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Old 4th Jul 2012, 20:58   #1
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Why you should avoid "closed loop" water cooling.

Until today I had no urge to write this. Nor did I really want to talk about it. However, due to the way I have been treated by Coolit systems who make all of Corsair's new closed loop coolers and after being put up to speaking out about it by a good friend I figured I would.

So, closed loop coolers. We buy them because we're not confident in fitting a real actual water cooling system.

But, are they safe and do they leak? no, and yes. They are not completely safe, and they do indeed leak, causing damage that you are not covered for and costing you money which the manufacturer will not bother to assist with.

So is there really any point going closed loop given you're not safe? I'll leave you to decide after divulging a few facts.

I bought a Coolit Eco ALC cooler just over a month ago. The time came to upgrade my PC and I was tired of not being able to access anything due to having an enormous cooler. I was using an NH-D14 at the time, but given that my upgrade was using certain parts I saw no reason to continue doing so.

I'm no overclocker, nor do I like to fiddle with things much. All it seems to do is cause issues and I would rather pay for what I want than buy something and then try and make it what I wanted it to be. Thus, when upgrade time came I decided on...

A brand new GTX 480 by EVGA with a three year warranty.
An Intel Xeon E3 1220 which is basically a 2500 non K with I7 amounts of cache, for the same price as the 2500 non K.
A basic Gigabyte MATX motherboard with no fiddly menus or overclocking options whatsoever.
Some Muskin Radioactive memory, given that I have drooled at it for some time.

I built the system and decided on the Coolit Eco ALC sealed liquid cooler. I was aware that it wasn't that great, but, it runs on a single 120mm fan that I could slow down and thus cut noise and still have access to the inside of my PC.

The cooler came, and I fitted it with no problems. Temps were more than acceptable for a Sandybridge Xeon, 38 idle and 50s under load. Not fantastic, but well within thermal safety limits.

And then the problems begun.

At first the cooler started making bubbling noises, akin to a coffee machine. I figured that like other all in one closed loops it probably had an air bubble in it from transit and so I decided to leave it be. Two weeks later it was still making the same noises, so I decided to email Coolit and ask for their advice. At no point did I feel the inclination to take the side off of the PC and investigate, because I figured I was safe.

Warning number one. All in one coolers are not completely safe. Avoid them for a high end air cooler or, you may as well go with a full WC set up.

Coolit did not respond to my email, nor the webnotes I sent them. I figured I was worrying over nothing and another week passed before it got worse.

Last Wednesday I awoke to find that my uncle had lost his short lived battle with Asbestos based cancer, and, given that he was like a father to me felt obliged to contact relatives and pass along my love, sympathies and condolences.

By mid day Wednesday the cooler was making a right old racket. Eventually, whilst sending emails the PC shut itself down. Now of course I had no idea why this had happened, but soon realised when I rebooted that the cooler had failed completely.

Realtemp was showing 96c and the system would crawl before finally shutting itself down.

I emailed Coolit to tell them that their cooler had completely failed, and, that I wanted it replaced. They finally answered my email and told me to send it back to an address based in the UK and they would send a replacement.

And then I noticed the smell. As I removed the side from my case there was a horrible stench coming from my PC. I don't know how many of you are married or live with a female partner but the only thing I can liken the smell to is a hormonal woman's urine. That strong iron like smell.

As I looked at the back plate on my GTX 480 I realised immediately that something wasn't right. The back of the GPU in between the PCB and back plate was filled with liquid, and as I removed it the liquid poured all over my desk. As you can see from this pic, it then leaked all over my desk.



Then I began to realise what was going on. You see, the week prior I was trying to run 3Dmark Vantage. However, whenever I got to the second to last test where it combines GPU and CPU my PC would reboot even with the 480 at default clocks and voltages. I figured at the time it was a bug with Vantage, but I couldn't have been more wrong.

Then it was time to assess the damage. Here you can see if you look closely enough how the back of the SATA III card in the system is covered in sticky washy liquid.



And how the warranty serial sticker for the GPU was now destroyed as it had been floating between the PCB and the 480's back plate.



Not only that but the thermal pad and rubber stand offs for the back plate are now completely rotten, will not dry and have gone all gooey. This is because the coolant contains anti freeze which is corrosive. Talking about corrosive, let's look at the damage it caused to my motherboard and GPU.

