Lian Li Galahad II Performance Review: A New Level of Liquid Cooling Excellence

Taiwanese component company Lian Li is well known for its premium PC cases and fans, but the company also offers power supplies and AIO coolers. Today we’re looking at Lian Li’s latest 360mm AIO, the Galahad II Trinity Performance. It features upgraded designs for virtually every part of the cooler, from the radiator to the fans to the liquid pump.

Over the past two years, the market for liquid cooling has grown more intense as manufacturers have released upgraded liquid coolers to more effectively dissipate heat to keep up with the demands of today’s hottest CPUs. Are the changes made by Lian Li for the Galahad II Performance enough to earn the top spot on our best AIO Coolers list? We’ll have to install and test the cooler to find out, but first let’s take a look at the cooler’s specifications and features.

Lian Li Galahad II Trinity Performance Specifications

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Cooler Lian Li Galahad II Trinity Performance
MSRP $169.99 USD
Radiator Size 396 (L) x 130 (W) x 32 mm (H)
Radiator Material Double wave fins made of Aluminum
Socket Compatibility Intel® LGA 115x / 1200,1700
AMD® AM5 / AM4
Base Copper Base
Warranty 5 years
Max TDP (Our Testing) 250W+ on Intel’s i7-13700K

Packing and Included Contents 

Lian Li’s Galahad II Trinity arrives in a box similar in size to other coolers in its class. 

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

The inner contents are protected with plastic coverings, foam, and molded cardboard. 

Included with the package are the following:

  • 360mm Radiator with pre-installed 120mm fans
  • Thermal Paste & Spreader Tools
  • Leather Cable Management Strap
  • Mounting for Intel and AMD Platforms
  • Alternative CPU block covers
  • Manual

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

Installation on LGA1700

Installing Lian Li’s GA II Trinity Performance on a LGA 1700 system is surprisingly simple, arguably the easiest installation I’ve ever encountered. 

1. The fans are pre-installed to the radiator for simplicity of installation, so the first thing you’ll want to do is to secure the radiator to your computer case. 

2. Apply the backplate to the back of the motherboard.

3. Attach the mounting standoffs.

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

3. Mount the CPU block on top of the standoffs after applying thermal paste and secure it with a screwdriver.

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

4. Next you’ll want to decide what cords to attach to the CPU block. You can choose to control the device’s PWM speeds and lighting traditionally by connecting them to your motherboard’s ARGB & PWM headers, or you can connect the fans to the CPU block and let Lian Li’s software control pump and fan speeds and RGB lighting options.

Features of Lian Li Galahad II Trinity Performance

Every aspect of the Galahad II Trinity performance – including the fans, the radiator, the pump, the tubing, and more –  have been upgraded to provide a premium cooling experience. The combined improvements made to the Galahad II are not minor compared to previous products. This cooler looks, feels, and (as we’ll soon see in testing) performs much betterthan many competing coolers.

⋇ 3x 120mm high performance LCP fans 

There’s more to a cooler than just the heatsink or radiator. The bundled fans have a significant impact on cooling and noise levels and the unit’s aesthetic. These fans were designed specifically for liquid cooling with an impressively strong 7mm H20 maximum rated static pressure and up to 108 CFM of airflow. 

Like the fans included on the previously reviewed EKWB CR360, Lian Li’s fans feature unique connections which simplify cable management by converting PWM and ARGB connections into a single header connected by micro-fit 8-pin connectors that have a similar form factor as CPU power connections. This results in a more secure connection with less cable management to worry about, even if th connectors feel a bit bulkier than necessary. 

By default, these fans are solid black with no ARGB. However, those who prefer an ARGB can upgrade the fans with a Lian Li side ARGB strip. 

