thermoelectric cooling

By twite ยท 29 replies
Jul 29, 2006
  1. Does anyone know much about thermoelectric cooling? Seems pretty interesting..Has anyone had any personal experience with it..Is it thinking about doing some "extreme" overclocking on my next comp and might go with thermo electric for this.
  2. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

    It used to be popular when CPUs weren't putting out a lot of heat. Now, with the P4s and such, the Peltier elements required to cool them would require even more power, and cooling the elements would probably require liquid cooling, so in the end it's not worth it.

    I have one small Peltier element here somewhere, it's about 10W range if I remember correctly. It wouldn't cool the current generation PCs much.
  3. twite

    twite TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 937

    The one that i have been looking at is a combination of water cooling and thermoelectric and it says that it gets the cpu to below ambient temperatures..Heres the link..
  4. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    I haven't heard of "thermoelectric cooling' for years! :p

    A peltier capable of cooling a modern CPUs is probably going to be pretty impractical. I don't think that should keep you from investigating though - It's your personal choice. :)

    A peltier capable of transfering that much heat is probably going to draw more amperage than a decent 300-350w PSU can deliver... That's the kind of power consumption we're talking about. Even if it isn't practical, your electicity bill is going to be pretty high!

    I don't even have to look at the link to tell you that you won't be running that in a high-end system using a single PSU... That is unless you've got something that's like... +700 watts. ;)

    If you've got the equipment (Or willing to invest), then by all means give it a go. Peltier cooling is a good step beyond traditional heat dissipation methods like water cooling and how it works is pretty elegant and simple. It just requires massive amounts of power and generates a remarkable amount of heat.
  5. twite

    twite TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 937

    You are correct, but the system comes with a 320W external power supply to power the system.
  6. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    Very cool!

    I checked out the link - It seems pretty interesting. It would appear computer peltiers have come quite a way since 99. :)

    Forgetting about the electricity bill and assuming this fits in your case, I think it would be the best solution for what you'd like to do. You'll have a hard time finding any 100% fan or liquid solution that'll come close to a 226w peltier, unless you go for the extreme.
  7. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    I don't think peltier cooling is the way to go., I've read it up extensively just a year back, and I came to the conclusion that its:
    a: Way too much trouble for the gains.
    b: Way too expensive to run.
    c: Way too dangerous if you're not 100% sure of what you're doing. And even then, its still dangerous (to your computer, not you).

    (a) and (c) has been nullified through some companies' offering of TEC equipped watercooling systems. However, (b) still stands, and its a great consideration if you're going to run your PC for the better part of the day. If you use it for gaming, and even then, only a couple of hours a day, go for it, but then you wouldn't really need such powerful equip, would you? You can't disable the TEC for times you don't overclock; you'll have to physically remove it from your system. One way to overcome this may be to install it not directly on your CPU, but to cool down the water in the watercooling system. Its not as effective that way though.
  8. KingCody

    KingCody TS Evangelist Posts: 992   +8

    I never thought of doing it that way.

    it would avoid the cpu area condensation problem. and since the water doesn't heat up as much as the CPU, it could use a less powerful peltier. of course you would still have to effectively cool the hot side of the peltier, but i suppose an stock cpu air cooler could do the trick.

    either way it sounds interesting. i might try it... just for fun :D
  9. twite

    twite TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 937

    I am not to worried about the cost of the cooling, and as far as the risks go, their will always be risks, whether i have thermoelectric cooling or not. For example, i currently have water cooling, which could malfunction and possibly turn into a bad situation at any time.

    Even with the $250 water cooling kit that i have, my cpu temps are 46-52 C. Idle, as i live in Arizona's 110 degree desert. If thermoelectric cooling doesn't seem like a good idea, what would be a good alternative? I appreciate all your help.
  10. twite

    twite TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 937

    would a phase change unit be a better option?

    (not considering the price)
  11. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    Uhm... With watercooling you're getting 46-52? Thats crazy....

    Well, if you really want a watercooling setup, I'd recommend that you do your research thoroughly. There are a few companies offering peltier cooling out there, but they aren't cheap (not a problem to you), and they suck up alot of power (might be a problem). You will probably need a second power supply, or get a new 1kW monster PSU to power that thing, and an SLI configured computer.

    It will still require watercooling, and from what I gather, it might be a good idea to add another radiator. And it will only cool the CPU (getting GPU units will require yet another power supply).

    Anyway, here's a link to an Australian site selling TEC coolers.
    Price is AUD$750. (includes the watercooling kit).

    You can make it yourself, but remember to waterproof the area. Which is alot of trouble, I got some websites saved on my HDD from the last time I looked into TEC cooling on how to waterproof your CPU, and install a TEC under your watercooling system.

    Making it yourself will undoubtedly be MUCH cheaper, all you need is to make sure you get a 200W or better peltier (I'll suggest you get at least double the watts your CPU uses) and stick it under your waterblock. They're pretty thin, and there's a seller on ebay that sells peltiers. Too bad they ship only to the US.

    Phase change I've personally never really looked into it cos it costs way too much. If you can afford it, and afford to run it, why not? I'm not sure what it'll sound like, but I've got a feeling it isn't very quiet.
  12. twite

    twite TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 937

    yeh, i havent been able to figure the water cooling temps out, i think its probably because my generic 400W. PSU isn't giving the system the power it needs..or maybe because the room temperature here is 90+ degrees.

