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CoolIT ECO A.L.C. ECO-R120 CPU Cooler E-mail
Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cooling
Written by David Ramsey   
Wednesday, 28 April 2010
Table of Contents: Page Index
CoolIT ECO A.L.C. ECO-R120 CPU Cooler
Closer Look: ECO-R120 CPU Cooler
Heatsink Test Methodology
Testing and Results
Liquid Cooling Final Thoughts
CoolIT ECO-R120 Conclusion

Liquid Cooling Final Thoughts

Picking the right CPU cooler is rarely an easy choice, and Benchmark Reviews hopes we've made this process easier by providing information in this and other CPU cooler reviews. The market is changing rapidly enough that the top cooler of 2008 wouldn't be considered a serious contender in 2010; and manufacturers continue to asymptotically approach the theoretically ideal cooler than will bring your CPU down to ambient temperature. Water coolers add a slew of other variables to the heat sink equation: water block design, coolant flow rate, and radiator size and design all play a part.

It's important to remember that there's a reason there are so many different coolers available: not every cooler works in every situation. The top-performing Prolimatech Megahalems is available at FrozenCPUfor $64.99 (without a fan), and that's a lot to spend on a cooler considering the cooler that came with your system or processor has already been paid for. Most users, even most enthusiast users, simply don't need a cooler this capable— it would be wasted, for example, on most dual-core systems. Also, its very large size limits its applications, while the ECO A.L.C. will fit in almost any case.

coolit_eco_alc.jpg

The CoolIT ECO-R120 inhabits a nebulous place in the heat sink universe: it's priced with the very best air coolers, but CoolIT doesn't market it to the "extreme overclocking" crowd that might normally go for a Megahalems— although as our test results show the ECO is quite competitive with the best air coolers when fitted with a high-performance fan. Instead, it's designed to offer significantly better performance than most air coolers along with very low noise. It would be well suited, for example, for the cramped confines of an HTPC, where low noise (with the stock fan) was a primary consideration.

As I mentioned before, a number of factors affect heat sink performance, and enthusiasts will spend hours hand-lapping processors and heat sink bases and spend unnecessary amounts of money on exotic liquid metal thermal interface material. But at the end of the day, one of the single most important considerations is simply how much air you're moving over your heat sink's fins or radiator, and finding a fan that hits the right balance between noise and performance for your application will do more for your heat sink's performance than any other single factor: the Yate Loon fan used in this test is rather noisy, but witness how this $7 item moved the CoolIT ECO A.L.C.'s performance from the bottom of the charts to within spitting distance of the best coolers available. With the hundreds of 120mm fans available, it's impossible for Benchmark Reviews to test all possible fan combinations, or even a small subset of them; CoolIT Systems notes that using two fans in a "push-pull" configuration is a supported configuration, so there's lots of room for experimentation here.

Enthusiasts buy water coolers like this trying to strike a balance between performance and noise, or perhaps just because it's cool to be able to say your system's "water cooled." What the ECO R-120 brings to the party is sheer versatility: its small size and performance headroom (depending on the fans used) make it one of the most broadly applicable CPU cooling solutions available.



 

Comments 

 
# Why no push-pull configurations?Ladyfox 2010-04-28 10:04
I give you guys credit for standardizing your testing to allow consistency with the results. However, if you guys are going to test by swapping the fan around why not take the next step and do a push/pull configuration? Most people I know that run H50's went with a push/pull after finding that the single-fan just was not cutting it and it looks like this one would benefit from the same. 'Course, vendors cheaping out on fans does not help either. -_-
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# Static pressureOlin Coles 2010-04-28 11:21
Ladyfox: I didn't write or test the CoolIT ECO, but I've tested the H50. Ultimately it comes down to the fans static pressure. You won't need two fans in a push-pull set to create the same airflow that a single fan (like the Yate Loon used here) has done. I know you won't just take my word for it, but believe me, that Yate Loon is like a leaf blower.
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# RE: Static pressureLadyfox 2010-04-28 20:40
Oh, I believe you and a few swear by the single-fan/high static configuration. However, when I tried it myself on my H50 I valued my sanity a bit more. -_^

So, as a compromise I went with a pair of Noctua NF-p12's in a push/pull which gave the same performance with a LOT less noise. The way I figured it was that if you were running a fan that loud you may as well stay with a standard air cooler like the newer Noctua one.
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# RE: CoolIT ECO A.L.C. ECO-R120 CPU CoolerDavid Ramsey 2010-04-28 13:59
I run the H50 in my own system with a push-pull arrangement, so I'm aware of the value of this configuration. There are also the new Feser Triebwerks 55mm-thick fans that are specifically designed to push air through radiators. The real answer to your question is that there are so many possible configurations that we simply can't test them all, and since not all coolers we compare against support dual fans, a single fan comparison is the best we way have to show the relative performance of the coolers. That said, an article concentrating on different fan options for the ECO isn't out of the question...
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# RE: RE: CoolIT ECO A.L.C. ECO-R120 CPU CoolerLadyfox 2010-04-28 20:44
Fair point on that but it would be an interesting thing to add, making sure to use the exact same fan as it comes with stock, in a push/pull on both the liquid system and air cooler. That way you are able to still keep the variables down and not really greatly increase the work involved.

However, I'm also aware of what deadlines are like so if this is the best compromise I'm not complaining. But, should you decide to do a push/pull review comparision between the CoolIT and H50 (if that's even worth it) and say the best air cooler from this review you can be assured you'd have at least one person who appreciated the effort. ^_^
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# RE: CoolIT ECO A.L.C. ECO-R120 CPU CoolerRahul 2011-02-04 22:45
What a coooler!!
Imagine If CoolIT started making cases with in-built water cooling for cpu and gpu how good it wud be...
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# RE: CoolIT ECO A.L.C. ECO-R120 CPU CoolerRahul 2011-02-04 22:50
Imagine if they started using "A Powerless Pump"(Like the Msi Concept Chipset Cooler) which will not need a power connector or a thermal probe..
And the only connector needed will be the fan connector..
How cool it wud be..
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