Coolit ECO A.L.C. Reviewccokeman - April 12, 2010
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In the past we at Overclockersclub have looked at several of Coolit's in house designed and built cooling solutions such as the Pure and Domino A.L.C.. Each one performed well and did the job it was designed to do. However fitting them into a chassis presented some challenges. This is one thing the ECO is designed to address. The ECO is a smaller package (Low Profile form factor) without the associated shrouds and parts to get in the way when you go to install it into the chassis of your choice. What you get with the ECO is a self contained, pre-filled and assembled liquid cooling solution. Vastly different from the Domino and Pure, it is cut down to the essential elements of the radiator, 120mm fan and proprietary pump/heat exchanger connected with non permeable lines to prevent coolant loss over time.
When you get down to it there are only three components of the ECO A.L.C.(Advanced Liquid Cooling) that you can see while there is a fourth that hopefully no one will ever see and that being the "environmentally friendly", proprietary propylene glycol mixture that includes an anti-corrosion / anti fungal mixture to ensure a long product life. We have talked about the coolant so you have the combo pump/ heat exchanger that uses an "In fluid" ceramic bearing to help reach the rated 50,000 hour MTBF. The Coolit CFF1 pump is a power optimized design that uses a paltry 1W during operation. Just a 1W draw is incredibly efficient. The pump is connected to its power source via a 3 pin connection. The tubing that directs the fluid to the radiator is connected to the side of the pump assembly for a compact fit. The rest of the assembly includes the tool less mounting system and brackets. The tool less mounting package uses thumb screws to draw the pump assembly down onto the cpu. The screw heads in these thumb screws are recessed to prove protection against tool slippage while you are tightening the pump down if you use a screwdriver. If you have ever had a screwdriver slip out and slide across that brand new high end motherboard you understand the pucker factor this innovation can prevent. The contact surface is covered with a dose of Coolit's own Pro A.T.C. thermal compound. Looking at the mounting bracket, you can see the three locations that the thumb screws need to be set to depending on which Intel socket you are using the ECO on. The AMD brackets use the standard 4 screw pattern for AM2/AM3 processors.
The radiator is a high performance unit designed to work well with low-noise fans. This normally means low flow as well, so the radiator is built for high heat dissipation with this lower flow. The fan is attached to the exhaust side of the radiator and pulls air through it, rather than pushing through it. There are different philosophies regarding which way is best but I will follow Coolit's installation recommendations since they have already done the required testing and research when it comes time to install the system. The tubing used is non permeable so there is no evaporation of the coolant. It is rigid but flexible at the same time.
There really is not a lot to talk about when it comes to the 120mm fan used on this cooling system. Other than being a variable speed fan that can be controlled via the motherboard with an 1800 RPM maximum speed, thats about it. Coolit states that the fan should be used in a pull configuration.
The installation process is pretty straight forward, and is as simple as installing a fan and bolt on heatsink. Once the board is in, I installed the radiator into rear 120mm exhaust fan location. Then I removed the protective cover on the pump/heat exchanger and mounted it to the board using the thumbscrews that thread into the backplate. Plug in the power wire for the fan to the CPU fan header and the pump to an available header or a 3 pin power connector and you are ready to enjoy the benefits of a liquid cooled system. If you look at the memory slots all six are available for use, something you don't always have with a large air cooled solution.
Lets end any speculation on how well the ECO A.L.C. performs by getting through the testing.