CoolIT Freezone Elite CPU Cooler Page: 1
The cooling systems employed by enthusiasts today are constantly increasing in complexity and expense, in a bid to increase efficiency, reduce noise and provide a means for increased overclocks. Todays review item is a product which, through use of a lesser known cooling solution, aims to hit these goals on the head and provide users with the best performance available without the need to insulate and risk hardware failure.
The Freezone Elite is a CPU cooling system fairly unique in its design. Essentially it is a compact liquid cooler with your typical waterblock and pump, however, in addition to the norm, the Freezone Elite uses two banks of 3 TEC blocks in place of a radiator to cool the coolant. Designed to fit neatly into the inside of most regular chassis with minimal work and maintenance.
CoolIT are not a particularly widely known company, mostly because of the specific and unique nature of their products. The fact that the company is not the biggest could well work in the favor of the CoolIT Elite, allowing far higher attention to detail and care in the units construction.
Here are the specs of the cooler taken from CoolIT's website
CPU FHE (Fluid Heat Exchanger)
Design: Monolithic copper, multi-cell
Dimensions: 43 x 42 x 16.5 mm
Design: Dual dissipation plate, anodized alloy
Dimensions: 121 x 92 x 65 mm
Power usage: Max total 72 Watts
Design: Six solid-state heat pump wafers
Dimensions: 40 x 40 x 3.5 mm (each)
Weight: 20g (each)
Chiller FHE’s (2)
Design: Dual anodized alloy distribution, multi-channel
Dimensions: 121 x 41 x 12 mm (each)
Weight: 80g (each)
Power usage: Max 8 Watts
Airflow: 120 CFM
Noise: Max 40 dBA
Bearing Type: Dual ball
Life Cycle: 50,000 hrs
Dimensions: 120 x 120 x 38mm
Features: 3rd Wire Tachometer
Power usage: 8W +/- 0.5W
Design: 12VDC coreless outrunner pump with integrated expansion vessel
Noise: <15dBALife Cycle: 50,000 hrs
Dimensions: 50 x 50 x 75 mm
Flow: 3.5 L/minWeight: 205g
Single/Dual CPU Cooling Solution
Dual GPU Cooling Solution
Nothing that out of the ordinary to be learned from the specifications, but two things I will draw attention to are the CFM / dBA of the fan (which I expect will be running on a variable voltage) and the low noise output of the pump.
CoolIT Freezone Elite CPU Cooler Page: 2
The box for the Freezone Elite is certainly pretty hefty. Measuring in at 20 x 24 x 35 cm it is safe to assume the inside of the box will be well padded with protection for the product.
Most of the boxes surfaces are printed with specifications or quotes from product reviews:
Once the internal package has been slid from the cardboard sleeve we can see that the unit is indeed well protected with a thick layer of medium density polystyrene.
Inside this polystyrene box, new owners of the Freezone Elite will find:
1 x Freezone Elite Cooler
1 x MTEC Control Center
1 x 12v adapter
1 x USB input cable
1 x 775 mounting kit
1 x AM2 mounting kit
User guide and software
Unfortunately the cooler had picked up some superficial damage to the heatsink. Looking at the damage, however, I would say the damage was done during or before assembly of the unit:
Usually with mass produced atypical cooling solutions (ie - ThermalTake) a lot of care goes into the looks of the product, with build quality and attention to detail falling by the wayside. I will say now that I really did expect the Freezone Elite to be somewhat the same; a crudely assembled chiller unit with a slick looking brushed aluminium cover. Once the cooler is out of its box however, you are able to really get a good look at every part of the system and quickly establish that this couldn't be further from the truth.
The cooler, while actually fairly basic in design, looks very solid and neatly assembled. Each hose end is well sealed with crimped O-Rings; all the wires are well sealed with heatshrink, and every single bolt is done up tightly and the anti-kink coils are well secured at each end. The Coolit logo you can see cut in the faceplate is backed with a light emitting sheet and lights up a cool blue when in operation.
The main feature of this cooler is the rows of TEC blocks, across which the coolant is pumped to lower its temperatures. As you can see the blocks are well secured to both the waterblocks and heat dissipating HSF with what looks to be a thermally conductive adhesive.
One small let down I have to point out is the finish on the CPU block. Now it is usual for some CPU blocks to show signs of grinding in an effort to create a flat surface, leaving them with a slight surface grain in one direction. The block on the Freezone Elite however, appears to have been attacked from more than one direction with a grinder in what indeed looks like a method of flattening (small patches have escaped abrasion). Perhaps the unit will produce temperatures low enough for this not to matter but it would be nice to see a clean and polished surface here as it is after all, the 'business end'.
The extras listed above are all of fair quality. All of the mounting equipment looks substantial, the MTEC control unit, while feeling a bit 'plasticy' (it is plastic) is equipped with good quality connectors and the wires included are nicely braided and sealed with heatshrink.
The fan attached to the bulky heatsink is a Panaflow NMB-MAT with the model number FBA12G12H.
CoolIT Freezone Elite CPU Cooler Page: 3
One of the main aims of the Freezone Elite is to provide top performance cooling with as little hassle as possible. Being designed to be installed as easily as most of todays top-end air coolers and waterblocks, the Elite should not provide too much of a headache when setting it up.
Following the moderately well illustrated installation guide, users will first have to install the motherboard standoffs and block mounting system. While in several parts, with some diagrammatic aid and a little common sense, installing this section is fairly easy, although it does require access to the back of the motherboard.
