Review: LCLC cooling for all
If you're wondering whether a low cost OEM cooling solution can be effective, wonder no more – it certainly can. The answer comes from Asetek, and you’ve probably already heard about its LCLC low-cost liquid cooling system.
This unique cooling solution is aimed at the needs of OEM companies, and the fact that HP opted for this when building Blackbird 002 speaks for itself. LCLC cooling is unique and effective, mainly because Asetek focused on two main components – CPU and GPU - and utilized the capabilities of their system to the max. This is not a new thing and we've already written about it. Today, we continue the story, or shall we say we are painting a happy ending to the earlier story.
It’s been more than six months since we installed LCLC cooling in one of our test rigs. It became a standard player almost instantly. We changed a couple of motherboards and processors, but the cooling stayed. The good thing about this system is that it’s compatible with both AMD and Intel processors, so it makes all the configurations possible. The system is quite simple, and the pictures below are a testament to that.
It’s clear now that this is unique OEM cooling. It’s virtually impossible to find such an efficient gadget that’s more easy to install. Perhaps we will even see a reasonably priced LCLC retail version on the shelves. Right now you can only get this as a pre-installed component within certain OEM computers. From the pictures taken from Asetek’s Website you can see that it’s possible to use this system for two CPU’s or SLI. That’s only partially right because, of course, you can use it for ATI, too. It all depends on how many you order and whether new water blocks are worth it.
You can see that our LCLC is one of the first systems built to also cool a graphics card. The first LCLC coolers were intended for CPU use only, but improvements were made to support more than one unit.
The graphics card block has undergone a facelift, so it doesn’t look as rough around the edges. The radiator supports fans from 80 to 120mm, but although a 120mm fan is shipped with this baby, we opted for the Artic Cooling – Artic Fan 12 PWM.
Our LCLC cools one Intel CPU and Nvidia’s GPU, and it does it effortlessly. For the sake of this review, we tried overclocking Intel Core 2 Duo 6800 Extreme Edition running at 2.9GHz, and we managed to clock it up to 3.6GHz. Processor temperature varied from 45°C in idle mode to 65°C after CPU Burn-in test. That’s a great result for such a small cooling system. Still, multi-processor PC temperatures will definitely soar higher than that, especially if you add two graphics cards to the mix.
The most interesting thing here is the CPU block, which is the heart of this system. It contains a small, but powerful, water pump, and unlike the standard water cooling solution, this one has no water container. Asetek cooling is a closed circuit comprised of two or three components (you can order more if you need more things cooled, of course) that are already set up, and that is very useful for end users. All you need to do is connect the CPU block to a power source and, voila! The reservoir fan can be put in place of the CPU fan connector on the motherboard, or however you choose, but bear in mind that RPM control comes in handy. Let’s not go much deeper into installation methods – those things are for OEMs to worry about, anyway. However, before we move on to the test results, we’ll show you a couple of pictures.
The copper base is much larger than the processor, so the heat transfer is very efficient.
Setting up is easy, thanks to a slightly modded Intel mounting kit. It works on a push-in principle, just as Intel's Socket 775 cooler does.
The graphics card cooler set up is also simple – a couple of screws should take care of it.
We received an Intel Socket 775 compatible CPU block, but AMD compatible blocks are nearly identical, the only difference is the mounting method.
Mounting takes about ten minutes. We first tried it outside the case, and then we did the same within the case.
No water reservoir, no annoying water leaking out or setting up pipelines – it’s all done before you buy it.
The graphics card fan is so quiet that you barely notice it.