CES 2008: CoolIT Systems

by Nate Marion on January 16, 2008 in Trade Shows

CoolIT had many great products on display this year – it was difficult to leave their booth! Included in our look is their latest dual-bay GPU cooler, the non-TEC Pure CPU cooler, MTEC control module and a server cooling solution that’s sure to get a grin.

Our friends at CoolIT have definitely been busy lately, and were showing quite a few new products, including the Pure, a self-contained water-only cooling solution for CPUs that appears very similar to their original Freezone, but without any thermoelectric cooling.

CoolIT also had a couple of dual-GPU cooling solutions; one designed for NVIDIA 8800 series, the other for ATI HD2900 and HD3800 series cards. Both solutions will offer full-card cooling, and fit into two 5.25″ drive bays – hence they will be marketed as Dual Drive Bay VGA Coolers, and the only difference between them is the type of cooling block used.

The ATI solution will use water without any thermoelectric cooling…

…while the NVIDIA solution will have a TEC on each full-card block. This is subtly different from the usual CoolIT approach – CoolIT’s MTEC technology generally involves using water to cool hot PC components, the cold side of TECs to cool the water, and air to cool the hot side of the TECs. This NVIDIA GPU solution changes the order of things to a more classic design; the cold side of the TECs cool the hot components, the water cools the hot side of the TECs, and air cools the water.

The as-yet-unavailable Boreas was also on display.

The Freezone Elite was also there, and we saw it cooling an Intel quad core CPU to the tune of 25C while idle, and creeping up to~60C fully loaded under Prime.

Rounding out the new products was the MTEC control center.

This little module can be used to control up to two separate CoolIT cooling systems, and will come with software that can automatically throttle the cooling solutions based on user preferences.

In the picture above, the graph shows time on the X-axis. A couple of minutes before this picture was taken, the MTEC Control Center was used to lower the target temperature of the liquid cooling the (idling) CPU from 30C to20C. The result was that the fan and TEC power increased from ~40% to 100%, and the CPU and coolant temperates began to decline.

Aside from the impressive customization options offered by the MTEC Control Center, potential users will be glad to know that the application will be compliant with NVIDIA’s Enthusiast System Architecture (ESA) initiative. We’ve seen quite a few vendors displaying systems using ESA, so it looks like ESA is catching on pretty well.

There was a fairly large surprise at the CoolIT booth as well.

This is a prototype design for a water cooled server cabinet capable of dissipating 40kW, with redundant Laing pumps and modular tubing with self-sealing quick disconnects.

Users will be able to remotely control and monitor the cooling system using web-based controls. CoolIT hopes to bring units like this to market within 12 months, and believes that their efficient MTEC cooling technology will greatly reduce power consumption.

There were a couple other surprises in store as well, including a custom case collaboration with SilverStone Technology in the form of a pair of Boreas equipped TJ07s.

The cleaner-looking of the two included a custom window with fan holes to provide air flow across the Boreas’ cooling fins, and completely eliminated four of the front 5.25″ bays.

The other case was similarly designed, although the side window wasn’t modified, and it appears that there’s room for a VFD display (or similarly sized bay device) in at least the lowest of the 4 lower 5.25″ bays. This case had a complete system installed (but not running) with the Boreas cooling an Intel X6850 and the northbridge and voltage regulators of an ASUS Striker Extreme, and a Dual Drive Bay VGA Cooler (with MTEC) cooling a pair of 8800GTXs.

We’re glad to see that CoolIT is developing new products at a brisk pace, and that they’ve partnered with such a high quality and well regarded chassis company like SilverStone (the TJ07 is this particular editor’s favorite case of all time).

It should be interesting to see how the water-only cooling systems like the PURE compare to similar products, and the MTEC control module and corresponding software are looking good at this point. Ultimately, we would like to see products like the MTEC control center offered as stand-alone products for enthusiasts using TECs and pumps of varying wattages, so that custom builders can configure their own TEC systems to eliminate the possibility of condensation and optimize power draw at varying loads. CoolIT is definitely heading in that direction, and we hope that they can maintain their design pace.

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