With the warmer weather upon us in the Northern Hemisphere, keeping your processor cool starts to become more important. Sure watercooling is an option. But that just gets you down around ambient temps. We want some nice cooling action through the summer that will take us way below ambient. We need some peltier action...
Upgrade to Peltier Cooling
With the warmer weather upon us in the Northern Hemisphere, keeping your processor cool starts to become more important. Sure, whatercooling is an option. But that just gets you down around ambient temps. We want some nice cooling action through the summer that will take us way below ambient. We need some peltier action...
While this article is more of a how-to guide, Peltier cooling is not for the faint of heart. A lot of preparation, and research needs to be done before hand, and proper steps need to be taken to ensure the safety of your components. If done correctly, and time is taken to check and re-check your work along the way, the rewards gained by upgrading to peltier cooling far outweigh the risks. With water cooling being the new "fad" users are jumping straight to water cooling before taking the time to really get to know how their components truly perform on air (c'mon, you know what I'm talking about). I whole-heartedly believe the road to overclocking nirvana must be taken in gradual steps. Beginning with air cooling, you really get to know your components. Everything comes into play with air cooling, case airflow, exterior case ambient temps, other hardware inside your case that is throwing off heat, one or two degrees can make or break that all time air cooling overclock. Moving to water cooling, each factor still comes into play, but a reduced capacity. The majority of the CPU heat generated is being taken care of by the radiator cooling the water flowing over the components. But still a fun trip to be had as well. By the time you move onto water cooling, you should already have nailed down all the idiosyncrasies of your components, and CPU heat is your limiting factor. The next logical step is peltier cooling. Sure there are various things that can be done while water cooling (mostly getting the water temp down by some form of external chilling) but that renders your system, for the most part, immovable. In the past, peltier cooling was a daunting task. Assembling the peltier and coldplate, if not done right, would defeat most of the gains you would see by peltier cooling. If that wasn't bad enough, condensation proofing was a skilled art as you had to cut the gaskets, and if there was any gaps in the gaskets, you were going to have condensation problems. Today we are looking at peltier blocks made by Swiftech. The blocks, while an integral part of the system, are only a small portion of what is needed to successfully engage on your journey to sub-ambient temps. We'll get into each part in detail later on, but basically it consists of the blocks, a big enough radiator/fan combo to handle the heat output of the blocks, a dedicated power supply to handle the amperage of the peltier, a water pump, relays to turn on the peltier power supply and pump with the system, and a delay timer to allow the blocks to cool down the CPU enough for those sky high overclocks.
While we will not be hitting on the technical information on peltier cooling, there are some great articles and forums threads out there explaining what a peltier does. Here are two links on Basic Thermoelectrics, and How a TEC works. Very interesting reads, and easy to digest as well.
Components and Specs
As noted above, there are quite a bit of components that make up a peltier system. Below we will detail each of the components used in this particular setup.
We will start with the MCW462-UHT. Swiftech takes the very popular MCW462-UH block, sandwiches a 226 Watt peltier between the base, and a 1/2" copper cold plate, and surrounds it with pre-formed gaskets for an extremely well condensation proofed block.
Performance Oriented Design
High internal chamber capacity: 4.22 in3 (69 cc)
Focus jet cooling: the inlet stream is located directly above, and close to the heat source (processor, or thermoelectric module). This effectively optimizes cooling where it is most needed: at the hottest spot of the assembly
Heavy duty base plate:
The plate features a raised area .370" in overall thickness. Altogether, the added mass effectively increases heat capacity compared to earlier MCW462 models by 25%.
The area in contact with the heat source (processor or thermoelectric module) is lapped, and polished to an 8 Micro Surface finish to optimize heat transfer.
Eight 4-40 threaded holes are already in place to accommodate a thermoelectric module assembly. See MCW462-UHT and MCW478-UHT Thermoelectric assemblies below.
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