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Thinking about TEC, read the FAQs, few questions and where to go next?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Ok watercooling has been fun but im looking for something new to try biggrin.gif I want something more extreme but i want it to be something i can run 24/7 (so LN2 is out) and phase change looks neat but really expensive and bulky (im hoping to hide this TEC setup in my case)

1. First thing that comes to mind is insulation. It looks like a real PITA to insulate and messy. The kneadable eraser looking stuff looks like the cleanest solution as id like to not have to put grease etc all over my board. So i guess im looking for the cleanest looking solution for insulation

2. Size of the TEC - Not sure whats a reasonable temp to shoot for but say if i went for 0C (using the math from http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?38367-The-Ultimate-Guide-to-TECs) my cpu is around 170w overclocked according to some of the calculators ive found and i would need around a 320w TEC to achieve that temp goal. But i take it that formula would assume im running the TEC at its peak voltage and that in actually i would want to get a bigger TEC and run it at a lower voltage for better efficiency?

3. Cooling the TEC/Loop - Assuming i do need a 320W TEC and then my 170W CPU thats 490W that i need to dissapate from the CPU alone. Factor in that i have 2 6970s as well. I have 2 360RADS (GTX360, GTS360) would those be enough for that much heat?

4. the TEC itself - i saw the swiftech MCW6500-775T which i thought was really cool but only for socket 775. Is there anything like that for 1366 or what would your suggestion be for a 1366 solution?

5. TEC power supply - I think for this i would just buy a power supply meant for a TEC, i dont want to mod an ATX power supply mostly due to space reasons

6. TEC doesnt seem that popular (just an observation of mine and very well could be wrong) is it just because its more of an extreme solution and not many people do it or is it dying off?

guess thats it for now lol biggrin.gif

edit: i lied, one more thing. What about a TEC Chiller?

http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?271507-3x245w-Tec-Chiller-w-pwm-controller-24-7

saw that and thought it was pretty cool, would i have to insulate pretty much everything at that point or how would it work?
Edited by Blindsay - 6/25/11 at 7:40pm
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post #2 of 9
you would be better off with more TEC than 320 that isn't much.

Chillers is where it's at

TEC stuff seems to be dieing cos there isn't any cheap ish stuff that works.
Everything is custom made and therefore expensive ish . it does work but only a handful of people are interested anymore.

i guess cos there hasn't been a successful build in a long time to inspire people
post #3 of 9
Grats on considering TECs. If you're going from scratch, TEC setups can be pricey but since you said you've done watercooling, it's a step in the right direction. For 24/7 you really want a PWM controller to turn the TECs on at a certain rate. The more they're on (higher frequency) the more they cool. And with one of those, it makes it more power efficient.

My first question is, are you thinking Direct Die (TECs & Coldplate sits directly on the CPU) or Water Chiller (TECs are cooling liquid that moves through a CPU Waterblock)? Not being condescending, just don't know how much knowledge you have in the subject.

In response to your questions just keep in mind, these are vague... guidelines and if you want to message me for more info, feel free.

1) Insulation isn't hard, and if done right you can leave it for a long time, until you wanna reseat your Block, and even then, you probably won't have to. It's just a time consuming process. The kneedable eraser is probably easier than what I did, which was put electrical tape down on the board and then glued neoprene insulation to the tape. It worked really well till I wanted to remove it, and even then, just left sticky gunk on the PCB from the tape. The grease (I used Vaseline) was pretty straight forward, and not that hard to remove, you just need a blow dryer, paper towels and a little patience. But my board still works perfectly. You also will want some neoprene behind your CPU socket on the back side of the board. **Granted this is only if you want to go sub-ambient but if yer looking for 0°C, it's worth doing.**

2) You pretty much hit the nail on the head. You want to have a TEC undervolted to increase efficiency. If you are going direct die, you will have to decide how big your TECs will be, and then how much space you will be limited to for the cold plate, and then make a game plan from there. Ultrasonic2, makes some really good blocks, but I don't know if he sells the TECs with them anymore. But it is VERY impractical to hope to run 0°C with only 1 TEC at max power. The heat alone from the TEC will be a whole lot to move. If your TEC at 320W is the power consumed (and this is if you can keep the hotside at ambient), take that, add the CPU power of 170W. That equals around 490W needed to be removed. Now I don't know if 2x360 Rads will remove that.

