The ChillTec Thermoelectric CPU Cooler Review
Peltier Air Cooling for the Masses?
When I was approached to do this review, I was a little bit skeptical. An air cooled peltier? I had always heard that peltiers needed watercooling, and had a massive power draw. I was thinking to myself, this cooler must cost a fortune. You could say that I was a little biased. The Ultra ChillTec Thermoelectric CPU Cooler features a relatively high MSRP of $149.99, but does the price justify the performance that it provides for you. Ultra gives a description of the cooler that cannot be put any better.
A TEC (thermo-electric cooler) also known as a “Peltier Cooler”, is a solid-state active heat pump capable of transferring heat from one side of the device to the other. Ultra uses a TEC, sandwiched between two copper plates, each plate with four heat-pipes leading to a large, fan cooled radiator. Because TEC’s are capable of cooling below room temperature, often condensation is a concern. But not with the Ultra Chill-TEC. The Chill-TEC’s control unit does not apply power to the TEC unless the CPU reaches a certain temperature. Up to this point, the CPU is cooled by the heat-pipes on the “cold” side of the TEC. Once the CPU is hot, power is applied to the TEC and the CPU is chilled. The hot side of the TEC is cooled by the second set of heat-pipes. This perfect balance of thermo-electric cooling and heat-pipe cooling ensures the CPU is kept at the perfect operating temperature. Ideal for hardcore use, even opening up the potential for overclocking that standard air cooling alone can not provide.
As the above blurb states, the cooler is your everyday normal heat pipe air cooler. On top of the fins is a housing that serves as a shroud. Connected to that shroud is a vertically mounted 92x92x25mm fan. The fan itself is controlled by TEC Temperature Control Unit, and the fan can run up to 2800rpm at a noise level of 28db. Sandwiched between the base and the heatpipes is a TEC that is capable of dissipating 50W of heat.
So what’s in the box? Well for one the box is very large, and contains many goodies.
In the bottom left is the ChillTec LCD Display Unit. In the bottom right is a topview of the ChillTec Cooler. In the top right is the box of installation parts. These include all of your various CPU mounting brackets, and the various cables to connect the TEC to the Display Unit.
Upon first impression of the Ultra ChillTec, your struck by how well built this cooler is. If the judge of a good cooler is the weight, then this cooler must be one great performer. Below you can get an idea of it size. This cooler dwarfs the stock Intel Cooler. To get an idea of height, it is about the same size as the Scythe Ninja in height.
The base comes with a protective plastic cover, like most coolers today. As you can see the base is polished well. Its close to a mirror finish, and some machining marks can be felt if you run your finger over the base.
Alright, on to the installation!