Ultra ChillTec Thermo Electric Cpu Cooler
Reviewed by: Admin
Reviewed on: April 8, 2007
Peltier, que diable est cela? Or Peltier, what the heck is that? No, not a French lesson but a new Cooler developed by Ultra. Peltier Coolers or Thermo-Electric coolers (as they are more commonly known), use solid-state active heat pumps capable of transferring heat from one side of a device to the other.
Is a pre-built thermal electric cooler worth the extra expense? Thermo Electric Coolers (TEC) have been around for quite some time and even during the time of the first generation Pentium CPU, TEC's were widely available and could be installed and used as a regular heatsink. The older TEC’s were combination peltier/heatsinks, just as the Ultra Chill-TEC cooler I will be reviewing in this article is.
One problem with TEC's are that they require power and also can put out 200W of heat, which will be dispersed into your case. So if you don’t have sufficient air flow, this can produce more harm than good. There are advantages to having a TEC, in that it cools below ambient air temperatures, they are solid state and do not have any moving parts which require maintenance, making them more reliable.
Ultra Products are a global technology-solutions provider, based in Fletcher Ohio, whose mission is to be the best provider of technology-solutions in the global market. Ultra ensures that by offering superior, innovative products and a high level of customer service, its customers will receive exceptional value in everything they do.
The Ultra Chill-TEC comes very nicely packaged and catches your eye right away. It immediately gained my interest on seeking more information about the package contents.
Opening the box reveals two components: the TEC cooler and the thermal controller, which I almost mistook for a CD ROM drive. The contents were also well protected in the packaging.
So what does this TEC look like? Mostly like a heatsink that has a fan attached to it and some extra wiring down at the bottom. As you will notice, it is also quite large and depending on the size of your case, the unit may not fit.
Although the base of the unit is copper, it appears to be nickel plated.
The TEC controller comes with a display to monitor the CPU’s temperatures, while you can also change the colors of the display and the temperature readings from Celsius to Fahrenheit.
The Ultra Chill-TEC cooler can be used on Intel LGA 775 processors and all AMD processors, from socket 754 to AM2 . The controller needs to be connected to a 4 pin Molex from your power supply and it attaches to the cooler via a cable linkage.
When installing the cooler, you will need to remove the back plate that came with your motherboard. Ultra supplies the foam padding and a plastic shield to use between the motherboard and mounting plate.
Turning the motherboard over reveals the mounting pins. You now need to attach the proper connectors to the cooler, so that you can secure it to the motherboard.
Place the cooler over the pins on the motherboard and secure it with the provided screws. Then you're ready to place everything back in your case.
Finally, take one of your bay covers from the front bezel of your case. Then slide in the controller, secure it and attach the wiring to the cooler and your power supply.
With everything back together, it’s time to fire up the computer and test the product. Before I go into the testing phase, I’d like to show you what the cooler and the control panel look like with the power on. The cooler itself is lit with blue LEDs, while the controller can be backlit in 6 different colors, with a 7th being red, which is the warning light. Of course, being the great photographer that I am, all the colors came out perfectly. Not! So even though they are different shades, the blues all looked the same and the yellow and green look similar. I'll add a picture from Ultra to at least show a little difference.
- Socket Types: Intel Socket 775, AMD Socket AM2 / 754 / 939 / 940
- Cooler Dimensions: 128 x 104 x 147
- Thermoelectric Chip: 40 x 40 / 12V DC
- Total Power Dissipation:
0% Load = 5 W
50% Load = 28 W
100% Load = 50 W
- Heatsink Material: 4 Heat Pipes, Aluminum Fins, Copper Base
- Heatsink Dimensions: 90 x 90 x 160 mm
- Fan Dimensions: 92 x 92 x 25 mm
- Fan Voltage Rating: 12V DC
- Fan Speed and Noise Levels:
Low 2000rpm / 20 dB(A)
Medium 2400 rpm / 24 dB(A)
High 2800 rpm / 28 dB(A)
- Thermal Resistance: 0.12-0.15(ºC/W)
- Weight: 985g (With Fan)
- Temperature Monitor Range: 0ºF~99ºF / 32ºF ~ 210.2ºF
- TEC Temperature Response Time to Control Unit: < 1 Second
- Controller Dimensions: 150 x 147 x 43 mm
- Controller Weight: 508 g
Functions of Control Panel:
- Total Cumulated operating time.
- Current operating time since last restart.
- Temperature Display - Current TEC operating temperature.
- Switch temperature reading between Celsius and Fahrenheit.
- Adjustable LCD back lit color.
- TEC load Animation.
- Dark Blue
- Shallow Blue
- Dark Green
- Shallow Green
- Middle Purple
- Red - Alarm
- <18c - Slow
- >18c -50c -Normal
- >50c -Fast
I will compare the Ultra Chill-TEC Cooler to the Thermalright XP90. All temperatures will be in Celsius and at a room temperature of 24 C. The tests will be conducted at idle and 100% load and I will use prime 95 to achieve the 100 % load on the CPU. In the first set of graphs, I will use the temperature as read on the display. My second set of graphs will be conducted with a probe. All XP 90 temperatures are performed with a probe.
- AMD 64 3700+ SanDiego
- MSI K8N Neo 4 Platinum
- OCZ Platinum Rev. 2 DDR (2 x 512)
- Ultra Chill-TEC Cooler
- Thermalright XP 90
- XFX 7600 GT XXX
- Ultra 700W XVS
- Maxtor 200 GB Diamond Max SATA 1.5
- Memorex 52 x 32 x 52 CD/RW
- Windows Media Center SP2
If I had to go just by the temperatures on the control panel I could say that the Chill-TEC cooler is doing a good job cooling down the CPU. However, comparing apples to apples with the probe, the Chill-TEC Cooler didn’t do much better than the XP90.
To be totally honest, I’m not very thrilled with the Ultra Chill-TEC. For one, it’s loud even at normal speed. I could never get the CPU temperature high enough to hear what it would sound like if it were on high, but I’ll pass. I also didn't like the fact that you cannot adjust the fan speed manually.
Being as big as it is, I would have also thought that the heat dispersion would have been better. Peltier coolers take the heat from one side and disperse it to the other - that part of the equation does work. Now do you really need the extra power draw? As you saw in the specifications, the unit at 100% load draws 50W of power. There goes the electric bill.
I live in Florida where it can get quite hot outside. Recently I have needed to use the climate control in the house to cool down. If I had written this review when the weather was cooler, I would have misguided everyone. Why? Because before it heated up here, I either had the windows open, or it was cool enough to keep the windows closed, in order to maintain a constant temperature in the house. So the inside air temperatures of the case were cooler. Now that the climate control is on 'ambient', temps inside the case have gone up, even though the temperature in the house remains a constant. With that being said, since a peltier cooler keeps temperatures lower than ambient air inside the case, my CPU temperatures although cooler than the ambient air, increased.
I did not have this problem with the XP90 and the XP90 did not produce as much fan noise. Personally, the up-and-down noise the Chill-TEC fan was creating is quite annoying. I would have to say that if you live in a cooler climate, the Chill-TEC would be a fair investment. However, if you are eco-friendly and don’t like to deal with the noise, think twice about it.
- Nice control panel
- Very Large, will not fit in some cases
- Draws a lot of power @ 100% load
- No manual fan controls
- Big - takes up a lot of interior case space