In these pics you can see how it has started to eat at and corrode the solder contacts.



And more of the same at the power end. This would explain why my system was shutting down under GPU intensive tasks.



Then onto the motherboard. Here you can see three areas I have circled. Firstly to show corrosion, but if you look at the resistor under the bottom PCIE slot you can see it is completely corroded and barely legible.



By this time I wanted to throw the cooler away. However, Coolit seemed to want to ask me a thousand questions, so, beginning last Wednesday I tried to answer them. I told them everything was covered in coolant, and they sent me an email that told me to fill a pan with distilled water and put the parts in to soak, then let them dry for a week.

I refused. Firstly because if I was up for things like that I wouldn't have bothered with a closed loop and would have gone real WC, but secondly because these parts were less than two months old and now had no warranty. Plus, what kind of dishonest POS would I be to RMA them any way knowing they had been corroded and then dipped in water?

Coolit replied. However, only with more questions.

1. Please send the receipt - I did.
2. Please send a pic of the cooler installed in your system - I did.
3. Please tell us how you had it connected - I did, and sent pics.
4. Please show us a pic of the rad, pump, serial numbers ETC - duly sent.
5. How did you have it connected to the motherboard - answered.
6. Did you have any thermal regulation set for the output of the fan header the pump was connected to - Answered no, it was left to run at full speed.

And so on. The questions continued until Friday when the rep went off on a bank holiday weekend. Now at no point had I asked what they were going to do about this, instead I was beginning to feel like they were trying to catch me out.

Yesterday, right at the end of a Candian working day I get another email.

Can you please send us pics of the pump and the serial number and please send the receipt again as we have lost it.

At no point did they address concerns that my parts were now sitting there rotting, nor that I had spent out a total of 350 to replace the damaged parts. I asked that this morning, you know? if they were going to do anything and they haven't replied.

Not only that, but this foul smelling liquid is quite nasty. Just take a look at what it has done to the aluminium pan it is now sitting in in my kitchen, because even after a week of sending them countless pics they still have not given me the go ahead to throw it out. Instead they are dancing around the houses testing my now wearing very thin patience.



As you can see it isn't done leaking. Not by a long chalk.

So today I decided to look at their warranty and see if I had any recourse at all with which to fight them over this.

IN NO EVENT SHALL COOLIT OR ITS EMPLOYEES, AGENTS, SUPPLIERS, MANUFACTURERS, OR
CONTRACTORS BE LIABLE FOR ANY DAMAGES OF ANY KIND OR CHARACTER, INCLUDING WITHOUT
LIMITATION ANY COMPENSATORY, INCIDENTAL, DIRECT, INDIRECT, SPECIAL, PUNITIVE, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES, LOSS OF USE, LOSS OF DATA, LOSS OF INCOME OR PROFIT, LOSS OF OR
DAMAGE TO PERSONS OR PROPERTY, CLAIMS OF THIRD PARTIES, OR OTHER LOSSES OF ANY KIND
OR CHARACTER, AND WHETHER OR NOT THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH LOSS OR DAMAGE HAS BEEN
NOTIFIED TO COOLIT


That has literally been copied and pasted, capital letters and all.

So who are these guys? some Mickey Mouse outfit? Actually no. They're the outfit that are now making All of Corsair's coolers.

I urge you please, at any cost to avoid these coolers like the plague. If (and they sure do !) they leak you will be left to cover the cleanup and the cost, making their entire existence completely and utterly pointless. You may as well go with a real water cooling system as you have the same amount of peace of mind that if it leaks you are covered - IE, none.
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Old 4th Jul 2012, 22:31   #2
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Personally I'd have removed it the minute it started to sound like a coffee maker!
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Old 4th Jul 2012, 22:32   #3
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A clear case of terrible, awful, dire and vapid customer service.

This is another email asking me questions tonight.



Noting the question he has asked me, for the fourth time. However, let's take a look at the email I sent him yesterday.



