Computex — Perhaps because Intel's Sandy Bridge-E CPUs ship without heatsinks (and with toasty 130W TDPs), we've seen an awful lot of water coolers at the Computex trade show in Taipei, Taiwan. A number of new players are entering the market, including Enermax, which showed us its ELC-120.
The block's exterior will ring a few bells for folks familiar with all-in-one water coolers. Enermax doesn't build the ELC-120, which shares some parts with several other designs currently on the market. However, Enermax tells us the block's internals, the radiator, and the pump are all custom designs built to its specifications.
According to Enermax, its design uses the "right" pump speed—slow enough to maximize the amount of heat absorbed by the coolant but fast enough to keep it from lingering around the CPU. Figuring out that speed requires complicated physics, the company said, and the internal structure of the block is an important element in the equation. Likewise, the radiator has been tuned to work with one of the company's 120-mm fans.
To prove its point, Enermax had a demo set up against a couple of anonymous competitors. The ELC-120 indeed delivered lower temperatures with the static hot plates under each cooler. However, the temperature differentials were larger than the 1-3°C deltas listed in the massive sign above the demo station. I suspect the quoted figures apply to performance with a real CPU.
The ELC-120 is rated to dissipate up to 250W, and its mounting bracket fits all CPU sockets. Expect to see it on shelves in July for $80 or less. A second-generation unit with a tweaked block design is already being planned for later this year, and a dual-radiator version is in the cards, as well.