Date: February 16, 2007
Author(s): Greg King
CoolIT has followed up to their successful Freezone cooler with a more affordable solution called the Eliminator. It has the same technology under the hood, but does its cooling ability aide it in being worth the asking price?
Last month, Rob and I made the journey out to Las Vegas for CES. While there, we met with CoolIT and went over the latest news concerning their products and partnerships. It seemed that the entire week leading up to CES was filled with one news release after another about their partnerships with OEM system builders.
For those of you that might not have heard about CoolIT, they are the first company to bring peltiers into the mainstream with their Freezone CPU cooler that we reviewed last November. In that review, we found that the Freezone kept the Intel E6600â€™s temperatures well below ambient and if you factor in the ease of installation, it was/is the best cooler we have ever worked with. This includes air and water.
What makes the Freezone so unique is that it uses a factory sealed water loop, is driven by a pump and is cooled off in a radiator. While this sounds exactly like any self contained water kit, what makes it unique is the use of peltiers. While the peltier effect is a rather simple concept, I will let the experts do the talking. For more information on this, please check out the wiki on the Peltier-Seeback effect. What CoolIT did was take the Freezoneâ€™s radiator and line peltiers along the top and the bottom.
This aggressively chilled the water running through the radiator and from there, went onto the custom built water block. The results were core temperatures well below anything we have seen outside of the realm of phase change. While we were left extremely excited about the Freezone and the capabilities it had, we were left a bit uneasy with the price. At $300 (US), the Freezone is worth every penny but at that point, it is placed well out of the range of most PC enthusiasts.
Answering the call for a less expensive model, CoolIT has delivered the Eliminator. Using the same technology that the Freezone uses, the Eliminator is priced around the $200 range and features a few different approaches to style and functionality that the Freezone didnâ€™t. One saying that I often go by, and more often than not it plays out true, is that you get what you pay for. I am not saying that $200 is cheap, but is there a $100 difference between the Eliminator and the Freezone? If so, which would we personally recommend to you, the end user? One thing is for sure, if the Eliminator can perform half as well as the Freezone, the PC enthusiast crowd is in for a treat. Without testing the unit, we canâ€™t make this call at this time but by the end of the review, we should have a good idea of how well it stacks up against its bigger, more expensive brother.
Reaching our office in itâ€™s retail packaging, the overall appearance of the box in positive. Colorful and informative, with a clear front to show off the design of the Eliminator, the packaging was well done by CoolIT.
As stated earlier, the front of the Eliminatorâ€™s box is clear, allowing any potential and/or lucky buyer to see what exactly they are getting themselves into. With their slogan running along the time, â€œTarget the hearâ€¦ kill the noise,â€ I canâ€™t help but chuckle. One of the few problems with the Freezone, if you can even call it a problem, was the noise when the unit was set to high. Like I said, not really a problem, but something I found humorous.
Moving to the back of the package, we see a long list of awards and comments, as well as a brief description of what the Eliminator does. Sadly, no quotes from the Techgage Freezone article could be found. Canâ€™t win them all I suppose. CoolIT gets a pardon from us this roundâ€¦
The box goes onto share performance statistics and while they are colorful and well done, we will omit these in favor of our own to be found later in the review. It would appear that I have taken the editorial reigns and ran with them. Seriously, the packaging was well done and most importantly, easy to open.
Speaking of openâ€¦ Once we had the unit out of the box, we see that it comes packaged not in Styrofoam like the Freezone did, but rather a foam type material. Soft and secure, the Eliminator appeared to survive delivery.
Once free from its packaging, the Eliminator appears to look very similar to its older brother. With a large brushed aluminum piece along the side facing out to cover up its innards, the Eliminator is a bit smaller. One thing that I am excited for, and that I wish they would include in their Freezone model, is the logo that lights up. With a soft blue glow, the logo is sure to look killer in the dark, especially behind a windowed PC case.
When we turn over the Eliminator on its bottom, we see the large center heatsink and two of the three blue reservoirs. The reservoirs are chilled by one peltier unit each. As they get to working, the hot side of the peltier transfers itâ€™s heat into the center heatsink which is in turn, cooled by the 92mm fan. The cool side of the peltier chills the water running through the reservoirs and is then delivered to the CPU water block. The route that the water takes is pump > reservoir > reservoir > reservoir > water block and then back to the pump. You will notice that the water runs through each of the reservoirs on its way to the CPU, ensuring that the liquid is cool when it reaches your processor.
