CoolIT is a company that has made quite a name for itself with the various coolers they have put on to the market thus far. For those who haven't heard of CoolIT, Chris had reviewed one of their products for us before, the Domino A.L.C. Now, with the Domino, there were some handy features and the general design of an all-in-one cooling solution made it quite the looker upon its release. After more and more users came to purchase the Domino, the end users started reporting feedback to CoolIT systems of incompatibilities in their specific rigs and just ways that might improve on the overall experience using a CoolIT product.
The people at CoolIT took notice and went back to the drawing board to produce not only a more widely compatible cooling solution, but to try to make this product as affordable as possible. Things like mounting of both the heat exchanger and how to mount the radiator all came into play. Alongside the compatibility there was also efficiency and noise levels that were major factors that needed to be solved before the release of their new product. Just to show where the company stands on the quality of their product, they sent samples around for the media to test. Reports came in about a possible mounting issue and CoolIT recalled them all, redesigned the mounting and resent the retail ready versions for another round of our labs abuse.
With CoolIT's dedication to manufacturing a perfect product and the thought process behind the engineering of their new product covered, let's get down to what we are here for. The time has come to get out the camera and get some images of CoolIT's new ECO A.L.C. all-in-one CPU water cooling solution. Then we can see if the claims made up to this point ring true and that this is a solution that can make most of the popular air cooling solutions cry in shame while being at a similar price point.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
The specifications are a bit different this time around as I don't have the typical height and weight of the cooler since this unit is comprised of many parts. The Fluid Heat Exchanger (FEH) is comprised of a copper base plate with micro-channels to aid in the waters transference of heat. Just above the block is the included CFF1 pump that runs off an amazingly low 1W of power draw. All of this is enclosed in a plastic cover with the CoolIT name and ECO moniker as well. CoolIT ships the ECO with the Intel LGA775/LGA1156/LGA1366 universal mounting attached, but also provides mounting for AMD AM2 and later CPU's. This end of the unit had a 3-pin motherboard connection that should be plugged into the motherboard CPU header.
Out of the side of the FHE are two swiveling, " O.D fittings that CoolIT has stretched what appears to be 1/8" I.D. tubing, not being able to disassemble it, that is my guess at the I.D. - Covering all of the impervious tubing is an outer plastic sheathing, not dissimilar to automotive wire loom that you can purchase to tidy wires; just without the slit for access. This does a terrific job of protecting the hose and adding a bit of rigidity to the system. There is a video floating around that shows one of CoolIT's own members swinging the system wildly only holding on to the FHE end of the ECO, and it stayed together and with no detriment to the cooler. Now, I'm not promoting you do some wild and crazy tests of your own, but only that this system has been abused and tested well beyond what you would see inside your PC or when installing it.
Then you have the radiator and fan assembly. From CoolIT the fan is placed on the radiator in the pull position and this placement is based on hours of internal testing of both the radiators efficiency with a lower CFM fan, but obviously it does better here than pushing or it would have been placed as such. Looking at the site and in their forums, they don't suggest that the fans be changed, as the system is built and designed to perform best with the setup as it is presented. We all know it is going to happen anyways in a few situations, just heed the warning that a faster stronger fan may in fact lead to worse results. It may take a few tries to get a better performance level than what CoolIT offers out of the box.
In the introduction I mentioned that this cooling solution should rival most of the more popular cooling solutions on the market today, but can it keep in line with pricing? The simple answer is yes it can. Looking around, I see that not many e-tailers have stock of the ECO A.L.C. currently and the pricing does vary quite a bit. I've seen listings as low as $64.95, while others were closer to the $90 mark. From CoolIT, they projected pricing to be around $75 USD, and even there the price is very competitive. When you compare it to coolers like the V10 or the Noctua D-14, or even the price of a Megahalems after adding a fan or two, the ECO A.L.C. really comes into perspective price wise.
This is the top of the packaging and CoolIT displays proudly on all the panels what is inside this rather unassuming white box with black lettering.
Moving to the sides, there is a bit more room, so CoolIT used it on this side to display the compatible socket types as well as their CES 2010 Innovation award.
The features of the ECO A.L.C. are all laid out on this panel. The proprietary 1W pump, the universal mounting and the high performance radiator are explained a bit here with a brief mission statement on top.
On this side we get to see a couple more of the included features. This time CoolIT shows off the high performance FHE, the Pro Advanced Thermal Compound and the more obvious fact that this system is sealed and maintenance free.
On this last side, we get a bit more about the concept and design of the ECO along with the specifications of the included system.
The ECO A.L.C.comes very well protected in their all encompassing Styrofoam inner packing. At the top of the Styrofoam you will find two cavities that hold a few back plates and the AMD mounting hardware.
Removing one side of the foam is a bit tricky as the parts are snugly fit inside. During shipment the radiator is kept away from the pump and block combo, but taking your time here is rewarded by not damaging the radiator fins if you wildly open up the foam.
The CoolIT ECO A.L.C. CPU Cooler
Here we have the ECO A.L.C. in all her black glory. As you can see, the pump and CPU block are all in one piece to the left, and the radiator and fan half is on the right.
Starting at the bottom and working our way up, I'm going to start off with the base. It is copper and the specifications assure us that this plate is backed with micro-channels to dissipate the heat from here. While the surface isn't polished, it is flat and makes great contact on the IHS. The ECO also comes with CoolIT's own PRO A.T.C. pre-applied.
