waterforce X II uses fluid dynamic bearing (FDB) fans instead of the graphene nano lubricant sleeve bearing in the older X 360. Gigabyte says that FDB fans should offer 25% longer life span compared to HDB ones.

Note that there is no connector that plugs into the CPU fan header on the motherboard. You will have to disable monitoring of this header in the BIOS, if necessary, to avoid boot error messages.

Waterforce X II 360: 120 mm fan
Waterforce X II 360: 120 mm fan
Waterforce X II 360: Serrated fan blades
Waterforce X II 360: Serrated fan blades
Waterforce X II 360: The fans employ fluid dynamic bearings
Waterforce X II 360: Magnetic pogo pins
Waterforce X II 360: Magnetic pogo pins

Software: GCC has a come long way but needs further polish

The Gigabyte Control Center allows changing various parameters of the Waterforce X II including fan control and RGB effects. The app consolidates settings for other Gigabyte/Aorus products installed in the system as well.

GCC has come a long way since we first tried it out while reviewing the Aorus GeForce RTX 4070 Ti Master 12G last year. However, it's not an entirely bug-free experience.

Some of the issues we encountered include the app becoming randomly unresponsive, problems during reinstallation, CPU clock display on the pump getting stuck at a fixed value, and general performance concerns.

That being said, to their credit, Gigabyte has been very responsive to our real-time feedback and has issued multiple updates over the past few weeks to address many of our concerns. The app is now highly functional but can still use some stability improvements. The company confirmed that optimizing GCC based on user feedback remains a top priority.

Neither the user manual leaflet nor the app indicates specific requirements for uploading videos to the Waterforce X II's pump. However, we could confirm with Gigabyte that users can upload videos with a maximum resolution of 320 x 320 pixels, up to a 10 MB file size limit, and up to four such videos.

GCC: RGB effects
GCC: RGB effects
GCC: Fan profiles
GCC: Fan profiles
GCC: LCD display settings
GCC: LCD display settings
Custom GIFs and videos can be added
Custom GIFs and videos can be added

Performance: Sustained multi-core with Core i9-13900K without throttling

We used the following test setup for assessing the Waterforce X II 360's cooling efficacy:

  • Cooler MasterFrame 700 test bench
  • Intel Core i9-13900K with PL1=PL2=253 W
  • Asus GeForce RTX 4070 Ti Super GPU
  • Gigabyte Z790 Aorus Master motherboard
  • Gigabyte Aorus Gen 4 2 TB NVMe SSD
  • 2x 16 GB Kingston Fury Renegade DDR5-6400 RAM with timings 32-39-39-80 at 1.40 V
  • Gigabyte M28U 4K 144 Hz monitor
  • Cooler Master MVE Gold V2 1250 ATX 3.0 fully modular PSU

We would like to thank Cooler Master for supplying the test bench and PSU, Gigabyte for the motherboard, CPU, SSD, AiO cooler, and monitor, Kingston for the memory, and Asus for the GPU.

GCC offers several fan presets to choose from, but there's no option to manually define fan curves. We tested the Waterforce X II's performance mainly in Zero RPM, Balanced, and Turbo modes.

CPU multi-core stability

The Waterforce X II ensures a perceivably throttle-free performance of the Core i9-13900K in Balanced, Turbo, and Zero RPM modes in the Cinebench R15 multi-core loop test.

Setting the radiator fans to Zero RPM (Pump: Balanced) results in an approximate 10% decrease in the Cinebench R15 multi-core score after 30 runs. This is still appreciable considering that it is only the Waterforce X II's pump that is doing the heavy lifting here without the radiator fans kicking in.

The difference between the first and 30th run in both Balanced and Turbo modes is negligible indicating excellent cooling performance. Turbo allows for well-sustained performance at the expense of louder fan noise, which we will look into shortly.

Cooling preset Cinebench R15 Multi score Cinebench R15 Multi score (after 30 loops)
Pump: Balanced, Fans: Zero RPM 5,569 5,023 (-9.8%)
Pump: Balanced, Fans: Balanced 5,631 5,576 (-0.97%)
Pump: Turbo, Fans: Turbo 5,575 5,576 (100%)

In the Zero RPM preset with the pump set to Balanced, the Core i9-13900K can boost to a maximum of 4.72 GHz. While the Waterforce X II's pump speed oscillates during the initial part of the run, the increasing core temperature to 95 °C forces the pump to maintain a consistent max speed to prevent CPU throttling as much as possible.

Nevertheless, the benchmark crashed during the 27th loop as the core temperatures started hitting 100 °C.

With the fans kicking in at about 1,834 average RPM in the Balanced mode, the pump's job becomes a lot easier. Turbo results in both the pump and the fans maintaining near-consistent max RPMs. Both presets ensure that the maximum core temperature does not cross 75 °C.

Cinebench R15 single-core performance for the Core i9-13900K remains the same across all three tested modes (300 points).

CPU parameters during a Cinebench R15 multi-core loop in Zero RPM mode
CPU parameters during a Cinebench R15 multi-core loop in Zero RPM mode
CPU parameters during a Cinebench R15 multi-core loop. (Green: Balanced, Red: Turbo)
CPU parameters during a Cinebench R15 multi-core loop. (Green: Balanced, Red: Turbo)

Stress test

Stressing the Core i9-13900K with Prime95 in-place large FFTs shows expected trends in clocks with a max boost of up to 4.7 GHz in both Balanced and Turbo modes.

