Coolit Domino A.L.C. DM-1000 CPU Cooler Page: 1
Introduction
 
Water cooling has come a long, long way in the last few years. No longer is it the hobby of crazy, pasty skinned nerds hidden away in their basements making blocks out of old shoes and using garden hose as tubing. These days it's a fairly common place part of an enthusiast's' machine. And with this water for the masses, it wasn't long before a company or two decided to start producing all in one solutions for the truly lazy less confident among us.
 
Enter Coolit. They have now been producing integrated solutions in the market for a few years now. The first product we saw from them here at OC3D was the Freezone Elite, which integrated Coolit's speciality into the idea of water cooling, Thermo-electric coolers. Since then they have released a few more products designed to bring superior cooling to the everyday user and the tech savvy alike. Adding solutions for both single and dual GPUs to their product lines.
 
Now Coolit are back with another all-in-one solution, dubbed the Domino ALC (standing for advanced liquid cooling). They've done away with their desire to quadruple the power consumption of your PC and gone for a normal rad-pump-block setup with the Domino. Now it may seem like I'm going back on the last two and a half paragraphs, but this solution can't really be compared to a full, custom water setup. 'Why oh why?' I hear you call. Well it's mostly down to two factors, firstly the price, and second the fact that it's installation is, in theory at least, as easy as an air system. So with out further stalling for time we'll take a dive into the review.
 
Heading over to Coolit's own site we find a a few paragraphs about the product:
 
Domino A.L.C. offers the technological advantages of liquid cooling by efficiently transporting damaging heat away from the CPU as well as reducing overall chassis temperature levels. The system provides incredible thermal headroom, keeping pace with advances in processor technology and thus supporting the ability to maximise the performance of high performance PCs.
Users have the option to switch between three operation modes with the simple push of a button satisfying the need for quiet or the desire for over clocking performance. Domino A.L.C. is the only cooling solution with an integrated display providing system status as well as audible alerts if attention is required. The advanced micro-controller auto-regulates performance to ensure continuous protection for maintaining CPU reliability.
The compact Domino A.L.C. is factory sealed ready to be quickly and easily installed into the most crowded chassis. Mounting hardware for Intel 775/1366 and AMD AM2+ processors is included along with a specially engineered retention mechanism which ensures an optimum interface with the CPU and limits the weight on the motherboard to well below the maximum specified by CPU manufacturers.  
This system of carefully designed and selected components will provide over 50,000 hours or worry free operation backed by an unprecedented 2 year manufacturer warranty.  
 
 
Packaging
 
The Domino came in a medium size single walled cardboard box which was riddled with detail about it's contents. There were pictures of the product all over the box, along with a lot of text and diagrams highlighting the various selling points and features on the unit. It felt a little like they had copy and pasted most of the product page form their site onto the box, but never the less the box was eye-catching and informative.
 
 
The cardboard was looking a little worse for wear after its journey too me. This tripped off a little concern about what the state the contents were in. However after opening the box and finding the Domino to be sandwiched tightly in a formed plastic casing, though fears were swayed.
 
 
The casing was even sandwiched with two layers of white foam too add an extra edge of protection. The packaging should provide adequate protection to keep it's contents safe on its journey from an e-tailer to your door. The only niggle being that a slightly more substantial between the block and radiator, as the Domino did suffer a slight nick in transit that you can see on the next page.
 
Next up we'll take a look at the product itself...


Coolit Domino A.L.C. DM-1000 CPU Cooler Page: 2
Appearance
 
Looking over the Coolit Domino you see it's a pretty simple device really. The pump, radiator and reservoir are all built into one section. With the tubing protruding from it and out to meet the block.
 
 
The block is a pretty simple affair, low profile and quite unsubstantial when weighed up against the likes of the XSPC Delta. The base, as the cooler arrived, was covered in a grey TIM, hiding what appears to be a quite shiny surface underneath. This made me wonder as to what metal the block is made of and whether or not it was plated. The mounting bracket fit with a simple plastic screw and washer. The screw would have been more confidence inspiring if it was metal, but it didn't really serve more of a purpose than to stop the plate falling off while you mount it so it wasn't really a massive issue.
 
 
The tubing was stiff. Very stiff. As you may be able to tell from the pictures, however, once bent into place it stayed there. It wouldn't surprise me if there was some form of wire inside to aid it's malleability.
 
