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V3 Voltair V3TEC120-FC01 CPU TEC Cooler Review

V3 Components claims it can deliver innovative technologies to rival the performance of liquid cooling. We test these claims on an overclocked Haswell-E.

Our Verdict

While the Voltair’s TEC offers the potential of lower CPU temperatures, it doesn’t appear to have the capacity to exceed our processor’s needs. It may work better with a hot dual-core CPU, but for us its TEC appears a needless waste of energy.

For

  • The V3 Voltair offers a taste of TEC cooling at low cost.

Against

  • The V3 Voltair doesn’t beat big air when tested on our big CPU

Tom's Hardware Verdict

While the Voltair’s TEC offers the potential of lower CPU temperatures, it doesn’t appear to have the capacity to exceed our processor’s needs. It may work better with a hot dual-core CPU, but for us its TEC appears a needless waste of energy.

Pros

  • +

    The V3 Voltair offers a taste of TEC cooling at low cost.

Cons

  • -

    The V3 Voltair doesn’t beat big air when tested on our big CPU

Introduction

What if you could apply the principle of your USB-powered desktop beverage cooler on a grand scale to keep your CPU cooler? V3 Components is the latest company to embrace a concept so often left to hardcore enthusiasts, explaining that its Thermoelectric Cooler can be even safer than the liquid systems it hopes to outperform. But what are the benefits and risk? If TEC can make things colder than ambient temperature (something liquid can’t do on its own), why isn’t everyone using it?

A quick look back at its predecessor explains that a special type of semiconductor draws heat from one surface and displaces it to another. That same 2007 article shows a cooler that was designed with a very larger TEC capable of producing sub-ambient temperatures in fairly-hot hardware, along with a thermal control designed to prevent that from happening. Condensation is not friendly to unprotected electronics, but thermal modulation on that unit caused it to hum as power was rapidly cycled on and off. The Voltair doesn’t have that problem.

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