(Image credit: Lian Li Media Guide)
Swipe to scroll horizontally
Model Custom Model LCP fan
Dimensions 120 x 120 x 28 mm
Fan Speed Up to 2300RPM (Low Noise mode)
Up to 3000RPM (Full Performance mode)
Air Flow Up to 81.54 CFM (Low Noise mode)
Up to 108.29 CFM (Full Performance mode)
Air Pressure Up to 4.08 mmH20 (low noise mode)
Up to 6.99 mmH20 (full performance mode)
Bearing Type Fluid Dynamic Bearing
MTTF Unlisted
Lighting ARGB Side Strip (Additional Purchase required)

 Full Performance/Low Noise Toggle

Included with the AIO is a toggle switch that lets you quickly switching between full performance and low-noise modes. In full performance mode, the fans will spin at up to 3000RPM; with low noise mode this is reduced to 2300RPM. 

Most users will not notice any performance loss with the low noise mode. I did not observe any meaningful differences when paired with Intel’s i7-13700K. You’ll need a very thermally demanding CPU to gain performance from the full performance mode. But for those chasing top overclock speeds, it’s nice to know it’s there when you need it.

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

 CPU block improvements 

 Designed to be mounted in all directions 

The 45 degree fittings connecting the liquid tubing to the liquid pump are rotatable, making it easy to use in any installation direction. Some AIOs lose performance when installed in a side mount. Lian Li’s Galahad II Trinity Performance is designed for full performance whether top mounted, front mounted, or side mounted.    

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

Three lighting configurations

(Image credit: Lian Li Media Guide)

The decorative top of the CPU block can be customized one of three ways. The default style is an infinity mirror. The second style available offers diffused RGB lighting. The third option is a combination of the two, with a diffused RGB outside and a mirror on the inside.

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

 Large copper contact plate

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

The Galahad II Trinity Performance features a large CPU contact plate, made of copper with significant revisions compared to the previous-generation product. The skived fins have increased spacing to prevent buildup of debris, and the height and thicknesses of the fins have been improved. Additionally, a trench down the middle of the skived fins has been implemented for better heat dissipation of the coolant over the copper plate. 

(Image credit: Lian Li)

The seal for the copper cold plate has also been improved, with straighter pathways for reduced turbulence and increased airflow.

(Image credit: Lian Li)

⋇ Fine Sleeved Tubing with increased width

The inner diameter of the water tubes has been increased from 5.8mm to 7mm, upping the total volume of liquid by roughly 20%, which allows for better heat absorption.

(Image credit: Lian Li Media Guide)

The rubber tubes of the unit are reinforced and protected with fine sleeving, which also makes the unit look and feel more premium. Lian Li also includes a leather cable management tie to keep the tubes tidy.

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

 Complete RAM compatibility

As the compact CPU block of the AIO does not overhang or interfere with RAM in any way, all sizes of DDR4 and DDR5 DIMMs are supported.

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

 32mm-thick radiator 

The Galahad II Trinity Performance sports an extra thick 32mm radiator, featuring a double-wave fin design for premium heat dissipation.  

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

 (Optional) Software Control 

Manufacturers of AIO cooling systems tend to fall into one of two extremes when it comes to cooler control: Either they force you to use bloated, often buggy software to control the device, or they don’t include any software and rely only on motherboard PWM and ARGB controls. 

With Lian Li’s Galahad II Trinity Performance, you have a choice. You can use the default motherboard controls if you prefer, but the company also offers an optional download of the L-Connect3 3 software for a more customized experience. This software offers in-depth lighting and pump/fan speed customization options, with the ability to control other compatible ARGB devices as well. Interestingly, you can also return control of these options to the motherboard with “MB Sync” option. 

Cooling Considerations

Modern high-end CPUs, whether Intel or AMD, are difficult to cool in intensive workloads. In the past, reaching 95C+ on a desktop CPU might have been a cause for concern. But with today’s processors, it is considered normal operation. Similar behavior has been present in laptops for years due to cooling limitations in tight spaces. 

