Monsoon II Active TEC CPU Cooling System ReviewFri, Oct 20, 2006 - 12:00 AM
Final Thoughts and Conclusions
Nathan Kirsch’s Thoughts in First Person:
The Monsoon II TEC CPU Cooling System was designed exclusively for Vigor Gaming by Macstek Technology and brings TEC cooling to the enthusiast community in package that is nearly all enthusiasts can use without a problem. The Monsoon II is RoHS compliant, which means it can be sold around the world and available to many markets. The Monsoon II takes advantage of something found back in the 1834 by a scientist named of Jean Peltier. Peltier discovered the inverse of the Seebeck effect, and came up with the “Peltier effect”. The Monsoon II takes this cooling technology from 1834 and has added the latest in heat pipe and monitoring technology to come up with a CPU cooling system that performs better than standard air coolers.
When I used the Monsoon II on our Intel Core 2 Duo test system I found that it did perform better than the air cooled heat sinks, but the improved performance did come at a higher price tag. The Monsoon II CLT-M21 Intel cooler will set you back $149.99 plus shipping making it the same price as the Corsair Nautilus 500 that we reviewed back in February. As the performance results show the Nautilus 500 performed better in all of our testing and costs the same price. While water cooling still seems superior it’s not for everyone. I’ve encountered dozens of people that are afraid of running water in their computer case and for those consumers the Monsoon II is the perfect alternative. While TEC cooling systems in the past have has condensation problems the Monsoon II didn’t have any condensation problems due to the cold side being directly on the die and thanks to the management unit turning it on or off while monitoring temperatures.
During the use of the Monsoon II it was noted that the unit made some strange noises that we can’t quite describe. It’s almost a mix of a wild canary and a throttling fan – I guess that would make it a chirping fan. We contact Vigor Gaming about this noise and they said it was the TEC kicking on and off because the temperature was right at the point where the TEC was not needed at idle. When the system was under load the noise wasn’t heard because the TEC was on and the fan was on high (34dBA). Other than the the use of the Monsoon II was flawless and worked like it was designed to. When it comes to power consumption the Monsoon II requires at least a 350W PSU as it’s said to draw up to 50W of power. During testing I noted that it uses 2W less power than the Nautilus 500 at load and 8W less at idle.
One limitation of the Monsoon II that I can foresee is the lack of future upgradeability. With a water cooler an additional water block can be added to cool the video card for under $40, while with TEC cooling nothing can be added to it down the road. To be fair a positive of the TEC cooler is that it’s a self contained unit versus water coolers that require external housings. The Monsoon II also doesn’t include mounting brackets for AMD and Intel platforms, so switching between the two brands would require the purchase of a new cooling solution as the brackets aren’t available separately.
What started out as something new and exciting quickly turned into a so-so experience after seeing the performance numbers. The errors in the installation manual are something that can be fixed easily, but when you consider the mounting system, chirping fan, support of only one CPU socket, the lack of an upgradeability and the performance numbers I find it hard to tell our readers to spend $149.99 on the Monsoon II unless they are dead set on trying TEC cooling. If the Monsoon II was under $100 then it would be a different story, but it’s not.
Legit Bottom Line: The Monsoon II TEC CPU Cooling System brings safe thermoelectric cooling to the CPU cooling market, but for the same price an entry level water cooler can be had.