Turning the Eliminator once more, we get to the back of the unit. Technically identical to the side, why not take a look?
One thing that many people found inconvenient in the Freezone was the control module. With that model, the circuit board that controlled the Freezone was completely separate and had to be affixed somewhere in the host PC case. It would seem that CoolIT listened to the masses and changed things up a bit. Located on the cooler itself is the controller board. Gone is the small little rheostat that controlled the Freezone. In its place, we have one small switch with three setting.
Those settings and I am sure you guessed it, are low, medium and high. This board is located on the end of the aluminum guard. This makes it convenient to open up the case and simply adjust the switch. With that being the major difference, we start to see the similarities between the two coolers. The Eliminator is powered by one single 4-pin Molex connector and both are small with the Eliminatorâ€™s board being a bit shorter.
Moving onto the water block, the Eliminator uses the same block as the Freezone and both come with thermal paste already applied. While a small gesture, shipping with thermal paste already applied greatly speeds up installation and is nice touch that most companies should consider.
Connecting the reservoirs to the water block and the pump is the tubing. Secured to the hardware with metal ring clamps, leaking should be a distant concern. On the tubing, CoolIT has placed anti-kink coils. This not only helps keep the tubes open for water flow, but also look pretty killer as well. The greenish blue liquid that runs through the Eliminator also adds to the overall look of the unit. To bad itâ€™s not UV reactive.
Lastly, we move to the fan. Manufactured by Young Lin Tech. Co., CoolIT has once again opted to use a 92mm model. While not better than an 80mm, few cases have this size fan and thus, the adapter is needed. There have actually been people who’ve removed the fan and placed a 120mm on the unit with much success. While not a huge deal, it would help to quiet the coolers down a bit and also eliminate the need for an adapter plate. However, I am sure itâ€™s much cheaper to just cut out aluminum squares than it is to purchase all new fans.
All in all, I like the design of the Eliminator. CoolIT really seemed to have listened to the critics and took what worked and retained it. They also took what didnâ€™t work, or rather could be improved, and adapted the design of the Eliminator to reflect that. There is something to say about a company that will take the publicâ€™s opinion to heart. And this is not to say that there was anything terrible wrong with the Freezone because there isnâ€™t. I personally run one in my personal computer and I love it. But with anything, there are areas that can be improved upon and it seems that CoolIT has listened.
If you read the Freezoneâ€™s review, one thing that we loved about it was that installation was incredibly simple. Not only did having everything put together for you, the thermal paste was installed. All that really needed to be done was place the controller board somewhere in your PC case, install the 120mm adapter and mount the unit with the 4 provided bolts. From there, its just plug and play. Very simple, especially for a water cooling kit. The most annoying part, and this has nothing to do with CoolIT per se, but more with the 775 platform, was installing the mounting standoffs onto the motherboard.
I am glad to say that the installation of the Eliminator was just as easy. CoolIT was able to even eliminate the need to install the controller board and the fan adapter by installing it for you.
The first thing that needs to be done is to remove the motherboard and install the stand offs. Aside from having to remove the motherboard from the case, this is a painless process. Simply place one of the included nylon washers onto the bolt, run it through the mounting hole on the motherboard, place another washer on the top and then screw on the stand off. Simply tighten the two together and repeat 3 other times. If you have a small wrench, you can use it to hold the stand off in place while you screw down the bolt, or you can use the provided wrench. Simple but effective.
Since there is virtually no difference in the installation of the Freezone and the Eliminator, a few pictures from the Freezone review will be used. This is an easy way to make up for my poor photography skills and if some pictures look familiar, itâ€™s because they are recycled from the previous review.
Here is the back of the motherboard.
The front of the motherboard looks the same. The nylon washers are there to prevent any metal to metal contact, as well as protect the motherboard itself when users torque down the screws.
Once everything is installed, it should look like this. The screws shouldnâ€™t be tightened down to terribly hard as you donâ€™t want to potentially damage your motherboard but as long as you tighten them down within reason, you shouldnâ€™t fear them coming loose.
Finally, we see the provided wrench. Not a big deal but itâ€™s definitely something nice to have on hand when you go to install your cooler.
