Koolance’s new Exos-LT is a cross between the too-expensive Exos 2 and the previous-gen Exos system. At just $200 (plus an extra $40 for a Koolance CPU block, which isn’t included), it’s the budget contender of this roundup. Of course, it’s the sole CPU-only kit in the group—if it were spec’d with extra blocks, we’d expect it to be priced like the others.
All in all, the Exos-LT is an excellent cooler, but it’s a smidge pricey compared with the Corsair Nautilus 500 CPU cooler we reviewed in April, which costs $150 and comes with a CPU block.
Installation was the easiest in this roundup. Just attach the water block to your CPU (motherboard removal is only required for Intel CPUs), set the radiator/pump/reservoir on top of your rig, snake the tubes through the included PCI slot cover, and attach them to the water block. All told, installation should take about 15 minutes.
The Exos-LT reports the CPU temp on a small display on the front of the radiator, next to the control panel. You use the panel to select from three different fan-speed profiles. Numbers 1 and 2 keep the fans spinning at 45 percent until the CPU block’s temp hits 51 C and 36 C, respectively. Profile 3 runs the fans at 100 percent, but we found this setting completely unnecessary. Our test system’s temps never got out of control in either of the quieter profiles.
We ran our system in mode 1 for testing, and fan speed never increased beyond a barely audible 45 percent. The Exos will also shut down your PC if its sensor crosses a critical threshold, which is handy if one of the system’s two pumps fails.
The Exos-LT is about as “plug-and-play” as it gets. Just install it, set it to profile 1, and never think about it again. It cools well, it’s quiet, sports awesome features, and looks bitchin’. The only problem is its comparatively high price for its category. While we’d rather have the Exos-LT, budget-minded folks would be happier with the Corsair Nautilus.
Month Reviewed: August 2006
+ RADIATOR: Light, quiet, easy to install, easy to control, and expandable.
- IRRADIATED: Expensive, and it doesn't include a CPU block.