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Thread: Ultimate cooling?

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    Ultimate cooling?

    I have recently stumbled across a new way of potentially cooling my PC. As some may know I have recently been having overheating problems with my motherboard. Its the only thing that hasn't got a custom cooling solution because they are hard to come buy and sometimes no better than the heat pipes provided as standard now a days.

    The cooling solution I have had a look at is Peltier Plates. In simple terms a plate has electricity flowing through it which induces heat on the one side and cold on the other. Temperatures get to above 50C on the hot side and below -20C on the cold side and the temp varies between the different types.

    I'm not 100% sure about which peltier plate works best for certain situations but basically you can use this in conjunction with your normal heatsink to lower temps considerably. Obviously you need to have a good heatsink for it to work properly otherwise you'll find your case will become an oven if your heatsink can't dissipate the heat properly.

    I'm currently looking at a 140W peltier for my CPU and a 45W one for my northbridge and I'll do some tests to see how well it works. For only £10 you can easily get a 140W peltier and for around £5 or less you can get a 45W so it won't cost much to test... just got to be careful with them and hopefully I can get myself an AMAZING cooling solution for very cheap.

    At the moment I am doing some research about peltiers and how they act as CPU coolers. Problems and solutions to those possible problems are at the top of my priorities to make sure I succeed with this as well as not break my equipment. If my assumptions are correct this could be an easy way to improve cooling dramatically for a very small cost. it could also prove extremely efficient for overclocking allowing far higher overclocks than any cooler before.

    Here is some more detailed info on peltiers:
    http://www.heatsink-guide.com/peltier.htm
    http://www.directron.com/tecinfo.html

    And here is a pre-built peltier cooler reviewed:http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/coo...manda-tec.html

    Anyone heard about this cooling or maybe tried it?

    What are your thoughts on this and what I want to attempt?

  2. #2
    HEXUS.social member Agent's Avatar
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    Re: Ultimate cooling?

    TEC's are well old in the world of PC cooling and they are rarely used for one main reason: Hassle.

    Look into how much planning needs to go into a TEC based system against its advantages. Most people just prefer to watercool.

    I very briefly used one. Great in theory, horrid in practice for almost all situations in a PC environment.
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    The late but legendary peterb - Onward and Upward peterb's Avatar
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    Re: Ultimate cooling?

    The problem is less of getting the heat away from the processor as getting it out of the case. The Peltier device will cool the heatsink, but if it raises the ambient temperature inside the case, that heat will transfer back into the cooler heatsink - raising its temperature. So you could mount the peltier device on the CPU, but you still need a heat sink to cool the hot junction of the peltier device. The principle of water or air cooling is that you are using a fluid (air or water) as the medium to transfer the wild heat away.

    The other (wildly impractical) way would be to use a refrigerant, and compressor with the cold plate mounted on the CPU, and the compressor and radiator outside the case. That would achieve much lower temperatures because of the greater specific heat capacity of the refrigerant - but overall you would still be using more energy (and generating more heat in the room) because of the compressor. But as I said - wildly impractical in a home computer (although I expect someone, somewhere, has done it!)

    Another (slightly less impractical) method is to immerse the whole mobo in mineral oil, and use that as the heat transfer medium, pumping the oil through external radiators.
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    Re: Ultimate cooling?

    Quote Originally Posted by Agent View Post
    TEC's are well old in the world of PC cooling and they are rarely used for one main reason: Hassle.

    Look into how much planning needs to go into a TEC based system against its advantages. Most people just prefer to watercool.

    I very briefly used one. Great in theory, horrid in practice for almost all situations in a PC environment.
    I realise the effort required to get it to work is far greater than water cooling or anything else but I am willing to put the effort in if it means saving £85 quid on an equivalent water cooling setup. Time or effort is not an issue for me... money IS which rules out water cooling(even second hand stuff is too expensive).

    From what I've gathered so far on the TEC unit is that you need a heatsink or watercooler to work in conjunction with it because its not practical in a home PC environment to have the hot side left to increase ambient temps. Another possible downfall is condensation but that can be overcome by choosing the right type of TEC so it isn't far too powerful for your specific application. Other than those impracticalities there is the power it draws and installing it. All of which I am happy to overcome...

    But then I haven't tried it myself so maybe some issues arise while using them. Besides what I have mentioned what issues did you come across?

    Quote Originally Posted by peterb View Post
    The problem is less of getting the heat away from the processor as getting it out of the case. The Peltier device will cool the heatsink, but if it raises the ambient temperature inside the case, that heat will transfer back into the cooler heatsink - raising its temperature. So you could mount the peltier device on the CPU, but you still need a heat sink to cool the hot junction of the peltier device. The principle of water or air cooling is that you are using a fluid (air or water) as the medium to transfer the wild heat away.

