Image: EKWB

Over the last year, we have seen some CPUs reach downright epic levels of power consumption and, consequently, heat generation. The current champ of such things is the Intel Core i9-10900K. This flagship CPU has can heat up to 91°c and draw around 205 W when overclocked to 5.1 GHz on all cores. At that point, it’s a given you’ll need a liquid cooler and probably at least a 360 mm radiator to keep things in check. Well, what if you want to take things further? Linus Tech Tips did just that and managed to take this processor to 5.7 GHz. It may not be an all-core overclock, but it is close. Six out of ten registered at 5.7 GHz, with the other four at 5.4 GHz. What’s more interesting, though, is his use of a mystery box seen in a blurred image below.

Image: Linus Tech Tips

TechPowerUp has theorized that this mystery box could actually be a custom Peltier or Thermoelectric solution from EKWB. These have largely been set aside due to their inefficiency and needed extra power, but it is possible that EK may be reintroducing them with some custom loop solutions. Linus already lists a number of its Quantum line products on the page for this build. He doesn’t elaborate on what the device is, but after showing off the 5.7 GHz overclock, he does give a startling glimpse of the core temps.

Image: Linus Tech Tips

This rig also features an ASUS ROG Strix GeForce RTX 3090 and a 1600 W PSU. There’s a lot of power and heat dissipation at work here. Linus states he cannot share more about this mystery box right now but promises he will be able to soon. This could be the next game changer for PC enthusiast CPU cooling.

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Peter Brosdahl

As a child of the 70’s I was part of the many who became enthralled by the video arcade invasion of the 1980’s. Saving money from various odd jobs I purchased my first computer from a friend of my...

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44 Comments

  1. TEC’s are cool, (no pun intended) but they are huge power hogs. They will also elevate the temp of the entire loop, so I wouldn’t use one unless I could have it on every block.

    I also wouldn’t use one, unless it came with some sort of protective ciruitry to prevent going below the dew point and creating condensation. I fon’t feel like messing with grease and such things to isolate everything.

    The theory is great though. Elevating the loop temp while keeping the chip temps lower makes the radiators much more efficient at dissipating the heat out of the loop.

    Based on the fact that chips use much more power today than they did back when we last used peltiers, those things are likely going to need a lot of power. I foresee the need for dedicated power supplies, and maybe even dedicated extra circuits to our offices to provide enough power.

    Oh, the power bills.

  2. Eh I think the peltier is much smaller than you think. And built into the box in such a way as to be immune to issues with condensation. Hell I called it out when the ltt video was posted. Liquid cooling a peltier makes sense.

  3. [QUOTE=”Grimlakin, post: 22819, member: 215″]
    Eh I think the peltier is much smaller than you think. And built into the box in such a way as to be immune to issues with condensation. Hell I called it out when the ltt video was posted. Liquid cooling a peltier makes sense.
    [/QUOTE]

    From what I recall from back in the day (it’s been a while though, so take it with a grain of salt) TEC’s power requirements exponentially grow with the amount of heat they need to dissipate. That coupled with the fact that CPU’s dissipate a lot more heat today…

    A control system preventing condensation would be absolutely necessary. The implementation of it determines whether or not it gets my thumbs up. The devil is in the details.

  4. Well, it makes sense to explore this technology as we are at the limits of what can be dissipated heat wise given the small surface area of the die’s and the heat spreaders.

  5. [QUOTE=”Dan_D, post: 22837, member: 6″]
    Well, it makes sense to explore this technology as we are at the limits of what can be dissipated heat wise given the small surface area of the die’s and the heat spreaders.
    [/QUOTE]
    I think the next phase of cooling will be to inject carbon tubes through the CPU die and channel heat direct into the heat spreader. But that’s just a guess based on reading.

  6. Active sub-ambient cooling of some sort is probably the next best way to increase the available thermal envelope for ICs.

  7. [QUOTE=”Brian_B, post: 22842, member: 96″]
    Active sub-ambient cooling of some sort is probably the next best way to increase the available thermal envelope for ICs.
    [/QUOTE]

    It needs to be efficient. I don’t care if they want me to plug a mini fridge in that has a separate radiator built in that chills down to 50 degrees f that’s running through a radiator loop or what. But I’ll probably be a ways off of putting it in my setup.

  8. [QUOTE=”Grimlakin, post: 22843, member: 215″]
    It needs to be efficient. I don’t care if they want me to plug a mini fridge in that has a separate radiator built in that chills down to 50 degrees f that’s running through a radiator loop or what. But I’ll probably be a ways off of putting it in my setup.
    [/QUOTE]

    I’m open to going extreme.

    I just don’t want to sit in a noisy room that’s a billion degrees due to all the heat coming off the desktop.

    We are getting closer and closer to where running a coolant loop to another room (Garage? Basement?) where an external cooling solution is located, is seeming more and more appealing.

  9. [QUOTE=”Peter_Brosdahl, post: 22811, member: 87″]
    [URL=’https://www.thefpsreview.com/2020/11/04/thermoelectric-cpu-cooling-might-be-making-a-comeback/’]Continue reading…[/URL]
    [/QUOTE]
    [IMG]https://media.makeameme.org/created/pepperidge-farm-remembers-5b860b.jpg[/IMG]

  10. [QUOTE=”Zarathustra, post: 22845, member: 203″]
    I’m open to going extreme.

