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LEPA Exllusion 240 AIO cooler

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Let me start this off right...


This is an unboxing/install write up for the LEPA Exllusion 240 AIO cooler.  It won't be as in depth as a review, but hopefully it'll be enough to sway you one way or the other if you're on the fence about this AIO, or if you're looking for a little AIO, maybe this will introduce you to another viable option.  So, let's get to it.

The Subject:  The LEPA Exllusion 240 AIO cooler.  


What is it?  It starts out as the standard AIO cooler with the pump/CPU block combo and a pretty standard 240mm radiator.  Then it takes a left turn in a direction that puts it somewhere between the run of the mill AIO and a more robust AIO like EK's Predator.  It hits this middle ground by adding reservoir space to the top of the block/pump combo and giving you access to it via a port on top of the block, allowing you to add/change coolant and even dye the coolant.  It also uses barbed fittings for the connections between the pump and the reservoir, and I think this will allow you to change the tubing without having to get creative.  I didn't test it so I'm 100% positive and you may have to hunt for correct size of tubing, but it certainly looks possible. A few things keep it just below what I think of as the top tier and those things are:  the barbed fittings are built in-so while you can change the tube, you're stuck with the fittings, the aluminum radiator, and the mystery pump.  I bring up the pump and radiator because I think a top tier AIO should have at least a little expandablility.  With aluminum in the system and unknown pump specs, that expandability is try at your own risk.




With 400 watts of cooling capacity and support for most recent Intel and AMD brackets, this AIO should fit just about any system if space allows.  The only thing I can think it lacks support for is narrow 2011, and that's only for Asrock's mITX board as far as I know.

What's in the box?  


A pair of LEPA 120mm fans with sleeved cables.


Some handy, dandy connectors, including a 4 pin y splitter, a molex adapter and the most useful connector ever put in a box, a 24 pin with jumper and a 4 pin connector.


The AIO and a nice size bottle of coolant.  Probably enough for a complete drain and fill.


And hardware.  Included is a small tube of thermal paste with a spreader, screws, three bottles of dye(red, green, and blue) and a nozzle cap for use with the bottle of coolant.


Next, lets get our hands dirty...

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Every problem starts somewhere, and this is where mine starts...


An older system that a few years ago would have been a nice boutique build, but is getting a little long in the tooth, and to be frank, is sort of boring in the looks department.  And since it's going to be my main rig for a month, it needs a little clean up and a little pizzazz.   Here are the system specs:

Fractal Define R4

Asrock Fatality Z-87 Killer motherboard

Intel Core i5 4670K @ 4.4 Mhz (overclocked by the boards bios)

16GB G.Skill Sniper 2133Mhz RAM


2 Samsung EVO 840 SSD's

Rosewill 750w PSU

and a soon to be replaced Thermaltake Water 3.0 Extreme 240mm AIO


The first thing to do is get our LEPA AIO ready.  The instructions are actually pretty good and though I didn't exactly follow them, they were a good reference if I had a question.  I started by topping off the res with coolant and dye, hooking it to a 12v power supply to remove as much air as possible and mix the dye.  Since most people don't have the random 12v power supply laying around, this is where that 24 pin connector with connector is awesome.  I chose red dye to match the accents on the board.


A little shot of the naked block.  The black on the block is a rubber cover and the block is mainly a clear-ish plastic.  Not acrylic clarity, but decent.


A cool little bit about LEPA's packaging, that plastic tray that the block is sitting in is the container that the hardware comes in.  It can also be used as a catch tray under the block while leak testing by setting it under the block on the back of the GPU.  It can also be used as a catch tray while filling the block by fitting it over the fill port and using an included fitting to hold it down to the block, allowing you to top off the fluid while the block is still on the board without worrying about spills.  I thought it was a pretty neat use of the packaging and there's a description of these uses in the instructions.

Now let's put the backplate on.  It's a pretty standard affair if you've done a few, and very easy if you haven't.  The backplate has slots that allow for installation on various Intel sockets and holes for different AMD sockets.


On the front of the board, the backplate is held on by 4 standoffs.


Then the baseplate for the block screws into the 4 standoffs.  Make sure to test fit the block here so you get the two holes for the block in the correct orientation.


Then after applying some thermal paste(I used the pea method, though I tend to favor the x), mount your block and plug it into a CPU fan header or, like this board has, an aux power header for pumps.  I've already got the fans and radiator mounted in this next picture as well.


Not bad.  I did swap out the LEPA fans for a pair of slim Prolimatech fans since a standard AIO with 25mm fans blocks the top of the motherboard in the Define R4, and I had an extra pair.


And here is the system up and running.  You can see the block has LED lighting, though it is pretty dim.  It's enough to give a glow to the fluid, but not enough to splash light on the surrounding areas.


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So it looks pretty cool, but what about Performance?  Well, in my setup, you saw that I swapped to thin fans.  After fighting with the board for a bit, I eventually hooked them to the case's fan controller since the board didn't want to power them, so your situation will probably be different than mine.  For my testing, I had the pump connected to the boards power connector which runs it at about 4400 rpm, and I think that's the top end of the pump.  The fans were connected to a solid 12v lead, no PWM.  The CPU was overclocked by the boards bios utility to 4.4Ghz.  At idle, the temps hung just below 30° C which is pretty standard for any Intel processor in my house, no matter the cooling solution.


To stress the system, I ran Aida64's stability test for 10 minutes.


