Welcome everyone to my first ever computer hardware review. Today I'm taking a look at the Ultra ChillTEC CPU cooler, which for a gadget lover like myself promises to be the coolest thing around, pardon the pun. As I am not that well equipped I cannot promise you the most scientific of reviews, but I shall do my best. This cooler uses a TEC, or ThermoElectric Chip, aka Peltier device, to augment the performance of a traditional heat pipe based air cooler.
The UPS lady arrived late one wintry December afternoon last week with a rather large box. I knew my first review subject was coming, but it was unclear to me just how much of the box was occupied by my test subject. The answer was, pretty much all of it. And it was fairly heavy, too.
Now that the product box was unpacked, I set it down and got some pictures while I tried to think of how best to show it off using my main computer. I decided that in the lack of any real thermal test equipment, I would go ahead and do this the only way possible: software monitoring. More specifically, I used Speedfan to keep track of reported temperatures, and two instances of Super PI to load down the CPU. I am sorry to say I didn't get any fan speeds, as Speedfan was reporting values all over the map between zero and 28,000 RPM, so it's going to be all noise observations from here on out. Fortunately, the temperature readings were far more reliable.
I ultimately decided my methodology would consist of loading down my X2 3800+ with the stock AMD supplied cooler, noting the readings from Speedfan, and then finding out how much better the ChillTEC would be under those same conditions. Furthermore, I would overclock said X2 and see if I could get the ChillTEC to run anywhere near as toasty as the stock cooler got.
That decided, I was more than a little anxious to see what was inside the box. I ripped off the plastic and opened the box to find?
A 5.25" drive bay controller, a box of installation hardware, and one of the biggest coolers I've ever seen. Now keep in mind, my overclocking days have been behind me for a while due to the need for things like eating and rent and paying for new cars. My last overclocking experience involved an Athlon XP 2500+. Need I say more? At any rate, this is my first experience with anything near the size of this cooler. Installed, it towers nearly 6" above the mainboard.
Fully unpacked, we can now see everything the cooler comes with: three motherboard backplates, one neoprene insulator, one clear plastic insulator, one instruction booklet, the controller, the cooler, a "Register online and win!" card, and finally the bag of installation hardware and accessories. What's in the bag you ask? Well, I'll tell ya.
Here we have the bag contents. Four thumbscrews; four Intel 775 mounting brackets; two socket AM2 brackets; two K8 brackets intended for sockets 939, 940, and 754; eight installation screws; a syringe of silvery looking thermal paste; a four pin Molex power extension cable; and last but not least the fancy cable used to connect the controller to the cooler itself. I said to myself, "Enough stalling, let's get this cooler in-stalled."
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