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As AMD continues to drum the efficiency beat and Intel moves away from its past missteps, a look back at older technology shows one area where overclocking enthusiasts benefited from Intel's ultra-hot Netburst architecture: oversized CPU coolers. Certainly a few largish designs would have trickled into the market eventually to appease the quiet cooling crowd, but horrifically hot Prescott cores and Pentium D processors hastened the development of today's cooling monsters.
One company that followed a parallel path to similarly-sized designs was Scythe USA Incorporated. Rather than shooting for the moon on cooling power, Scythe focused on low noise from the beginning. Enormous size takes on a different role here, as many of the company's products are designed to cool moderately-hot processors without the assistance of a cooling fan. The inclusion of a cooling fan then makes these products applicable to both low-noise and high-heat configurations.
If the ultimate expression of cooling power is a complex water cooling system, then the development of TEC-enhanced air coolers could be considered the ultimate expression of oversized air cooling for similar markets. The only fair way to compare these dissimilar technologies is a cooling-per-cost basis, and our previous TEC cooler review chose one of the best similarly-priced liquid cooling assemblies to perform the comparison.
Many readers of the former review wanted to know if the TEC module really had a large affect on resulting temperatures, or if its good cooling results were due almost entirely to the size of the its sinks. Fortunately, the Scythe Ninja Plus Revision B showed up at the lab just in time for this article, which would have otherwise been a short TEC cooler comparison.
The latest craze in thermoelectric cooling is "near ambient" temperature control, which prevents condensation from forming on the "cold" components. TEC basics and the rational behind this design are detailed on page one of Vigor Gaming's Monsoon II Lite Cooler Review.
What separates the best TEC coolers from the rest? Several possibilities include TEC module capacity, the surface area of the cooler, the airflow characteristics of the cooling fins, and fan power. A closer inspection of the three candidates, though, proved that all of them use the same sink and TEC module, and two even used the same fan.
New to Tom's Hardware Guide, the Amanda TEC cooler from Titan Computer Co., LTD differs from the previously-tested units in its cooling fans and mounting hardware. Since it uses the same sink and TEC power controller as the previously-reviewed Vigor Monsoon II Lite, the following is a brief outline of its similarities and differences.