CoolIT is somewhat notorious for enormous but effective closed water-cooling systems: its Boreas and Freezone Elite kick the pants off of conventional air coolers and are much more user-friendly than piecemeal water-cooling setups. Now CoolIT wants to bring self-contained water-cooling to the masses with the Domino Advanced Liquid Cooling.
The Domino eschews both the large heatsinks and the Peltier thermoelectric coolers of its predecessors in favor of a radiator and single 12cm fan, which gives the Domino less oomph than the Boreas or Freezone Elite, but confers several advantages to the water-cooling newb.
First, the Domino costs a cool $80, compared to $600-plus for the Boreas and $350 for the Freezone Elite. Second, the Domino is much smaller and easier to install; CoolIT boasts that an amateur with no CPU-cooling experience can install it in 10 minutes.
The CoolIT Domino A.L.C. can't match the power of its bigger siblings, but its size and price make it a perfect first step into water cooling.
Installation is refreshingly simple, though it does require a backplate for LGA 775/1366. Once the backplate is installed, you simply screw the CPU heat exchanger mount into the backplate and mount the radiator module in your case’s rear 12cm fan mount. The included rubber fan mounts make it an easy and screw-less affair.
The Domino’s fan module includes an LED that displays fan and pump speeds, coolant temperatures, and system alerts, as well as a button that lets you toggle between three fan speeds: Quiet, Performance, and Full. Quiet keeps fan speeds low and noise minimal, while Full roars up to 3,000rpm for maximum cooling power. In Performance mode, the fan speed varies between 1,100rpm and 2,500rpm, depending on the CPU temperature. Unfortunately, to switch speeds, you’ll need to open your case’s side panel, or leave it off.
In Quiet mode, the Domino matched our stock cooler’s idle temps, while at Full it was cooler by 13 C. In both Performance and Full modes, the Domino outperformed our favorite air cooler, the Zalman CNPS 9900, by two and six degrees, respectively. But the Zalman still reigns at idle, and in Full mode the Domino is louder than the Zalman.
The CoolIT Domino is an excellent first water-cooling kit for beginners, and though performance can’t match that of its bigger brothers, the Domino makes up for that in price and ease of installation. And its cooling easily matches the best air coolers we’ve tested.
This review originally appeared in the June 2009 issue of Maximum PC Magazine.
CoolIT Domino A.L.C.
Easy install, good performance, fantastic price.
Switch/LED blocked by side panel; inferior to other water coolers. Loud at top speed.
100% Burn (C)
Best scores are bolded. Idle temperatures were measured after an hour of inactivity. Load temperatures were measured after an hour’s worth of CPU Burn-In (four instances). Test system consists of a stock-clock Q6700 processor on an EVGA 680i motherboard.