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Swiftech MCW6500-T TEC (Peltier) Assisted Water Block

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This review is going to compare the MCW6500-T with one of the highest performing water-blocks, the Storm G4. The test setup will include two GPU waterblocks in the same cooling loop. It is claimed by Swiftech that this should still be possible and that the GPU temperatures will still be well below stock air cooling. The graphics cards are volt-modded and overclocked and will be left at their fully overvolted and overclocked state for consistency.

The temperatures of Motherboard Monitor 5 (MBM5) with the custom DFI NF4 settings, has been found to give reasonably accurate readings, within a few degrees of a temperature probe and the newer, and supposedly more accurate, software monitoring program: CoreTemp. So I will use MBM5 with a time interval of 2 seconds.

For all tests, the Swiftech MCW6500-T is cooling the CPU and two graphics card are also in the same water-cooling loop. Only the load on the CPU and GPUs are varied, to assess the temperature changes. I devised three temperature scenarios:

Idle - the average temperatures over 30 mins of idling at the desktop,
Load (CPU only) - the average temperatures over 30 mins of Stress Prime 2004 Orthos Edition (a processor-intensive stress-test application based on Prime95),
Load (CPU + GPU) - the peak temperatures over the full run of 3DMark2006 (a 3D benchmarking application which stresses multicore CPUs as well as multiple graphics cards).

The temperatures being recorded are those of the CPU, the PWM IC (voltage regulator) and the two GPUs. Each temperature test scenario will be run for the test machine with the Storm G4 and then with the MCW6500-T @ 12 Volts, and then with the MCW6500-T @ 13.6V.

Testing Setup:

  • AMD Opteron 170 (no heatspreader) @ 2.0 GHz, 1.296v
  • Swiftech Storm G4 water-block
  • Swiftech MCW6500-T TEC-assisted water-block
  • Swiftech MCP655 (Laing/DD D5) pump
  • Swiftech MCR220-QP radiator (2x Panaflo 120x120x38mm M1A fans @ 12v)
  • Swiftech MCRes-Micro reservoir
  • DFI NF4 Ultra-D (modded to SLI)
  • 2x 1GB G.Skill HZ PC4000 (3-4-4-8-1T)
  • 2x Point Of View 7800GT 256MB @ 522 / 1260, voltmodded to 1.712v GPU
  • 2x Dangerden Maze4 GPU low profile water-blocks
  • PC Power & Cooling 510 SLI/Express PSU
  • Meanwell S-320-12 PSU
  • 2x Hitachi 160GB 7k250 SATA1 (RAID-0)
  • 2x Hitachi 250GB T7k250 SATA2
  • Hitachi 200GB T7k250 ATA
  • Seagate 200GB 7200.7 ATA
  • NEC ND-3500A DVDRW
  • Microsoft Windows XP Pro SP2

Results: Opteron 170 @ stock

Ambient = 26°C

This set of results compares the temperatures of each component for the system at idle on both the CPU and GPUs, against the temperatures achieved when the CPU is put under 100% load (the GPUs remain at idle)

CPU Temps (CPU Idle vs CPU Load)

PWM IC Voltage Regulator Temps (CPU Idle vs CPU Load)

GPU1 Temps (CPU Idle vs CPU Load)

GPU2 Temps (CPU Idle vs CPU Load)

Ok, so the next set of results shows what happens when the entire system is put under load, with the CPU and both GPUs put under very heavy load in a multi-processor (SMP) & multi-graphics-card (SLI) enabled application.

CPU Temps, PWM IC Voltage Regulator Temps (CPU Load & GPU Load)

GPU1 Temps, GPU2 Temps (CPU Load & GPU Load)

So, at idle, the Storm G4 manages a CPU temperature of merely +2°C above ambient, while the MCW6500-T gets the CPU -23°C below ambient! A massive difference in favour of the TEC-block. Strangely, increasing the Meanwell PSU voltage to 13.6V increased the CPU temperature by 1°C. Maybe the extra heat produced by the TEC with 13.6V applied just increases the water temperature.

The difference is not quite so dramatic when the CPU is put under load. With the Storm G4 the CPU temperature rises to +6°C over ambient and the MCW6500-T keeps the CPU at -8°C under ambient.

Similar results can be observed when under CPU and GPU load. The Storm G4 manages a +8°C rise over ambient and the MCW6500-T still manages to keep it below room temperature with a -6°C below ambient.

Also, it's interesting to see that the PWM IC voltage regulator actually runs colder when the CPU is so cold. It is right next to the socket, so the motherboard will be colder itself around this area.

Not very surprisingly, the added heat from the hot side of the TEC pumping round the water-loop has increased the GPU temperatures. The temperature increase ranges from +8 to +12°C for idle and load scenarios. This added heat did not produce any instability or visual artifacts. This came as quite a surprise as the graphics cards are heavily overclocked and overvolted right up to the point of instability.

  1. Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Closer Look (Meanwell 320W PSU)
  3. Installation (Meanwell PSU)
  4. Installation (Motherboard Preparation)
  5. Installation (CPU & MCW6500-T)
  6. Specifications
  7. Testing (Opteron 170: Stock)
  8. Testing (Opteron 170: Overclocked)
  9. Testing (3500+ Venice: Stock)
  10. Testing (3500+ Venice: Overclocked)
  11. Conclusion
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