Corsair Cooling Ice T30 TEC Memory Cooler ReviewThu, Oct 22, 2009 - 12:00 AM
Corsair and the Peltier Effect
Corsair recently released a wave of new cooling products targeting the performance oriented enthusiast. Traditionally, Corsair has marketed their high-end Dominator modules with the included Dominator Airflow memory fans. Their new H50 CPU cooler was designed to replace their aging Nautilus however their H30 and T30 memory cooling modules were a step forward from their Dominator Airflow fans. When combined with memory modules with Corsair’s DHX+ cooling technology, Corsair has reached a new level of PCB and IC thermal performance versus the competition. The H30 memory cooling system features a milled anodized aluminum waterblock with inlet/outlet 3/8″ barbs. The entire block bolts to the top of Corsair’s latest Dominator memory modules with a thermal interface designed to reduce the module temperatures lower than possible with the Dominator Airflow. To push this over the edge Corsair has also released the T30 featuring a xxx watt TEC capable of cooling the memory 20+ degrees below ambient. Nine months ago at CES we reported on the prototype T30 and today we have the chance to put it to the test.
For those of you not versed in thermal-electric coolers(TECs) and the Peltier effect here is a short primer. TECs operate via the Peltier effect which is the process in which two semiconducting materials transfer heat from one side to the other when a DC current is applied to them. In the case of the T30 the hot-side will dump the heat from the memory modules and the resistive loses in the TEC while the cold side will potentially drop dozens of degrees below ambient temperatures. TECs have been in use by computer enthusiasts for more than a decade due to the relative ease of achieving sub-ambient cooling versus the alternatives such as phase change cooling. They have lost favor in recent years due to the rise of phase change cooling, however memory cooling provides a new challenge and Corsair has recognized this.
Due to the cooling effect created by the TEC and the dangers of operating electronics below ambient temperatures Corsair has integrated an intelligent power supply with their TEC kit. This power supply measures the temperature and humidity and regulates the voltage to the TEC in order to maintain a temperature that is above the dew point. This will prevent condensation from forming on your precious Dominator memory modules and roasting your motherboard. If you like to push things to the edge Corsair has included a convenient switch to disable the power regulation, forcing the TEC to cool to its maximum capacity.