Priced at $150 the Koolance CPU-LN2 is one of the cheapest ways to get into serious overclocking. However it’s terrible LN2 performance is really perplexing. I’ve been benching on LN2 for a year or so and tried a handful of pots but I’ve never seen a pot fail so excessively. I’ve had pots that would with a full pot of LN2 drop 10 degrees with a similar CPU through the 3DMark 2006 CPU test but a massive 25 Celsius with no sign of recovery in sight is too much. The wPrime 1024M performance was even more disturbing. From my experience working on cascades the CPU-LN2 exhibits symptoms of insufficient surface area for the given load even when being flooded with coolant. The fact that it works incredibly well with dry ice shows how much more difficult it is to design an effective surface for LN2 performance.
Given how few actual LN2 benchers there are globally compared to the amount of overclockers that would like to tinker with dry ice, the CPU-LN2 still fares a decent chance at establishing a role in the market. Priced a full $125 lower than the K|ngp|n Cooling F1EE and outperforming the F1EE with dry ice, the CPU-LN2 is a fantastic dry ice option. I worry though that most individuals that make the plunge into dry ice may want to take the next step to liquid nitrogen and have their parade rained on due to the container’s LN2 performance.
With regards to actual usability, the CPU-LN2 has some great features that I really appreciated when benching. First and foremost are the thumbscrews used. PERFECT! When you are remounting a pot a dozen times a week your thumbs quickly get worn out with tiny thumbscrews. Whoever decided to use these beefy thumbscrews should get a medal. However whoever decided it would be “easier” to use two-piece mounting rods should be fired. I suspect it wasn’t easy to acquire a solid rod in the shape they designed around but I’d prefer a solid rod without the textured grips that didn’t come apart when dismounting the system. The tall acetal extension makes dry ice benching incredibly simple with
enough capacity to make it through most of the long benchmarks with
Also, I understand this is a DIY part but $5 in insulation will make it much easier for the average user. I happen to have rolls of piping insulation from my HVAC hobby but I’m certain most other users won’t have a closet full of insulation. Koolance should supply insulation sleeves to make things easier. If you are looking for insulation sleeves I would suggest searching the phone book for an HVAC supply shop like United Refrigeration, they’ll be able to find you some pipe insulation that will fit.
In closing the CPU-LN2 is an awesome dry ice pot and an abysmal liquid nitrogen pot. Considering how you can typically get within 95% of the maximum frequency for Core i7 on dry ice, the CPU-LN2 is a great option for Core i7 benchers. For LGA775(Core 2 and Pentium 4) and AMD Phenom II benchers I would suggest considering what the chances are you’ll end up jumping to liquid nitrogen. I personally went immediately for LN2 when I realized it would only cost me an additional $175, but I understand that not everyone would be willing to spend several hundred dollars on cooling when they can spend $150 for a Koolance CPU-LN2. So, in summary the CPU-LN2 is a tough call but worthy of consideration.
Legit Bottom Line: Koolance’s first shot at an extreme cooling solution excels for the average bencher but won’t suffice for the hardcore liquid nitrogen bencher.