There comes a time in every young PC builder’s life when he seriously considers outlandish ideas for modifying and cooling his smokin’ new gaming rig. But you don’t need to mod your PC into a refrigerator to reach subzero temperatures, not if you have CoolIT’s latest 12 TEC cooler, the Boreas.
CoolIT’s Boreas could likely fit a stock CPU cooler inside its sprawling gut, a 4-inch-long heatsink with a 12cm fan on each end. Two mounting brackets are preattached to the device, and thank heavens! Few cases have enough room for this chubbo. The included MTEC control box connects the Boreas’s automation software to the device, although it uses an entire USB header with absolutely no pass-through.
That’s not too bad a sacrifice given the payoff. On its quietest setting, the Boreas beats out the loud Zalman CNPS9700 air cooler in both our idle and burn tests. Cranking the Boreas to the max drops our CPU temperature to 11 C, but created dangerous levels of condensation. It’s the Boreas’s Achilles’ heel: Cool too much and you could destroy your rig. The included software and controller mechanism minimize this issue by letting you pick a temperature for the Boreas to shoot for—a feature sorely missing in previous CoolIT coolers—but finding the perfect setting requires a little experimentation.
You will not find a more powerful cooler.
Ear-splittingly loud when cranked up, uses an entire USB header, tricky condensation.
CoolIT Boreas (low)
CoolIT Boreas (High)
Gigabyte 3D Rocket II
100% Load (C)
Best scores are bolded. Idle temperatures were measured after an hour of inactivity; load temperatures were measured after an hour’s worth of CPU Burn-In (four instances). Test system consists of a stock-clock Q6700 processor on an EVGA 680i motherboard with an Nvidia 8800 GTX graphics card.