Ultra Chilltec TEC Cooler

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Product: Ultra ChillTec Thermo Electric CPU Cooler
Provided By: Ultra Products
Price: $149.99 MSRP

 

Introduction:

For many years, we have relied on air circulation to cool the vital components in our computer systems. As technology progresses, heat output increases from our processors and video cards as they are made to work faster than their predecessors. Do we feel that air circulation alone is becoming less reliable in terms of cooling? Some people do feel this is the case as they have switched to popular water cooling alternatives. Though water cooling is effective, it can also be a hassle to setup. You have to acquire the right tubing, make sure that you use the right coolant, and make sure that there are no kinks in the tubing… see where I am going?

TEC Diagram
Thermoelectric Cooler Diagram

 

Thermal Electric Cooling, or commonly known as Peltier cooling, is an alternative means to water cooling using hot and cold plates to transfer the heat from the processor to the heatsink. Ultra, a company that manufactures power supplies, heatsinks, and chassis’, has ventured into TEC and introduced us to use their Chilltec cooler. Does it perform better than standard cooling? Can it compete with water cooling systems from Swiftech, DangerDen, and others? I’m hoping so.

 

 

Box & Contents:

 Front of Box
Front of Box
 Specs on Box
Specs on Box
   
In The Box
In The Box
 All The Stuff
All The Stuff

 

Ultra sent everything to us in a small package that includes the heatsink/fan combination, mounting equipment, and the I/O drive bay. The I/O drive bay sits in a 5.25” bay for easy access to temperature monitoring and CPU load. Inside the box you will find all the necessary hardware for mounting the heatsink to your motherboard. There are various backplates for systems that use Socket 754/939/940, AM2, and Intel 775. If you are still use an older P4 Northwood or Athlon XP system, this cooler won’t be for you.


First Look:

The heatsink/fan combination was not as big as I thought it was. The size of the cooler is somewhat comparable to the Zalman 9700 in terms of mass and weight. The bottom of the heatsink uses copper for maximum heatsink transfer. The mounting system uses 4 pressure screws that attach itself to the backplate.

 

 Cooler Profile
Cooler Profile
 Cooler Fan Side
Cooler Fan Side
   
 Cooler Fins
Cooler Fins
 TEC Wires
TEC Wires

 

If you have a big aftermarket cooler installed on your northbridge, you may have a hard time installing the TEC onto your processor. I had to remove the Noctua NC-U6 northbridge cooler from my system to install it. The one thing I do like about this cooler is that if the thermal electric portion of the cooler fails, the heatpipes will continue to dissipate the heat. Having that extra bit of redundancy can be helpful in case one part fails.

 

Installation:

As mentioned, the Chilltec comes in two parts. You have the I/O drive bay that gets installed into any 5.25” slot, while the heatsink is attached via backplates to the motherboard. Only two cables go between the two devices that measure CPU thermal load, fan speed, temperature and uptime. The I/O LCD comes with multiple colours to suit your tastes. I prefer blue, as you can tell. Cool

 Front I/O
Front I/O
 I/O Module - Rear
I/O Module - Rear

 

Installation is somewhat a pain for Intel 775. The motherboard needs to be removed from the system before installation can take place. Once you have the proper backplate chosen, you have to place the rubber insulator in front of the backplate to prevent the backplate from shorting out the motherboard. The next step is to attach four metal clips to the heatsink so that it can be mounted to the backplate using four pressure screws. The screws have to be screwed in alternating from 1 to 4 and 2 to 3.  Once that is done, you can install the motherboard back into your chassis. Connect the two cables from the I/O panel to the heatsink and you are done.


Test System Specs:

The testbed used for this cooler is somewhat more modern than my other system. The hardware used in this testing consists of the following:

  • Lian-Li PC65B Chassis
  • OCZ GameXStream 600W Power Supply
  • Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3 Motherboard
  • Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 @ 3.0 GHz
  • 2 x 1GB Micron PC2-6400
  • Sapphire X1950XT
  • Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 4
  • 2 x Seagate 320GB 7200.10 S-ATA II Hard Drives
  • Windows XP Profesional Service Pack 2
  • For software, the following was used during the testing:
  • StressPrime 2004 Orthos Beta
  • Battlefield 2142
  • Supreme Commander
  • Speedfan 4.23

 

Inside Case
Inside & Running

Individual Testing:

In my initial boot, the I/O panel reported a temperature of 25C (77F). When both cores were at full load, the I/O panel reported a temperature of 40C (104F). I could not make the cooler budge past that point. When I was using my Zalman CNPS9500, the temperatures would get up as high as 55C (131F). Idle temperatures usually sat in between 31C (88F) to 34C (93.2F). Speedfan reported a temperature that was higher by 5 degrees C. This cooler definitely does its’ job when called upon and will remain in my main system for a long time to come. During the boot-up of my system, I could hear a slight buzz come from the TEC. I’m not certain if this is normal operation of the unit, or a technical issue, but I will be sure to bring it to Ultras’ attention.

 

Final Impressions:

I believe that I was skeptical when Ultra wanted us to review their products.  I read and heard about so many negative comments towards the X-Connect power supply. Eventually, Ultra has learned from their mistakes as the quality of the X-Infinity and X-Pro lines have increased tremendously. I can without a doubt, say that the Chilltec cooler is very reliable product. I am still going to address Ultra about the fluctuating LED’s on the fan and the slight buzz sound, but this won’t stop me from using their product. I’d like to thank Ultra for allowing us to review their products and I hope to review more of them in the future.

 

Pros:

  • Excellent cooling performance
  • Gives plenty of overclocking headroom
  • Not as expensive as some other TEC units on the market


Cons:

  • Can be difficult to install
  • CPU load meter not accurate due to animation
  • Only one TEC engine versus three or more on some other coolers.

BCCHardware.com Rating
Quality:
10/10
Performance:
9/10
Software Pack:
n/a
Stability:
n/a
Features:
9/10
Value:
7/10
Total Score 8.75


Again, we'd like to thank Ultra Products for sending out this cooler for a review.  Please post any thoughts, comments and questions about this cooler and this review in our forum at the comments link below.