Air Liquid or thermo-electric cooler to reduce CPU heat

Over the years I’ve looked at the various ways to cool a ( CPU ) Central Processing Unit. There are three basic ways to reduce the heat produced from the brains of your computer. Most machines use air cooling to lower the CPU temperature. Air cooling is the most common method used to perform this task. Almost every off the shelf computer purchased at a traditional store or online uses this method for heat reduction. There are some high-end PC manufacturers that use liquid or water cooling. I’d venture a guess that this is the second most popular way for computer enthusiast to reduce the heat being produced by the CPU. For years hardcore geeks have been using water or other liquid to dissipate heat. Liquid cooling in the past has been seen as something only overclockers and other serious computer enthusiast do. This thought process has only slightly changed as the years have passed. With the introduction of all in one liquid cooling kits more people have started to venture into the world of water cooling.

While my current cooling setup gets the job done well. I have always been interested in other cooling technology. Along with liquid cooling I’ve also done some reading on thermo-electric coolers ( TEC ) also known as a “Peltier Cooler”. My thought was this would be a way to obtain extreme cooling without the risk and hassle of trying to setup a liquid / water cooling system. From what I’ve seen the reviews on thermo-electric coolers ( TEC ) products have been mixed. I have seen complaints about noise, setup issues and claims that the TEC doesn’t cool to the levels expected. Although the price has come down on thermo-electric coolers I have hesitated to make a purchase of such a system do to what I have read.

It should be kept in mind that with any cooling system that isn’t considered stock clearance issues need to be considered. Even some traditional air cooled products may be to big to fit into a standard computer case. I’m currently using one of the larger heat sinks ( Thermaltake Big Typhoon ). This air cooling unit works well in my case. Others have complained that they weren’t so lucky in regards to getting it to fit.

Since I was worried about getting the results I wanted from a TEC “Peltier Cooler”. It was back to considering a liquid cooling system. Of course I had many of the traditional concerns most people have in regards to water cooling. The normal concerns are ease of setup and liquid leakage. I think everyone would agree that water and electronic parts don’t mix well. These concerns had me turned off to purchasing a liquid cooling product. Then I read about PrimoChill PC ICE Non-Conductive Water Cooling Fluid in CPU Magazine. This got my interest in water cooling back into gear. Why? Because if there was a Non-Conductive fluid on the market this could reduce the risk of component failure do to a leak in the system. Also with some of the newer liquid cooling kits on the market building a water cooled machine is supposedly a little easier.

Even though I still had concerns as to if I was up to the task. The other day I finally broke down and purchased a water cooling kit. I wasn’t going to try to build a liquid cool system from the ground up on my first adventure. After much back and forth I chose to go with the Thermaltake ProWater 850i Liquid Cooling System. The Zalman Reserator 1 V2 Fanless Water Cooling System was also on the short list. But that was a little more than I wanted to pay for my first try at water cooling. I still have many of my original reservations about building a liquid cooled system. But I figure I’ll never know if I can build it unless I try. So later on today UPS ( if they get it right ) should be delivering my water cooler. This means I will have to do a full rebuild of my current system.