Both these modes allow for a similar peak core temperature of 78 °C. Max package powers hover around the 280 W mark with Turbo allowing for up to 286 W.

CPU parameters during Prime95 stress. (Green: Balanced, Red: Turbo)
CPU parameters during Prime95 stress. (Green: Balanced, Red: Turbo)

Noise levels: Tolerable, save for the Turbo preset

Gigabyte officially rates the Waterforce X II's fan noise levels up to 37.5 db(A). However, the levels can go a lot higher, particularly in the Turbo preset.

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2013.432.3257.733.73110.833.14012.737.65012.937.46317.738.48018.538.810017.237.31252137.116013.541.320014.842.525014.443.631514.943.740013.242.25009.739.56306.837.98009.838.910008.335.512509.23416007.632.820008.532.825005.430.831504.42740002.823.750001.321.463000.7198000-014.910000-0.39.8125000.16.8160000.25.3SPL19.546.5N0.25.5median 8.5median 34Delta5.89.5hearing rangehide median Fan NoiseGigabyte Aorus Waterforce X II 360

The following table illustrates various fan presets and corresponding sound pressure levels (SPLs). Note that the values can momentarily increase even in quieter presets depending on the load.

Earthworks M23R, Arta (15 cm distance) Ambient: 19.50 dB(A)
Pump profile Fan profile Pump speed (RPM) Fan speed (RPM) Sound Pressure Level db(A)
Balanced Zero RPM 2,720 25.09
Turbo Zero RPM 3,214 25.42
Balanced Quiet 2,720 1,305 27.44
Balanced Default 2,722 1,369 29.02
Balanced Balanced 2,734 1,425 30.49
Balanced Performance 2,721 1,844 38.05
Turbo Turbo 3,265 2,502 46.53

As demonstrated in the Cinebench R15 multi-core loop and stress test above, the Balanced preset allows consistent CPU performance without throttling.

With emissions of just about 30.5 dB(A), this preset is recommended for most productivity and gaming workloads without having to worry about operating noise.

Turbo helps in keeping the CPU cool under sustained load over longer periods of time, but the fans can get distractingly loud at 46.5 dB(A) especially if you prefer working in a quiet environment.


+ Magnetic daisy-chain FDB fans reduce cable mess
+ Larger pump head compared to previous generation
+ Bright LCD display with many customization options
+ Effective Core i9-13900K cooling at 253 W even at Zero RPM
+ Tolerable fan noise emissions


- No 280 mm option
- Not a very high-res LCD
- No way to define custom fan curves
- GCC can use further performance improvements
- Expensive

Verdict: Clutter-free and effective CPU water cooler

Aorus Waterforce X II 360 AiO Liquid Cooler: Review unit courtesy of Gigabyte India
Aorus Waterforce X II 360 AiO Liquid Cooler: Review unit courtesy of Gigabyte India

The Aorus Waterforce X II 360 is Gigabyte's latest AiO water cooler aimed at the enthusiast crowd. The Waterforce X II 360 is a significant upgrade over the Waterforce X with some nifty features such as FDB fans, magnetic daisy-chaining, a larger pump with a cool-looking RGB illumination at its base, and a configurable LCD display.

We liked the fact that the Waterforce X II's cables run within the tubing itself, which lends to a clean looking build. The Waterforce X II did a very good job in keeping the Core i9-13900K performing well even in the Zero RPM fan mode.

The Gigabyte Aorus Waterforce X II 360 is a highly capable enthusiast AiO liquid cooler that ensures throttle-free CPU performance, but the added bling and daisy chaining comes at a premium.

Fan noise is within tolerable limits for most tasks unless you really crank things up in the Turbo mode. That being said, the Waterforce X II is not without a few shortcomings.

Gigabyte's Control Center software can certainly use some added polish. The LCD display could have been a higher resolution offering. The Galahad II LCD, for instance, offers a 480 x 480 24-bit display at a similar or lower price.

The ability to define custom fan curves is also missing. Firmware updates take quite some time to complete as well. The lack of a 280 mm radiator option can upset some prospective buyers.

If you are already using a Waterforce X or your current cooler is working just fine, there's little incentive to splurge close to US$300 on the Waterforce X II. The Asus ROG Ryujin III (US$330 on Amazon) and Lian Li Galahad II LCD (US$274 on Amazon) are other worthy considerations that offer a customizable LCD and magnetic daisy-chaining.

Price and Availability

The Gigabyte Aorus Waterforce X II 360 can be had for US$290 on Amazon US while the white Ice version retails for US$300. The Waterforce II 360 can be had at nearly half the price (US$150 on Amazon, Ice version) if a configurable LCD, magnetic daisy-chaining, and cooling a Threadripper are not your priorities.

In India, the Waterforce X II is yet to become widely available in retail. Amazon India continues to stock the older Waterforce X 360 for ₹22,222.


The present review sample was made available to the author as a loan by the manufacturer or a shop for the purposes of review. The lender had no influence on this review, nor did the manufacturer receive a copy of this review before publication. There was no obligation to publish this review.


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> Expert Reviews and News on Laptops, Smartphones and Tech Innovations > Reviews > Gigabyte Aorus Waterforce X II 360 AiO review: Enthusiast CPU cooling sans the clutter
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam, 2024-02- 2 (Update: 2024-02- 2)