|Coolit Vantage A.L.C. CPU Cooler|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cooling|
|Written by David Ramsey|
|Sunday, 27 February 2011|
Page 6 of 6
Liquid Cooler Final Thoughts
After Corsair's H50 hit the market, its success led to many other companies offering their own variations on the theme, if by "variations" you mean "label". Even Corsair's own H70, with its double-thickness radiator, is simply a version of Asetek's LC570 OEM cooler.
Coolit Systems manufacturers their own coolers, which gives them a competitive advantage in the marketplace. The Vantage A.L.C. was the first all-in-one liquid cooler that could control its own fan, and is still the only one with the display feature and audible alarms that warn of overheating, or fan or pump failure. But although the Vantage beat the first-generation water coolers in the stock fan test, its performance advantage was small, and Corsair's H70 easily beat it even with its fans on low. (Granted, the H70's MSRP is significantly more expensive). High-end air coolers and new-generation water coolers provided much better performance than the Vantage.
Still, the Vantage's extra features like the PWM-controlled fan, visible status panel, and audible alarms for pump or fan failure offer some consolation. The Vantage was to be the first beneficiary of Coolit's "Maestro" software control suite, originally announced at CES 2010. But Maestro never appeared and Coolit has said that work on that project has ceased.
At this point it may all be moot: Coolit Systems has entered a partnership with Corsair, who will take over retail marketing and support of Coolit products. While some Coolit Vantage A.L.C. systems are still available in the retail channel, they're no longer available on Coolit's web site, and Corsair has no equivalent product (yet).
Should you come across a Vantage A.L.C., should you consider it? Sure. The Vantage offers much better performance than any stock heat sink, is quiet even in "Extreme" mode, and the display and alarms are features that no competitor offers. It's not designed to cool heavily overclocked systems like the overvolted Core i7-950 I tested with, and if that's the kind of rig you're running, there are better choices available.
Coolit Vantage A.L.C. Conclusion
Please remember that these test results reflect our experience with each cooler on a specific motherboard, with a specific processor, BIOS revision, BCLK and voltage settings, and test programs. The results of this test cannot be directly compared to other tests since many factors will have changed.
I've tested a lot of all-in-one water coolers recently, and the Vantage A.L.C. is the only one that has any visual appeal at all. The adjustable-color display not only provides useful information, but looks great, too, and begs for a windowed case to display it.
The quality of construction was up to Coolit's usual high standards. After dealing with the somewhat fiddly "retaining ring" used on Asetek cooler variants, Coolit's simple back plate and thumbscrew mounting system is a breath of fresh air, although the "springy" coolant hoses exert enough tension on the pump to make lining up the thumbscrews with the backplate an operation that requires some concentration.
Performance-wise, the Coolit Vantage A.L.C. outperformed first generation all-in-one water coolers, but couldn't keep up with newer water cooling units or less expensive high-end air coolers. While its performance is much better than stock air coolers, it's not intended for heavily overclocked systems.
The Vantage A.L.C. introduces useful new features such as the status display and the audible alarms. The alarms especially are important features for a water cooling system and I hope to see them become more common.
The Coolit Vantage A.L.C. doesn't offer top-end performance, but will quietly keep most systems cool, and its display and safety features make it worth consideration. The Vantage A.L.C. is available for $114.99 at FrozenCPU.com.
+ Informative display
- Can't compete with the latest water coolers or high-end air coolers
Final Score: 8.7 out of 10.
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