    The other (wildly impractical) way would be to use a refrigerant, and compressor with the cold plate mounted on the CPU, and the compressor and radiator outside the case. That would achieve much lower temperatures because of the greater specific heat capacity of the refrigerant - but overall you would still be using more energy (and generating more heat in the room) because of the compressor. But as I said - wildly impractical in a home computer (although I expect someone, somewhere, has done it!)

    Another (slightly less impractical) method is to immerse the whole mobo in mineral oil, and use that as the heat transfer medium, pumping the oil through external radiators.
    From all the info I have read on TEC's the one I am looking to get only gets to 50C(hot side) which can easily be dissipated by my TRUE...

    I also have 50-100W to spare in my system should they draw that much.

    I do hope to make sure I cover all my bases before trying this so I don't stuff up anything... not like I can afford new equipment so research is paramount for me to deduce the probability of success I have with this sort of setup. As such all info people have on this type of cooling, especially first hand experience using one, is what I'm after here

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    DDY
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    Re: Ultimate cooling?

    Quote Originally Posted by peterb View Post
    The other (wildly impractical) way would be to use a refrigerant, and compressor with the cold plate mounted on the CPU, and the compressor and radiator outside the case. That would achieve much lower temperatures because of the greater specific heat capacity of the refrigerant - but overall you would still be using more energy (and generating more heat in the room) because of the compressor. But as I said - wildly impractical in a home computer (although I expect someone, somewhere, has done it!).
    Many have done it and for a long time too using kits like Vapochill and Prometeia for example, but as you said it's dead impractical for a home PC and expensive.
    Last edited by DDY; 10-08-2008 at 11:36 PM.

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    Re: Ultimate cooling?

    The only practical way to cool TEC's is with water cooling, with a 140W TEC and your CPU your TRUE is going to need to dissipate ~230W and all that heat is going to be dumped into your case.

    In water cooling you have three main advantages,
    1. Waters specific heat allows it to keep the hot side cooler
    2. Water Cooling Radiators have massive surface area maximised for heat transfer (short path lengths)
    3. The heat is dumped out of the case and/or cold out of case air is drawn through the rad to maximise cooling.

    Cooling TECs with air is just asking for trouble.

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    Re: Ultimate cooling?

    How's about NOOOOO, you crazy dutch* ******!!

    *Obviously you're probably not dutch but nevermind lol

    Is there really any good point to all of this? I mean I struggle to see the major benefits of water cooling unless you throw some serious money at it, and this doesn't seem to be a better idea that that..

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    Re: Ultimate cooling?

    Quote Originally Posted by staffsMike View Post
    How's about NOOOOO, you crazy dutch* ******!!

    *Obviously you're probably not dutch but nevermind lol
    Have a shmoke an' a pancake anyway.
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    Re: Ultimate cooling?

    Quote Originally Posted by staffsMike View Post
    How's about NOOOOO, you crazy dutch* ******!!
    Quote Originally Posted by Clunk View Post
    Have a shmoke an' a pancake anyway.
    love Austin powers

    Quote Originally Posted by staffsMike View Post
    Is there really any good point to all of this? I mean I struggle to see the major benefits of water cooling unless you throw some serious money at it, and this doesn't seem to be a better idea that that..
    The point of this is that at the moment air cooling isn't good enough... and there is no way I am turning my PC into a jet engine ready to take off because I need to be able to sleep while its on in my room(ie shove faster fans in to increase airflow). I actually would like to remove all the fans I currently use in favour of quiet ones but that is for another day as it would also cost too much to do right now. There are 2 alternative methods to increase cooling for my components; 1 water cooling and 2 TEC coolers.

    Water Cooling is WAY to expensive(I couldn't afford the cheapest one) so its either I try TEC or I move my room around again which is never going to happen as its currently in the most liveable layout.

    I don't see why its such a HUGE deal for everyone... this is the only website I have asked about TEC where everyone shuns it. Maybe that's because the others are all extreme enthusiasts so TEC is pretty normal to them where as at hexus air cooling is favoured with a few people water cooling.

    From asking around I have been told to test the unit I want to use on a heatink not attached to anything to see just how hot the peltier makes the heatsink. From this you can determine whether you need to lower the voltage, purchase a lower capacity peltier or if the heat is acceptable. The test can also allow you to determine if the cool side would be enough to absorb the heat produced by the CPU/chipset/GPU depending an what you want to attach it to. Its a pretty reasonable test and can easily be carried out(since it costs only £5 for a peltier I will certainly give this a try at least).

    I can understand Agent's reservations about TEC cooling since he has tried it and found it not favourable for what he wanted... that's why I would love to hear how he did his setup and what problems he came across so I may better understand how to use them and what things I need to look for when using one.

    No-one else has mentioned that they have tried it or looked into it either... the posts have just been its a stupid idea or water cooling is better. I would prefer if you could let me know why its not a good idea rather than expecting me to telepathically know why it is you believe that.