After 10 minutes, the CPU had seen a max of 64° C and was constantly bumping around 60°C.  I'm not going to go crazy with data or longer tests since this is just an overview, but this is about the norm for what I've seen in the AIO coolers that I've used(usually hovering in the mid 60's C under load).  For real performance numbers, including loudness data, there are a few reviews out there, just hit up Google.


Conclusions and thoughts?  I happen to like AIO coolers.  I think they're a good fit for some applications especially when cost or ease of use is a factor.  Will my gaming pc have an AIO?  Nope.  But my parents computer might, and I have no problem throwing one on my work computer either.  They definitely have their place.  Is the LEPA Exllusion a good choice for an AIO?  It's definitely got some good things going for it.  It matches any AIO I've used(Zalman, Thermaltake, Cooler Master) for performance and ease of installation.  It might even be a little easier since the installed tubing is very flexible compared to some others.  It does pretty well for itself in the flash department as well.  With the trend being to move away from the black pucks of the first AIO's, having a lighted reservoir, clear tubing, and the ability to dye your coolant is definitely a plus in the looks and customizing department, even though the design is a bit blocky.  And speaking of customization, this cooler definitely gets an A from me.  Being able to customize your coolant color to your system and being able to change the tubing gives you a lot of options as far as looks and even mounting options for your radiator.  A lot of AIO's I've seen give you almost enough tubing to reach the front panel depending on the case, but I think with the Exllusion you could simply buy some tubing and put the radiator wherever you want.  Or even customize your runs, letting you hide some tubing or run it around components.  

But speaking of fittings and tubing brings up some of my issues with the Exllusion.  The tubing is kind of blah.  Very flexible, but not very clear.  The color shows through well, but it doesn't have the clarity you would expect from say, Primochill's clear tubing, though it is more flexible.  And then there's the fittings.  Straight barbs.  Functionally, they work fine, but since the block is taller than a normal AIO and the ports are on the top, this pushes the tubing very close to the side panel and looks out of place.  Swiveling 90° fittings would have been great here.  It would have kept the tubing closer to the board for a more compact feel and also given a little extra reach for those wanting to mount the radiator up front.  As it is now, be prepared to get a close look at the tubing though your window.  In the R4, I'd say one of the runs is within an inch of the window.  Another issue that was brought up about the Exllusion was the limited selection of dye.  It wasn't a problem for me since I went straight red, but with what they include, I think your options are limited to shades of red, blue, green, and purple(with the blue and red), but no yellows or oranges.  This may not be a problem for most, but if you have a yellow accent MSI board or an orange Gigabyte board, sorry, your out of luck.

All in all, I think the Exllusion is a decent AIO.  Average cooling performance, easy installation, nice customization, and only a few gripes.  Unfortunately, since I swapped the fans I can't really comment on how quiet it is, though I doubt my board would have been able to run them PWM with the problems I was having.  Price-wise, I found the Exllusion on Amazon for around $120 USD.  That does seem a bit expensive considering that a lot of AIO coolers fall in the $90-$110 range.  But if you can justify $10-$30 for some fancier looks, it might the perfect AIO for you.

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I like seeing AIO market expand into DIY.  I do hope manufacturers start using rotary fittings on AIOs. I always feel like I'm wrestling an angry snake into my PC. ......Well done, and Thank you Dave! Keep us updated if anything changes.

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First timer here starting this weekend.  Can you tell me more about how you powered it up early on to mix the dye and remove air?


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Normally, I just try to fill it up as much as I can, making sure the pump has a supply of water on it then kick it on for a few secs to let it push that water into the system.  Fill it back up and do it again.  Repeat till it's full.  With the EK you're getting that has the res on the DDC, you'll want to fill up the res, and if you're lucky, some of it will filter into the system, but don't count on it.  Once the res is full, kick the pump on for a sec or two.  You want to push that water into the system, and then fill the res again, pump again.  It might take a few tries but at some point you'll get to where there's enough fluid in the system to keep the pump satisfied and you can just let it run.  At this point, with the pump running, I top my res off and put the cap on it.  

Things to watch out for:  1) Never let your pump run dry.  2) Always remember that water will try to find it's lowest level.  If your res is below a lot of other parts like blocks and radiators, it can run just fine and seem like the res is low, but when you turn it off, all that water will run back into the res, pouring out any inlets that you don't have plugged off.  Always make sure all the plugs are back in before you turn the system off.  

A handy deal for me has been a small bit of tubing with a funnel on one end and a fitting on the other.  Great for draining the system, but also good for filling the system since I can keep it above all the components and I don't have to worry about having an inlet open below the top of my system.

You've given me a good idea for a video especially since it's about time to swap out the fluid in my Shinai.

As far as mixing dye.  Either mix it before hand in your fluid container(best) or just add it in through the res(ok).  Mixing it beforehand lets you see what you're actually getting.  When you add it in the res, the pump will do your mixing for you, but it will take a while for everything to mix thoroughly.  So it might look right in the res, but a day later it will have been diluted with the un-dyed water in the system.  I equate it to my use of dried habaneros in chili.  While you're making it, it never really seems hot, so you keep adding peppers.  Two days later when everything has soaked in, it's like eating lava.  

Most concentrates have a 1:3 mix that I've seen so 250ml concentrate to 750ml DI water and you get a liter of fluid.  Since I usually don't need a full liter, I'll take a gallon of DI, dump out some till I have about 750ml, pour in the concentrate and mix it up in the jug.  That way I see what I'm getting and I've also got a convenient storage container for my extra fluid.

If that didn't make sense, watch this:  


Pretty good explanation, cept I would pull the res out.  But that's just me.

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