Phononic is preparing a new CPU cooler with an interesting twist: refrigeration technology. The HEX 1.0 is the company's first venture into enthusiast cooling components, but with Phononic's secret weapon, it might just be the first in a new series of high-end coolers.
The company's primary business is in refrigeration. Phononic specializes in thermoelectric technology, which produces a cooling effect on one side of a metal plate when electricity is applied to it. The company intends to use this same technology inside of its CPU coolers. This allows the cooler to offer the thermal performance of a much larger unit.
On the HEX 1.0, the thermoelectric heat pump is powered by a single SATA power cable. Using thermal sensors, the cooler monitors the temperature of the CPU so that it can adjust the heat pump as needed, turning it off when the CPU is relatively cool, or increasing the voltage going to the heat pump to produce stronger cooling effects. Power consumption of the heat pump can range from 0 W to 60 W.
The cooler itself is not particularly large for an air cooler, measuring 4.3 x 3.5 x 3.5 inches (H x W x D). In the center of the cooler sits a dual-ball bearing 80 mm fan, with heatsinks placed in front of it and behind it. Although the fan is capable of producing a relatively high amount of air flow for an 80 mm fan at 67.02 CFM, we wouldn't expect this design to be capable of competing with high-end air and water coolers.
We haven't had the chance to test one yet, but the company seems confident in its little cooler, claiming that it can surpass closed-loop water coolers that use a larger 120 mm fan.
If successful, Phononic is considering releasing several more products with this technology. The company has already started working on multiple CPU cooler designs and is even investigating GPU cooling solutions and other areas in which to expand.
The price for the HEX 1.0 hasn't been definitively set at this time, but the company expects the price to be under $100. The exact release date has not been set either, but Phononic is aiming to launch the product sometime before the end of this year.