modern processors have reached higher clock speeds,
higher levels of performance, and generated ever-increasing
levels of heat, an interesting and arguably separate
area of engineering has evolved alongside the
CPU – thermal management. Early processors
or course needed only a finned heat sink slapped
on to run just fine, no fuss no muss, and no fan!
As things warmed up, sinks got bigger, advanced
materials and designs were needed, airflow was
scrutinized, and fans became larger and louder.
processor wars of recent years pushed thermal
limits even further. When AMD began to draw even
with Intel through use of innovative chip architecture,
Intel responded by cranking up the clocks, leading
eventually to the molten Prescott core P4, which
history may eventually prove to be the hottest
running CPU ever. When the baseline thermal needs
of a stock CPU were added to the mad desires of
the overclocking community (you know who you are),
the efficacy of air cooling soon fell short.
blocks were created with recirculation pumps and
radiators, but as those radiators were themselves
air-cooled, even that solution was limited by
the ambient temperature in which they were operated.
The hard core began to dabble in thermoelectric
cooling, in which the Peltier effect is used to
create a cold plate that is capable of lowering
CPU temperatures much further than water (bonus
points to anyone correctly guessing the year in
which Jean Peltier first observed the effect).
The downside to this solution is of course, condensation
– and there is nothing like a TEC block
sweating profusely into the innards of one’s
computer to create unwanted anxiety.
a minute! What if you used the TEC process from
a “peltier” type cooler in combination
with a traditional water block! That way, you
could cool below ambient temps without the condensation,
while using recirculating fluid without the need
for a large radiator and bulky coolant reservoir!
please join me for another “wish I thought
of that sooner” moment ... the technique
described above is exactly what we see executed
to near perfection by the subject of today’s
review, the FreeZone by Cool IT.
glance over the Freezone’s packaging is
definitely exciting! The unit is completely cool
looking, with an awesome feature set. The Freezone
is preassembled, and pre-filled with coolant,
eliminating the possibility of installation errors
leading to leaks. Per the packaging, the unit
offers universal fitment to standard PC cases,
and when installed, is completely self-contained,
using neither drive bays nor expansion slots.
A thermal control circuit monitors temperatures,
and adjusts TEC output and fan speed according
to load, and the large 92mm fan used promises
quieter operation than a stock cooler, but with
much greater performance.
with its ease of installation, superior performance,
and low noise, the Freezone is clearly the perfect
cooling solution for anyone, right?
yes. . .and no. Read on!