When you want to get the most performance out of your gaming rig, you'll naturally want to try and overclock it. However, you have to deal with the excess heat put off by your CPU (or whatever component you're overclocking). One option is to get a bigger heatsink and throw in some extra fans, which while it may do the trick, it can make your computer sound like a small hurricane. That's when you should start thinking about a liquid cooling system. They'll keep your computer running ice cold without creating all of that noise.
Of course if you've never actually set up a liquid cooling system, it probably looks a bit overwhelming. There are several different components you'll need to carefully assemble, not to mention the cost of actually acquiring said parts. To the novice, it can seem like much more work than it's worth. That's why this PURE from CoolIT can be quite appealing. It's a self-contained liquid cooling system that is supposed to be simple install. I've had a chance to test one out, and I've shot a video of the installation process. Hit the jump to see the results.
You can see from the video that there isn't a ton of work required. Sure, you'll need to remove your motherboard, but if you're even thinking about overclocking, or have assembled your own computer, it won't be anything you can't handle.
The total time for installation was just under 20 minutes. That's not too bad considering that I now have a liquid cooling setup. If I chose, I could easily disable the rest of my fans (save for the GPU) and have an almost completely silent system. However, for the sake of testing purposes, I left everything in tact, which included a single 120mm fan in the front, and the twin fans over my Corsair Dominator memory.
It should be noted that while the PURE can easily be used for good overclocking, its primary function is to provide a mostly silent PC. With that in mind, I've decided to not do any overclocking to my system this time around. However, I will be putting together a special OC piece sometime in the near future where I'll push this to the limit.
For those wondering, here is my configuration for the test system:
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 3.0GHz
OS: Windows Vista Ultimate
Mobo: Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L
RAM: Corsair Dominator 2GB TWIN2X2408-8500C5DF
GPU: VisionTek Radeon HD 3870 512MB
HDD: Western Digital Caviar SE 160GB SATA
Case: Ultra Products m998 Mid-Tower
You can see that with the computer sitting at idle it knocks a full four degrees off of both the system and CPU temperatures.
This is where a CPU cooler is really going to show its true colors, the load test. The PURE managed to keep the CPU temperature at a nice 36 degrees under load, which is a full 6 degrees under the stock cooler. It didn't do much for the overall case temperature, but since it's only cooling a single component, that's to be expected.
Overall, this is a great product for someone that wants either a silent PC, or just needs it to run a bit cooler. The installation is a bit more complicated than just removing the heatsink and slapping on a new one, but far easier than any liquid cooling setup I've ever used. The price is another great factor here. The CoolIT PURE is going to run just under $100 at most places I looked. Honestly, I've seen regular fan/heatsink combos that go for only a little less than that.
There are a couple of minor downsides. One is that due to the size of the unit and length of the hoses, you may have some difficulty getting it situated while attaching the cooling block to the CPU. The other is really minor, which is that the nice metal cover that hides the radiator is a pain to clean once you've handled it. It took me a few minutes of trying different things to get rid of my fingerprints and such. It's not a huge deal because once the installation is complete, you won't have to mess with it again.
In the end, I give the CoolIT PURE 4 out of 5 Gears.