Hands down, CoolIT’s chilled-water Peltier coolers provide the best way to cool your CPU. However, as the technology for these coolers has advanced, so has their complexity and size.
Like CoolIT’s Eliminator Peltier device (reviewed April 2007), the Freezone Elite sports six thermoelectric coolers (TECs), which transfer heat from the coolant to the device’s 12.1cm-long heatsink. But the Elite rocks a 12cm fan rather than the Eliminator’s 9.2cm air pusher, and instead of a three-setting toggle switch to control fan speed and TEC power, the Elite comes with CoolIT’s MTEC Control Center, which lets you control the device via the operating system.
Controlling the cooler is as easy as installing the included software and setting a temperature for the coolant: The program adjusts the cooler’s fan speed and TEC power to attain the desired temperature. This keeps the fan from having to be set at full bore (and saves our hearing in the process—at full speed, this fan brings the noise). But that’s just the beginner mode.
Enthusiasts can set minimum and maximum power points to ensure certain levels of performance independent of what is established as the coolant temperature. It’s especially helpful if you’re obsessed with either cold temperatures or quiet operation.
Installing the cooler requires motherboard removal—and a bit of luck, since the Elite rests perilously close to critical components. We were worried that the device’s entanglement of tubing and power cords wouldn’t fit above our CPU. And our fears persisted when we had trouble connecting the fan and power cords to the cooler’s MTEC box. We had to bend the prongs of the MTEC’s fan connectors to achieve a lock-solid connection.
The payoff, however, is exceptional cooling. When we ran the Elite at its bare power minimums, it chilled our CPU like a quiet stock cooler. But cranking the Elite’s settings to full blast destroys the competition—save for CoolIT’s very own 12-TEC Boreas cooler. The Elite’s cooling prowess comes with a steep price and a bit of a tricky installation, but it’s easily the most practical of the super-chilling CPU coolers.
Powerful cooling and control, thanks to the MTEC software.
Not the easiest cooler to install. Expensive!
CoolIT Freezone Elite (low)
CoolIT Freezone Elite (High)
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.