CoolIT ECO A.L.C. Review


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There’s a bit of a story behind me being so eager to review this unit, so bear with me for a minute.  I’ve been toying with the idea of getting a water cooling setup for a few years now.  But every time I’ve come close to buying an expensive, high end water setup, I’ve realized how completely useless one would be for my purposes.

During the time I’ve spent on the OC benching team, I’ve realized I’m an air guy.  If I want to push any clocks past the cooling capability of a high end air cooler, I grab some dry ice or liquid nitrogen.  Of course when I’m out of the cold stuff, and wanting to do some benching at 2:00am, I start wishing I had some better non-extreme cooling options laying around.  But those few times don’t justify the expense of spending however much a high end water setup costs.

The computer I use for a daily driver is usually a mATX setup, often run at stock, or close to stock settings.  In my small mATX box, there’s hardly room for the stock Intel HSF, much less anything more substantial.  Last month I reviewed MSI’s H55M-ED55 and liked it enough to start using it for my primary computer, along with a Core i3 530.  We all know the overclocking potential on Intel’s new(ish) 32nm CPUs, and although I hadn’t had my daily computer overclocked in quite a long time, I couldn’t resist on this one.  After all, I had already volt modded the motherboard for vcore, and with the resistor tuned to maximum resistance, there is a couple tenths of a volt increase in vCore, so why waste it?  And removing the volt mod would have been silly.  So I bumped the CPU frequency to around 3.3GHz, I didn’t want to go much higher on the stock Intel heatsink.  So my search began for a better cooling solution for my tiny mATX case.  I again toyed with the idea of building a water cooling system, but in addition to the cost involved, the thought of having all the extra water cooling gear hanging out of my case, like a radiator, pump, reservoir, etc., didn’t appeal to me all that much.

When I was asked to review CoolIT’s ECO A.L.C., it was like a light went off in my head.  Why hadn’t I thought of this before?  A full water setup hanging out of my case is an idea I wasn’t too fond of, but a couple of small water lines and a single 120mm radiator is no problem.

In the past few years, CoolIT has built their reputation on delivering quality and innovation, both by introducing new ideas to the computer cooling market, and improving on existing ones.

First Look


CoolIT ECO A.L.C. Box
CoolIT ECO A.L.C. Box
Product Features:

CoolIT CPU FHE (Fluid Heat Exchanger)
Copper Micro-Channel

Universal Retention System
Out of the box support provided
for Intel 775, 1156, 1366 and
AMD AM2, AM2+, AM3 sockets.

CoolIT Proprietary Pump
Quiet, compact, long life CFF1 pump
Ceramic bearing
Life Cycle: 50,000 Hours MTTF

CoolIT Coolant
CoolIT Systems low toxicity with anticorrosion/anti-fungal additives

CoolIT Radiator
Custom engineered for low noise high heat dissipation

CoolIT Fan
High reliability, Quiet 12V
Speed: 1800 RPM MAX

CoolIT CPU Thermal Grease
CoolIT Systems Pro A.T.C.
(Advanced Thermal Compound)

CoolIT 2 Year Manufacturer Warranty

The ECO A.L.C. comes in a simple white box, as if CoolIT doesn’t feel they need to add gaudy packaging to sell a product.  I like it.

CoolIT ECO A.L.C. Box Back
CoolIT ECO A.L.C. Box Back
CoolIT ECO A.L.C. Packaging
CoolIT ECO A.L.C. Packaging

CoolIT ECO A.L.C. Accessories
CoolIT ECO A.L.C. Accessories

The ECO A.L.C. comes with mounting for LGA 775, 1156, 1366, and AM2/AM3 sockets.  There is a backplate for each Intel socket, but the mounting screws on the block are adjustable, so the backplate is the only part that changes between different Intel sockets.

CoolIT ECO A.L.C. Next to H50
CoolIT ECO A.L.C. Next to H50

Going by online pictures alone, I was expecting the ECO’s block to be a little smaller than Corsair’s H50. But once mounting is taken into consideration, they’re roughly the same size.  However, the CoolIT unit certainly looks better in my opinion.