The next step is somewhat of a balancing act. The block now needs to be secured in the mounting system, which might seem simple but the short hose system means that the heavy cooler needs to be balanced nearby to allow for mounting as fitting the Elite will prevent access to the socket. In an average sized case you will just about be able to balance the cooler on the drive bays while you work. In a bigger case such as a V2010, this would not be an option. All I can suggest is trying to either balance it on the PSU or wrapping the cooler in some form of non-static producing padding and resting it on the motherboard while you fit the block.
The pressure in this mounting system is provided with two steel bars. While this system is simple and easy to install, I have to say I feel more pressure could be had with the use of a solid retention bracket.
Once the block is in place, users can secure the cooler by the rear fan to the back of the case and set about the task of wiring up. This stage is a little complex due to the amount of wires one has to organise. Thankfully they are all colour coded (in a fashion) and labeled in the manual.
For the testing of the Freezone Elite the following test setup was used:
CPU: Intel C2D E4300
Motherboard: ASUS Rampage Formula X48
The room temperature throughout testing remained at 12 degrees Celsius, all of the testing was done in a open, standard ATX case with a healthy airflow into the case . The room temperature was measured approximately 6 inches in front of the pull side of the fan. Usually when testing an air cooler, the temperature inside the case is registered and then any fluctuation in this temperature is factored into the results of the cooler. In this case, however, it is not know how much of a relationship there is between the air entering the Elite's heatsink and the temperatures of the fluid heat exchanger. Therefore the temperature will be monitored closely and any noticeable links or large fluctuations will be best dealt with later.
For thermal interface paste, Arctic Silver 5 was used instead of the pre-applied paste. This thermal paste does require a burn in time and numerous cycles to reach maximum effectiveness but due to time constraints, this cannot be provided. Instead the paste will be left in use for three cycles of around 12 hours, with frequent periods of load and rest.
To test the unit, the coolant will be set to two target temperatures using the MTEC software. The first being 0oC. This will ensure the units fan and TEC banks are working at 100% throughout the testing and providing the maximum possible cooling. The second target temperature will be 15oC. This will test the coolers performance with settings more suitable for everyday use when considering noise.
For each of the two target temperatures, the CPU will be run at stock speeds (200 x 9 @ 1.325v) and with an overclock (325 x 9 @ 1.505v) while idle and at load. In addition to this I will test the relation between the coolant temperature and CPU temperature. To do this I will find a range of temperatures within the cooler will be able to operate with load and then increase the target temperature in increments of two degrees, logging the CPU temperature increase
Temperatures were logged using both the MTEC software included and CoreTemp monitoring software.
For idle temperatures I left the PC for 30 mins then recorded the idle temperature every 10 seconds for 2 minutes, making sure I did not use any program that was not already running at windows startup.
For the load temperatures I ran an instance of prime 95 with in-place large FFT's for maximum heat and power consumption, as well as an instance of [email protected]
set to take up any spare cycles of the CPU. Once again I left this for 30 mins between any setting alterations and then recorded the temperatures over a 2 minute period.
CoolIT Freezone Elite CPU Cooler Page: 4
Below are the results gained from the testing of the Coolit Freezone Elite cooler with various settings.
The higher temperatures recorded for the target of 15oC caused the unit to run at the same 100% power as the 0oC settings, this should have meant the maximum temperatures were the same. While I believe they would indeed have equalised if given a longer period of time, the 30 minute limit was adhered to and temperatures taken regardless.
The graphs below illustrate the effect of coolant temperatures on CPU temperatures with the same settings used above.
I should point out that the increased starting point seen in the second graph for the coolant is due to the coolant not reaching 12 degrees at these settings. The cooler was given an hour at 100% power to pull down to the temperature, but did not succeed.
The fourth graph illustrating the temperatures at load with overclocked settings would be helpful but after the temperatures reached with stock settings at load, I do not feel the CPU would survive testing at the higher coolant temperatures.
CoolIT Freezone Elite CPU Cooler Page: 5
The temperatures seen on the previous page are fairly inconsistent with those seen from typical cooling devices. The Freezone Elite achieves fantastic idle temperatures, pulling the CPU down to just 16oC. This did, however require full power, which in turn created a huge amount of noise from the massive Panaflow fan and caused light condensation to form on the TEC covers and CPU block. The fact that these temperatures then swing in quite the opposite direction when introduced to load highlights what I would state as an inability to handle load.
The CPU used in this test was a simple, low powered, dual-core chip. After reading claims on the packaging that the unit is designed for todays high powered, quad-core CPU's, I was anxious to see whether the test CPU would be of use. Having seen the results obtained with an overclock nearly 700 MHz shy of what the little chip is actually capable of, I would say the unit has been pushed well enough.
While set to a target temp of around 15 degrees, with stock settings, the cooler manages to hold temperatures at an acceptable level with a very comfortable amount of noise, and would be ideal for a low powered computer in constant use such as an HTPC or in-home server.
The cooler is certainly very well made and is a quality piece of kit. Taking up little more space than todays high end air cooling solutions, the Elite is certainly a good idea for those not willing, or not able to use watercooling. It just has to be realised that TEC technology is not an efficient method of cooling - the amount of power used and heat generated clearly does not justify the temperatures we have seen. The cooler certainly performs better than advanced air cooling, but with load handling worse than results I have seen using water on a similar setup, I'm really not sure how on-target a price tag of around £300 is.
Nevertheless, the unit certainly does have its place in the market and for those with deep pockets, the unit is available at Overclockers UK
- Very well made
- Capable of very low noise output
- Power draw
- Load handling
- CPU block finish
- Fiddly installation and lots of wires
Thanks to CoolIT
for providing the Freezone Elite for review. Discuss this review in our forums