Water enters and leaves the FHE unit through these 90 degree elbows. They do swivel right and left, but as you can see they only travel so far until you run into the other elbow and tubing.
Twisting them to the right, you run into the same thing. There is no need for more movement anyways, as the over 90 degrees of movement will accommodate any setup.
The top half of the mounting mechanisms for both AMD and Intel couldn't be simpler. Not only is the outside, black plastic moulded to be a tool-less thumb screw, but also surpasses the height of the internal screw. So if you do plan to install with a screwdriver, accidental slippage is taken care of so you don't accidentally stab your motherboard with said screwdriver.
Really simplifying the Intel mounting, since there are three sockets still being used, the retention mechanism can easily swap from LGA775, like the one at the top left. With a simple pull on the mechanism itself, the latch can be moved to LGA1156 or LGA1366 and when released, a spring inside locks it into place.
I know we saw a similar image already, but I wanted to cover the tubing as well. It appears to be 1/8" ID tubing that is chemically impervious and stretched it over " OD fittings. Then outside the softer tubing, a harder 3/8" outer diameter plastic shell is use to protect the lines from outside damage.
The CoolIT ECO A.L.C. CPU Cooler - Continued
Taking the cover off the FHE, you can see a bit of the inner workings. The actual FHE is at the bottom underneath of the CFF1 pump that runs off a 3-pin fan connection and appears to use a two wire thermal control for the pump speed.
The 120mm fan that CoolIT mounts to their high efficiency radiator is built to coincide specifically with the radiator. The fan, set up in the pull configuration, is also powered with a 3-pin fan connector and can be speed controlled with the BIOS or even put on a controller to appeal to your own personal sound versus performance levels.
From the side, you can see this has to be an efficient radiator. It's thinner than the 120mm fan that is mounted to it. This means two things; less space taken up inside when you mount the system in your case, but also hopefully efficient enough to still provide good temperatures.
Connectivity to the radiator is handled with these two swiveling barbs. Again CoolIT provides a bit of flexibility to make any install happen without issue or binding of the lines. The third port, to the right, I have to guess is how the system is filled.
Taking a better look at the radiator, that 1800 RPM fan has its work cut out for it. The radiator is a very high FPI design that usually requires a loud high CFM fan to cool efficiently. The tests will soon reveal both if it is loud, or inefficient.
Accessories and Documentation
The back row of hardware is the three Intel mounting back plates; LGA775, 1156, and 1366 respectively. Down in the front is the AMD mounting that can be swapped with the Intel mounting on the FHE. The screws in the middle are for various mounting styles. The larger ones go into the fan and the smaller ones mount directly into the radiator.
The front of the instructions shows a nice image of the ECO A.L.C. and a parts list. The bottom half houses the warranty and company contact information.
If you don't quite get what I mean by pull and change the mounting, CoolIT makes it easy to figure out. If you need to swap out parts to go AMD, they've got you covered there as well. Simple easy to use instructions with great images to get the ECO A.L.C. installed in any case with the appropriate room inside.
Test System &Testing Results
Test System & Test Results
TweakTown uses a different method for testing CPU heatsinks which allows for an even playing field across all product tests. We feel that by using the same ambient temperature and strict lab-like testing procedures we are able to accurately compare one product to another. More information on our testing procedure can be found in the T.E.C.C. article here.
No, your eyes are not playing tricks on you. Yes, the idle temp was a touch high, but this was mainly due to our manual control of the fans voltages at that point. Honestly, though, who cares; look at that fully loaded temperature. 55.1 Degrees! What more is there to say? The price is competitive with all the big boys on the market and offers some of the best results to date.
I know that I mentioned this system was built with silence in mind. To be honest, the first sample I received, the fan ran a bit quieter, but the temperatures were also a touch higher. This fan performed as I expected and does make a bit of noise while at full load, but nothing out of the realm of what most coolers produce normally anyways.
My time with the CoolIT ECO A.L.C. has left me with a sly grin on my face, almost like I was privy to some secret information that I'm not allowed to discuss. The good news is I am allowed to tell you all about it. Where do I start? Everything about the ECO is solid and well thought out and no one part is any weaker than any of the other components, making the ECO one really efficient, all-in-one water cooling solution that should stand most of the air cooling crowd a curve when they look at this solution. The previous thought of pre-built water cooling solutions is that they are subpar and can't hold a candle next to great air cooling.
I am here to dispel two myths; one being that a good water cooling solution can't be had for less than $150-200. And second, that all pre-built systems are not up to par. Simply today, things are changing and companies like CoolIT are out there providing us with the simple answers to long time issues in the PC community. The ECO offers superb installation along with great performance capable of contending with extreme air cooling solutions, but it won't break you and your wallet to get this maintenance free system to cool your processor.
The system is not completely maintenance free, as just like any other fan driven cooling device, you are pushing whatever is floating in your room into the radiator, so some cleaning is required just like any other cooler. The system itself is built to be near bulletproof and from that I see it really is. With all the love CoolIT packaged into making this the most user friendly cooler experience I have had to date says a lot about their ECO A.L.C. and I can't wait to see what else CoolIT has up its sleeves in the future.
For now, I highly recommend taking a long hard look at the ECO A.L.C. for any of your future cooling needs. Priced less than some of the big boys, at around $75USD, depending on where you buy it, this all black, attractive piece of kit should make a perfect edition to any chassis in need of cooling.
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