CoolIT ECO ALC - Block/Pump
CoolIT ECO ALC - Block/Pump
CoolIT ECO ALC Block/Pump 2
CoolIT ECO ALC Block/Pump 2
CoolIT ECO A.L.C. Block/Pump 3
CoolIT ECO A.L.C. Block/Pump 3
CoolIT ECO A.L.C. Block Base
CoolIT ECO A.L.C. Block Base

CoolIT ECO A.L.C. Base Cleaned
CoolIT ECO A.L.C. Base Cleaned
The CoolIT ECO A.L.C. features a nice, smooth square copper base.  Before installing the ECO A.L.C., I removed the stock TIM and cleaned the base with ArctiClean.

CoolIT ECO A.L.C. Mounted
CoolIT ECO A.L.C. Mounted
CoolIT ECO A.L.C. Mounted 2
CoolIT ECO A.L.C. Mounted 2
CoolIT ECO A.L.C. + Antec Aria
CoolIT ECO A.L.C. + Antec Aria
CoolIT ECO A.L.C. Ready For Testing
CoolIT ECO A.L.C. Ready For Testing

Testing

You can see the typical configuration for this unit on CoolIT’s website.  This wasn’t a viable configuration in my case.  Although I could have grabbed a full size ATX case from my shelf and installed everything in it, I felt fitting the ECO A.L.C. into my primary computer was more relevant.

Testing setup:

  • Core i5 530 @ 4214MHz
  • MSI H55M-ED55
  • 2x2GB D9JNL DDR3 @ 1530MHz, 7-7-7-20 1T
  • Onboard Intel GMA HD graphics @ ~900MHz
  • Antec Aria mATX case
  • CPU Cooling: CoolIT ECO A.L.C. and Corsair H50
  • Thermal interface material: Arctic Silver 5

Fans tested:

  • Stock configurations
  • Corsair H50 stock fan on both units
  • Panaflo FBA12G12M
  • Delta FFB1212VHE

Mounting method: I mounted each cooling solution five times, with Arctic Silver 5, and took the results from the best mount.  Actually, all of the mounts with the CoolIT unit were extremely consistent.  Mounting the Corsair unit was a bit more challenging, especially in my tiny case.  But once mounted, results were also reasonably consistent.  When I say extremely consistent, I mean <1° margin.  When I say reasonably consistent, I mean between one and two degrees.  It’s hard to get a bad mount on a heatsink if you’ve done it a thousand times, regardless if you’ve used the product before or not.

Each fan was run at full speed, connected directly to the computer’s power supply, as opposed to the CPU fan header.  Ambient temps remained consistently between 23° and 24° C.

Testing method: For idle temperature testing, I let the processor idle for 5 minutes and took a screenshot.  For load testing, I loaded the CPU with LinX v.0.6.4 set to 4 threads.  I took the CPU reading after 5 minutes.

Testing Results

For the first round of testing, each unit was equipped with it’s stock fan, so essentially an “out of the box” configuration.  In these stock configurations, the two units show nearly equal performance.

Stock Fan Temperature Results
Stock Fan Temperature Results

Next, I mounted the H50’s stock fan to the ECO A.L.C. to get a comparison with both units having an identical low-speed fan.  Using the same low speed fan, while idle temperatures are near identical, the H50 seems to have a small edge over the ECO A.L.C.

Corsair Fan Temperature Results
Corsair Fan Temperature Results

Switching over to a more substantial fan evened things back out.  Panaflo’s FBA12G12M offers a nice balance between noise and performance.  If I was running the ECO A.L.C. inside a normal case, this is the fan I would pair with it.

FBA12G12M Temperature Results
FBA12G12M Temperature Results

The Delta FFB1212VHE is a monster, bringing temps down about as far as they’re going to go given the ambient temperature during testing.  Again, both units are fairly even.

FFB1212VHE Temperature Results
FFB1212VHE Temperature Results

Final Thoughts And Conclusion

CoolIT has done an outstanding job of taking a proven design, and putting their own spin on it.  Comparable to Corsair’s H50 in both price and performance, I feel the ECO A.L.C. offers a substantial value advantage, based on the superior mounting method alone.  Since I finished the testing for this review several weeks before finally getting this published, I’ve had the ECO A.L.C. in continuous operation, cooling the same processor as above, clocked at 4.6GHz, running [email protected] 24/7.  Performance has remained consistent, and I’ve had no problems to speak of.  My implementation of this unit is somewhat unique, and if I had to choose any cooling solution for my unique situation, it would be the CoolIT ECO A.L.C. hands down.

