System Builder Marathon: Day Three

Cooler: Ultra ChillTec TEC Cooler

Several companies offer the same cooler design under various brand names, mostly differentiated by controller type: the higher-priced premium parts use a bay device, while the lower cost parts use a PCI-powered controller card. Ultra's ChillTec came to our attention, because it provides the premium controller solution for a price similar to that of several other brands' lower-market versions.

Ultra ChillTec TEC cooler

This cooler is huge, but performs on par with water coolers twice its size, when all the parts of water cooling are taken into consideration. Its lack of hoses, pumps, and remote radiators make the ChillTec an easy choice for the performance enthusiast who doesn't want to spend hours setting up and leak testing a water cooling rig.

A few installation notes: any cooler of this size should be installed onto the motherboard before the motherboard is fit into the case, so the power supply does not become an obstacle. Also, the hold-down nuts are difficult to reach on motherboards with large chipset/VRM sinks, so a few minutes of added patience will be required of every builder. Finally, the fan is located close enough to the memory slots of most motherboards that super-tall DIMMs may not clear it, leaving options of either relocating the fan to the rear of the cooler or using shorter-height memory. These cautions are photographically illustrated in our previous review of a cooler with the same sink design, the

Vigor Gaming Monsoon II Lite.

Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.