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Coolit Vantage A.L.C. CPU Cooler E-mail
Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cooling
Written by David Ramsey   
Sunday, 27 February 2011
Table of Contents: Page Index
Coolit Vantage A.L.C. CPU Cooler
Closer Look: Coolit Vantage
Vantage A.L.C. Detailed Features
Heatsink Test Methodology
Testing and Results
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Heatsink Test Methodology

Benchmark Reviews is obsessed with testing CPU coolers, as our Cooling Sectionhas demonstrated over the past few years. We've solicited suggestions from the enthusiast community, and received guidance from some of the most technical overclockers on the planet. As a result, our testing methodology has changed with every new edition of our Best CPU Cooler Performance series. Because of this, each article is really its own stand-alone product, and cannot be fairly compared to the others. Benchmark Reviews continues to test CPU coolers using the stock included fan (whenever applicable), and then replace it with a high-output fan for re-testing.

Manufacturers are not expected to enjoy this sort of comparison, since we level the playing field for all heat sinks by replacing their included fan with a common unit which is then used for every CPU cooler tested. Many manufacturers include fans with their heat sink products, but many 'stock' fans are high-RPM units that offer great airflow at the expense of obnoxiously loud noise levels, or, conversely, quiet fans that sacrifice performance for low noise. By using the same model of cooling fan throughout our heat sink tests, we can assure our results are comparable across the board. This is one of the more significant changes we have made to our test methodology, since many of the benchmark tests we have conducted in the past have compared the total package. Ultimately we're more interested in the discovering the best possible heat sink, and we believe that you'll feel the same way.

For each test, ambient room temperature levels were maintained within one degree of fluctuation, and measured at static points beside the test equipment with a digital thermometer. The Corsair H70 and the comparison coolers used a common Thermal Interface Material of our choosing (listed in the support equipment section below) for consistency. The processor received the same amount of thermal paste in every test, which covered the heat spreader with a thin nearly-transparent layer. The heat sink being tested was then laid down flat onto the CPU, and compressed to the motherboard using the supplied retaining mechanism. If the mounting mechanism used only two points of force, they were tightened in alternation; standard clip-style mounting with four securing points were compressed using the cross-over method. Once installed, the system was tested for a baseline reading prior to testing.

At the start of each test, the ambient room temperature was measured to track any fluctuation throughout the testing period. AIDA64 Extreme Edition is utilized to create 100% CPU-core loads and measure each individual processor core temperature. It's important to note that software-based temperature reading reflects the thermal output as reported from the CPU to the BIOS. For this reason, it is critically important (for us) to use the exact same software and BIOS versions throughout the entire test cycle, or the results will be incomparable. All of the units compared in our results were tested on the same motherboard using the same BIOS and software, with only the CPU-cooler product changing in each test. These readings are neither absolute nor calibrated, since every BIOS is programmed differently. Nevertheless, all results are still comparable and relative to each products in our test bed (see The Accuracy Myth section below).

Since our test processor reports core temperatures as a whole number and not in fractions, all test results utilize ADIA64 to report averages (within the statistics panel), which gives us more precise readings. The ambient room temperature levels were all recorded and accurate to one-tenth of a degree Celsius at the time of data collection.

When each cooler is tested, Benchmark Reviews makes certain to keep the hardware settings identical across the test platform. This enables us to clearly compare the performance of each product under identical conditions. Benchmark Reviews reports the thermal difference; for the purposes of this article, thermal difference (not the same as thermal delta) is calculated by subtracting the ambient room temperature from the recorded CPU temperature.

Please keep in mind that that these test results are only valid within the context of this particular test: as the saying goes, your mileage may vary.

Intel Test System

  • Processor: Intel Core i7-950 Bloomfield 3.06GHz LGA1366 130W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80601950, core voltage set to 1.35V
  • Motherboard: ASUS Sabertooth X58 Intel X58-Express chipset) with BIOS 0603, BCLK set to 175MHz for a processor speed of 4025MHz

Support Equipment

  • AIDA64 Extreme Edition version 1.50.1200
  • MG Chemicals Heat Transfer Compound 8610-60G
  • Stock fan (for heat sinks without fans): Thermalright TR-FDB-12-1600 (63.7CFM advertised)
  • High-speed fan: Delta AFC1212D (113CFM advertised)

All of the tests in this article have been conducted using vertical motherboard orientation, positioned upright in a traditional tower computer case. Air-cooled heat sinks are positioned so that heatpipe rods span horizontally, with the fan blowing air out the top of the chassis. The radiators of water coolers are mounted as per manufacturer instructions. In both cases, fans are connected directly to the power supply (rather than motherboard headers) and run at full speed during the test. At the start of our test period, the test system is powered on and AIDA64 system stability tests are started with Stress CPU and Stress FPU options selected. AIDA64 loads each CPU core to 100% usage, which drives the temperature to its highest point. Finally, once temperatures have sustained a plateau (no observed change in average temperatures for 5 minutes), the ending ambient room temperature and individual CPU core levels are recorded thus completing the first benchmark segment. The time to reach stable temperatures varied between 10 and 20 minutes for the heat sinks in this test; larger heat sinks typically take longer to stabilize.