 
The pump/res/rad part of the unit felt fairly solid. Starting with the outside, panel containing the LCD was rather swish looking, bearing the mark of Coolit Systems and letting anyone who takes a peak in you case (or though a window) exactly which of their products your using. The LCD its self isn't massive, but we will have to see if it does the job while testing. Moving around we come to a standard 120mm fan. The rubber mounts come pre attached, but as you will see form the accessories below you also have the option to mount the cooler with screws. I for one am a bit sceptical of how firm a grip these rubber mounts will produce, so we have another thing to add to our checklist when testing swings around.
 
 
Swinging the camera further around we see the rad. This looked very much like most of the PC water cooling radiators I've seen in my time and felt a little reminiscent of a Thermochill radiator. There was a few very minor bent fins on the face of the rad, perhaps packaging could have been a little better to stop the block causing havoc.
 
 
Lastly we see the pump, and compact isn't the word to describe it. It makes Laing's DDC look like the empire state building. This does cast concern over its performance though. If it's so small the motor can't be massively powerful, and therefore will it limit the flow? Although with such thin tubing, will it matter? More to find out with testing!
 
 
Coolit don't shower you with accessories with the Domino, but you don't need more than what they give you. There's a mount and back plate for every modern socket (including LGA1366), along with a pile of screws to mount the product if the rubber seems inadequate and a detailed instruction manual of which I was rather impressed with.
 
So the Domino is a fairly good looking, well built bit of kit. Next up we'll see if it maintains it's standards in the area of performance and functionality.


Coolit Domino A.L.C. DM-1000 CPU Cooler Page: 3
Installation
 
For testing the Coolit Domino was installed into a system comprising of the following components:
 
Intel Xeon 3070 (Stock & 3.6Ghz, 1.4v)
DFI DK P45 TR2S Plus
2GB Crucial Balistix
4850X2
 
Here I would normally outline the procedure of installing the cooler under the spotlight today, but this time around coolit have out done my simple words with an instructional video!
 
 
There really isn't much more to installing the Domino into your case, it's ridiculously easy. Coolit certainly have hit the nail on the head in this department. Something they missed out of the video, that is mentioned in the instruction manual, however, is the idea of using a little bit of tape to hold the back plate on. A mindbogglingly simple addition that can solve the only slightly tricky bit of the installation.
 
I said on the previous page I'd report on how the rubber mounts worked out during installation, and I can report they were quite good once they were in and secure. A little bit of vibration dampening which was a welcome factor and they weren't going to fall out any time soon. However during the installation, pulling the through the holes wasn't so simple. They had a tendency to stretch a rather long way before actually clipping in. I wasn't willing to find out how far they'd stretch before they break, but I'd advise anyone installing one of these to take care.
 
 
Another thing I mentioned on the previous page was the LCD. This certainly did do it's job, displaying a few useful statistics about the cooler without going OTT.
 
 
Test Methodology
 
The first test conducted was the tried and tested 'strap the cooler to a chip and see how it fairs' method. The Domino was tested using a Xeon 3070 mentioned above, in both stock and overclocked states. The system was left to undisturbed for 30mins after boot and the temperature then recorded for the idle reading. This was followed by a 30 minute Prime95 romp to take the loaded reading. Ambient throughout was 20° (+/- 0.5°). The test was then repeated 3 times using each of the Domino's performance modes.
 
The next test conducted was a simulated load test. The cooler was set to work finding it's equilibrium temperature when exposed to the heat generated by a certain amount of power. The cooler was tested at points of 50w, 100w, 150w and 200w to see how it would cope under various levels. Once again ambient was 20° (+/- 0.5°). The test was performed using a custom built load tester. This device uses two 200w cartridge heaters to warm up a small block of copper, allowing a flat surface for the heat sink being tested to be mounted on. The majority of the block is then insulated to minimise heat escaping via anything other than the side that the sink is mounted in. The heat dissipated by the twin cartridges is regulated via a variac, and the power between the variac and the cartridges is measured to ensure that the correct amount of power is being drawn. The temperature of the block is taken via a digital thermometer and k-type probe, from a small hole drilled into the copper between the two cartridges.
 
The noise levels emitted from the cooler are extremely hard to asitane without some very expensive equipment, therefore you will have to rely on my fair ear for judgement in this department.


Coolit Domino A.L.C. DM-1000 CPU Cooler Page: 4
CPU Test Results
 
Our first batch of results come form the real world CPU tests. The temperatures were taken at Idle and load conditions and at stock and overclocked states. The overclock used was 3.6ghz @ 1.4v.
 
