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Today we are reviewing the CoolIT Vantage, a liquid cooling system. It is a sealed system, with the pump integrated to the CPU block, which has an LCD display that shows the current liquid temperature and fan speed. Check it out!
The Vantage box is big, in card paper, as you can see in Figure 1.
In Figure 2, you can check everything that comes in the box: the preassembled block, radiator and fan system, installation parts, and a manual printed in high-quality paper.
In the next pages, you will see this watercooler in detail.
[nextpage title=”The CoolIT Vantage”]
In Figure 3, you see the CPU block with the integrated pump. Note that this block has two cables with connectors: one must be connected to the motherboard, in order to power the system, and the other must be connected to the radiator fan, which is controlled by the circuitry located on the block. The block has an LCD screen and two buttons, which we will talk about later.
The coolant liquid comes prefilled inside the system, therefore making the product free of maintenance.
In Figure 4, you see the base of the block. It is made of copper and the thermal compound comes preapplied.
In Figure 5, you see the radiator, which transfers the heat from the liquid to the air. It comes with one fan preinstalled, and there is a metal grill protecting this fan. Note that the existing cable is very short: this happens because it is intended to be connected to cable coming from the CPU block, not the motherboard.
In Figure 6, you check the back of the radiator. What seems to be a second fan is actually just a spacer.
The installation of the CoolIT Vantage is very simple. For AMD processors, simply attach the clips shown at the top of Figure 7 to the base of the block and screw them to the motherboard frame. For Intel CPUs, put the backplate according to your CPU socket (in Figure 7, you can see one backplate for socket LGA775, one for sockets 1155/1156, and one for socket LGA1366) on the solder side of the motherboard, put the block in place and screw it to the backplate.
After this step, screw the radiator to the rear panel of the case, removing the existing 120 mm fan, if your case comes with one. Of course your case must have room for a 120 mm fan at its rear panel.
In normal usage, the LCD display located on the CPU block shows the current temperature of the coolant liquid, the speed of the fan, and the pump speed, as you can see in Figure 9. It also shows the current operating mode: Quiet, Performance, or Extreme.
When we tested the cooler, we set it to "quiet" mode for the idle test, and then in "extreme" mode for the full CPU test, but the system kept the fan and the pump at the same speed in both tests.
Using the buttons located on the CPU block, you can navigate through the product menus. There are two menus: Display and Settings. On the display menu, shown in Figures 10 and 11, you can change the color of the LCD backlight, set this backlight to blink slowly, and turn the LCD data orientation to mach the position you have actually mounted it. The LCD backlight can be set to one of the six available colors, turned off, or you can set it to change the color according to the temperature of the liquid.
On the Setting menu, you can set the display to show the temperature in Celsius or Fahrenheit, set the operating mode (Quiet, Performance or Extreme), and re-load the factory defaults.
[nextpage title=”How We Tested”]
We tested the cooler with a Core i7-860 CPU (quad-core, 2.8 GHz), which is a socket LGA1156 processor with a 95 W TDP (Thermal Design Power). In order to get higher thermal dissipation, we overclocked it to 3.3 GHz (150 MHz base clock and 22x multiplier), keeping the standard core voltage (Vcore), which was the maximum stable overclock we could make with the stock cooler. Keep in mind that we could have raised the CPU clock more, but to include the stock cooler in our comparison, we needed to use this moderate overclock.
We measured noise and temperature with the CPU idle and under full load. In order to get 100% CPU usage in all threads, we ran Prime 95 25.11
(in this version, the software uses all available threads) with the "In-place Large FFTs" option.
We compared the tested cooler to the Intel stock cooler with a copper base (included with the CPU), as well as with other coolers. Note that in the past, we tested coolers with a socket LGA775 CPU, and we retested some "old" coolers with this new methodology. This means you can find different values in older reviews than the values you will read in the next page. Every cooler was tested with the thermal compound that accompanies it.
Room temperature measurements were taken with a digital thermometer. The core temperature was read with the SpeedFan program (available from the CPU thermal sensors), using an arithmetic average of the core temperature readings. During the tests, the left panel of the case was open.
The sound pressure level (SPL) was measured with a digital noise meter, with its sensor placed 4" (10 cm) from the fan. We turned off the case and video board cooler fans so they wouldn’t interfere with the results. This measurement is only for comparison purposes because a precise SPL measurement needs to be made inside an acoustically insulated room with no other noise sources, which is not the case here.
- Processor: Core i7-860
- Motherboard: Gigabyte P55A-UD6
- Memory: 2 GB Markvision (DDR3-1333/PC3-10700 with 9-9-9-22 timings), configured at 1,200 MHz
- Hard disk: Seagate Barracuda XT 2 TB
- Video card: Zotac GeForce GTS 250
- Video resolution: 1680×1050
- Video monitor: Samsung Syncmaster 2232BW Plus
- Power supply: Seventeam ST-550P-AM
- Case: 3RSystem L-1100 T.REX Cool
Operating System Configuration
- Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit
We adopted a 2 °C error margin, meaning temperature differences below 2 °C are considered irrelevant.