    I just don’t want to sit in a noisy room that’s a billion degrees due to all the heat coming off the desktop.

    We are getting closer and closer to where running a coolant loop to another room (Garage? Basement?) where an external cooling solution is located, is seeming more and more appealing.
    [/QUOTE]

    Well the only way to prevent that, no matter what cooling solution, would be external cooling. Maybe not necessarily a coolant loop running though multiple rooms or floors, but more like a window or portable AC unit that dumps the excess heat out a window would be the most likely solution.

  11. [QUOTE=”LeRoy_Blanchard, post: 22853, member: 137″]
    Maybe not necessarily a coolant loop running though multiple rooms or floors, but more like a window or portable AC unit that dumps the excess heat out a window would be the most likely solution.
    [/QUOTE]
    I already need this… no peltier required!

    I’m also pretty skeptical. The cooling requirements of the whole system under load are probably an order of magnitude higher between CPU and GPU. Putting a peltier in a water block, for example, wouldn’t be that great of a feat, but as Z has already said, you’d want a pretty solid control circuit on that to keep it from freezing stuff in a typical setup.

    A ‘runaway’ pelt setup could easily boil water or cool something in the socket to the point of breaking under pressure, assuming that it were placed directly on top of a die, underneath the water block. It’d have to run upon system startup and it’d have to respond to changes in system load (or just die temperature) fairly quickly.

    And the power supply to it needs to be able to handle it all.

    Pelts are effective and space-efficient, but they’re also dangerous to the point that I’m not sure I’d want to chance messing with them myself!

  12. [QUOTE=”Zarathustra, post: 22845, member: 203″]
    I’m open to going extreme.

    I just don’t want to sit in a noisy room that’s a billion degrees due to all the heat coming off the desktop.

    We are getting closer and closer to where running a coolant loop to another room (Garage? Basement?) where an external cooling solution is located, is seeming more and more appealing.
    [/QUOTE]
    100+ foot geothermal loop buried below or adjacent to the basement?

  13. [QUOTE=”Zarathustra, post: 22845, member: 203″]
    I’m open to going extreme.

    I just don’t want to sit in a noisy room that’s a billion degrees due to all the heat coming off the desktop.

    We are getting closer and closer to where running a coolant loop to another room (Garage? Basement?) where an external cooling solution is located, is seeming more and more appealing.
    [/QUOTE]

    I take it you don’t remember pool boy.

  14. I’ll wait for phase change to make a big comeback.

    I think I still have a Vapochill floating around somewhere.

  15. Sure if you want to sit on a thermonuclear reactor. CPU generates 200W the peltier device takes that up to 500W so in the end you need to dissipate 500W of heat. Not to mention the power consumption. We all knew peltier devices work, they are just too impractical.

  16. [QUOTE=”MadMummy76, post: 22906, member: 1298″]
    Sure if you want to sit on a thermonuclear reactor. CPU generates 200W the peltier device takes that up to 500W so in the end you need to dissipate 500W of heat. Not to mention the power consumption. We all knew peltier devices work, they are just too impractical.
    [/QUOTE]

    I use them on my fish tanks rather than the intank heaters.

  17. [QUOTE=”Paul_Johnson, post: 22907, member: 2″]
    I use them on my fish tanks rather than the intank heaters.
    [/QUOTE]
    Do you overclock your fish?

  18. [QUOTE=”Brian_B, post: 22908, member: 96″]
    Do you overclock your fish?
    [/QUOTE]

    It is how you get them to breed.

  19. [QUOTE=”Paul_Johnson, post: 22913, member: 2″]
    It is how you get them to breed.
    [/QUOTE]
    Shame this doesn’t work for CPUs. I wouldn’t mind buying a pair of 5950, over clocking them, and ending up with a litter after a few months.

  20. [QUOTE=”Paul_Johnson, post: 22901, member: 2″]
    I take it you don’t remember pool boy.
    [/QUOTE]

    Nah, that does not ring a bell. But from the name I am going to guess he tried to use a pool as a cooling reservoir?

    Let me guess, the bleach caused problems? :p

  21. [QUOTE=”Zarathustra, post: 22931, member: 203″]
    Nah, that does not ring a bell. But from the name I am going to guess he tried to use a pool as a cooling reservoir?

    Let me guess, the bleach caused problems? :p
    [/QUOTE]

    Yes, and yes (well he claimed to and the pictures looked like it could have been working but there were some people who called shens). It was like circa 2003 IIRC.

  22. [QUOTE=”Paul_Johnson, post: 22935, member: 2″]
    Yes, and yes (well he claimed to and the pictures looked like it could have been working but there were some people who called shens). It was like circa 2003 IIRC.
    [/QUOTE]

    Ahh. Back when we were pulling heater cores from cars to use a rads, fish tank pumps and tygon tubing.

