Your thoughts on a unique TEC cooling scheme

If you plan your system from the ground up for the maximum performance, you can definitely do better than this; however, for those of us who enjoy a little modding and who are interested in a simple, harmless (no risk) mod to cool a computer, consider this:

A TEC can achieve excellent cooling results; however, condensation (especially in humid areas) can be a concern - but not if the TEC is outside of the system! I have an Antec 900 case, with plenty of intake area on the front of the case. Imagine setting up a simple TEC system that is not attached to the computer, but rather sits in front of it - a fan can cool the hot side, and a radiator attached to the cool side could cool the incoming air. The effect would be equivalent to running your system at a lower ambient temperature, and I know from personal experience that lower ambient temperatures can have dramatic effects on system temps and overclocking potential. Because this TEC system would be outside the system, condensation would be a non-issue; the system would be operated independently of the computer, so you could turn it on when you need it, and leave it off when your system doesn't need it (web browsing and the like). Because of the simplicity of the system, any TEC would work, provided you have two excellent radiators - one to radiate heat away from the hot side, and one to expose a high amount of cold surface area (connected to the cold side) to the influx of air.

Your thoughts?
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More about your thoughts unique cooling scheme
  1. Two things come to mind here...

    one, as you get more experience with TEC cooling you will find out that condensation really isn't an issue at all. With the proper amount of neoprene, dielectric grease and acrylic spray - the issue is easily handled.

    two, what you are devising is similar to what is known as a chiller - it "chills" the water that runs through the cooling loop. Now, here is the problem you'll run into - the condensation that collects on the outside of the tubing due to the temperature differential of the ambient air and the liquid that is chilled.
  2. Thank you for the response!
    I agree that TEC systems can be implemented in a better way, and that in general this would not be a good idea for a system designed from the ground up for cooling. Instead, it could serve as an accessory, like a notebook cooler.

    The problem with condensation would actually not matter much with this idea - it is not the water or any chips that are being cooled, but the intake air itself - as it cools (in the TEC unit, outside of the PC) any excess humidity will condense as liquid water - the cool air would then enter the pc and warm as it comes into contact with components. All of the condensation would be created in the TEC unit.
  3. It seems to me you would still need some kind of condenser between the TEC and intake fan. Otherwise, the moisture in the chilled air may just condense inside the case. Think of it as a mini air conditioner. All air conditioners have some way of removing moisture. I'm sure factors such as ambient temperature and humidity will have a large effect on the amount of moisture that condenses. I know here in Florida, there is quite a lot of moisture draining from an air conditioner. Just something to consider.
  4. Something you should consider:
    Having had almost exactly the same thought you had, I tried a small-scale test first: I filled a 240mm radiator with water and froze it in the freezer, then taped it in front of my main air intake so my computer was breathing almost exclusively through the radiator.
    Observed temperature drops were minimal, nowhere near what I'd hoped for. According to SpeedFan, my HDD temps dropped by about 4 degrees (and still didn't reach ambient temp) and my mobo temp dropped only 2 degrees (and keep in mind this was not under load).
    Granted, with the right coolant and a powerful TEC, you might be able to get well below freezing in the radiator and stay there. You're welcome to try, but I personally gave up and decided to do the extra research for using that TEC to chill water that would cool my system directly.

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