[nextpage title=”Our Tests”]
The table below presents the results of our measurements. We repeated the same test on all coolers listed below. Each measurement was taken with the CPU at idle and at full load. In the models with a fan supporting PWM, the motherboard controlled the fan speed according to core load and temperature. On coolers with an integrated fan controller, the fan was set at the minimum speed on the idle test and at full speed on the full load test.
Processor at Full Load
|Cooler||Room Temp.||Noise||Speed||Core Temp.||Noise||Speed||Core Temp.|
|Intel stock (socket LGA1156)||14 °C||44 dBA||1700 rpm||46 °C||54 dBA||2500 rpm||90 °C|
|Cooler Master Hyper TX3 G1||14 °C||47 dBA||2050 rpm||33 °C||56 dBA||2900 rpm||62 °C|
|Zalman CNPS10X Extreme||14 °C||45 dBA||1400 rpm||27 °C||53 dBA||1950 rpm||51 °C|
|Thermaltake Silent 1156||14 °C||44 dBA||1200 rpm||38 °C||49 dBA||1750 rpm||69 °C|
|Noctua NH-D14||14 °C||49 dBA||1250 rpm||27 °C||49 dBA||1250 rpm||53 °C|
|Zalman CNPS10X Performa||14 °C||46 dBA||1500 rpm||28 °C||52 dBA||1950 rpm||54 °C|
|Prolimatech Megahalems||14 °C||40 dBA||750 rpm||27 °C||60 dBA||2550 rpm||50 °C|
|Thermaltake Frio||14 °C||46 dBA||1450 rpm||27 °C||60 dBA||2500 rpm||50 °C|
|Prolimatech Samuel 17||14 °C||40 dBA||750 rpm||40 °C||60 dBA||2550 rpm||63 °C|
|Zalman CNPS8000A||18 °C||43 dBA||1400 rpm||39 °C||54 dBA||2500 rpm||70 °C|
|Spire TherMax Eclipse II||14 °C||55 dBA||2200 rpm||28 °C||55 dBA||2200 rpm||53 °C|
|Scythe Ninja3||17 °C||39 dBA||700 rpm||32 °C||55 dBA||1800 rpm||57 °C|
|Corsair A50||18 °C||52 dBA||1900 rpm||33 °C||52 dBA||1900 rpm||60 °C|
|Thermaltake Jing||18 °C||44 dBA||850/1150 rpm||34 °C||49 dBA||1300 rpm||60 °C|
|GlacialTech Alaska||18 °C||43 dBA||1150 rpm||36 °C||51 dBA||1600 rpm||60 °C|
|Deepcool Gamer Storm||18 °C||43 dBA||1100 rpm||35 °C||48 dBA||1600 rpm||62 °C|
|Corsair A70||26 °C||56 dBA||1900 rpm||40 °C||56 dBA||1900 rpm||65 °C|
|Deepcool Ice Blade Pro||23 °C||45 dBA||1200 rpm||38 °C||52 dBA||1500 rpm||64 °C|
|AC Freezer 7 Pro Rev. 2||23 °C||47 dBA||1750 rpm||44 °C||51 dBA||2100 rpm||77 °C|
|Corsair H70||27 °C||60 dBA||1900 rpm||37 °C||60 dBA||1900 rpm||61 °C|
|Zalman CNPS9900 Max||27 °C||55 dBA||1600 rpm||38 °C||58 dBA||1750 rpm||63 °C|
|Arctic Cooling Freezer 11 LP||25 °C||45 dBA||1700 rpm||51 °C||49 dBA||1950 rpm||91 °C|
|CoolIT Vantage||26 °C||60 dBA||2500 rpm||37 °C||60 dBA||2500 rpm||62 °C|
In the graph below, at full load you can see how many degrees Celsius hotter the CPU core is than the air outside the case. The lower this difference, the better is the performance of the cooler.
[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]
The main features of the CoolIT Vantage CPU liquid cooling system include:
- Application: Socket LGA775, 1155, 1156, 1366, AM2, AM2+, and AM3 processors
- Fins: Aluminum
- Base: Copper
- Heat-pipes: None
- Fan: 120 mm
- Nominal fan speed: 2,500 rpm
- Fan air flow: Not informed
- Maximum power consumption: Not informed
- Nominal noise level: Not informed
- Weight: 9 oz (255 g)
- More information: https://www.coolitsystems.com/
- Average price in the US*: USD 106.00
* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review. [nextpage title=”Conclusions”]
The CoolIT Vantage liquid cooling system (or ALC, Advanced Liquid Cooling, according to the manufacturer) is really very cool (pun intended). Its performance was about what we were expecting: it achieved performance similar to the best high-end air coolers we tested so far, and the noise level was also equivalent to the top-shelf air coolers. The installation was a breeze. The only problem we found was that the "quiet" mode didn’t work the way we expected: our sample kept the fan always at full speed.
The most unique feature of this cooler is its LCD display. You can see the actual temperature of the system and, let’s be honest, it is very cool to see this display inside your computer. You can also change the display backlight color to match the rest of the illumination of your computer, and even make it pulse to be your computer’s heatbeat. Of course, with the Vantage, a case with a transparent window is a must have.
In summary, the CoolIT Vantage has a great cooling performance, low noise level, easy installation, and comes with a cool LCD display where you can check the temperature and speed of the pump and the fan.