Asetek Low Cost Liquid Cooling (LCLC) System

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The Asetek LCLC is available in a variety of configurations to accommodate a wide range of systems. In its most basic form, the LCLC system consists of just two parts connected together by plastic tubing; a single-fan heat exchanger and a cold plate and pump assembly. Multiple additional parts can be daisy-chained to the system to allow for GPU and chipset cooling as well as multi-processor support. The makes the LCLC system very robust but unfortunately it is not designed to be user upgradeable.

The heat exchanger is available in several sizes to accommodate 80mm, 92mm and 120mm fans. This means the LCLC can have a very small footprint, if desired, which will allow it to squeeze into smaller cases including mATX and DTX setups. If the case has an exterior-access fan mount that can accommodate at least an 80mm fan, then it probably has enough space to install a LCLC system.

Dual-fan heat exchangers are also available that can mount two 80mm, 92mm or 120mm fans. These significantly larger heat exchangers can provide the thermal capacity needed for more complex LCLC setups, which may be required to cool higher-end overclocked systems.

The LCLC's pump is integrated with the cold-plate into a single unit. This design concept is used by many all-in-one water cooling systems and it has the advantage of reducing the number of pieces in a completed setup. The pump/cold-plate unit (herein referred to as the "CPU block") is connected to the radiator unit by plastic tubing.

Enthusiasts prefer to use silicone tubing for water cooling since it is cheap, easy to work with and easy to install. Unfortunately silicone tubing is permeable and this inevitably leads to evaporation over time, which means the user needs to add more water and coolent to the system periodically. Since Asetek installs all the tubing at the factory, they are able to use plastics for tubing, which is more difficult to work with since it is more rigid than silicone. Plastic tubing is resistant to evaporation and this makes the LCLC nearly maintenance free. The tubing is also ribbed which makes kinking nearly impossible.

The CPU block used by the LCLC is fairly compact and it easily fits inside the footprint of a Core 2 era Intel stock cooler that nearly all cases are designed to accommodate. The intake and exhaust tubes exit from the top of the unit, which increases the effective height. Luckily the tubes protrude from one side of the unit, rather than the center, so the tubing can be bent off to one side in such a way that the vertical clearance required for the cooler only increases by about half an inch.

Also protruding from the top of the CPU block are two wires. The yellow and black straight-pair wire has a standard molex connector and provides power to the pump. The green and black twisted-pair wire ends in a standard 3-pin fan connector which provides the motherboard with information about the pump. This information appears in the BIOS and fan monitoring software under the "CPU fan RPM" field, although we presume the number corresponds to the RPM of the pump's impeller. Throughout testing, the pump reported an average RPM of 1250. This is a nice feature since it allows the motherboard to monitor the health of the pump and it also works with standard fan failure warning alarms, either in the BIOS or through software.

     
Asetek LCLC CPU block and push-pin mounting ring

The LCLC's CPU block does not have any built-in mounting hardware. In order to mount the unit on a motherboard, a separate mounting mechanism is required. There are several mounting mechanisms available, each designed for a different socket type. In the case of LGA775, both screw-in back-plate mounting and push-clip mounting are available. An advantage to this mounting system is the CPU block can be mounted in any direction, which may come in handy in cramped installations.

Our review unit came with a push-pin mounting mechanism which has the advantage of being easier to install since it doesn't require the motherboard to be removed from the case in order for a back-plate to be fitted. The mounting mechanism is ring-shaped with evenly spaced "teeth". These teeth perfectly match the ones on the CPU block. To install, the mounting ring is slid onto the CPU block, then the ring is turned in either direction so the teeth lock. Finally, the completed assembly is installed on the motherboard in the same manor as a standard Intel stock cooler. The entire assembly is very secure once installed, although we would still recommend the screw-in back-plate version if you frequently move your computer.

  
Asetek LCLC GPU cold-plate (top, bottom)

The LCLC supports GPU cooling with the water-block assembly shown above. It is significantly smaller than the CPU block since it does not house its own pump. Multiple GPU blocks can be daisy-chained in the same LCLC system to support SLI and Crossfire setups. The GPU block only cools the GPU itself. RAM and power regulation circuitry is cooled by a separate heatsink assembly with a shroud and fan, not unlike a standard double-height stock cooler, as you'll see on the next page. The LCLC currently supports the GeForce 8800 series and the Radeon 2900 XT. Asetek also just announced support for GeForce 9800GTX and 9800GX2 setups.

Both the CPU block and the GPU block have copper cold-plate surfaces. Both water blocks come with a thick layer of thermal paste pre-applied at the factory. Once the thermal paste is cleaned off, we can see that the cold-plate surfaces are very smooth. The CPU cold-plate has faint, circular machining marks while the GPU cold-plate surface is perfectly smooth.

Our review unit is configured with a single-fan 120mm heat-exchanger, single CPU block and a single GPU block, as seen in the pictures below. Like the rest of the system, the heat-exchanger unit is well built and fairly compact. It is about an inch thick and has mounting holes on both sides.

     
HotHardware's LCLC review unit configuration

Overall, the LCLC system seems to be well constructed. Everything felt sturdy and the materials appear to be of high quality. We liked that the pump can be monitored by the motherboard and we are also pleased that the cold-plate surfaces are very smooth.

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It looks like a fairly useful and easy setup... However, i'm not too impressed with the benchmarks (in the review)... I would have thought CPU temps under load would have been significantly lower with this system. It still seems like a good and functional water kit.

