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Peltier cooling

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May 22, 2006 1:07:29 AM

Does anyone here use a peltier cooling solution? Obviously they are power hogs (I've seen some with a 400 watt draw) What are the pros and cons of using them and what type of water cooling would you use to cool down the hot side of the plate?

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May 22, 2006 1:55:55 AM

You are right.....they are power hogs and depending on the peltier wattage you purchase, you may need a separate power supply!
Higher the wattage, the colder it gets.....the downside: condensation!! You'll need to water-proof you motherboard, VGA, RAM, etc.......

Type of water cooling??
For low powered peltiers, just a basic water cooling solution will do (ones like TT water cooling kits, gigabyte, etc)
For high powered peltiers, recommend performance water cooling solutions such as Swiftech, Danger Den, A1, etc......some people daisy-chain radiators together to better cool the heat production on really really high power peltiers!!
Related resources
May 22, 2006 2:34:40 AM

Quote:
Does anyone here use a peltier cooling solution? Obviously they are power hogs (I've seen some with a 400 watt draw) What are the pros and cons of using them and what type of water cooling would you use to cool down the hot side of the plate?


I've used them at work and am not crazy about them. Just remember that the power hog aspect you cite means that they are also a huge source of heat. We use a ~150 watt TEC and it puts out over a KW of heat into the room. In the winter, that's a nice warm glow but when it's warm, that POS is evil, I tell you. EVIL!!! I think they do have potential uses and the commercial unit that cools the water that recircs to the CPU block is not a bad setup. But that could be improved on too. I'm working on a prototype but am a ways away.
May 22, 2006 2:46:34 AM

I recently got one + watercooling setup to build a beer cooler.
I wouldn't consider using one to cool my computer 24/7, though mostly because of the condensation issues you encounter chiling and it wastes a lot of energy in the process.

The peltier i have is about ~ 170 Watt, and yes it gets cold on one side but try putting a heatsink on the other side and you'll quickly find out that air just doesn't cut it. You'll need watercooling just to cool the peltier... 8O

Also, pay attention to the DELTA of the peltier when buying. The higher the better.
Bascially its the difference in temeperature between the two sides.
The colder you get the hot side, the colder the other side will get.

I use some old copper water block that a friend gave me, a heater core from an '89 mustang (got it cheap ebay), and a backyard pond pump (also free).
May 22, 2006 5:54:48 AM

Normally you wouldnt water proof the VGA or RAM.....
But in extreme cases, I seen condensation that looks more like a ice block spreading out wards. I dont know the wattage they are using on that thing......
But just to be safe I guess.....

But like most comments posted here, I dont recommend using peltier to cool your PC 24/7!!
May 22, 2006 6:59:19 AM

I have often wondered about peltier cooling myself.... It seems to me that if some one wanted to manufacture a cooling system they would need to have some sort of thermal regulation like a thermal sensor that says "Hey this is cool enough I should turn off for half a second" Im probably realy simplifying here but it sounds good :)  hmmm you watch now tomaro ThermalTake or some other company will advertize they just finished work on such a device :) 
May 22, 2006 7:37:38 AM

I looked at frozencpu.com and found this sucker. It's 400 us dollars and only cools the cpu but it does it by cooling the liquid and not the cpu directly. Now if they offered it with a mobo chip and dual vga adapter, then it would be awsome.
http://www.frozencpu.com/ex-wat-90.html
May 22, 2006 10:20:07 AM

I have a dual peltier cooling system setup. I use a swiftech 226w for my Presler core (3.46) and a custom ViperVenom III for my XFX 7900 GTX. To power them I have a Meanwell 600-12 SE with a voltage regulator that allows me to tweak the voltage up to 13.5 volts. My CPU temps stay at between -1 to 3C idle and rises to about 5-7C on load. My 7900 GTX, though, is at around -17.5C idle and when playing something like DOOM3 or F.E.A.R. with max settings it will climb to between -15 to -12C. While I don't know the hotside temps for the CPU, for my GPU Peltier it hovers around between 38.5 to 41C depending on if it is idle or on load. I don't usually overclock my CPU but my GPU is set at 800 core clock and 900 (1800) memory clock.

However, the cost of this is that I have to run a dual loop parallel water cooling system (one each for the CPU and the GPU) which connects only at the reservoir. Each has a Dual 120 Black Ice Xtreme Rad that uses 4 120mm fans each in a "push-pull" configuration. I use 2 Swiftech MCP655's (1 for each loop). To pwer everything AND all my other mods and such I use an XG Duro 900.
May 22, 2006 10:50:48 AM

do you realise you alone are responsable for 80% of all global warming!!!. that rig draws more power in a week then the entire of Uganda uses in a year?!
May 22, 2006 3:27:09 PM

I will definitely admit one thing - my computer does actually heat up my apartment after some time of running - especially if I don't have something like the AC running - and this is no joke either.

