Manufacturer:Danamics UK price (as reviewed):£98.99 (inc VAT) US price (as reviewed): N/A
The humble heat pipe has for years been the backbone of aftermarket coolers for several years, serving as a more expensive, but often vastly more efficient way to cool your hardware than the block of metal design favoured by simple stock coolers. While the size and efficiency of heatpipes has improved over time, their core concept has remained unchanged. A sealed tube is filled with fluid that vaporises as it absorbs heat before releasing its heat and condensing back into a fluid at the other end of the heatpipe.
The Danamics LMX Superleggera takes a completely different and novel approach to the problem though and is the first cooler to utilise a liquid metal cooling system; yes, that’s right, just like in Terminator 2.
Click to enlarge
The cooler itself is still a fairly typical tower heatsink though, and on the face of things doesn’t look too dissimilar from coolers such as the Zalman CNPS10X Flex. An array of fairly loosely spaced aluminium cooling fins is built around five pipes that each runs the length of the fin stack and through an aluminium CPU contact plate at its base.
The big difference here is the pipes aren’t filled with vaporising fluid, but a sodium-potassium alloy, connecting to a liquid metal reservoir in the roof of the cooler and forming a continuous circuit inside the cooler. The liquid metal is then circulated through the loop via a neodymium electromagnetic pump - layout wise, it's similar in theory to a basic water cooling loop. Coolant is pushed down to the base, absorbs heat and is then pumped up and down the fin stack releasing heat before again passing through the copper block mounted above the CPU.
The liquid metal used is much more thermally conductive than water, theoretically leading to superior performance over heatpipes. With all this electromagnetism going on though you’d be forgiven for being a little worried about having it around the delicate electronics inside your PC; after all, there are consumer electronics electro-magnetic interference regulations for a reason. Danamics has gotten around this problem though by fitting the LMX with ironcore shielding around the pump at the top of the cooler to cut the EM radiation to a safe level, although this does add to the weight of the LMX.
Click to enlarge - The LMX requires a 3.5in power adapter to drive the EM pump
The increased power needs of the cooler also means it requires its own power delivery hardware, with the cooler’s EM pump connecting to a 3.5in power booster that will fit in any conventional 3.5in hard drive mount. Powered by a single 4-pin Molex connector this box contains a meaty transformer as well as status indicator lights for the EM pump.
While we’re excited by the potential of a new cooling technology the Danamics LMX Superleggera certainly has some significant downsides too. The LMX is one of the largest air coolers we’ve ever seen, measuring a huge 158.2mm (w) x 170.5mm (h) x 90mm (d) and weighing a very hefty 1180g. This not only means that the LMX may struggle to fit inside even fairly roomy cases, but it’ll also be putting a significant strain on your motherboard even with the back plate mounts that Danamics ships the cooler with.
Click to enlarge - There's a seperate bracket for each CPU socket, although the LMX is only sold with either AMD or Intel fittings.
Despite the large size of the cooler installation is a mostly pain free process, with each CPU socket treated to its own backplate and retention bracket. Metal mounting arms screw down onto the different backplates to provide a platform for the differing retention brackets which hold the cooler in place. However, the choice of plastic as a material for these brackets is a little odd as even high quality plastic tends to give a little under pressure, say from a 1KG+ CPU cooler at 90° to your motherboard. Why not use metal brackets considering all the other mounting gear is?
There is one master stroke here though and it’s with the LMX’s dual 120mm fan mounts. There’s one on each side of the cooler, allowing for a push/pull setup but brilliantly, they’re slot loading. Fans are held in place by running grooves and then secured by small clips at the top, making it incredibly simple to install or swap out cooling fans even in a fully built system. Danamics doesn’t ship the LMX with any kind of cooling fan out of the box though, so you’ll have to provide your own, but we really hope the fan mounting system is picked up on by competitors – it’s superb.
Compatibility: Intel version: LGA775, LGA1156, LGA1366; AMD version Socket AM2/AM2+/AM3