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Thermaltake SubZero4G AMD Cooling System Review - What You Get

For many, the mere sound of the term Alternative Cooling is enough to make them cringe. But what if I were to tell you that someone has placed some safeguards into the mix? Come join Mike "Darthtanion" Wright as he takes a hard look at the Thermaltake SubZero4G Cooling System. It uses a peltier cooling device but with some added features. He'll be looking at normal operation of this device as well as some results for an overclocked system, so come see if this is your chance to get into the new cooling craze!

By: | Editorials in Cases, Cooling & PSU | Posted: May 19, 2003 4:00 am
TweakTown Rating: 6.5%Manufacturer: Thermaltake

In the Box



When you crack open the box that is the home of the SubZero4G cooling system, you are greeted with a good deal more than you may be used to. Generally we have just a heatsink with a fan mounted on top, and in some cases an instruction manual of some sort. But we get a bit more when alternative cooling is the primary item.



One of the most unusual pieces to this unit is the PCI card. Hidden within the plastic housing are some circuit boards and modules that help make sure that this cooler performs to its maximum possible level. It monitors temperatures from the base of the heatsink and determines how much power is needed for optimal cooling of the processor core.


Of note is the small red cable. That small switch on the end gives you the ability to put this cooler into a Silent Mode. This will make the cooler virtually silent at all times, but you will forgo some of the upper limit to its cooling potential. If you do nothing more than use the system for productivity type applications, then you should have no problems with this mode. But if you're into gaming, crunching Seti units or other high-usage activities, then you'll want to leave this in its standard Power Mode.



From the exterior of the PCI card you'll notice a connector that is similar to those found for the power cord of a laptop machine. The same holds true for this device; it requires an external power source to operate. The power cord included is connected to this port so that you don't need to worry about running wires through the interior of your case.


One advantage of having the external power is that it doesn't put the strain of the peltier unit on the system power supply. For some power user systems, this won't be an issue. But for many, the added stress of a peltier cooler would be enough to send the system into a spiral nosedive that it couldn't hope to get out of. Not only would stability be a factor, but it is wholly possible to burn out the power supply in the process.



Turning our attention to the other end of the PCI card shows us where the peltier unit hooks into the small brain. The white eight-pin port is for the cabling coming from the heatsink. It has connections for the fan speed, the temperature probe that is built into the base of the cooler, and the peltier unit itself. You will also see that it handles standard fans as well. And of course, when the fans are hooked to this PCI card they are powered by the card and not the system, so this can also be a means of freeing up some of the resources from your current power supply.


Just remember that the limit to this setup is a full amp of power draw. But considering that most high-end 80mm fans only draw between 0.25 and 0.36 amps, you'll still have some play room.



Next in the spotlight is an included 80mm fan. For many of us, we will already have a better fan in place for exhaust, but if not, then you'll want to install this one. It is a standard 80mm x 80mm x 25mm in size and spins at 2,000RPM when at maximum power. It puts out about 28-CFM airflow at a quiet 21dBA. Oh, and for grins and giggles it also has three LED lights installed too.


So while it isn't the most powerful case fan out there, it is effective and quiet for those who aren't already gifted with adequate case ventilation. And as mentioned before, it will hook right up into the PCI card so won't be a burden to the system in any way.


And in the tradition of looking at the details, it also comes included with mounting screws in the event that your case doesn't have a tool free fan mounting system like many modern examples.


Further Reading: Read and find more Cases, Cooling & PSU content at our Cases, Cooling & PSU reviews, guides and articles index page.

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