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I too was hoping to see lower CPU temperatures under load. I wonder how much of a difference the dual fan model with the larger radiator would make? It might be more effective if you were only using it to cool the CPU and it didn't have the additional heat from the GPU. I love the fact that it is a sealed system, and it would appear to be well priced.

Will the CPU block be compatible with the new Nehalem socket motherboards if they offer a new mounting ring for them?

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I am not surprised at all.

 

Watercooling + push pins = very poor results.

 

Add a single 120mm rad for CPU and GPU is nothing but fail. 

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trueg50:

I am not surprised at all.

 

Watercooling + push pins = very poor results.

 

Add a single 120mm rad for CPU and GPU is nothing but fail. 

yea gonna have to argee with that. this seem like it gonna be a major problem with sli. it might match the stock cooling for the gpu in sli lol.

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where you can buy this product ( asetek lclc- low cost liquid cooling system

 

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higgamo:

trueg50:

I am not surprised at all.

 

Watercooling + push pins = very poor results.

 

Add a single 120mm rad for CPU and GPU is nothing but fail. 

yea gonna have to argee with that. this seem like it gonna be a major problem with sli. it might match the stock cooling for the gpu in sli lol.

I agree with that sentiment. A 120mm rad isn't nearly enough for both a high-end CPU and GPU. But the LCLC does come with other rads, including dual-120mm if you're so inclined. The version used in the Blackbird has the dual-120mm rad. From what I can surmise from the original marketing material, the LCLC was originally designed with mATX applications in mind so all-out performance wasn't really what they were trying to do.

Besides, which self-respecting water cooling enthusiast would even consider a kit? Most people probably aren't too concerned with all-out performance at the sacrifice of everything else.

mr.gallo18:

where you can buy this product ( asetek lclc- low cost liquid cooling system

 

A bunch of online stores have it, although a lot of the really big ones don't. I do know that NCIX current has it on both their US and Canadian website. I've shopped at their Canadian site a lot and can vouch that it's a pretty good store. I think Newegg had it at some point but it doesn't seem to be in there system anymore.

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LovelyCrap:


Besides, which self-respecting water cooling enthusiast would even consider a kit? Most people probably aren't too concerned with all-out performance at the sacrifice of everything else.

well 99% ill agreed with that but i was planing on sff mod build and was hoping to see it would do alittle better then it did. Wanted to use a kit so to lower the chance of damage from movement and less maintance. =)

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higgamo:

LovelyCrap:


Besides, which self-respecting water cooling enthusiast would even consider a kit? Most people probably aren't too concerned with all-out performance at the sacrifice of everything else.

well 99% ill agreed with that but i was planing on sff mod build and was hoping to see it would do alittle better then it did. Wanted to use a kit so to lower the chance of damage from movement and less maintance. =)

Isn't the LCLC still basically the one of the best solutions? Especially for under $100. With most SFF cases, you have serious vertical clearance issues and unless you mod the case you won't be able to fit in a 120mm wonder-tower heatsink like the Thermalright Ultra-120. Even if you did fit a mega-tower in there, you'd be cripped by the crappy air-flow most of the time (again, unless you mod). The Silverstone NT-06 we used for comparison in the review is actually really popular with the SFF crowd exactly because it happens to be low enough to fit into most SFF cases. On all Silverstone SFF cases, it is probably the best air cooler to use because they are all designed with the PSU positioned right over the CPU socket, so you can throw a NT-06 on your processor and it should meet up nicely with the PSU fan, which would do double-duty as the CPU fan. From what I've seen, it's actually a pretty effective way to do it, although it sort of stresses the PSU, since all that hot air from the CPU is going through it but it shouldn't be an issue if you get a high quality unit. So if you were using a Silverstone SUGO (v1, v2 or v3) or an X-QPack, the LCLC looks like a winner to me. "Desktop" style cases are a different story, but I don't really consider those SFF, since they are often about the size of the standard mid-tower, except on its side.

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Dont get me wrong i think LCLC is a great solution. i was planing on moding a Swiftech H20-120 in to a sff case which has been proven possible with the case i had chosen. I seen people posting numbers for there H20-120 that are below LCLC, not sure if they install a better fan or not. i was just hoping that the lclc would do better then H20-120. Sorry if i upset you, wasnt saying the LCLC is a bad product. 

P.s. (not sure if the cpu temp with the LCLC was test with or without the gpu) 

 

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higgamo:

Dont get me wrong i think LCLC is a great solution. i was planing on moding a Swiftech H20-120 in to a sff case which has been proven possible with the case i had chosen. I seen people posting numbers for there H20-120 that are below LCLC, not sure if they install a better fan or not. i was just hoping that the lclc would do better then H20-120. Sorry if i upset you, wasnt saying the LCLC is a bad product. 

P.s. (not sure if the cpu temp with the LCLC was test with or without the gpu) 

 

Hey higgamo, what gave you the idea that I was upset? Just stating my opinion and responding to your comments. No harm, no foul.

CPU test was with GPU connected. Probably would have performed a bunch better if the GPU wasn't connected too. With only a single 120mm fan, you can't really expect killer performance for both CPU and a 8800 at the same time, but if you're going SFF, you don't really have a choice for a bigger heat exchanger. The H20-120 is CPU only, correct? If I remember correctly, the H20-120 looks pretty much the exact same as a CPU-only LCLC config. I think the LCLC still comes in cheaper, unless you can get the H20-120 on sale. But the H20-120 is definitely a lot easier to find in retail. I didn't test the CPU-only LCLC so I can't comment on the performance.

Edit: I changed my signature for you.

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