Fail. I think it's time to seek legal action.
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Old 4th Jul 2012, 22:34   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pookeyhead View Post
Personally I'd have removed it the minute it started to sound like a coffee maker!
They all do it at some point mate. Basically they get air bubbles in them from shipping/fitting ETC. I just figured it was taking time to clear

My Corsair H50 has done it, as did the Kuhler I fitted to the GTX 480. At no point did I suspect it would ever leak

Will be contacting a solicitor tomorrow and seeking legal action. I'm tired of being treated like crap and going around and around in circles. Once again he's demanding that I put water on the card and board to prevent further damage and I am completely not obligated to do anything of the sort, nor will I. He's having a Turkish.
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Old 4th Jul 2012, 22:38   #5
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I think you should seek advice, yes... that's shocking service. My H100 has been perfect so far. Crap... but perfect LOL.
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Old 4th Jul 2012, 22:45   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pookeyhead View Post
I think you should seek advice, yes... that's shocking service. My H100 has been perfect so far. Crap... but perfect LOL.
Apparently Corsair are quick to replace any damaged components. Not send people ridiculous emails like this.



Telling me to basically take a pile of water to my parts and spend hours of my time cleaning up their mistake.. Don't think so !

I think he is totally failing to understand here that it was HIS product that has caused this, so why the hell should I be made responsible for paying to clean it up?

Couldn't care if it all rots now, as it clearly has. I will just use it as evidence.

But yes, a clear example of just how to do bad customer service.
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Old 4th Jul 2012, 22:47   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlienwareAndy View Post
So, closed loop coolers. We buy them because we're not confident in fitting a real actual water cooling system.
More because they're cheap IMO

A decent WC loop would cost ~3x what my Antec Kuhler cost.

I've had no trouble with mine, though it's an Asetek OEM and not CoolIT. Just because CoolIT makes poor products doesn't mean all AIO WC systems are bad!
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Old 4th Jul 2012, 23:00   #8
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I've always said that CoolIT stuff should be avoided...
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Old 4th Jul 2012, 23:07   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bloody_Pete View Post
I've always said that CoolIT stuff should be avoided...
I just wish I'd known. I just figured they would be awesome, as you were cutting out the middle man so to speak.

But the very fact they are telling me how to clean it up and what to clean it up with is just utterly insulting. They're clearly putting the problem into my hands, and ignoring anything I have said about how I've now lost closing in on three years warranty on two pretty much brand new components.

I mean they've even linked me to a product to clean it with. Who is expected to pay for all of it? well me, obviously.

And the fact that he has the gall to stress how important it is that I clean it now is just a complete joke. At which point do they realise I'm a customer, and I shouldn't have to go through all of that?

I don't know. Bitterly disappointed. I figured being a Canadian company they would be quick to resolve any issues, but it seems not. All they have done is insult me and leave me with a 350 hole in my wallet
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Old 4th Jul 2012, 23:08   #10
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Where was it leaking from?
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Old 4th Jul 2012, 23:11   #11
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Quote:
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Where was it leaking from?
The block/pump. It's still leaking as it goes. I made a video of it earlier.

It basically ran down the board and onto the back of the GPU. Then it made its way down the PCIE slots and they're now full of it.

I just truly can't believe that they honestly expect me to go out of my way to buy products to clean it up with. I've told them over and over again that the parts were new and now void of any warranty but they clearly just don't care. At all.

Just one look at what it's done to the alu in the pan it's soaking in was why I bought a new board and GPU.
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Old 4th Jul 2012, 23:23   #12
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I'm impressed it didn't sort anything, I've seen water fluid leaks creating small fires on GPU's...
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Old 4th Jul 2012, 23:50   #13
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Quote:
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I'm impressed it didn't sort anything, I've seen water fluid leaks creating small fires on GPU's...
Yeah, seen that too. I wonder whose cooler was to blame? ah yeah ! Coolit.

I found a case of a Domino sharing its contents with a guy's 3870 and he ended up with a PCB that looked like burnt toffee.

Apparently Domino leaks were a regular occurrence. No surprise they no longer make those, or the Eco I bought. Again I wish I'd spent more time researching it, but I guess you figure that they're safe.

I just phoned Coolit AGAIN for the seventh time. This time though I did not allow them to put me through to the ahole that's been wasting my time and demanded they give me the contact information for the owner of the company which I now have.

So I guess I'll have to bite my lip for a while longer in the quest to get this resolved sensibly without having to dip my parts in water

Edit. It did cause a short tbh. Every time I ran vantage the PC would shut down.