But phase change cooling is not appealing to me as it is either too large, unweildy, noisy and/or seriously more expensive than peltier cooling. Only recently have I seen where it can adapt to GPU cooling and that unit they have for sale over at FrozenCPU is almost $3,000.
May 22, 2006 3:43:00 PM

Quote:
I looked at frozencpu.com and found this sucker. It's 400 us dollars and only cools the cpu but it does it by cooling the liquid and not the cpu directly. Now if they offered it with a mobo chip and dual vga adapter, then it would be awsome.
http://www.frozencpu.com/ex-wat-90.html

It's an ok solution. At least it does better than your typical low-end watercooling kit by lowering water temperature a few degrees. Nothing spectacular, but for 400 it ain't worth it as you can build real sub-zero direct TEC cooling for that price.

I've waffled back and forth about this. There are possible solutions to sub-zero CPU operation that I have not seen anyone attempt. For example, other condensation fixes, other heat exhaust fixes, and on and on. But the TEC/water solution here does one good thing - it moves the coldest part of the system away from the CPU. Sure, it doesn't get the CPU as cold as a direct TEC can, but it also adds a bit of a safety factor into the equation. How? If a direct-contact TEC dies while you are up and running, you can lose your CPU pretty fast. With the heat exchange via water, you add all of that heat capacity into the equation and it buys you a little time.

But your perspective about price is right on. One could build their own TEC/water system for as little as about $100, maybe less. You could even assemble PC-specific parts plus a TEC and get it around $150 I'd guess. If you shop around, you can find TEC's dirt cheap and having used them, I know they do work. I expect the high performance end of PC cooling to continue to change over the next few years and some more viable alternatives to arrive.
May 22, 2006 3:52:19 PM

Quote:
I will definitely admit one thing - my computer does actually heat up my apartment after some time of running - especially if I don't have something like the AC running - and this is no joke either.


That's one of the prices you'll pay for TECs. I've talked to sales people that claim their unit is 40% efficient or whatever but when we measured them, they were all in the 8 to 15% range. That sucks butt. If you don't mind paying the electrical bill, it's no real problem but for a rig like yours* then you might want to look at another heat exhaust option. Considering the effort and bucks you already invested, the heat fix is pretty easy and inexpensive.

*: which sounds like it performs great if condensation isn't a problem
May 22, 2006 3:52:34 PM

Sorry for the double post. I'm innocent! The web site did it, I swear! Is it possible to delete a post yourself?
May 22, 2006 4:28:28 PM

I've heard rumblings here and there that phase change is the hot ticket amongst prospective companies right now - Gigabyte is rumored to be attempting to find a lower cost phase change solution but, as of yet, I have heard of nothing concrete.

One thing is certain, phase change, while resulting in lower temperatures far beyond those achieved by Peltier cooling, is too inflexible and much too expensive. Certainly, peltier cooling and phase change cooling are specialty "niches" in the whole cooling solution communitybut, the other alternatives to superior cooling are impractical and more work than they are worth (i.e. liquid nitrogen, "chillers", etc). I mean seriously now, has anyone seen some of the rigs designed around custom phase change and alternative cooling solutions? They look like mini nuclear reactors. Witht he exception of the 2 double 120 rads that are on the outside of my computer, everything else is pretty standard looking and one nice thing is that my rig is near silent.
May 22, 2006 4:31:12 PM

Quote:
I mean seriously now, has anyone seen some of the rigs designed around custom phase change and alternative cooling solutions? They look like mini nuclear reactors.


I thought that was part of the allure for those builders?
May 22, 2006 4:51:30 PM

Yes it is and you are right. I was spealing, though, of those people who are seeking higher end cooling beyond standard water cooling. With the rise in temps that CPU's have generated as they become more powerful (although the upcoming upgrades seem to have lessened that) and the GPU temps starting to approach CPU temps (in some fashion anyway) I believe that alternative cooling solutions are fast becoming a hot button topic. The specialty "niche" - those who custom build their own phase change solutions and such - are solving those issues with an eye towards serious overclocking. But, I feel, a growing number of enthusiasts who are seeking better cooling beyond water cooling, either don't care for having three mile island next to their computer desk OR don't view it as practical to invest the time and/or money in something as extensive as custom phase change.
May 22, 2006 5:01:32 PM

I know this guy who has built a duct from his floor vent to blow a/c into his case. I guess thats the cheap way to have phase change cooling even though it's still air cooled parts
May 22, 2006 7:26:16 PM

