TEC modules certainly add to a CPU cooler's capabilities, by allowing a much greater difference between the cold and hot side. All three TEC-equipped units proved they had adequate capacity for cooling an extra-hot overclocked Pentium Extreme Edition 955. Each of these might have been even more effective had a larger sink been used for the TEC-side, but they still exceeded anything we'd expect to see from a non-TEC unit of similar size.
One thing that stood out among the TEC coolers is that they all used the same sink and TEC module, yielding similar results. Two of the coolers were functionally identical right down to the fan, differing only in the type of TEC controller used. The deluxe bay-mounted controller did not alter cooling performance, even though it did cycle the TEC on and off more quietly.
Two changes Titan made to its Amanda TEC were the use of dual cooling fans and an altered mounting bracket. The mounting bracket is easier to install, but the dual fans Titan chose seem to be a little less effective than the single fan used by Vigor Gaming and Ultra Products. Though the Titan Amanda was unable to outperform the single-fan products, its easier installation makes it a better choice for boards that crowd the socket with VRM coolers.
Scythe's Ninja Plus Revision B couldn't live up to the performance of TEC-equipped rivals, but it was still capable of cooling a slightly-overclocked and super-inefficient EE955 processor with its huge and quiet 120 mm cooling fan installed. It's also less than half the cost of TEC-equipped parts, weighs much less, consumes far less power, and produces almost no heat of its own. The amount of cooling observed in these tests was far more than adequate for cooling more-efficient Core 2 Duos, which was the reason behind selecting an over-the-top Pentium Extreme Edition instead.
This would have been a TEC cooler comparison had the Scythe Ninja Plus Revision B appeared at any other time. It was simply the largest standard-air CPU cooler we had on hand, making it the default choice for gauging the cooling benefits of TEC modules.
"Your favorite cooler" might not have been used, but that's only because it wasn't available at review time. The most frequently requested comparison model comes from a company that is slow to respond to review requests, and even slower to ship sample products.
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