Enermax dips into liquid cooling

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.

Comments closed
    • Chrispy_
    • 7 years ago

    Two things have to happen before CPU watercooling has any real meaning:

    1) Processors have to get hotter and noisier. Even a decent overclock on air can still be pretty cool and quiet.

    2) Graphics cards coolers need to get quieter.

    • Corrado
    • 7 years ago

    Looks identical to the Antec Kuhler 620, which can be had for $59.99 at Microcenter.

    [url<]http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0391500[/url<] I actually got mine for $44.99 on sale there a few months back. Great deal.

    • HisDivineOrder
    • 7 years ago

    Every time I consider reducing the number of fans in my system by using one (or two) of the exhausts as an exhaust for a closed kit like this, I read the reviews and see all these people saying, “30 days in, I heard an alarm and I opened up my case and there was this sickly sweet fluid everywhere!” I like the idea of silence (because silence is the new overclocker’s dream, I still remember (and have) my Delta Black), but I distrust the pump and the guy who put the hoses together.

    And I think, “Air cooling can’t leak when it breaks.” Moreover, I tend to keep my hardware a good long while (rocking a Q6600 cooled by TRUE 120, GF8800 768, 680i SLI here) and I just don’t trust that the watercooling kit would live THAT long as reliably as air cooling. I’m not sure how they could convince me otherwise, either.

    I’d probably trust a system I had access to (the kits you construct yourself) more because I had some control over how it was put together, how firmly it was connected, and something I could do if it needed a refill besides complaining on boards about how it stopped one day…

    One thing I know is that I don’t think Enermax is a company I’d trust to get watercooling right. Corsair, Thermaltake, Antec… yes. Enermax? Not so much. Next, we’ll have OCZ Watercooling kits that require constant firm updates…

      • WhatMeWorry
      • 7 years ago

      “…there was this sickly sweet fluid everywhere..”

      Are you guys tasting it? Now that’s dedication! 🙂

        • Duck
        • 7 years ago

        edit: nevermind

      • Ringofett
      • 7 years ago

      Sounds anecdotal, does anyone have information on if those sorts of units have a high rate of returns or anything? I got an E6600 system I brought from home and now use in the office that’s been using the same Corsair Nautilus 500 since, I think, 2006.. and with not nearly as many fluid changes as I should’ve made for it not being factory sealed. Been water cooling since 2001 in general and never had a leak once I was finished putting something together; I gotta suspect operator error..

        • Pholostan
        • 7 years ago

        I’ve had several of those closed kits, the oldest is H50. Has been running 24/7 now for a couple of years. Leaks? Never heard of them. Had a pump in a one Corsair-system starting to go noisy on me, and the RMA was no problem. I’ve used Antec-systems too, and my impression is that all those closed kits are pretty well sealed. If it doesn’t leak right away, I’m a bit sceptical that leaks would start in 30 days. Sounds like hearsay to me.

          • JustAnEngineer
          • 7 years ago

          I had a pump failure on a Corsair H70 after a month of use. My first H70 is still going strong.

      • Duck
      • 7 years ago

      Heatpipes are like solid state water pumps. Watercooling for silence is a complete myth. I’ve tried the watercooling thing long before these all in one kits were available. It was a major pain and a disappointment.

        • clone
        • 7 years ago

        water cooling can be totally silent, the setup just needs to be overbuilt.

        did a setup using 2 dual 120mm radiators (used 1 low rpm 120mm fan) handling just the cpu and placed the pump at the front of the case pushing auto coolant, instead of using a T line I used a Peace symbol shape which allowed me to use the offline as the reservoir and bleeder while not disrupting flow once sealed so no bubbling in a reservoir.

        no noise whatsoever.

        that said until Ivy Bridge arrived I’d walked away from water because it was more hassle than it was worth…. with air cooling you set it and forget it for 12 months if you want then clean out the dust and forget it for another year, with water it’s just not the same and flushing out the coolant just sucks.

          • Duck
          • 7 years ago

          Anything with a pump will be too noisy to to be silent. You must have severe hearing damage to claim otherwise.

            • UltimateImperative
            • 7 years ago

            A D5 at setting 2, resting on foam, is no louder than my AP181s running at ~800 rpm.

            • Duck
            • 7 years ago

            I’ve owned a D4. ‘Professional’ reviews used the word silent to describe it. Silent is a popular word banded around by lots of other watercooling people too to describe the D4 and other things. However, a more accurate description of the D4 pump would be in my opinion, “incredibly loud”.

            Nothing personal, but anything written about noise and watercooling by you or clone or others like you, I will surly baulk at.

            • UltimateImperative
            • 7 years ago

            It really depends on vibration insulation. Using a D5 with the default bracket will be incredibly noisy. It is not silent, even with good isolation and at a low speed, but it is quieter than the relatively quiet fans in my FT-02 (as per SCPR & others). And my system is certainly quieter overall (under gaming load) than it was with my two 6950s on air (with reference coolers, mind).

            • clone
            • 7 years ago

            just because you can’t do liquid proper doesn’t mean it can’t be done, your issue, believe what you like my system after swapping out the HDD for CSSD …. no noise left to generate.

