Back in the prehistoric times (April 2009), we reviewed the Domino A.L.C, an all-in-one liquid CPU-cooling system with three different speeds and an LCD screen. It worked well and was easy to install, but the screen (and attendant fan control) was, in our opinion, poorly thought-out. To see the apparatus, your case needed a side window, and to use it, you’d need to remove your side panel entirely—in which case, why not just use air? But the Domino performed well, so we let it slide.
Those features are gone in CoolIT’s new Eco A.L.C. In fact, the Eco bears a strong resemblance to Corsair’s H50 all-in-one that we reviewed in September 2009.
The Eco A.L.C. eschews the mostly useless LCD display of the Domino, its predecessor.
Like the Corsair H50, the Eco consists of a heat exchanger and pump that mount directly to the CPU socket, a radiator connected to the pump by a closed cooling loop, and a 12cm fan that connects to the radiator. The radiator and fan replace the rear 12cm or 14cm exhaust fan that’s standard in most ATX cases. The pump is powered by a 3-pin connector attached to any motherboard fan header, while the exhaust fan has a 4-pin PWM connector and attaches to the CPU_FAN header—just like with the H50.
Unlike the fan on the H50, which Corsair recommends be mounted as an intake, CoolIT advises you to mount the Eco A.L.C.’s fan as an exhaust fan, just like the one it’s replacing in your case. This has the added benefit of not screwing up your case’s existing airflow. The fan is pre-attached to the radiator with screws, but is easily removable if you prefer your own fan or just want to flip it to an intake fan. The radiator also comes with mounting holes on the opposite side, so you can add a second fan.
The Eco’s install process isn’t terribly complicated. The fan and radiator mount with four screws in place of your rear exhaust fan. The heat exchanger’s mounting screws slide to three different positions to accommodate Sockets 775/1156/1366 (with a separate mounting bracket for AMD CPUs), and the box includes backplates for each socket. One note: Although the manual we received says to hand-tighten each screw, we only got good results when we bottomed out all four mount screws, a process that puts a fair bit of strain on the motherboard. CoolIT told us it’s updating the manual to reflect this.
We tested the Eco against the Corsair H50 (its logical competitor), our champion air cooler (the Cooler Master Hyper 212+), and the stock Intel cooler. And the Eco performed well. Idle temperatures were 3 C lower than with the stock cooler, while at 100 percent burn, temps were more than 16 C lower. But the Corsair H50’s idle temps were 2 C lower than the Eco’s, and its burn temps averaged just a quarter of a degree higher—within the margin of error. Both all-in-one water coolers, though, (to our surprise) were pantsed by the Hyper 212+.
It’s worth noting that the Eco we derived these results from was the second one we tested. The first had some sort of mechanical defect and didn’t perform well. Regardless, we were surprised by the ultimate results. We’re pleased that the $75 Eco performs almost identically to the $80 Corsair H50, but surprised that both are spanked by a $30 air cooler. However, the liquid coolers are potentially quieter. We like the Eco, but the amount of force needed to fully tighten the heat exchanger, as well as the noisy stock fan, keep this all-in-one from a Kick Ass award.
CoolIt Eco A.L.C.
Ecco the Dolphin
Compares well to its competitors; relatively simple install.
Can't beat Best of Best air cooler in performance or price; noisy stock fan.
CM Hyper 212+
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 inside a Corsair 800D case with stock fans.