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Review: Koolance Exos-Al

by Tarinder Sandhu on 30 September 2004, 00:00

Tags: Koolance

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Koolance Exos-Al Watercooling Kit

Ask most people and hot, lazy summer days are great for working on your tan and for taking leisurely strolls through the park. Ask the same question to PC enthusiasts and the same summer days are a real bane. Ambient temperatures in the high 20s significantly reduce the ability of regular air coolers to keep high-end graphics cards and wattage-eating CPUs at reasonable levels. A few hot summer days go by and enthusiast-orientated forums are usually filled with lamentations of reduced overclocks and searing component temperatures.

The heat issue, both environment and component created, is one that's difficult to counter with regular air cooling. The simple and obvious truth is that air cooling is a slave to ambient air temperature. The use of larger, better-designed coolers and fans helps, for sure, but there's no getting away from the fact that air cooling has significant limitations.

Watercooling has always been a viable option to an air-cooled setup. Water is far better than plain ol' air at absorbing and transferring heat away from a heatsink, up to 50X better heat capacity in some cases. The lack of noise was considered to be another benefit of a watercooled system. The problem, up until fairly recently, was the thought of installing your own block, radiator, pump and tubing inside a case. What size tubing to get?. Will it all work?. How to set it up?. What about leaks?. These were the kind of questions that plagued many would-be watercoolers.

Then came all-in-one kits with the constituent parts already installed, usually in external, self-contained units, such that case modification wasn't necessary. Pushfit fittings made the job of connecting up the whole shebang an easy one. Recent kits from the likes of Corsair and Koolance simplified the whole process to an extent that novice users could install a kit within a few minutes, so it's easy to see why watercooling is now on the rise.

Koolance recently sent us its Exos-Al external watercooling kit for review. At the time, ambient temperatures of 25c and a burning 3.4GHz Prescott CPU was pushing our Intel reference copper-based heatsink/fan to the limit.