The second test segment involves removing the stock cooling fan and replacing it with a high-output 120 mm Delta AFC1212D cooling fan, then running the same tests again.

Note: Both the Antec Kühler H2O 620 and the Coolit Vantage A.L.C. are designed to drive their own RPM-controlled fans directly; in the case of the Vantage, an alarm will sound continuously if there is no fan connected. For these coolers, the fans were left connected as designed during stock fan testing. For high-speed fan testing, the Delta fan was connected directly to the power supply (and the alarm on the Vantage ignored).

The Accuracy Myth

All modern processors incorporate an internal thermal diode that can be read by the motherboards' BIOS. While this diode and the motherboard are not calibrated and therefore may not display the actual true temperature, the degree of accuracy is constant. This means that if the diode reports 40°C when it's actually 43°C, then it will also report 60°C when it's truly 63°C. Since the design goal of any thermal solution is to keep the CPU core within allowable temperatures, a processor's internal diode is the most valid means of comparison between different heat sinks, or thermal compounds. The diode and motherboard may be incorrect by a small margin in relation to an actual calibrated temperature sensor, but they will be consistent in their margin of error every time.



# Overrated value.Olle P 2011-02-28 05:39
At least here in Sweden the Vantage is about 40% higher priced than Antec Kühler H2O 620 (but slightly cheaper than Corsair H70).
In your own test, as well as by the conclusions I've drawn based on more reviews, the Antec cooler is better.

The main (only?) advantage of the Vantage is that it displays the temperature.

Therefore I think the price tag set the value closer to (and possibly below) an average 5 than it is to an 8.25.

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# RE: Overrated value.David Ramsey 2011-02-28 12:38
The performance of the Vantage was similar to that of other first-generation Asetek coolers like the Corsair H50. Its higher price pays for the display, programmability, and fan control. Since it doesn't seem to be a current product any more, it's probably moot unless you happen to find one still on the shelves (real or virtual).
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# Is the Corsair H60 in your testing pipeline?Ken Clark 2011-03-03 05:58

I am looking for a liquid cooling solution for a Sandy Bridge (moderately overclocked 2600k) system. One of my most important factors will be a quiet system. Therefore I am looking at the Antec Kuhler 620 and the Corsair H60. Are you planning to test the Corsair H60 and will you be incorporating some ambient noise readings to help me compare models? Naturally, I would expect the noise to be measured with the stock (OEM) fans. I have read your test article on the Antec 620 and I believe it a quiet system, regardless of fan speed. But it would be nice to see some relative comparison of noise levels amongst these models.
Really appreciate your articles, as it helps all of us make informed purchasing decisions.
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# RE: Is the Corsair H60 in your testing pipeline?David Ramsey 2011-03-03 06:14
Glad you like the reviews, Ken. The stock Intel cooler for the 2600K-- the new tower design Intel first shipped with the 980X-- is a pretty quiet cooler and can easily handle moderate overclocks, since the Sandy Bridge processors just don't generate that much heat. If you want to go with liquid coolers, the Vantage and the Kühler are the quietest ones I've personally tested, although this is based on simply listening to the cooler fans (I don't have any sound-measuring equipment). The advantage both of these coolers have is that they control their fan speeds directly. I hope to be able to test a Corsair H60 soon.
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# RE: Is the Corsair H60 in your testing pipeline?Ken Clark 2011-03-03 14:31
Thanks David for your quick response and suggestions. Looking very much forward to a comparison between the Antec Kuhler 620 and the Corsair H60, as they are both at the same relative price point / target market. My case will not have a display window, so the real time status display Coolit Vantage is not a feature I can take advantage of. And I am still interested in a closed system liquid cooling solution (as opposed to the stock Intel fan) as this technology may afford more cooling potential, especially if I wish to get more aggressive with my overclock strategy. Keep up the good work - we "novices" appreciate your testing insight!
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# The test is done.Olle P 2011-03-04 06:48
The Swedish site has done a comparative test between those two coolers.

Using the stock fans the H60 (blowing heated air into the case) provides slightly more CPU cooling. (At the same time the Antec is quieter.)
Using the same fans on both coolers (2x Scythe Gentle Typhoon) the Antec performs slightly better than H60.