In all honesty I will find that out in a month or so (hopefully the postal strike will be over and I will get my watercooling parts by then) but I'll be running Ultrasonic's Direct Die 2x300W 31V TECs at 22V. Been a while since I've done the math, but I'm looking at probably +600W being removed by my 2x360 Feser X-Change rads. Hope it does the trick in all honesty.

If yer going water chiller, you're pretty much not limited to space. Just the temp at which your coolant will freeze. Although the same principals apply. You want a High Watt TEC and undervolted but you can really have as many TECs as you want, and can end up being very power efficient in comparison to Direct Die because of the amount of TECs you can have. But you'll need 2 pumps and a heat exchange block for them.

3) When powering TECs you want a dedicated PSU, usually an Auxiliary PSU that doesn't look like a PC Power Supply. Without some modding on a computer power supply, you are stuck at 12V with very thin gauge wires that can't take too much of the power that a TEC draws.

If you get a TEC from Ebay, depending on the watts, if it's a 320W TEC at 15V it will pull ~21A, depending on the graph, it may be around 12 - 14A at 12V, ~150W (also very rough numbers but your wires will get really hot and the TEC will have lost alot of it's delta).

If you get high quality TEC from a manufacturer, you'll be running it at 28 - 31V at and they come in somewhere in the area at +500W consumed but (again, this is at maximum) and would pull around 16A, and if you reduced that to 12V (also it doesn't scale linearly) it would pull around 6A, probably less. Again reduced delta, but the efficiency would be amazingly high so you'ed chain several of them together, they're just not cheap. Back on track though, at 6A the PSU wires would get warm to the touch, and a molex connector would be probably on the verge of melting.

After showing some vague reasoning, the TECs are better off powered by an Aux PSU because they're better equipped to handle the current draws of a TEC. Sorry about going off track, but I've been yelled at for not showing my work (however ball parkish it is)

4) The MCW6500 is Direct Die solution that is probably too old to do the job for CPUs anymore. Even though it's Qmax is 226W, modern CPUs (the i7 920s can put out +200W depending on how high you clock it) which gets it really close to the threshold at which a TEC turns into an insulation blanket. I'm not sure the power consumption of an i7 970 but I bet it still gets pretty darn hot. Already spouted it before but a water chiller is probably the "cheaper" solution but either way, getting a TEC Block milled is probably the best solution.

5) I think I've already went over this one.

6) TECs aren't that popular really, but they can be very effective. It's quite alot of effort to do, when you can do a single phase change system for a fair price. If you're going from scratch, a phase change is probably the better bet, but if you have a kick ass watercooling loop, and you want to give it a burst of power, TECs are probably cheaper (depending how hardcore you do it and how much you research it).

7) Rugrats chiller: It's probably the cheapest solution when it comes to doing a TEC all-in-one kit. But it is meant to keep the CPU at ambient (or above dew point) whichever is lower. That solution is intended to keep the insulation non-existent, and is probably the most Newbie Friendly. All you would need is an extra pump if you got that, maybe a little more in the terms of temp sensors, but I think he said it works with RealTemp to keep your temp monitored and adjusts based on that.

Something like a Direct Die however, you're intent is to get it as low as possible (for most people) and insulation would be a must unless you were aiming for ambient for that too... But come on. What would be the point?

Hope this wasn't too bad to read, and I hope people don't tear me a new one for not using exact numbers when doing the math. And if you have more questions, and I would assume you do cause really, I kinda explained this is as simple and quickest terms as I could, feel free to message me. Always like talking about these things on a 1 on 1 basis.
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post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
My Knowledge on TEC consists of what i read in the FAQs here and on Xtremesystems lol. But im quite comfertable with watercooling at this point which i read is pretty much a must before adding a TEC.

So on the topic of Chiller vs direct die if say i went with direct die on the cpu i would only have to insulate the area around the cpu.

But if i chill the water to below sub ambient would i have to insulate like everything because wouldnt condensation form on the tubing at that point?

If thats the case i think i would just do a direct die and insulate the area around the cpu.

I would def. just pick up a power supply for the TEC and not mess around with trying to mod mine. Mine doesnt have much headroom left in it anyways and certainly not enough for a TEC.

the 170W number i got for my cpu was in one of those online calculators, i imagine my cpu should be close to a 920. I have it at 1.35v right now.

edit: and just to touch base on phase change. I looked at them and considered them but maybe its just me but they all seem to be around like $900-1000 for a good one?? bit more then i want to spend on it atm
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post #5 of 9
Ya, with a chiller, you'ed have to insulate the tubing also. But the problem doesn't stop there. If you go really really cold with a chiller, your coolant will begin to freeze and make a Slushie, demolishing any flow you had and eventually hurting CPU temps. With direct die, you'ed insulate the area around the CPU, and the cold plate of the block.

