RSS Feed

HCW Tech Blog

For the latest info on computer hardware, tech, news, video games, software tips, and Linux, check out our new improved front page: HCW Tech Blog

Reviewed by: Trevor Flynn [03.10.06]
Manufactured by: CoolIT Systems

Lowest Price as of publication: $399.95


Taking Water Cooling to the Next Level

We all know that liquid cooling is much better at dissipating heat than standard air cooling. The bulk of consumer grade liquid cooling systems on the market however are still air cooled through the use of a radiator which limits their cooling abilities.

The Freezone, from CoolIT Systems, that we will be looking at today attempts to break through the standard water cooling barrier through the use of Thermo Electric Cooling (TEC or Peltier) to effectively chill the liquid coolant.

We first came across CoolIT Systems out of Calgary, Canada, during our recent visit to CES this past January. If you remember, we were quite smitten with their Freezone demo at the time. The prospect of an all-in-one, easily installed, chilled liquid cooling system is extremely attractive. Today we will be testing to see if the actual shipping unit is able to meet our high expectations.

A quick note on the Peltier Effect

In case you are unclear on what exactly a Peltier or TEC is you can check out a good basic introduction to the process here.

In short the Peltier effect occurs when a DC current is applied across two dissimilar materials causing a temperature differential between the two.  One of the materials gets very hot and the other gets very cold.  The cooler the hotter material is kept, the cooler the colder material will be. 

Been There, Done That?

Computer hardware enthusiasts and Peltier coolers are by no means strangers to each other. DIY enthusiasts have been using Peltiers for many years now, and some niche cooling companies even have Peltier based CPU cooling blocks available for sale.

Traditionally, these high end peltier solutions involve a Peltier block placed directly on top of a CPU or GPU and then cooled by either a heatsink/fan or by a water block. This presents a definite issue with the extreme cold of the Peltier block meeting the extreme hot of the CPU creating the very real risk of condensation or "sweating". This means that all areas around the Peltier block have to first be insulated against any moisture ruling out everyone but the most hardcore.

A Kinder Gentler Peltier

So what makes the Freezone so special if Peltier cooling has been around for many many moons? First off, instead of using a Peltier to cool the CPU block directly, and then using liquid cooling to cool the Peltier block itself, the Freezone instead uses a series of six different Peltier blocks to cool the liquid in a traditional liquid cooling setup.

Now here's the exciting part.

This little unit is called the Temperature Control Module or TCM. The TCM contains sensors that constantly monitor both ambient and coolant temperature levels. Taking into account these temperature readings the device then regulates the amount of power being sent to the Peltier units as well as the rpm level of the radiator fan in order to ensure that the Freezone never overcools and therefore effectively eliminated any dangers of condensation.

Through this method, CoolIT System has been able to produce a chilled liquid cooling kit that is truly accessible to the masses!

Of course, the real question is whether or not it performs. Read on to find out!

Next Page: (Details and Specifications)