You can see the test results here:
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# Fan runs flat out all the timePobinr 2012-04-22 02:08
I set my Vantage to quiet but fan still running flat out!
Any ideas ?
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# RE: Fan runs flat out all the timeDavid Ramsey 2012-04-22 14:52
My only guess would be that you have the fan plugged into the motherboard instead of the cooler's pump unit. If you have the fan plugged into the pump unit and it's still running full speed all the time, then I guess it's a problem with the cooler.
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# Compabilitytomtentp 2012-05-01 16:56
Will this work with the new Intel Ivy Bridge CPU?
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# RE: CompabilityDavid Ramsey 2012-05-01 17:12
It will if you can find one still on the store shelves. Coolit was purchased by Corsair a couple of years ago and the Vantage ALC is no longer made.
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# ThanksTomtentp 2012-05-02 03:40
Thank you for the info!!
I did manage to find one and I really dig the display.
Main reason why I chose this one actually ^^
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# Extra Fan?Tom 2012-07-17 09:35
Couldn't you just replace the extra spacer with a motherboard wired fan. Like, just mount the vantage to the rear fan of your case?
I'm not sure of the spacing, I found one on eBay but I haven't recieved mine yet.
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# RE: Extra Fan?David Ramsey 2012-07-17 09:51
Yes, you could easily do that.
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# RE: Coolit Vantage A.L.C. CPU CoolerTom 2012-07-17 09:57
Oh well thats good then, as surely that would improve the radiators cooling dramatically and so improve its over all heat shift?
Also just curious, would it be possible to replace the tubing for transparent jobbies? Or would it be too much hassle to be worth it? haha
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# RE: RE: Coolit Vantage A.L.C. CPU CoolerDavid Ramsey 2012-07-17 10:00
Remember the additional fan would not be under the control of the control unit, so it would run at a constant speed.

Replacing the tubing would be almost impossible, since it's a sealed unit with no way to bleed it.
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# RE: RE: RE: Coolit Vantage A.L.C. CPU CoolerTom 2012-07-17 10:07
Yes I know it would only be constant, but couldn't that fan just run off the Q-Fan system on my motherboard and so respond to temperatures anyway?

And yeah, I guessed the tubing change would probably not work. Just a thought! ;)
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# Two Fan SetupTom 2012-07-19 11:38
Hi I found an article on the ECO version of the CoolIt. A guy managed to fit a second fan in a push pull setup using a PWM 4-Pin fan Y-Splitter. Do you think this would work on the Vantage and still be ok with the temp controls?
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# RE: Two Fan SetupDavid Ramsey 2012-07-19 12:43
Probably, but you'll just have to try it and see. You could ask Coolit, but they're gone now...
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# UpdateTom 2012-09-25 15:58
Hi, I know it been a while but thought this might be of use to you.
I wrote to CoolIT and they replied with this:

Thank you for contacting Technical Support concerning your wish to add a second fan for your Vantage ALC. I have created an account and opened a support case on your behalf.

I understand your wish to add a second fan to the product to create a Push / Pull for the air flow.

I will caution you that just adding a second fan, using a four pin Y splitter could cause a failure of the control card inside the pump head. This will not be deemed a warranty failure.

The maximum amperage draw through the control card is 1.3 amps. The specs for the Vantage ALC fan is 125 CFM@ 2700 RPM (0.66 amps).

Finding a PWM (four pin) Y splitter is very rare, although they are some available. If you are able to find one, you will need to remove the third TACH wire from one of the fan connectors. Otherwise the Vantage ALC will see both fans, add the two fans' rpm values together and attempt to lower the voltage.

I believe that this should give you some insight.

Thank you for your question,

Andrew Wildgoose

Service and Support Manager
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# SO TIRED OF BEEPING!TM B 2012-10-29 20:09
I love the idea about the CoolIt Vantage, it's a very nice setup and on paper just perfect.
But the bloody beeping below 19.5 degrees celsius is bull#, I live in Norway and the winter temperatures does of course send it below 15 degrees from a startup.
It beeps like a bus backing up, with no means of adjusting this temperature alarm or simply kill it.
It's going out of my computer tomorrow for a traditional fan and cooling. I bought it to get a silent machine, and this thing is about as loud as the back up alarm on my truck - if even for a few minutes, those minutes annoy too much.
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# FixableBruce 2012-10-29 21:06
A little silicone in the right spot (the buzzer diaphragm) would fix this.......
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# Beep beep!adVantage19.5 2013-11-11 01:25
I'm using this cooler for some time now, works fine except for the beeping. Every year now during Fall I will know when to put on a winter jacket because it'll beep briefly on boot. The time it beeps of course gets longer every day as it gets colder and the only way to quickly get it to shut up is to run something like Prime95. Afaik you can't change the alarm threshold and everybody just /shrugs when you ask about a solution. A classic case of: What were they thinking?!?
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