CoolIT Domino A.L.C. Review
Reviewed by: gotdamojo06
Reviewed on: December 19, 2008
Have you been searching for a new cooler for your processor? Maybe you would like to get the best performance that you can get from a simplistic cooling solution or you are looking for an extremely quiet solution. Well it's no lie that the best performance that you can get is by using a watercooling solution. If you are looking for simplicity however, it can be somewhat complicated to get setup and can take a while to do. The dangers of using water inside of a computer keep many people away from it and make the stay with an air cooling solution, even if it may be a little louder. This is where CoolIT, a well known brand when it comes to an all-in-one watercooling loop, comes into play with the release of their newest water cooler, the CoolIT Domino A.L.C. I am curious to see how well this self contained water cooling unit is going to be able to compare when it comes to some of the better names in air cooling solutions.
The packaging for the CoolIT Domino A.L.C. is a simplistic cardboard box that proudly displays a few of the neat things this cooler is able to do. On the front of the package, you are going to see a nice picture of the cooler with it's LCD screen on and how it looks with the tubing stretched out that connects to the waterblock. At the top of the package, you are going to see the Domino A.L.C. name, under that you are going to see exactly what A.L.C. stands for; "Advanced Liquid Cooling". The top right hand corner of the package is where the Innovations at the International CES 2009 badge is located, while on the opposite side of the package is where you are going to see the CoolIT logo. The bottom two corners are going to show you the different socket types that are supported with the included hardware, one for Intel and the other for AMD. The next side is where you are going to see a few different features that the Domino has as well as a few quotes from past reviews, including the top one from us at overclockersclub.com. The following side is where you are going to find the processor compatibility along with a picture showing you what it looks like when the cooler is installed in a case. The final side of the package is where you are going to find three more main functional features of the cooler that CoolIT wanted to point out.
When you open up the package, you are going to notice that CoolIT has packaged the Domino A.L.C. in a molded plastic package to keep it in place during the shipping process to help prevent any damages that may occur from a bumpy ride. You can also see all of the things that are packed up inside the box with the Domino cooler, including the mounting hardware and the cooler itself.
The accessories that are packaged with the cooler are all quite common with most CPU coolers that you can purchase now-a-days, it has the mounting hardware for the supported Intel sockets already installed on the waterblock, while there is a backing plate for the two different Intel socket types included with the accessories. There is also a bracket to install atop the waterblock to allow it to be installed on an AMD system. The bag of screws that is included has enough to allow you to install the AMD bracket and two rubber screws for replacement on the mounting hardware for the radiator which makes up for the size difference between the Intel Socket 775 backing plate and the Intel Socket 1366 backing plate. There is an instruction manual that is included with the cooler, I have flipped it open to the page about how to reconfigure the Intel Mounting hardware to work for the Socket 775 as it comes pre configured to fit the Socket 1366.
Now that we know what the CoolIT Domino A.L.C. looks like, it is time to take a nice close look at how it is constructed and what it is made of!
The front of the CoolIT Domino A.L.C. features a nice housing that is going to hold the mainboard that controls the speeds of the fan and the pump, it also houses the LCD screen that you are going to be able to use to get all of your information about the operation of the watercooling system. The CoolIT logo is printed on the bottom right hand corner and towards the bottom you are going to find the Domino A.L.C. logo printed. When you flip it 180°, you are going to see behind that and see an explanation of the three different setting's symbols look like on the screen and tell you how to change between the different settings. The fan that is installed on the Domino is a large 120mm fan that you can see in the next picture, and you can also see that it has been mounted to suck air in from the inside of the unit and blow it out the back through the radiator. Speaking of the radiator, you are able to see that it has quite a few different rows of fins that are placed very close together to allow the air to pass through it while picking up the heat that has been dissipated to it through the water. The surface area of this radiator is quite large for its small compact size. Located at the bottom of the radiator is the fill port, just in case you do need to add more liquid, which you never are supposed to have to do if everything is installed correctly.
The actual waterblock for the CoolIT Domino A.L.C. is a very thin piece of equipment, which somewhat surprised me, as I had expected it to be a little thicker than it is, allowing more water to flow into it. The base of the block that makes direct contact with the IHS of the processor is nice and flat, and has been polished to make sure that it is very smooth and will make good contact with the processor. The Domino does come with some thermal interface material pre-installed, however to show how well the base looks and to make sure I use the same paste on every cooler, I did have to remove it. The top of the waterblock is where you are going to find a wide black plastic screw that holds the mounting hardware down tight to the block to ensure a good connection.
