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Tuesday, 20 January 2009 16:41

CoolIT Domino A.L.C. watercooling system tested

Written by Sanjin Rados

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Review: Advanced Liquid Cooling

 

Domino A.LC. (Advanced Liquid Cooling) is the name of CoolIT's latest water cooling system. This compact little system mounts on Intel's socket 775, 1366 as well as AMD's AM2+/AM2. Its cooling capabilities are nice, whereas its US$79 price-tag is in range with high-end aircooling systems – meaning it’s not too pricey for a watercooling system. CoolIT made sure that everything is nicely packed and assembled, so you’re good to go straight out of the box, without pouring in water or such. The simplicity of installation, the price and its seemingly harmless make Domino A.LC. appealing to broader audiences, even those who shiver at the mere notion of water in their computer. Domino A.LC. is quiet, unless of course you decide to improve cooling by increasing the fan’s rpm, making it more appropriate for overclocking your CPU. Current temperature and rpm readings can be monitored on a small LCD monitor.

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The box is not much bigger than those containing some larger CPU air-cooling solutions. It contains a snuggly wrapped cooler, whereas the box itself contains some pictures and flagship features of Domino A.LC. watercooling.

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Intel and AMD processor support is of course emphasized, with Intel’s socket 1366 support probably being quite important for enthusiasts. This device was demoed on CES 2009, where Fudo, our tireless reporter/editor took a couple of photos and talked about it, here.

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Domino A.LC. is pre-filled with coolant, which is a mixture of Propylene Glycol and anti-corrosive substance that prevents metal from oxidizing and potentially downgrading performance. Once you get it out of the box, all you have to do is screw the CPU block to the motherboard and place the radiator in place of 12cm case fan.

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The only detachable part is the mounting mechanism. Here we already see that Domino A.LC. is already set for Intel’s socket 775 or 1366, whereas mounting on AMD’s processor will require switching to AMD Socket AM2/AM2+ mounting mechanism, that’s included in the box.

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The radiator, fan and the pump is easy to move around and place it where you see fit.

The LED monitor is quite an attractive detail which will help you with temperature monitoring, provided you have a Plexiglas window on the side of your case. The picture above reveals that it’s powered via one 3pin cable, which goes to the motherboard as is the case with all CPU air-cooling solutions.

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A small pump takes care of coolant circulation between the CPU block and the radiator. It weighs only 57g, and it’s less than 21dBa loud. Still, it emits a high-frequency noise that you might find irritating if it was in the open, but you won’t hear it as long as it’s enclosed in the case.

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Also implemented is the alert system which will, together with a LCD panel warning, alert you in case something goes wrong. If coolant temperatures rise to unacceptable levels, the cooler automatically switches to Full Mode. Out of all three predefined modes – the quiet mode, performance mode and full mode, the latest mode results in maximum cooling efficiency. 

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Modes are easily switched to by a simple push of a button. The button is accessible at all times, as it’s located on the side where the user can easily reach it.

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A small LCD glows blue and it’s large enough to easily read temperatures from 2-3 meters away. Of course, switching modes affects the fan’s RPM. Quiet mode spins the fan at about 1030 RPM; the performance mode spins it at 1500 RPM whereas the full mode results in maximum 2550 RPM. Our quad core Intel QX 9770 XE at 3600MHz seemed to like this cooling system, as it ran like a charm the whole time.

In idle mode, this cooling is almost inaudible but full mode results in quite high noise levels. The performance mode is probably the best compromise between loudness and performance, as the fan wasn’t louder than any other components in our rig. 

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Another good thing about this cooling is that the hot air is pushed out of the case, and it doesn’t linger around your precious components, which is the case with CPU air-cooling systems.

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The radiator is an important part of this water-cooling system as the coolant-transferred heat is released here, and cooled before going back to the CPU block.

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Here you see the electronics behind the LED monitor.

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Like we mentioned before, the whole system is pre-assembled and Intel’s socket 775 and 1366 mounting mechanisms are almost identical. The only difference is the back plate, which you’ll have to place under the motherboard in order to fasten the cooling to it. 

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Since the out-of-the-box mounting system is set for socket 1366, we had to swap it for our 775 socket system.

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We did that by simple rearrangement of screws, which we placed closer to the CPU block. The entire procedure is nicely described in the user’s manual.

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The only thing that required more work is the backplate placement, for which you’ll have to remove the motherboard from the case.

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Testbed:

Motherboard: MSI P45D3 Platinum ( Provided by: MSI );
Processor: Intel Core 2 QX9770 Extreme edition na 3.6GHz ( Provided by: Intel );
Memory: Corsair Dominator 12800 7-7-7-24 ( Provided by: Corsair);
HDD: WD VelociRaptor 300G 10,000RPM ( Provided by: SmoothCreation );

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As you can see from the following tables, the results are nice. Even when in silent mode, Domino A.LC. was efficient and our quad core was never in risk of overheating.

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Conclusion


Domino A.LC. is efficient, elegant and easy to mount. You can mount it on Intel’s sockets 775 and 1366 as well as AMD’s AM2 and AM2+. We have to admit that it made quite an impression on us and we can’t help but reward it and sincerely recommend it. For the relatively low price you’ll pay, you get a water cooling system that performs flawlessly and it qualifies as a great replacement for loud CPU cooling systems.

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Last modified on Tuesday, 20 January 2009 17:52
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