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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Is $350 too much for an Intel CPU cooler? The answer is probably yes

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It’s well known that Intel has been working with Cooler Master and EKWB on some serious cooling, a tech it’s calling Cryo Cooling Technology for Intelligent Sub-ambient Cooling. But we hadn’t really paid attention to the costs involved in this new generation of Peltier chip chilling, something Sweclockers highlighted recently along with a February 25 European release date. You’re looking at around $350 (£395) for the Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML360 Sub-Zero Powered by Intel Cryo Cooling Technology—why use one word when ten will do.

The cooler certainly looks interesting, and while it’s designed exclusively for Intel chips, it’s already been seen keeping a Ryzen 9 5950X chilled. Such shenanigans aside, this is an impressive cooler that should keep even Intel’s hottest 14nm++ chips cool.

Key to the Cryo Cooler thermodynamic magic is the use of the Peltier effect, which uses an electric current to help pull heat away from one surface and push it to another. This results in sub-ambient temperatures on one side of the cooler, with plenty of heat being produced on the other surface. 

Peltier coolers aren’t particularly new—we had them back in the early 2000s, and they were expected to be the next big thing. That never materialized though, because a side effect of Peltier coolers is they need a lot of power going in to provide adequate cooling and they produce a lot of condensation. And that’s what’s known in the business as ‘a very bad thing indeed’. 

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Intel says it has solved this last problem with its Cryo Cooler though, and in fact, make a point of it in the launch video—which is great by the way, why aren’t all CPU cooler launches this exciting? Oh yeah, because they don’t normally cost anywhere near this much.

We’re going to be watching this one with interest because modern CPUs do a great job of managing their efficiency based on the cooling available. While you’re not going to be challenging liquid nitrogen records with such a setup, it could potentially produce higher frequencies than you could manage using normal liquid coolers.

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