The pump that is included in the CoolIT Domino is a proprietary pump that is not only compact coming in at 67 x 47 x 29mm, but it is also silent (<21dBA) and has a long life. The pump is rated to run at 50,000 Hours MTTF and utilizes ceramic bearings, weighing only 57g. I was quiet surprised at the specifications of the pump along with the size it is and how well it was able to be fitted inside of the housing.
There are three different fan speed selections that you are able to make that are fully determined by your specific needs for your cooler. If you do not mind the sounds that the fan can/will produce at full speed (~2550RPM) you can choose the Full Performance setting, or the Quiet setting that will run the speed around 1030RPM. There is a Performance setting that will run the fan speed somewhere around the middle, adjusting the speed when needed for extra cooling.
I wanted to take a nice look at the front/main side of the cooler you are going to see when you have it installed in your system. This is where the small LCD screen is located and you will find out all of the information of the watercooling system that you may ever need to know in one nice to find place.
When you do power on the unit, you will see that the screen has black writing with a blue back light, making it easier to read in the dark, and somewhat easy during the lighter times of operation. The three different fan speed settings are displayed below, the first being the Quiet setting, the second at the Performance setting, while the third is set at the Full Performance setting, which is dictated by an arrow in the bottom left hand corner. The top right hand corner is where you are going to find the fan speed, under that you are going to find out how fast the pump is pumping, and under that is the coolant temperature. The Domino A.L.C. has an alarm feature installed that will beep at you when it goes off, along with flashing a warning symbol on the LCD screen. I was curious what it looked like, so I stopped the fan using my finger and you will see a Yield sign show up in the middle at the top of the screen, and the RPM of the fan does read as 0.
Now that we know exactly what the CoolIT Domino A.L.C. looks like and how it is put together, it is time to see exactly how well it is going to be able to stack up against some of the other coolers that are out on the market.
Intel: LGA775 & LGA1366
Fluid Heat Exchanger Material
Fluid Heat Exchanger Dimensions
50 x 50mm
Fluid Heat Exchanger Weight
120 x 120 x 25mm
Fan Noise Level
Quiet Setting - 19.2dBA
157 x 133 x 25mm
- User Interface
- High contrast backlit LCD displaying system status and operation mode
- Easily accessible push button for configuring operation modes and temperature scale
- Audible alarm for system status alerts
- CoolIT Systems low toxicity with anticorrosion/antifungal additives
- Custom engineered for low noise high heat dissipation
- High reliability, Quiet 12v
- Operation Mode
- Quiet: Fan speed @ 1030RPM
- Performance: Fan speed @1500RPM
- System will automatically increase cooling performance to ensure continuous protection
- Full Performance: Fan speed @ 2550RPM
- CPU Thermal Grease
- CoolIT systems premium thermal interface material
- Superior cooling performance through technology
- Quiet work & play environment
- Intuitive & Easily accessible user controls & display
To properly test the CoolIT Domino A.L.C., I will be monitoring the highest temperature of the processor at Idle (little to no CPU usage), and at full load (100% CPU usage). If the cooler does not have a fan supplied, I will be using a Thermaltake 12v 120mm fan. My idle test will be done by running the computer for 30 minutes and recording the maximum temperature during that time. I will be using OCCT:PK to simulate a full load. I will run a torture test for 30 minutes with the mixed (CPU and RAM) mode turned on, and gather the maximum temperature during this time. The temperature monitoring software that I will be using is Real Temp 2.60, as it reads all four cores, documents the maximum temperature for a period until you reset it, and most importantly, it reads the 45nm processor's temperatures correctly. I will be taking the four highest temperatures that were produced during the test, and report the average of the four cores. The stock test will be done using all of the stock settings for the Q9450 @ 2666MHz. During the overclocked tests, I will be using 410MHz FSB with an 8x multiplier to give me 3280MHz overclocked speed, with a vCore of 1.34v. All of the temperatures are measured in degrees Celsius. I will also be running all four tests at the three different fan speed settings such as Quiet, Performance, and Full to see if and how much of a difference there is. During this time, I will have the entire system off sitting with out any power to it for 30min to allow for a full cool down period.
