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CoolIT Freezone Elite v2

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Posted May 12, 2010 by Jake in Cooling

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by Jake
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Thermoelectric Cooling 101

First off, a brief explanation of thermoelectric cooling. Thermoelectric cooling, also known as Peltier or TEC, consists of a set of plates separated by two semiconducting metals.  The TEC cooler or heater is a solid-state active heat pump which transfers heat from one side of the device to the other side against the temperature gradient (from cold to hot), with consumption of electrical energy. By simply connecting it to a DC voltage over one of the plates, it will cause one side to cool, while the other side gets hot. This creates a transfer effect whereby the "cold" side draws heat away from contacting surfaces and the "hot" side dissipates heat to contacting surfaces.

The effectiveness of the transfer in moving the heat away from the cold side is entirely dependent upon the amount of current provided and how well the heat from the hot side can be removed.  Which means that the more heat dissipated on the “hot side” then the colder it gets on the opposite side and the more heat needs to removed over a small space then the more power it requires. As we know, however, hot surfaces contacting with cold ones creates condensation.  And condensation and electronic components do not play well together.

To avoid the problems of condensation, CoolIT solves these problems by placing the TEC away from the CPU. This also creates a positive effect because the TEC doesn’t need to occupy the same space as the CPU, thus allowing a much larger space to be used for the TEC unit.  And since the contacting areas is an integral part of cooling efficiency, the larger area means the overall temperature gradient doesn’t need to be as large.  The advantage of this is the power requirement is then much lower, which ultimately avoids the problems with EMF (electromagnetic field) interference from using PWM for power regulation. In the end, the disadvantages are essentially eliminated, thus making TEC cooling a much more convenient alternative. This is where the CoolIT Freezone Elite comes in.

Since the contacting area is much bigger now, multiple low power TECs can be used in series for increased cooling efficiency and reducing the power demand.   This means you don’t need a dedicated power supply for the Freezone Elite, just a single reliable PSU is good enough to power this cooler. Now, the TEC is away from the CPU so how will it cool the hot, overclocked processors?   That is when liquid chilled cooling come in play; coolant will be used as cooling medium and Peltier as heat exchanger.

As you can see below, the Freezone Elite is a sort of hybrid in a manner of speaking, as it uses liquid cooling technology in conjunction with TEC to avoid the problems traditionally posed by this type of cooling, but achieves the benefits of water cooling to an extent.

So what you end up with is a product that operates like a self-contained water cooling kit, but with thermoelectric cooling enhancements, presumably the best of both worlds. However, in order for the TEC and Freezone Elite to be very effective, the heat MUST be dissipated quickly, otherwise a heat buildup will occur and cooling efficiency will be lost. There is a thermal limit for each TEC setup as well, so a highly overclocked Quad Core CPU, for example, can produce a tremendous amount of heat that becomes increasingly difficult to dissipate for a TEC unit. As amazing as the technological strides with the Freezone Elite are, this is simply a physical limitation that cannot be avoided by current technology.

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