            • clone
            • 7 years ago

            no hearing issues, tested 2 years ago for work, case sits 28 inches away, pump is rubber mounted and once bled with the coolant properly mixed so it’s slick enough their is 0 noise unless I stick my head in the case and their is nothing else making noise….. wait for a moment with my ear to the pump and ok it’s running.

            instead when I power up because no bubbles & no gurgles, I have to grab the cpu line to make sure it’s running.

            instead of using a conventional reservoir my cpu line is broken into an angled T line with one for the cpu the other to the top of the case, any bubbles that were in system eventually found their way up the line and because the flow is unimpeded no noise, when the level in the fill line drops a little I put a little coolant to top it off and it feeds into the main line as required.

            • Washer
            • 7 years ago

            Either you’ve suffered from major hearing lose in that two year span or your mind is playing tricks on you. At 28 inches from you the fans on the radiator should be easily hear, 1200 RPM is not low at all, especially the noise that’s caused blowing through a radiator. Not to mention that your pump puts out noise besides the vibrations if improperly mounted. What, does your PSU never turn on its fan either?

            • clone
            • 7 years ago

            2 X dual 120mm radiators, 1 radiator mounted under the case has 1 X 120mm fan on top of it running 800rpm blowing out the bottom….. no noise.

            case has dual 120mm holes cut into it’s base for bottom radiator.

            the pump emits almost no noise at all, once rubber (properly) mounted it’s all in the slickness of the coolant, when I was using water wetter and a reservoir that sat in one of the 3.5 bays the noise was audible, drained the system, got rid of the reservoir and went with 50% glycol to water, that left minor bubbling which bled away within 2 days of use as the T line separated the last of the bubbles into the fill line and the last of the audible noise went with it.

            850 watt silverstone psu that shuts it’s fan off when not needed let alone never ramped it up anyway…. no noise.

            originally used the system with a CPU, NB, and GPU block hence the dual 120mm radiators but eventually paired it down but left the radiators in place.

        • UltimateImperative
        • 7 years ago

        Heatpipes contain vapour and liquid. Watercooling may have come a long way since your days. With enough raddage (at least 2x120mm per component, ideally more) and a well decoupled pump, you can run a very quiet system at very low temperatures. Watercooling is pretty much the only way you can get a quiet multi-gpu rig too.

        • Corrado
        • 7 years ago

        I tried water cooling back in the day (early 2000’s) and it was a nightmare and CRAZY expensive. I spent $200+ only to give up after 2 weeks of not being able to get the system to purge properly.

        I now have one of the Antec units and couldn’t be happier. I took it out of the box and I plugged it in. It works, it makes a little bit of noise at start up and then gets silent. I’m using a basic 120mm CoolerMaster fan that came with my case on it. My 2500K @ stock clocks idles @ 29C and under load will touch 50C. I paid $44.99 for it. You can’t barely get a decent air cooler for $45 anymore. The highest I’ve seen it was 52C and I don’t have a huge chuck of metal cantilevering 140mm off of my motherboard.

      • rrr
      • 7 years ago

      “Next, we’ll have OCZ Watercooling kits that require constant firm updates…”

      Thumbed up for that line.

      • d34thly
      • 7 years ago

      You have the same exact set-up my wife has. Are your friends using syrup for watercooling because that’s the only explanation for their cooling failing in 30 days and bleeding out “sticky sweet” fluid. Maybe your friend eats lots of pineapple and love’s his PC waaaaaaaaay too much; That would also explain the sticky sweet fluid.

        • Washer
        • 7 years ago

        Kits like the ones from Corsair use a propylene glycol based coolant.

      • Washer
      • 7 years ago

      Closed loop kits are a rip off to be frank. Even though I’ve heard few reports of leaks the performance difference over similar cost air cooling set ups is hardly worth the potential problems. Not to mention that the pumps are never silent (Hey, I agree with Duck on something!). At least with a semi-custom kit (meaning anything not closed) you can achieve significant thermal improvements, even if you’ll still never achieve a truly quiet setup.

      Purchase a quality heatsink and match it with equal quality fans. You’ll have a lower noise level and be able to overclock just fine. Overclocking in the last few years has been reduced to audiophile level nonsense products. Spending 10x as much to eek out a 5% increase in performance screams to me that people need a hobby besides their computer.

      • maxxcool
      • 7 years ago

      Have not had one spill or fail yet, been water cooling since the Northwoods came out.

    • clone
    • 7 years ago

    the article is disappointing….. I was hoping the article was regarding Enermax coming up with passive water cooling for it’s power supply’s.

    instead Enermax moving into CPU cooling…. BFD have 2 vastly more capable units in the cabinet now.

    • RtFusion
    • 7 years ago

    I wonder if Swiftech helped with these designs (or whoever makes these closed kits for Corsair and Antec).

      • MadManOriginal
      • 7 years ago

      I think that’s Asetek.

      • spuppy
      • 7 years ago

      It’s (yet) another Asetek (add Thermaltake to the list)

      Solid performance, but I’d go with an NH-D14 if you have the space for it, over a standard Asetek 120mm size enclosed liquid cooler.

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