    Thanks for the link but i found the same system in America for $519.

    I saved up some extra money from working to explore the wonders of computer modding..not like im bill gates or anything (rich).

    I can probably get a phase change unit for around $600, which can reach temps of -50C. As far as noise, its only a mere 35DB. Now i am starting to think that phase change will be a better option.
  13. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    That system includes a watercooling unit, not just the cost of the peltier.

    With phase change, you'll still need to waterproof your CPU, so you're not really running away from problems there. Anything that brings temperatures below room temp will need waterproofing.

    See if you can find someone who will sell just the peltier. I know ebay has some nice ones (not sure if the size is right) for less than USD$50. Since you already have a watercooler.... You might be interested in picking up a few more pieces and peltier cool your GPUs too while you're at it.
  14. KingCody

    KingCody TS Evangelist Posts: 992   +8

    phase change cooling can be loud or quiet. it all depends on the compressor model that you use.

    in most cases I would imagine the fan on the condenser (if a fan is used) would be the loudest component, but even that should be pretty quiet.

    one thing is for sure though... a phase change cooler would make for a very cool rig :cool:
  15. twite

    twite TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 937

    Heres the link i supplied earlier...pretty much the same system

    Their are three problems with using peltiers with my existing water cooling
    1. My northbridge is cooled by it, and the peltiers would heat it up
    2. I would need another power supply with enough amps on the v rail to power both pelteirs.
    3. I would have to make my own condensation proofing devices.

    If i did decide to use my existing water cooling, how would i set that up? Would it go Waterblock,peltier,coldplate,cpu?

    I relize this, and the vapochill phase change unit comes with all kinds of condensation proofing devices. Although, i dont think condensation will be to much of a problem, considering the air humidity here in Arizona is only about 5%
  16. twite

    twite TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 937

    I would really appreciate it if you help me find a 12v power supply with at least 40+ amps..that will be the only way i will be able to power both peltiers.
  17. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9


    You'd need an external power, if you're gonna power 2 peltiers.

    Also, there are reports that say watercooling Northbridges is a useless exercise. You might be better off with a huge passive heatsink on your NB, and a peltier on your CPU. And GPU if you want. Also, water temp around your watercooling cicuit is very similar, at most 2C difference between coldest and warmest spots. Assuming your flow is at optimum. This is because your flow would be fast enough that the water doesn't spend that much time being heated up, or losing heat.

    Also, I think I mentioned before that if you want to run 2 peltiers, you should look into getting another radiator. You can always run this radiator between your CPU and NB/GPU if you're really concerned about hot water running into your components.
  18. dmill89

    dmill89 TS Guru Posts: 475

    QUOTE=twite]I would really appreciate it if you help me find a 12v power supply with at least 40+ amps..that will be the only way i will be able to power both peltiers.[/QUOTE]

    This should do 1 KW with 70A should handle about anything but It's split over 3 rails so you might have to do some complex wireing and It costs $500

    This will also do It has 60A on one rail and only costs $200
  19. twite

    twite TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 937

    wasn't really planning on spending that much, but i think the second one might do.

    yup..the 226W peltier requires 24 amps and the 160W reguires about 15
  20. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    if you're running both of them... I don't know if 60A is enough. Don't forget you'd need power for your PC components as well.
  21. twite

    twite TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 937

    This power supply will be dedicated to the the peltiers only.
  22. twite

    twite TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 937

    This may sound crazy, but what if i used a compact freezer, and externally cooled the radiator. Also, how does acrylic hold coldness? If i modded the freezer so it was acylic, would it hold the cold?
  23. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    Thats an interesting question. I know some people who've run with ice in their reservoirs, so I know that tubing can at least handle 0C.

    However, what you're proposing here sounds like something below 0.

    And where is this acrylic giong to be? Coldness can make it brittle, but unless you're talking about really low temps (way below 0) I don't think that there should be a problem. I'd suggest you keep the temp in the freezer to 1C, anything less and you might run into a frozen radiator. Unless you put in some antifreeze or something, but there might be a chance that something will reach with that. Low chance tho...
  24. twite

    twite TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 937

    Well my next computer is going to be an acrylic case, so i was thinking about taking the freezer completly apart..and then putting the cooling part in a self made acrylic "shell". The reason that i am sceptical on whether the acrylic will keep the cold or not is because regular freezers/fridges are specially designed to keep cold...and use certain materials to prevent condensation ect.

    Yeh, i was thinking about doing guessing the temps would be anywhere from -3 to 2 C.
  25. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    Is it possible to make the case out of metal, maybe with an acrylic top?

    Also, another suggestion is that you put in a thermostat, set to 1C. Then you don't have to add impurities like antifreeze.

    It will be a good idea that you insulate the tubing all over your PC if you do that, since having water below ambient, the tubes will be absorbing heat, instead of releasing it. A simple solution to that is to wrap your tubes in foam, but if you've got the time, it might be better to get a block of styrofoam, drill a hole through it and put your pipes through that. If you can encase all your pipes through styrofoam, you'll get a much cooler system (might not look good...).

    One way of dealing with condensation will be to reduce the humidity in the PC itself. I'll leave that to you to figure out how to do that :D
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