I did mod my PSU, but all I did was branch off the 120V power with some thick solid core wire, I think it was 16ga and took that to the Aux Power Supply on a relay so it would turn on when the computer would turn on.

Ya, that's a normal price for a good phase change, but like I said if you're starting from scratch, Phase Change is the way to go. If you go from scratch with TECs, they cost of everything (depending on how you make your block) will quickly add up to near the price of a Phase Change. TECs are great cause they make no noise and have no moving parts making them ultra silent.
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post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by UltrasonicTwo;14008269 
you would be better off with more TEC than 320 that isn't much.

Chillers is where it's at

TEC stuff seems to be dieing cos there isn't any cheap ish stuff that works.
Everything is custom made and therefore expensive ish . it does work but only a handful of people are interested anymore.

i guess cos there hasn't been a successful build in a long time to inspire people

Welcome back hehe smile.gif
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Krow;14012971 
Ya, with a chiller, you'ed have to insulate the tubing also. But the problem doesn't stop there. If you go really really cold with a chiller, your coolant will begin to freeze and make a Slushie, demolishing any flow you had and eventually hurting CPU temps. With direct die, you'ed insulate the area around the CPU, and the cold plate of the block.

I did mod my PSU, but all I did was branch off the 120V power with some thick solid core wire, I think it was 16ga and took that to the Aux Power Supply on a relay so it would turn on when the computer would turn on.

Ya, that's a normal price for a good phase change, but like I said if you're starting from scratch, Phase Change is the way to go. If you go from scratch with TECs, they cost of everything (depending on how you make your block) will quickly add up to near the price of a Phase Change. TECs are great cause they make no noise and have no moving parts making them ultra silent.

Chiller would be nice because it would help my gpu temps as well but i dont want to insulate everything and my gpu temps really are not that bad anyways.

So that leaves me with direct die. when you say if i was starting from scratch do u mean if i didnt already have a good watercooling loop setup?

And say i want to move foward from here where do i go now? since i have watercooling already how would i add a direct die solution, would the TEC itself get sandwiched in between my current cpu block and the cpu or what would i need to buy?
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post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by rugratt;14013097 
Welcome back hehe smile.gif

Hay Mind chill . A year can go past fast
post #9 of 9
That's exactly what I mean when I say starting from scratch.

You would would need a Hot Plate (pretty much the waterblock of the TECs) and a Coldplate (The piece that will touch your CPU), and you would have to have it milled out to make it the most effective. The reason you need the TEC sandwiched between 2 pieces of metal is:

1) TECs cool evenly over their entire surface, but the die for your CPU is in the middle under the IHS and only covers about the size of a dime in the middle. And for the most part, a TEC is perfectly flat and your IHS isn't so it's only using the middle of your TEC to cool the die, and it's wasted power sitting around the IHS that isn't being used, so the Coldplate is used to evenly distribute the cooling power of a TEC across your CPU more effectively, and when you insulate your Coldplate, it will also help increase effectiveness because you won't be cooling the air around the exposed hunk of metal.

2) TECs need a constant and even pressure across their surface of like 150-300psi, because due to magnetic forces or something (someone else may know the exact reasoning for it) the TEC is always trying to push itself apart and that leads to eventual death of the unit. But also when the correct pressure is used, the effectiveness also goes up a bit more. With this reason, you can't really put 300PSI ontop of your CPU because it would ultimately crack the chip, but even more so likely, it would break your motherboard due to bending.

So the TEC Unit(s) will be sandwiched between 2 pieces of Copper. The hot side of the sandwich will be cooled directly, with a waterblock that you've managed to attach to it, or the hotside will be it's own waterblock which is more practical and allows you to use more than just 1 TEC if you design it correctly.

Granted you can always experiment But if you love your computer, you should probably research thoroughly before you just take a TEC, stick it between your waterblock and CPU and just let it go. Which is what I did, but it was a 128W or so TEC run at 12V, cooling an E8400 at 4GHz, Low powered CPU. My idle temps were good, but it could not run Prime or anything at 100% without becoming an insulating blanket.
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