Despite assurances from the CPU manufacturers that there is no concern in running the CPU at or near its maximum temperature, many enthusiasts still prefer to have their CPUs run at lower temperatures. Most coolers won’t be capable of achieving this in the strongest and most power-hungry of workloads, but the strongest of 360mm AIOs are able to handle the heat with Intel’s i7-13700K.

LGA1700 Socket Bending

There are many factors other than the CPU cooler that can influence your cooling performance, including the case you use and the fans installed in it. A system’s motherboard can also influence this, especially if it suffers from bending, which results in poor cooler contact with the CPU. 

In order to prevent bending from impacting our cooling results, we’ve installed Thermalright’s LGA 1700 contact frame into our testing rig. If your motherboard is affected by bending, your thermal results will be worse than those shown below. Not all motherboards are affected equally by this issue. I tested Raptor Lake CPUs in two motherboards. And while one of them showed significant thermal improvements after installing Thermalright’s LGA1700 contact frame, the other motherboard showed no difference in temperatures whatsoever! Check out our review of the contact frame for more information. 

Testing Methodology

All testing is performed at a 23 degrees Celsius ambient room temperature. Multiple thermal tests are run on each CPU to test the cooler in a variety of conditions, and acoustic measurements are taken with each result. These tests include: 

1. Noise-normalized testing at low noise levels

2. “Out-of-the-box”/default configuration thermal & acoustics testing.

     a.)  This means no power limits on Intel’s i7-13700K.

      b.) Because CPUs normally hit Tjmax in this scenario, the best way to compare cooling strength is by recording the total CPU package power consumption.

3. Thermal & acoustics testing in power-limited scenarios.

      a.)  I’ve tested with limits of 175W and 125W enforced.

The thermal results included are 10-minute testing runs. To be sure that was sufficiently long to tax the cooler, we tested both Thermalright’s Assassin X 120 R SE and DeepCool’s LT720 with a 30-minute Cinebench test with Intel’s i9-13900K for both 10 minutes and 30 minutes. The results didn’t change much at all with the longer test: The average clock speeds maintained dropped by 29 MHz on DeepCool’s LT720 and 31 MHz on Thermalright’s Assassin X 120 R SE. That’s an incredibly small 0.6% difference in clock speeds maintained, a margin of error difference that tells us that the 10-minute tests are indeed long enough to properly test the coolers.  

Testing Configuration – Intel LGA1700 Platform

This review will focus specifically on how Lian Li’s Galahad II Trinity Performance compares against the strongest AIOs on the market : DeepCool’s LT720, EKWB’s CR360, MSI’s MEG S360, and Cooler Master’s 360L Core. If the cooler isn’t included here and I’ve reviewed it previously, that means it failed my unlimited power Cinebench tests and, as such, is not included.

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CPU Intel Core i7-13700K
Comparison Coolers Tested Cooler Master MasterLiquid 360L Core
Row 2 – Cell 0 DeepCool LT720
Row 3 – Cell 0 EKWB Nucleus AIO CR360 Lux D-RGB
Row 4 – Cell 0 Lian Li Galahad II Trinity Performance
Row 5 – Cell 0 MSI MEG CoreLiquid S360
Motherboard MSI Z690 A Pro DDR4
GPU Intel ARC A770 LE
Case Be Quiet! Silent Base 802, system fans set to speed 1 setting.
Monitor LG 45GR95QE
PSU Cooler Master XG Plus 850 Platinum PSU

Thermal Results with noise normalized to 38.2 dBA

Finding the right balance between fan noise levels and cooling performance is important. While running fans at full speed can improve cooling capacity to some extent, the benefits are limited and many users prefer a quiet system.  

When tuned for quiet operation, Lian Li’s Galahad II Trinity Performance edges past the previous record held by EKWB for the best performance we’ve recorded from a liquid cooler, cooling an average of 236W during Cinebench testing when paired with Intel’s i7-13700K.  