- Processor: Intel Core2 Quad Q9450 (Stock & 3.2GHz)
- Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-X48-DQ6
- Memory: Mushkin Redline XP2 8000 2 x 2 GB 5-5-5-12
- Video Card: Sapphire HD4850
- Power Supply: Mushkin 800w Modular Power Supply
- Hard Drive: Seagate 1TB SATA
- Optical Drive: Lite-on DVD-RW
- Case: Cooler Master Cosmos S
- OS: Windows Vista Ultimate
- Ambient Temperature: 26° Celsius
NOTE: Some of the listed heatsinks were originally tested using an E6600; I recently re-tested and gathered new data after the switch from the E6600 to the Q9450. The new temperatures are represented in the graphs below.
- Heatsink: CoolIT Domino A.L.C. (Quiet)
- Heatsink: CoolIT Domino A.L.C. (Performance)
- Heatsink: CoolIT Domino A.L.C. (Full)
- Heatsink: Thermolab Baram (Two Fans)
- Heatsink: Titan CoolIdol
- Heatsink: Thermaltake SpinQ
- Heatsink: OCZ Gladiator MAX
- Heatsink: Cooler Master GeminII S
- Heatsink: Cooler Master V8
- Heatsink: Sunbeam Core-Contact Freezer
- Heatsink: Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme
The CoolIT Domino was able to do quite well during the testing; the different fan speed settings obviously did make a difference in the overall temperature of the cores. When it was at the Quiet setting, the Domino A.L.C. was able to stay just a few degrees above the Thermaltake SpinQ cooler, however once you cranked up the fan speed to the Full Performance setting, you were able to get temperatures that hovered above the Theramlright Ultra 120, which is quite impressive.
The CoolIT Domino A.L.C. cooler is quite interesting to say the least; not only does it look good. But it combines convenience and water and it delivers some impressive performance. The overall design of the CoolIT Domino A.L.C. makes you think about exactly how much time and effort was spent on the Domino, every little detail was checked, the LCD is placed in a perfect location so that you are able to see it when you have your side panel of your case on (if you have a window), the pump is nice and tucked away to keep it from getting in the way of anything, the tubing is a good length allowing you to place it in any case. The only complaint about the design is the mounting hardware, the way that it is attatched to the waterblock was not the most logical in my opinion, the plastic bolt in a metal fitting makes me a little hesitant to remove it in fear of stripping it out if you were to over tighten it, which is easy to do. The fact that this cooler utilizes an all in one watercooling system makes it a great idea for someone who is looking to get away from air cooling and dip their feet in the pond of watercooling. This will give them the idea of the performance to noise benefits along with what exactly is necessary for them to get if they were to build their own watercooling system. The compact design of the Domino makes it nice to know you can fit it inside of any case that you are going to be using, be it a full tower or a mid-tower case. The performance of the cooler at the Full setting was able to keep the processor at the overclocked settings just a few degrees above the Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme, which to me is quite impressive. The Quiet setting did have the advantage of barely being able to be heard, however it did allow the temperatures to get a little higher than I wanted, near the 70°C mark. The LCD screen makes it nice and easy to see everything that you may want or need to know about your system in one easy to read place, you have your fan speed, the pump speed, as well as the temperature of the coolant. If things get out of whack, the yield sign pops up on the display and sounds an alarm.
Overall, if you are looking for a new cooler for your next build or if you are upgrading your cooling solution, you may want to think about the CoolIT Domino A.L.C. as it is going to give you some impressive numbers and allow you to get one step closer to building your own watercooling setup. I would suggest this cooler to anyone who is looking at building a watercooling loop in the future, as it will allow them to see exactly what all goes into the loop along with allowing them to know what type of performance they are going to see over air cooling. This cooler is also a good idea if you are planning on upgrading your entire computer to the Socket 1366, as it comes with mounting hardware for it and we all know how warm those processors are running right now. If you are an overclocker, this cooler may be able to give you those few extra MHz!
- Multiplatform design
- Informative LCD
- Performance (Full setting)
- Low Noise
- Alarm (Visual and Audio)
- i7 support (Socket LGA1366)
- Mounting Hardware
- Performance (Quiet)