Self-contained liquid cooling units are all the rage these days, especially when you shop a prebuilt rig from a boutique system builder. Underscoring this fact, Maingear, the high-end custom PC builder from New Jersey, just announced the release of its "EPIC" (Enhanced Performance InterCooler) liquid cooling setups by CoolIT for the company's entire line of desktops.
As one of the few players in the all-in-one liquid-cooling market—which marks the midpoint between air-coolers and custom water-cooling loops—CoolIT’s coolers have to compete with Corsair’s Asetek collaborations as well as both other categories of coolers. CoolIT’s Eco A.L.C. cooler (reviewed June 2010) performed to within a few degrees Celsius of our champion air- and liquid-coolers, but its single fan was noisy and it didn’t significantly outpace our category leaders. The CoolIT Vantage A.L.C. has all the features of the Eco but adds an LED screen and a wireless receiver that will tie in with CoolIT’s upcoming Maestro control software. Can it match the performance of our category leader, the Corsair H70 (reviewed October 2010)?
The Vantage A.L.C. uses the same mounting system as the Eco—a three-position Intel Socket 775/1156/1366 bracket with backplates for each, plus an AMD bracket. The radiator is the same, though CoolIT uses a spacer to add a fan’s-width of space between the radiator and rear of the case, allowing for less turbulent airflow. The spacer is easily replaced with another 12cm fan if you want a two-fan configuration.
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.
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.
CoolIT is prepping it's Omni ALC cooler, a self-contained universal liquid cooling solution the company claims "provides aggressive heat dissipation for optimal graphics performance," and that includes Nvidia's Fermi architecture.
"When you pair the world's fastest GPU with the first-ever universal GPU liquid cooling solution, the results are visually astonishing," remarked Geoff Lyon, CEO of CoolIT Systems. "This combination will shatter benchmarks and deliver the most pulse-pounding graphics performance to date."
CoolIT says the Omni ALC represents a departure from traditional GPU cooling design, in that you'll no longer need to purchase an entirely new cooling solution for each generation of videocard. Instead, only the GPU-specific interposer plate will need to be changed.
The Omni ALC will ship this summer - no word yet on price.
Holy moly, someone came prepared to show off some new products at CES, and that someone is CoolIT. The cooling company unveiled not one, but four new cooling items.
First on the list is CoolIT's ECO A.L.C. CPU cooler, which the company claims "breaks a world record for the ultimate price/performance cooling benchmark." CoolIT says it made a ton of refinements to the ECO's pump, radiator, and water block, resulting in an easy-to-install and whisper quite cooler. Designed for mainstream systems, this one's available now for $75.
Next on the list is CoolIT's Vantage A.L.C. CPU cooler. Sporting a new design from the ground up, CoolIT's aiming this one towards the enthusiast crowd and hopes to lure them with a programmable 84x48 pixel LCD screen. The display includes a custom color backlight and 2.4GHz wireless communication module, along with two buttons for controlling all chassis fan speeds. This one will start shipping mid-February for $125.
The last of the actual coolers is the OMNI A.L.C. for graphics cards. It's a full-coverage cooler with a two-stage system consisting of a simple interposer plate customized for each model videocard, and a universal water block. No word on availability, and pricing will vary with each graphics card type.
Finally, there's the Maestro E.S.P., which is a wireless solution for use with the Vantage and OMNI. However, it's also capable of optimizing and monitoring any third-party fan or pump, CoolIT says. The Maestro automatically detects ESP-enabled devices and can control and monitor up to 3 fans, water pumps, or other gadgets powered with a 3- or 4-pin fan header. The Maestro retails for $90.
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.
Whenever we see an all-in-one water-cooling setup that combines a pump,
radiator, fan, and miniature reservoir in a small enclosure, we get
nervous. They remind us of those wacky commercials from the
black-and-white era of television, when a slick-haired man in a fuzzy
gray suit would try to sell you some mystery tonic that could cure your
coughs, polish your car, and kill your cat. Just as those elixirs are
little more than junk science, we’ve found that budget water “coolers”
attempting to put too many operations under one roof tend to perform
marginally better, and often worse than, your processor’s cheapo stock
There comes a time in every young PC builder’s life when he seriously considers outlandish ideas for modifying and cooling his smokin’ new gaming rig. But you don’t need to mod your PC into a refrigerator to reach subzero temperatures, not if you have CoolIT’s latest 12 TEC cooler, the Boreas.
Let nobody say that Gigabyte didn’t break the mold with its 3D Rocket II heatsink/fan combination. As the name alludes, the device resembles a rocket ship sitting atop a launch pad. It’s about as well strapped in, too; we applaud the 3D Rocket II for its efforts to sail amongst the heavenly stars of CPU coolers, but its installation process keeps the device strapped firmly to the ground.