    Also stop saying water cooling is better because it is NOT and option PERIOD. It never will be an option for me so just stop mentioning water cooling, ok.

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    Re: Ultimate cooling?

    TECs are only useful if you want sub-ambient cooling, it's useless as a method of quieting your PC.

    The whole point of a quiet PC is how effectively heat can be dissipated by using larger and more efficient heat sinks and/or fans, but as soon as you factor in a TEC there is more heat to get rid of due to the in-efficiencies of the TEC, this means you'd need a faster fan to cool the heat sink on top of the TEC and to get rid of the hot air from the case killing the whole idea of an effective and therefore quiet air cooling system.
    Last edited by DDY; 11-08-2008 at 05:29 PM. Reason: typos

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    Re: Ultimate cooling?

    I remember peltiers from the old "Pentium mmx" days.

    IIRC, one of the drawbacks with them was condensation, people basically sealed the CPU socket and peltier to stop the water from frying everything.....and from what I remember no one ever made their PC quieter from TECs alone. Anyone running a TEC on air always had those "delta" fans, the ones that make a deafening scream.......
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    Re: Ultimate cooling?

    As DDY says you will not make your computer quieter by using TECs. My post was not a "don't use TECs watercool instead" post it was an "air cooling TECs is not a very sensible option" post. As I said previously your TRUE is going to need to dissipate over twice as much heat to keep the hotside of the TEC cool to achieve this you will need to increase the speed of the fan which will be counter productive to keeping your computer quiet.

    You will also need a second PSU unless you are sure your PSU has the available spare capacity on the 12v rail and then you will be drawing an additional 140W from your PSU increasing its load and temperature so making its fan spin faster making more noise.

    On the whole using TECs to cool unless you want to go sub ambient is pointless, they will definitely not make your PC quieter.

    If you want to make your PC quieter you have a couple of options (ignoring water cooling) the first and simplest is to turn down your fans a bit and accept that your temps will be a bit higher, you may also find that your temps will stay the same if you turn down your case fans (leave CPU fan alone) a bit they don't need to be screaming along for adequate cooling. An alternative you might try if the fan on your TRUE is too loud would be replace it with 2 slower speed fans in a push/pull arrangement this will keep the flowrate of air through the cooler higher at lower rpm compared to a single fan, you will need to pick the fans carefully though to keep the noise from two fans lower than a single faster fan.

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    Re: Ultimate cooling?

    If you're ruling out water cooling as too expensive I think there's a nasty shock in store for you when you investigate peltier cooling further. It's a bit more involved than just bolting a cheap peltier device to your CPU.

    Everyone I know who has tried it has ended up spending a fortune on a very cold PC that can't be moved for fear of disrupting the sealing and frying the computer with the huge amounts of condensation it produces.

    Oh, and as previously said, it produces a lot of heat which has to be got rid of and as you are adamant that there is no place in your life for water cooling you are going to need a humungous heat sink and enough fans to power a hovercraft. Not the quietest rig in the world I'd guess. Possibly might find it difficult to sleep.

    Peltier cooling or phase change systems are great for their purpose, which is permitting insane overclocking, just not very practical or for that matter cheap.
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    Re: Ultimate cooling?

    lol just about every decent peltier setup is cooled by watercooling , the ultimate is cryo cooling , i think thermal take are bringing out reasonable priced refridgerator based cases that cool the cpu like the vapochill ones but cheaper

    then watercooling which i have done for many many years with great success an minimal noise the lowest youl get is ambient tempreture with water , any lower and you have to make preparation for the cpu and mobo for condensation forming when things fall below ambient

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    Re: Ultimate cooling?

    oh an someone mentioned earlier about needing a seperate psu for a eltier this is true , the more wattage the cpu pumps out in heat the more wattage required to counter it with the peltier and its not very efficient , look into a vapochill case much easier and better performance

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    Re: Ultimate cooling?

    A quote from your first link

    high power usage and high power dissipation are the biggest problems related to peltier cooling. In the days of first-generation Pentium CPUs, readymade peltier/heatsink combinations were widely available, which could be installed and used just like a regular heatsink.

    For today's CPUs having a power dissipation of over 100W, building a Peltier CPU cooler using just a peltier element and a heatsink is quite a challenge, and ready-made peltier coolers are scarce and expensive. With such coolers, over 200W of heat may be dissipated inside the case. For modern CPUs, it is better to combine peltier elements with watercooling. In any case, the resulting cooling system will be expensive to run, due to its high power usage, and not very eco-friendly. The large power dissipation will require powerful (and thus loud) fans.

    Also, keep in mind that if the cooling of the peltier element fails (e.g. fan failure or pump failure in case of watercooling), the results will be more disasterous that if a conventional cooling system fails. Even if your CPU has a thermal protection that will cause it to shut down if the temperature gets too high, the peltier element may still kill it by continueing to heat it up long after it has shut itself down.
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