My office stays a bit warm, even tho I have central heat and air... and I considered a window unit, but they are unattractive on the outside of your house, so I have considered a indoor room air conditioner ≈ 10k BTU, which resembles a room air cleaner about 10" x 26" x 30" and sits on the floor (est $300), with a squirrel cage blower and a duct routed to a window for heat exchange, and I could set PC next to A/C blower which would cool the PC and also help assist in cooling the room a bit more.
IMO this would be much less costly than phase change cooling and just as effective as peltier, if not more so, and by far the simplest solution, subsequently doubling duty also as a needed room cooler so initial and monthly cost would be negligible.
May 22, 2006 7:43:10 PM

RichPLS, I agree that in most settings, your idea would provide an adequate solution to cooling. In most schools, universities and learning institutions you will find computer labs whose computers are using standard air cooling (i.e. fan/heatsink on the CPU and, perhaps, one or two intake/outtake fans). Their enviroments are rooms which are, generally, kept at very cool temperatures - much like what you are proposing. It would be important to have a decent air circulation system throughout the computer.

For those people who like to venture into overclocking on varying degrees, watercooling is more effective at keeping critical components close to ambient temperatures. That coupled with an AC blowing on, at least, the rads involved would certainly be beneficial. Just plain air cooling, even with an AC nearby, wouldn't allow overclockers to abuse their CPUs or GPUs as effectively as they would want to.

I live by the beach and I like keeping my windows open during the day and I enjoy the "beach air" so I needed to find a cooling solution that was independent of the ambient temperature. Since I don't view phase change cooling as a solution, peltier coolign was my next alternative as I only had to maintain an effective watercooling loop for the TECs themselves.
May 22, 2006 8:34:21 PM

Quote:
My office stays a bit warm, even tho I have central heat and air... and I considered a window unit, but they are unattractive on the outside of your house, so I have considered a indoor room air conditioner ≈ 10k BTU, which resembles a room air cleaner about 10" x 26" x 30" and sits on the floor (est $300), with a squirrel cage blower and a duct routed to a window for heat exchange, and I could set PC next to A/C blower which would cool the PC and also help assist in cooling the room a bit more.
IMO this would be much less costly than phase change cooling and just as effective as peltier, if not more so, and by far the simplest solution, subsequently doubling duty also as a needed room cooler so initial and monthly cost would be negligible.


I've seen a similar setup where the output of the room AC was blown onto the radiator of a water cooling system. It works fine and puts the cold where you want it. The CPU temp in this system ran below ambient by something like 10 degrees. One could also plumb the cold AC air right into the PC air inlet but that could lead to condensation problems.
May 23, 2006 4:42:13 AM

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About the power and heat/failure issue. I don't think anyone is crazy enough to run a direct TEC for 24/7(Folding@Home? :lol:  ) or more than 4hrs of gaming.


I hear that, unless maybe it's someone in Antarctica. I know a local guy that had his separate TEC power supply croak while running and his CPU died. He could have built in a fail-safe on the dual PS rig. But if that failure hadn't a got him, another woulda. He was on a quest, if you know what I mean.
May 23, 2006 6:17:41 PM

Hey all those research stations in the arctic or ant arctic they could replace the heaters with like 20 or 30 PC's OCed to the max !!! hmm maybe they could also use the heat to melt ice for drinking water... heheheh but anyway Peltier's look cool but they seem like they still need some work done to have them be very practical anyone have some links on exactly how they work ? I mean the physics end of it :) 

Here is a small link but the information is still not as detailed as I would like :( 

http://ffden-2.phys.uaf.edu/212_fall2003.web.dir/Dane_L...
May 23, 2006 9:05:29 PM

you guys have talked about running tec for limited time during the day, will the waterblock on the tec still cool the cpu if the tec is turned off?
May 23, 2006 9:15:30 PM

I run my computer most of the day (partly because of work) and only turn it off when I go to bed - both TECs work excellently and I have no issues with the system.

Running the water cooling system and leaving the TEC off will dissipate some heat but in a terribly inefficient manner and won't be that effective.
May 23, 2006 9:52:19 PM

Quote:
you guys have talked about running tec for limited time during the day, will the waterblock on the tec still cool the cpu if the tec is turned off?


The TEC itself will only cool when it's powered. It is possible to build a TEC-cooled system that also incorporates air or water cooling that is not wholely reliant on the TEC. For example, have the TEC cool the air coming into the water radiator. That will get you no where near as cold at the CPU as a direct contact TEC, but done right will get you colder than ambient air into a water-cooled rig.
May 24, 2006 1:12:52 AM

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A 120x120mm TEC should be used of course.


That sucker could heat a sauna!
May 24, 2006 2:57:28 AM

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A 120x120mm TEC should be used of course.


That sucker could heat a sauna!
Hehe yeh and I've never seen a 120x120mm TEC before. Hopefully they exist commercially. :twisted:
At that size one would assume it's well over 300W.

A while back some guy from Korea was selling fairly large TECs for decent prices, but none were that large. Hey, I wonder if side by side TECs should be called XFire?
!