 
As you can see the Domino's quiet mode was letting things get a little toasty. There was a massive difference in the stock and overclocked states with this cooler, as you can see from the graph the loaded stock result matched the idle overclocked state! That being said though, only the overclocked load state was really  concerning. Letting a chip reach 72°C on a daily basis may not be in it's best interests.
 
 
Moving up to the balanced mode. The temperatures start to look a bit more promising. Dragging the loaded overclocked temperature down by 4°C to a more acceptable level. A slightly lesser drop on the stock idle and overclocked load temperatures, coming in at 3° cooler, but still neck and neck. Then lastly only a 1°C drop off the stock idle temperature.
 
 
The last graph for the CPU tests shows us the temperatures for the Domino's performance mode. Here temperatures are really looking quite appealing. It managed to hold the hottest of the settings to only 2°C above 60°. Also this was the only setting at which the overclocked idle state didn't match the loaded stock. Lastly the coolest setting, stock idle, was given to be nearly the same as the ambeint temperature, which is quite impressive.
 
 
Simulated Load Test
 
For the simulated load tests the coolit was run at it's highest setting, to keep it on par with the other coolers tested who had their fans run at full whack. The points of 50, 100, 150 and 200 watts were used and ambient temperature throughout testing was 20°C (+/- 0.5°C).
 
 
These results speak for themselves. The Domino running at full has outperformed everything tested so far on the load simulator by a good margin. the most impressive being under 50°C on the 200w test.
 
 
Noise
 
Now this department is a little trickier than the temperatures. It's easy to say if a HSF running it quiet or not, but the Domino having 3 different performance levels complicates things a little. So, as a result, I'll attempt to describe the noise levels at each setting, starting with the highest. This is plain loud. The fan and pump both running at full speed kick up a nasty racket and if your concerned about the noise of a cooler at all you wouldn't want this running 24/7. The middle setting was alot more tolerable than the high, with the fan slowed the unit became much quieter compared to the high. This setting could be used 24/7 if you didn't mind a little background noise. Lastly the lowest setting was really quiet quiet. In comparison to the high setting it was a whisper, but the gap from medium to low was smaller than high to medium. It wasn't silent, but the low setting was quiet enough to be used comfortably in a 24/7 environment. The question then raised is do you want to sacrifice the temperatures for the noise?
 
Flip the page to see the conclusion for the Domino...


Coolit Domino A.L.C. DM-1000 CPU Cooler Page: 5
Conclusion
 
So how do we sum up the Domino A.L.C? Well over the last few pages we've seen that it's a well built unit that feels solid enough to last. The Domino is a good looking solution too, that might be down to the fact that once installed you can't see much more than the panel that houses the LCD display, but we can let that go. Installation couldn't be easier with a thorough instruction manual that would manage to guide my grandma through the fitting process.
 
The performance  is a little here and there, depending on what your looking for in a cooler the Domino could be everything you need or a worst nightmare. The performance when the unit is running at it's highest setting is extremely impressive. The CPU tests yielded some good results, the highest temperature hitting 62°C which is more than acceptable.The simulated load results were even more promising with the Domino all out blitzing all other coolers tested here. The highest temp seen on the 200w test being still under 50°C! This is certainly impressive for an all in one cooler. The trade off for these nice temperatures however, is the fact that the Coolit is frankly far too loud at it's most powerful. This is a let-down, but then we have to sit back and look at the other two modes that the Domino comes pre-programed with. The mid setting was quite acceptable in the noise department, but the temperatures did suffer on the CPU tests. Most of the temperatures were quite reasonable, but again the hottest overclocked and loaded state approached 70°C, but managed to hold back from it by 2°C. The lowest setting however is, as you'd expect, the quietest. But the temperatures do suffer even more. The hottest test this time beating 70°C by 2°C which is a little toasty.
 
The Domino can be found over at various etailers for £75-80, for example Novatech have it for £77.04 at the time of writing, making it a tad on the expensive side as far as coolers go.
 
Overall I've been a lot more impressed with the Domino than I thought I would be going into this review. Most surprising was the simulated results, showing it's a very capable cooler. It's a tough call when it comes to recommending this over a lot of the high end air heat sinks however. It's a few more pennies, but it does offer a little more versatility via it's three performance levels.
 
 
The Good
- Cooling performance at high setting
- Noise levels at low setting
- Looks good
- Protective Packaging
- Simple Installation
 
 
The Mediocre
- Price may not be justifiable
 
 
The Bad
- Noise at high setting
 
 
 
Thanks to Coolit for providing the sample for review.
 
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