Once everything is installed, we need to get the Eliminatorâ€™s block onto the CPU and the unit itself into the case. If you do not have a case with a removable motherboard tray, you will do yourself a favor by laying your case on its side when installing the Eliminator. This is assuming there are no Shokans using CoolITâ€™s hardware (sorry for the Mortal Kombat joke.)
The first thing you will want to do is install the block onto your CPU. This is rather easy and with a little patience, it is something that can be done in little to no time. Using the included 775 brackets, you simply install one and then the other.
Once on the motherboard, things should look like this. I like to place one down, and screw one side in. Then you can move to the other hole just to hold it in place. Then move to the second bracket and evenly screw them all down. Pretty simple.
Should anyone run into problems installing this unit, or the Freezone, CoolIT has provided a very complete and thorough manual that you can follow.
Once installed, the Eliminator doesnâ€™t take up much space at all. It does block the view of your CPU and the surrounding area but on most motherboards, there really isnâ€™t anything of much interest so nothing to worry about.
As stated earlier, the logo in the middle of the aluminum â€œshieldâ€ lights up. This is a nice addition and should certainly look good in a dark LAN hall. Notice that we are also using the CoolIT RAM fan. They were gracious to hand these out to the press and generally anyone that asked for them at CES. While they look cool and perform exceptionally well, I fully expected mine to take flight at any moment. They cool well but are incredibly loud.
Getting back to the point, lets see how the Eliminator looks when on. The first picture is with the lights on in the office and the second one is with the lights off.
With everything in the case and installed, letâ€™s see how the Eliminator performed.
To start out with, we will be testing the Eliminator by measuring the temperatures with the CPU idle as well as under 100% load. This will also be done with the system overclocked and the voltage bumped up. To test the Eliminator, we will be using our test system that consists of:
To get the CPU up to 100% load, CPU Burn-In will be used twice, one for each core. This will be ran for an half an hour at which point, the temps will be recorded using Core Temp Beta 0.93.
With the addition of CoolIT into the mainstream cooling market, the bar has been raised by products such as the Freezone and the Eliminator. As the results have shown, the Eliminator certainly holds itâ€™s own against its bigger, older brother. The lowest temps we saw with the Eliminator were 17 degrees Celsius. While this isnâ€™t as low as the 13 degrees we saw with the Freezone, the $100 price difference more than makes up for the few degree difference.
CoolIT has taken a rather unfamiliar cooling process and harnessed it into their products and the effort has truly paid off. They now have deals to work with many different OEM system builders, most notably Dell who they helped design their newest cooler for the XPS line of gaming rigs. When we look at the Eliminator by itself, it really shines as a CPU cooler. It is able to achieve sub ambient temperatures and does so with relative ease. While it gets rather loud on high, itâ€™s not obnoxious and for those that use headphones, this would be a perfect high performance cooler.
Even those who donâ€™t use a headset can appreciate the temps they will get with the Eliminator. I just wouldnâ€™t recommend running this thing on high in your bedroom but thatâ€™s ultimately up to the user. Itâ€™s only when you place it beside itâ€™s older brother that we can start to find shortcomings. It doesnâ€™t quite get as low of temps as the Freezone but it is cheaper, a third cheaper. The controller card is on the unit itself, allowing the userâ€™s case to look a bit cleaner and the three setting switch is a nice addition as well.
As we did with the Freezone, we love this product. CoolIT certainly has cornered the peltier cooling market and already, we are starting to see other companies crop up with coolers that use this same style of cooling. They say that imitation is the highest form of flattery. While I agree with this, CoolIT only needs to rest on the quality of their products. I highly recommend this cooler to anyone who is considering water cooling. As a water kit veteran, I would much rather deal with this and install it in less than an hour, instead of cutting tubing and installing everything piece by piece. If you can afford it, I would suggest the Freezone for the sheer power it has but if money is an issue, no one will go wrong picking up the Eliminator.
We walk away from the Eliminator very pleased. Itâ€™s performance cannot be questioned and for a budget liquid cooling option, you will not find a better deal. For ease of use, speedy installation and incredible performance, we are proud to award the CoolIT Eliminator a 9 out of 10. The only thing keeping this from getting an editors choice is the fact that we have used the Freezone. I am sure it sucks being great but still being in the shadow of your bigger brother. Keep up the good work CoolIT, and throw a back lit logo on the Freezone for the love of god!
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