With such a basic low impingement design, it was unlikely to beat the EK Supremacy, which is one of the best waterblocks around at the moment. It's also gaining quite a bit more heat than a CPU-only loop so both factors contributed to a noticeable lead for the dedicated CPU waterblock. However, the delta T was only 11°C adrift under full load using Prime95's smallFFT test with 1.3V and a 4.4GHz clock speed - a modest overclock but with an ambient temperature of 23°C, the AIZ77ITXD's absolute temperature as reported in CoreTemp was only 66°C so there's plenty of headroom.
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This is of course with a de-lidded CPU, which can knock between 10°C and 20°C off the load temperature. We also used an infra-red thermometer to measure the temperature of the rear of the VRM daughterboard. However, we only measured a 2°C drop when adding the waterblock. As we tested the setup on a test bench and not in a case, this difference could well increase as the airflow decreases and temperatures rise.
Memory modules get pretty close to the VRM cooling plate but so long as the heatsinks don't protrude more than a few millimetres out from the PCB things should be fine - Click to enlarge
When it comes to motherboards, mini-ITX is still quite niche so a water-cooled system is going to be even rarer, which makes the AIZ77ITXD's customer base rather small. There's clearly lots of competition too - all-in-one liquid coolers cost the same as the AIZ77ITXD alone and good waterblocks half as much. There's also the issue that the AIZ77ITXD won't be compatible with your next motherboard, unlike dedicated CPU waterblocks, which generally last several generations of new CPU sockets or more.
However, as most of us don't upgrade with every new CPU launch and plenty of enthusiasts skip one or more CPU sockets before splashing the cash too, there's clearly some margin here for the AIZ77ITXD and it's future siblings to do well. After all, it's not the first full-cover motherboard waterblock by any means - they've been around for years and the sheer range available suggests enough people are buying them.
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If you're keen to get the lowest CPU temperatures, though, the AIZ77ITXD isn't your best option. It's a good 10°C adrift of a decent CPU-only waterblock, although it's still likely to be just as good, if not better than any all-in-one liquid cooler depending on the rest of your cooling gear. It's also likely that keeping the rest of the motherboard better-cooled than it would otherwise be can only help prolong the life of your motherboard (the daughterboard and chipset stock heatinks on the Asus P8Z77-I Deluxe do get extremely hot) and also aid overclocking in other ways compared to just water-cooling the CPU.
Also, for the most part, when it comes to your overclocks, it's unlikely you'd want to apply much more voltage than we have already so there's likely to be enough headroom to push Ivy Bridge K-series CPUs - especially de-lidded ones - as far as a dedicated CPU waterblock. It's just that the end temperature will be higher.
When all is said and done, if you're looking for that extra bit of water-cooling bling, the AIZ77ITXD certainly delivers. It looks great, has decent performance and is priced at a sensible level.