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My Mindch|ll Quad-TEC impressions

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
My Quad-TEC: Build, Impressions, Thoughts.

Mindchill asked if I would not mind summarizing some of my thoughts and impressions of his Quad-TEC direct-die block and controller. I am rather pleased with it and was happy to share my experience tying it into my build and getting it sorted out.

I am not an expert in computer tinkering - I build a PC every 2-3 years, doing the research on what is new and what is in my budget, spend the 6 months to tinker with it and overclock it to a gnats eyebrow, then step it back 10-15% and run that as a permanent overclock until, 2-3 years later, I feel the itch to run through the process all over again.

This time around, with some assistance in component selection from a friend here on the forums, I was pointed in MindChills direction with his direct-die TEC’s and controller. I had never run a TEC before and my last water-cooling experience was a poor one, so I was hesitant about re-embarking on a water cooling adventure and increasing its complexity even further. Despite my reservations, Rognin talked me into the idea and with this being one of the last builds I can go hog-wild on, I decided to go for it. I purchased both the Quad-TEC block and the associated controller from Mindchill, discussing with him my radiator setup and computer build at the same time to ensure everything would work as intended.

Delivery:
The package was well wrapped in bubble-wrapping and packed with peanuts between. The mounting bracket was included, and everything made the trip from West to East coast with no problem.

Installation:
Installing the TEC onto the system is very much the same as installing any other water block. In this case, it screws in directly from the bottom, through the bracket and into the block. Because the block is fairly heavy, the bracket is useful in making sure you get a solid mount and the motherboard doesn’t bend.

One downside to the installation process: while easy to install, the mount doesn’t have any springs or other method of ensuring you get an even pressure across the surface of the board. The screws will screw farther into the block than is necessary for a good install, and you have to take some care to make sure that there is a consistent pressure across the surface of your mount. I also ran into a tight fitting against the nearest DIMM on the motherboard. The power wiring for one of the TEC’s just hits it when fully tightened. This has had no impact on my PC or the cooler, and would not impact anyone running only 2 sticks of RAM.

The wiring for the Quad-TEC’s and the temperature sensor is sleeved together into one easy cable that runs directly to your controller.

The controller mounts into a 5.25” bay. Installing the controller was straightforward - I suggest a lower bay if you have multiple free, as once all the connections are made you will have a number of wires coming in and going out, both to the TEC and the power supply. One thing to note here - the temperature sensor wire attaches not to the rear of the controller, but all the way to the front panel. There is a plug on the rear of the controller that seems like wants to be used, but plugging your temperature sensor in there will result in a flurry of confused emails between you and Mindchill until he sorts you out.

Use:

Using the system is as easy as tapping the buttons on the front of the controller to select your desired CPU temperature. The TEC will ramp up as more power is pushed to it from the controller until it reaches the current selected temp. The controller will automatically raise your temp if the dew point in the air increases, and the LED screen displays the humidity, ambient temperature, dew point temperature, current CPU temperature, and desired CPU temperature in a fairly easy-to-read format.

I feel that it’s important to note in 2 weeks of nearly constant, daily use, I have had zero issues with the controller or condensation. It is working perfectly at this point.

Some things I’ve noticed:

Combining a reduction in the desired temperature and an increase in load on the CPU at the same time can cause it to ramp power up faster than is actually necessary and over-cool the CPU slightly. For this to cause a problem you would have to do it intentionally and repeatedly, so don’t. Understand that it takes a second for the power to increase the cooling capacity of the TEC - you can watch as the temperature of the CPU drops to the temperature you have picked.

I’m sure many more experienced TEC coolers will laugh when I say this, but it really is true: the cooler you can get the water, the cooler you can get the TEC. I’m running 1 3.140, 1 2.140, and 1 3.120 radiator to cool my CPU only at the moment, and I’m getting a great combination of efficiency and power.

It does not store or remember your desired temperature - if you like to run your TEC at sub-ambient temps, you have to move it down to that every time you turn the computer on. It can be irritating, especially if you forget in the middle of something; but at the same time, the worst case is that it keeps your CPU cooled to ambient air temperatures, which isn’t exactly 'running hot'.

Customer Support:

I want to specifically mention the help that Mindchill gave me during this process. Over the weekend I was putting my computer together, we probably exchanged close to 50 emails; troubleshooting my first installation (too loose), the temperature sensor (wrong plug), the power connections (I missed one), and who knows what else. He had a response to me every time, with an update, a picture from his build, whatever it took to get things up and running on my side. Within an hour, the vast majority of the time. On a weekend.


Results:

I’ll have more coming soon, because I am having an unrelated issue with my sound card at the moment and I’ve backed off my OC to try and resolve it. However, below are two brief runs that I did in the days after setting the PC up.

Please note, there was little to no optimization done for these. It was literally, BIOS -> multiplier to 47 -> start.

PC Specs:
Ivybridge i7-3770k, HT enabled
G.Skill 4x4GB Ripjaws Z DDR3 2133
EVGA 690, Stock Speeds
2x OCZ Vertex 4 128GB, Raid 0
Asus Xonar DX, being a piece of crap at the moment. Probably Rognins fault.

c4a3c3db_rPhHN.jpeg

First photo: 4.5 Ghz. TEC set to 10, stable at 60% load. This means that I have another 30-40% of TEC cooling that will keep the processor running at this temperature, roughly.

89514fbb_Prime4.7.png

Second Photo: 4.7Ghz. TEC set to 9, stable at 65% load. I forced the voltage to 1.28 for this run, just 'cause.

Again, it's important to point out there is at least 25% more cooling headroom in here before I'd get too concerned about maxing out the TEC. I'm fairly sure that I'm going to hit voltages I'm uncomfortable with before I hit temperatures I'm uncomfortable with once I can really crank this thing up.


Overall:

I can’t say enough about this. The quality of the cooler, combined with the support Mindchill provides, make for a great package. The controller makes TEC cooling as easy as water cooling, simply adding the advantage of hugely increased headroom on your processor, and with no issues with condensation you can safely avoid some of the hassles that I originally thought I would be stuck with when researching TEC cooling. Some slight issues with the installation can be avoided, but there are some learning pains with anything and I daresay if there is a way to screw something up, I can usually find it.

I’m recommending Mindchills blocks to anyone who asks me about them, and will continue to do so.
post #2 of 4
Thread Starter 
More pictures and testing will be coming smile.gif
post #3 of 4
Nice Post! Great heads up about the Quad. Not once did he mention helping you on a weekend to me. Probably cause I was out of town. But still, figured he woulda had a story or two for me...

+Rep for hearing your experience
Whitey!
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Whitey!
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Corsair 32GB SSD, Seagate 1TB, Western Digital 1TB Windows 7 Ultimate SyncMaster 245B and SyncMaster 2343 Logitech G15 v2 
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post #4 of 4
Nice to know you're happy. thumb.gif


Told you so!!
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Synthetic Anatomy
(14 items)
 
NAT-inator
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsGraphics
Intel Core i7 2700K Z68X-UD7-B3 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 
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NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 Corsair  Corsair  Corsair  
RAMHard DriveCoolingPower
Corsair  2x Mushkin 240Gb SSD Raid 0  A lot. ST1500 
CaseAudio
FT02 Xonar ST 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5-2500K P8P67 WS Revolution Sparkle Calibre GTX 560 G.Skill 
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Corsair Force SSD WD Caviar Black BD combo Liquid 
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