Last edited by AlienwareAndy; 5th Jul 2012 at 00:15.
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Old 5th Jul 2012, 01:20   #14
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Probably a silly question, so apologies if it is, but you mention in one of your emails sending a copy of the Amazon invoice. Did you buy it directly from Amazon, or as a 3rd party sale on Amazon? If the former, might I suggest you raise the matter with them in view of the poor response from CoolIT? If Amazon sold it directly they're unlikely to be happy about the kind of response you're getting. Either way you can't lose anything by trying and advising CoolIT that you have done so - it may give them the kick up the backside they so obviously need.

On another point, CoolIT's disclaimer is highly unlikely to hold water (pardon the pun) in such an instance as this.
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Old 5th Jul 2012, 02:16   #15
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Looks like someone else got caught out with a CoolIT Eco:



Posted on Reddit.
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Old 5th Jul 2012, 02:36   #16
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I'm very sorry Andy, but of course they don't warranty the rest of your PC hardware. The same way a PSU company doesn't warranty against the rest if it fails in a bad way and takes out the CPU or a hard drive either. It's LIQUID cooling - there will always be this risk. There's is always a proportion of any product that fails. I know it's irrelevant to you as a customer when the final failure happened, but it could have been damaged in transit or poorly made or whatever. There's no point in seeking legal means I'm afraid.

He's gone out of his way to try and express your RMA and he's provided advise on helping you clean up. What's wrong with that? He's asked what has happened exactly and he's trying to assist appropriately. He could have said "Sorry we cannot comment on how to fix due to some BS liability claim or other companies products etcetc"

I'm not the greatest fan of CoolIt after they threatened to sue me and Dennis if we published a previous review when I worked at bit (we did anyway), but I'm not seeing a whole lot 'wrong'.
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Old 5th Jul 2012, 02:50   #17
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The cooler itself failing is most likely on them, i'm not trying to dispute that. However, you keep saying how insulting it is for you that they're giving you advice on how to salvage your parts. It's not their fault that you did not inspect the product and kept using it despite the malfunction.

They offered to RMA the unit and i think that's all you can reasonably expect from them. Granted your support ticket isn't being handled exceptionally well, but you overcomplicated it by getting your damaged parts involved. Did you even explicitly ask them to compensate you or are you just waiting for them to offer it on their own?
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Old 5th Jul 2012, 04:16   #18
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Originally Posted by Bindibadgi View Post
I'm not seeing a whole lot 'wrong'.
Hrm, their product wiped out his entire PC. They basically admitted blame in those emails and offered to replace the product, but they should replace whatever else got damaged due to the fault of their product. If a faulty product ever causes injury, the company is held accountable. How sure are you it doesnt work that way in this case too?
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Old 5th Jul 2012, 05:51   #19
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Originally Posted by Bindibadgi View Post
I'm very sorry Andy, but of course they don't warranty the rest of your PC hardware. The same way a PSU company doesn't warranty against the rest if it fails in a bad way and takes out the CPU or a hard drive either. It's LIQUID cooling - there will always be this risk. There's is always a proportion of any product that fails. I know it's irrelevant to you as a customer when the final failure happened, but it could have been damaged in transit or poorly made or whatever. There's no point in seeking legal means I'm afraid.

He's gone out of his way to try and express your RMA and he's provided advise on helping you clean up. What's wrong with that? He's asked what has happened exactly and he's trying to assist appropriately. He could have said "Sorry we cannot comment on how to fix due to some BS liability claim or other companies products etcetc"

I'm not the greatest fan of CoolIt after they threatened to sue me and Dennis if we published a previous review when I worked at bit (we did anyway), but I'm not seeing a whole lot 'wrong'.
Was that the review where the barbs broke? This is where I got my distrust of CoolIT from...
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Old 5th Jul 2012, 05:57   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silky View Post
Hrm, their product wiped out his entire PC. They basically admitted blame in those emails and offered to replace the product, but they should replace whatever else got damaged due to the fault of their product. If a faulty product ever causes injury, the company is held accountable. How sure are you it doesnt work that way in this case too?
What about this. Say I had a TRUE120 in my machine and was traveling from A to B with it in a car. The car hits a bump and the heatsink beaks the motherboard, is the the manufacturers fault? Its the same here, although it is unfortunate it happens.

Or again, if I trapped my fingers in a fan and made them bleed, do you think I could blame them?

Its why they say they're not held responsible for any damage caused. Lots of companies do this with many products.
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