Swiftech MC1000 Active Cooler
What we've learned
FiringSquad is back again with another CPU cooler review. We laid the foundation with our cooling guides, and then we got off to an easy start with an Alpha heatsink review. Then we reviewed a Vantec heatsink and fan combo. We've also done a couple KryoTech reviews along the way.
After testing these cooling options, we've noticed a clear division in results. The coolers that only use forced air or passive cooling didn't provide much of an advantage over an average heatsink and fan combo. At most, we could only squeeze a few extra MHz out of each CPU or add stability to already overclocked processors with these advanced heatsink/dual fan combos. Just using an average heatsink and fan and a small amount of thermal compound (applied properly), would often give similar results.
Only KryoTech cases gave us the serious overclocking speeds that were actually noteworthy. The KryoTech Cool K6-3 550 we reviewed clocked a K6-3 450 all the way up to 550MHz. Most people can only get a K6-3 450 up to around 500MHz with various forced air cooling methods, but taking the chip higher than 500MHz and keeping it stable requires taking the CPU below room temperature.
Can't afford KryoTech?
KryoTech systems are great, but they're also very expensive and many of us might not want to deal with the mini-fridge in the bottom of each case. There's another super cooling options besides the KryoTech system -Peltier coolers.
A Peltier element is capable of cooling a CPU below room temperature, but not to the degree of a KryoTech unit. While a Kryotech system is capable of reaching temperatures between -40 and -50°C, the average Peltier cooler will only keep your CPU around 5°C which is still pretty impressive. The only problem with Peltier coolers is the fact that it's difficult to build a cooling unit based on a Peltier element. Most people are probably better off buying a pre-made Peltier cooling unit such as the Swiftech MC1000.
Want to know more about the MC1000? We'll explain the Peltier effect, and the drawbacks of using a Peltier element. We'll also share with you how well our processors overclocked with the help of the MC1000 and throw in a couple of benchmarks for good measure.