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

No Power Limits Thermal Results

Without power limits enforced on Intel’s i7-13700K, the CPU will hit its peak temperature and thermally throttle with even the strongest of air coolers. As such, we would normally measure the total watts cooled in this scenario. However, all three of the liquid coolers we’ve tested for this review are capable of keeping Intel’s i7-13700K under its peak temperature – so we’ll compare the actual temperature of the CPU instead.  

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

I had expected the Galahad II’s performance to be, at best, a 1-2C improvement over it’s competitors. When I first measured these results, I literally couldn’t believe my eyes; a 9% improvement in cooling dissipation is practically unheard of in this market. 

I genuinely thought that something must be wrong with my thermostat, and so I replaced it to ensure that ambient temperature levels were accurate. But after testing, retesting, and even replacing the thermostat – the performance measurements did not change. 

This performance is absolutely amazing, but thermals are only one part of the picture. How loudly the cooler runs is very important as well. In it’s default configuration, Lian Li’s GA II Trinity Performance runs loudly at 55.2 dBA. I’ve only tested a handful of coolers that reach this level of noise. 

Normally I would consider this a mark against the product, however Lian Li wisely included a built-in low noise/high performance toggle switch, allowing you to reduce maximum fan speeds and noise levels with the flip of a switch. Most coolers which support low noise modes have reduced thermal performance when engaged, but I didn’t observe any difference in thermals between the two modes when tested on my i7-13700K. When set to the low noise mode, total noise output is reduced to 49.2 dBA, which is on par with MSI’s and DeepCool’s competing 360mm AIOs. 

While I haven’t yet tested this, these unusually strong results make me suspect that Lian Li’s Galahad II Trinity Performance might be the first AIO capable of cooling Intel’s i9-13900K in intensive workloads without reaching TJMax (maximum CPU temperature).

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

175W Cinebench Results

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

Lian Li’s 175w performance continues the trend of chart-topping performance, matching the performance of EKWB’s CR360 Lux, with an average CPU temperature of 71C (48 degrees celsius over a 23C ambient temperature), beating DeepCool’s LT720 by 3 degrees C and Cooler Master’s 360L Core by 2 degrees C. 

How are noise levels? In the low noise mode, which again does not impact thermal performance when paired with Intel’s i7-13700K, I measured 43.4 dBA. This is better than EKWB & Cooler Master’s offerings, which run above 45dBA – but worse than DeepCool’s LT720, which runs at a quiet hum of 40.3 DBA. The full performance mode runs louder than all of the coolers tested here, but since the low noise mode offers the same thermal performance, we’re not considering this a drawback. 

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

125W Cinebench Results

The lowest power limit I test with Raptor Lake CPUs is 125 watts. This is a high enough limit to allow the CPU to maintain its base clock speeds, even in the most intensive tests. And most coolers should be able of keeping the CPU below Tjmax – even low-end coolers. For the most part, these thermal results are academic – noise levels are much more important here.

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

The trend of chart-topping performance continues with our 125W power results, reaching an average of 57C (34c over an ambient temperature of 23c) during the course of testing. Not only did the Galahad II  achieve thermal domination, but it did so while running quietly. 

In the previous workloads, there was a significant acoustic difference between the low noise and full performance modes of the Lian Li Galahad II Trinity Performance – but in this TDP limited scenario both modes ran quieter than any of the competing coolers featured here. I measured a low noise profile of 38.9 dBA in this test. 

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

Conclusion

Lian Li’s Galahad II Trinity Performance raises the bar for AIO Cooling. Every component of the Galahad has been upgraded, resulting in unprecedented cooling domination. The cooler installation is simple and easy, and it’s reasonably priced at only $169 USD. With results like this, I find it hard to recommend any other liquid cooler, making this the first CPU cooler I have ever awarded a 5-star rating. This is the best liquid cooler on the market, without question. 

That being said, Lian Li has another version of this cooler coming soon that features an LCD screen and the newest Asetek pump technology. While I can’t say for sure until I test it, it might just outperform this cooler. 

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