Introduction, Specifications and Pricing
The last attempt at something of a thermoelectric nature had us taking a trip in the way-back machine, when we had our own look at the CoolerMaster V10. When CoolerMaster attempted the V10, they had more surface area than all other mainstream coolers at that time, and even with the slight boost of the thermoelectric plate and its own fin arrays to cool it, we were left sort of disappointed at its overall performance. A bit of time after its release, mods were made by delivering more power to the stock TEC plate, or by adding larger ones, and after the fact, there are images on the internet of them with frosty cold bases.
There is one major stopping point to all of these designs though, and that is the lack of ability to provide the TEC with ample cooling on its hot side. Without getting too deep into the physics of how a TEC works, on the basic level, voltage is supplied to the TEC, and one side gets hot to allow the other side of the TEC to be cooler than ambient temperatures.
With a TEC, the more efficiently you can remove the heat from the hot side of the plate, the colder its opposing side can get. The limited space, and lesser efficiency of using an air cooler versus something like a custom loop was CoolerMaster's Achilles heel. We just hope that V3 Components has overcome this somehow, and if it has, we may have a TEC assisted air cooler worthy of your time.
Under close examination of the V3 Components' Voltair, we can see that they do employ quite a few tricks that make standard air coolers very successful. The V10 was much larger, but it too could have benefited from the tricks of the trade that this new Voltair high performance thermoelectric CPU cooler incorporates into the design. All things considered, we do hope that V3 Components has made a cooler that we can scream about from the roof tops and that many will want to buy.
Compatibility is not an issue for all of the latest and currently supported sockets, but there is no hardware for older systems with AMD sockets like 939 or Intel's LGA775. The dimensions of the Voltair may be a consideration for users. 167mm from left to right is not a huge issue, and neither is the 120mm width of the Voltair, but the 172mm height may be too tall for most mid-towers, and even some full-tower case designs. We also hope for some pretty serious hardware to mount this Voltair, as you will be hanging over three pounds from the motherboard.
This design is actually two coolers wrapped into one. There is an inner cooler with four 8mm diameter heat pipes, which is used to cool the hot side of the TEC plate. Wrapped around that is another four heat pipe cooler with 42 aluminum fins; the middle of which is cut away so that the TEC cooler can fit inside. The TEC rests over the lowest base section, and the cool side of the TEC chills the HDT base that the Voltair offers. On top of that assembly of coolers, a thick metal shroud covers the top and sides of the cooler, while a pair of 120mm fans with nine blades actively cools these towers. With speeds up to 1800 RPM, delivering well over 100 CFM of airflow and 1.9 mmH2O of static pressure, we can be assured this setup will deliver as much cooling as possible without having to move to a 38mm thick fan.
The last things we want to touch on here are the pricing and availability. We know that V3 Components is tied to Cyberpower, and it is likely that this will be an option to choose in your custom built PC, so there is that route to take to acquire the Voltair. As for the users who want this in a rig you don't have to spend near $2000 U.S. dollars on, we can currently only find the Voltair available at Newegg.com at a price of $129.99 with free shipping. However, we would hazard to guess that availability will get better as time goes by.
Going off of that pricing, it seems very close to what the Cooler Master V10 released at so many moons ago, so for what it is, the pricing seems reasonable. The real question is: can the Voltair rise up and take on AIO coolers as all of the emails and press would lead us to believe? We will get to all of that soon enough in the charts, but for now, just sit back and have a look at what the Voltair High Performance Thermoelectric CPU Cooler is all about.