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Exclusive Review of CoolIT's Domino Advanced Liquid Cooling - Specifications, Availability and Pricing

It's launch day for CoolIT System's new $80 USD liquid CPU cooler and Chris gets a sample to try out exclusively.

| CPU Liquid Coolers in Cases, Cooling & PSU | Posted: Dec 18, 2008 5:00 am
TweakTown Rating: 89%Manufacturer: CoolIT Systems

Specifications, Availability and Pricing

 

Exclusive Look at CoolIT Systems Domino Advanced Liquid Cooling

 

From the (very blurry) pre-release specifications we were given, we see that the Domino A.L.C. has three performance modes that the user is able to set. Essentially what CoolIT lists here are fan speeds. The pump for the Domino stays right around the same speed for all three user selectable settings.

 

There is quite a bit more engineering that went into the Domino A.L.C. than what is shown in this pre-release spec sheet. The entire cooler including the display, pump, fan and electronics are powered off of one 3-pin plug that connects to the motherboards CPU fan header. I was told the entire system has a maximum draw of only 4 watts. This is about the same as a very high speed case fan so the cooler has to be very efficient.

 

CoolIT didn't stop with an efficient cooler; they took it a step further and reformulated their thermal interface material. The latest TIM used on the Domino is supposed to perform up to 8C cooler at 200 watts than their pervious TIM formula.

 

In a last minute email I received from Geoff Lyon from CoolIT Systems, I received some additional information about the Domino.

 

- The design life is over 7 years at 50C.

 

to achieve this we had to start from scratch on the pump and incorporate a ceramic bearing pump that could withstand high temperatures. After a tremendous amount of effort, the goal was achieved with our new CFF1 Pump. (Compact Form Factor Version 1)

 

Water Vapor Transmission Loss is the reason why most liquid systems require refilling. All plastic or rubber is porous on one level or another. The liquid loss through that material increases dramatically (depending on the material, more than double with a 10 degree rise in temperature) Although the material is slightly more expensive (and a little harder to work with) the corrugated tubing you se on the Domino ensures the most durable and lowest permeability available. The only thing better would be hard plumbed metal tubes.

 

- Best Damn Thermal Interface Material ever!

 

The Thermal interface material consists of only the highest quality and most reliable formulation. When the CoolIT Pro ATC is used with the new retention mechanism the interface would be hard to beat. In fact when we tested the Pro ATC vs our previous TIM, we experienced a 0.04 °C/W improvement. (which translates to 8°C at a 200W load)

 

In case it matters to anyone the Pro ATC is warranted against pump out and dry out for over 5 years.

 

- Retainer

 

the retainer incorporates a number of subtle features including tool run-off protection. (the little cups on the screws) this prevents the accidental screwdriver slip from creating havoc on the expensive motherboard components.

 

the calibrated springs, when bottomed out, provide balanced pressure down onto the CPU to minimize the bond line thickness of the TIM without violating the maximum pressure spec's provided by Intel and AMD.

 

All bits and pieces are captured (held together as one piece) for ease of installation.

 

- Radiator

 

This is a ground up custom designed aluminum radiator that gives us excellent performance while keeping the size small and the cost reasonable. When comparing the performance of the Domino to some of the giant heat pipe solutions it becomes a simple surface area trade off. We consciously chose to keep the size of the Rad minimal and increase the compatibility with many chassis models and of course minimize the mass that is being mounted on the CPU. We have gone through some shock and vibe testing with the assembly hitting 40G's and passed (with screws - not the vibration isolators that also ship with the Domino kit). I can assure you that would not be the case for some of the large Heatpipe solutions out there. This may not matter to the after market enthusiast, but it certainly doesn't hurt.

 

- Reliability

 

every single unit is leak tested using mass spectroscopy at a high differential pressure so that we don't have a risk of leaking. Every joint, connection and fill port is thoroughly inspected prior to being filled.

 

Coolant is a 25% propylene Glycol Mixture with a very comprehensive anti-corrosion package to ensure there will never be any performance reduction due to build-up or inter-metallic reaction

 

Factory warranty is double what you'll find with any competing products - 2 years.

 

- Performance

 

the entire system was designed to deliver on the promise of liquid cooling which is not only performance but also flexibility. When the fan runs slowly and quietly the performance is excellent. When the fan runs faster and louder, the performance is even more excellent. The bottom line is that we wanted to provide a product that can be tuned easily to suit the taste of the individual that in using it.

 

- Safety

 

It's not ok to fail but when you are talking about an electro-mechanical system, one day it will. That being the case, we wanted to provide the functionality that will let the user know when something goes wrong both on the LCD and also with an auditory alert. Give it a try - stick a pencil in the fan - watch what happens.

 

The real question at this point is the most important for the enthusiast and OEM enthusiast market, price. The CoolIT Systems Domino A.L.C. has an MSRP of only 79.00 U.S.D. This is a little cheaper than what Asetek has stated to me for their L.C.L.C. in retail trim and right around the same price as high-end enthusiast air coolers like the Thermalright TRUE. If the Domino can perform at this level the user selectable fan speeds combined with the digital display will make it a real winner for those looking for enthusiast performance without spending a wad of cash on a full blown component liquid cooling system.

 

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