I’d like to thank CoolIT and Overclockers.com for making testing of this product possible, as well as being extremely patient while I took my time to get this review written.

sno.lcn

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hokiealumnus

Water Cooled Moderator

16,551 messages 17 likes

Excellent review sno!!

This is being put in the water section b/c its components = a water loop. Hardcore people, behave thyself.

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t
thronar

New Member

1 messages 0 likes

Great review! ECO is only $55 from TigerDirect right now! That's $25 cheaper than an H50...

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Spawn-Inc

Member

4,835 messages 0 likes

i would still get the h50, i just don't like the look of those 90's on the pump/block.

hopefully this will give some competition to the H50 and make they change things around. although that might make them go to larger units and then kill some of the market for custom loops. then less new products for custom loops!

great review though sno

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Q
QuietIce

Disabled

15,734 messages 0 likes

Great review! :thup:

I agree with Spawn about the 90° joints, though ...

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Conumdrum

Member

14,850 messages 2 likes

I suppose we could come to a basic conclusion. If the pump is adequate for the flow rates, these blocks internals are probably somewhat the same, it comes down to the size of the rad. Since they are equal, I'd say both validate what rad size is all about. I'm hoping someone hacks a 120x2 rad on one of these someday.

If it's valid and rather easy, putting a 120x2 out the back could really change entry level watercooling. $70 for the H50 or ECO, and $40 for a Swiftech MCR 220? And a bit of hose/clamps? Hmm thats $120.

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Jolly-Swagman

Member

3,842 messages 0 likes

Nice Review, sno.lcn,

CoolIT are in the Planing stage of also bringing these out with Option of having 120x2 Rad soon, and maybe 240 Rad

I will be getting sent to me a Couple (free samples) of there CoolIT VANTAGE ALC Systems, should be some time early June so will also look forward to Testing them out,
Will be the first person in Australia to receive them even ahead of Retailers!

Reply Like

hokiealumnus

Water Cooled Moderator

16,551 messages 17 likes

The ECO A.L.C. would be better as a single unit (that can't be disassembled) than a lot of what is listed on that page, if not in temps, at least in installation and longevity over them. We also have this lovely conclusion at the bottom of the page:

Brands to Trust

The computer water cooling pc review can help you weed through the list of subpar pc water cooling kits that are available out there today. The last thing you need a non-quality product that has poor performance. The maintenance on a decent model is bad enough. A real computer performance user will appreciate and care for these systems properly. I have developed a list of good companies that you can lay your trust into.

Masscool
Thermaltake
CoolIT
Cooler Master
Zalman

Let's not forget this gem from further up the page:

My computer water cooling review shows that the Cooler Master Aquagate Max will be best pc water cooling you can install in your computer.

Cooler Master is a good brand, but not for water cooling. The "best" pc water cooling is a custom system. The best kits come from Swiftech, which are just quality systems people would normally buy separately thrown in a box.

Thermaltake is perhaps the worst, most poorly regarded water cooling solution there could be yet they seem to be highly recommended there.

I'm sure you were trying to help, and I thank you for that. I just felt I needed to bring this stuff to your (and others') attention, lest someone start their water cooling journey based on that information.

Reply Like

click to expand...
sno.lcn

Senior2 Member

5,919 messages 0 likes

I suppose we could come to a basic conclusion. If the pump is adequate for the flow rates, these blocks internals are probably somewhat the same, it comes down to the size of the rad. Since they are equal, I'd say both validate what rad size is all about. I'm hoping someone hacks a 120x2 rad on one of these someday.

If it's valid and rather easy, putting a 120x2 out the back could really change entry level watercooling. $70 for the H50 or ECO, and $40 for a Swiftech MCR 220? And a bit of hose/clamps? Hmm thats $120.

Nice Review, sno.lcn,

CoolIT are in the Planing stage of also bringing these out with Option of having 120x2 Rad soon, and maybe 240 Rad

I will be getting sent to me a Couple (free samples) of there CoolIT VANTAGE ALC Systems, should be some time early June so will also look forward to Testing them out,
Will be the first person in Australia to receive them even ahead of Retailers!

I'll throw a 120x2 on it in a few weeks then and see how she does :cool:

Reply Like

click to expand...
Jolly-Swagman

Member

3,842 messages 0 likes

sno.Inc here is the Latest News from CoolIT the ECCO ALC 240 for $124.99 USD
ECCO ALC 240 -Data Sheet

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s
spitter3

Member

339 messages 0 likes

nice 30gph pump!!!

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