|by AkG | June 4, 2008|
CoolIT Freezone Elite CPU Cooler Review
CoolIT Freezone Elite CPU Cooler Review
Manufactures Product Page: CoolIT Systems - Freezone Elite CPU Cooler
Price: Click Here to Check Prices
Warranty: 1 Year
Even in today’s highly stratified market, there lies a wondrous place, a place where sub ambient temperatures are not only possible but a routine part of life. In this topsy-turvey world of ultra low CPU temperatures, dangers like cracking your chip from cold and other issues associated with phase change cooling are not present. The world I am referring to is the world of hybrid cooling. In this niche marketplace, companies like CoolIT have taken a fairly normal water cooling setup and hotrodded it with Peltier coolers to create a whole new class of CPU cooling solutions.
Anyone who remembers when Peltier coolers were (semi-)popular, must also remember they were horribly inefficient and could create just as much heat as the CPU they cooled. What was worse from a user’s point of view was the fact they had a tendency to sweat, causing some major headaches with fried motherboards; heck, even when they worked they still would occasionally crack a chip from extreme cold! Yes, they were persnickety and no they weren't efficient and yes you had to be careful in choosing the right sized one for your computer lest it go into the long deep freeze of oblivion; but boy were they FUN!
For anyone who doesn’t know what a Peltier (aka TEC) is, it is a Thermoelectric Cooler in which when electricity is passed through a properly configured device heat is transported from one side of the device to the other against the thermogradient (i.e. heat is sucked from the cold side to the hot side) which is a phenomena first discovered by Jean Charles Athanase Peltier way back in 1834. These devices which are basically two dissimilar metals, lots of electricity and not much else are called “Peltier coolers” in his honor; even though they are more properly known as TECs. The biggest downside to them is they could overcool your chip by dropping the temperature too much thus risking condensation or even in some cases causing the extremely cold chip to crack from the stress. Worse still, even when they worked right they very inefficient and down right electricity hogs.
Well that was then and this is now. A while back some brilliant engineer/tweaker realized if you stick the Peltier coolers not on the chip but in a liquid cooling loop you could easily overcome some of the biggest disadvantages of them while still retaining the intangible fun factor. By sticking it in a liquid coolant you could cool the liquid to below ambient yet not have to worry about the chip cracking from the cold as the liquid would be cool but not as cold as the Peltier. Better yet you could dump the CPU and the Peltier created heat out the back of the computer via an oversized radiator! In this instant, hybrid CPU cooling was born and with it a whole new land of opportunity was created.
This is where CoolIT comes into our little trip down memory lane, for their TEC solutions are basically what I just stated above albeit with a couple of tweaks. As we have seen in our review of their PURE model, CoolIT Systems makes some very good and very quiet yet efficient pieces of kit. To find out how efficient a hybrid system can be, today we will be looking at their Freezone Elite CPU cooler. This particular model has 6 TECs which when combined give it an impressive 250watts of thermal dissipation while only using 70 or so watts of power. The Freezone Elite is widely available from retailer, e-tailers throughout the country and goes for anywhere from $400 to $500.
This high performance model not only promises amazingly low temperatures but also the ability to customize its performance and noise levels via an easy to use software interface. This is certainly a tall order and will be interesting if even those brilliant, yet crazy Canucks at CoolIT can pull it off. I don't know about you but I'm itching to find out, so without further ado let’s start the review!
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