  23. [QUOTE=”Paul_Johnson, post: 22935, member: 2″]
    Yes, and yes (well he claimed to and the pictures looked like it could have been working but there were some people who called shens). It was like circa 2003 IIRC.
    [/QUOTE]

    Don’t get me wrong. I kind of like the idea.

    As long as the pool wasn’t too hot (either from heating or the sun) it should be an effective coolant source, and it would take one hell of a gaming session to cause a pools worth of water to heat up, especially with 2003 era TDP’s.

    I mean, there would be a contamination risk. And the chlorine would likely eat the system to shreds, but one could use a water to water heat exchanger to isolate it. Maybe something from an inboard boat motor coolant loop.

    Sounds like a fun project :p

  24. A cold ground water loop is the next thing.

    All you need is a well, and a pump. Nice an cool down there past 120′ or so.

  25. [QUOTE=”Auer, post: 22965, member: 225″]
    A cold ground water loop is the next thing.

    All you need is a well, and a pump. Nice an cool down there past 120′ or so.
    [/QUOTE]
    But why not do the whole house like that?

    We’re already at the point here where planning for workstation cooling needs to be part of the overall building HVAC plan, right?

    I know that I have extra power leads, higher amperage and voltage circuits, higher and variable cooling capacity, as well as thermal and noise dampening all on my dream-sheet, how about y’all?

  26. [QUOTE=”LazyGamer, post: 22967, member: 1367″]
    But why not do the whole house like that?

    We’re already at the point here where planning for workstation cooling needs to be part of the overall building HVAC plan, right?

    I know that I have extra power leads, higher amperage and voltage circuits, higher and variable cooling capacity, as well as thermal and noise dampening all on my dream-sheet, how about y’all?
    [/QUOTE]

    People do. Geothermal cooling/heating are viable in a lot of places.

  27. [QUOTE=”Paul_Johnson, post: 22968, member: 2″]
    People do. Geothermal cooling/heating are viable in a lot of places.
    [/QUOTE]
    The earth is the ultimate terrestrial insulator, right?

    Honestly the biggest issue is the soil; shifting sediment causes all kinds of problems for building ‘deep’ in many areas. I lived in a house with a basement where one really shouldn’t be, and while the benefits were all there, ‘splashing’ out of bed wasn’t one of them!

  28. [QUOTE=”LazyGamer, post: 22970, member: 1367″]
    The earth is the ultimate terrestrial insulator, right?

    Honestly the biggest issue is the soil; shifting sediment causes all kinds of problems for building ‘deep’ in many areas. I lived in a house with a basement where one really shouldn’t be, and while the benefits were all there, ‘splashing’ out of bed wasn’t one of them!
    [/QUOTE]

    Well, you should not dig where the water table is within a few feet of the surface. Around me, that is the case in certain areas. However, I live on a hill. So, when my “basement” (which has a walkout with a deck because it heads down hill) was done they had to dig/blast out solid granite. The water table is alomost a hundred feet below my “basement” or as we call it the terrace level.

  29. [QUOTE=”Paul_Johnson, post: 22974, member: 2″]
    Well, you should not dig where the water table is within a few feet of the surface. Around me, that is the case in certain areas. However, I live on a hill. So, when my “basement” (which has a walkout with a deck because it heads down hill) was done they had to dig/blast out solid granite. The water table is alomost a hundred feet below my “basement” or as we call it the terrace level.
    [/QUOTE]
    That’s awesome! Our area has the shallowest rock layer at about 100ft, and there’s an aquifer… and we mostly just have to deal with shifting soil if stabilization rods aren’t installed. I haven’t lived in an apartment here yet that wasn’t ‘falling downhill’. Makes me wonder about buying a house too.

    But a granite cleft on a hillside… I think I’d love something like that. I expect that the noise isolation is pretty good too?

  30. [QUOTE=”Auer, post: 22965, member: 225″]
    A cold ground water loop is the next thing.

    All you need is a well, and a pump. Nice an cool down there past 120′ or so.
    [/QUOTE]
    Someone on [H] already did that. Unfortunately the pic links are broken now.

    [URL]https://hardforum.com/threads/the-hole-geothermal-loop-56k-warning.1421716/[/URL]

  31. [QUOTE=”LazyGamer, post: 22983, member: 1367″]
    That’s awesome! Our area has the shallowest rock layer at about 100ft, and there’s an aquifer… and we mostly just have to deal with shifting soil if stabilization rods aren’t installed. I haven’t lived in an apartment here yet that wasn’t ‘falling downhill’. Makes me wonder about buying a house too.

    But a granite cleft on a hillside… I think I’d love something like that. I expect that the noise isolation is pretty good too?
    [/QUOTE]

    Well, on three sides. The side that is open overlooks the lake. So, during the busy months you can hear all the boat traffic as soon as you are near the doors/windows on that side or outside. But, I don’t mind that too much. I like boats.

  32. [QUOTE=”Riccochet, post: 22939, member: 4″]
    Ahh. Back when we were pulling heater cores from cars to use a rads, fish tank pumps and tygon tubing.
    [/QUOTE]
    I still have my Ehiem 1250. Still using it to flush out new rads on the rare occasion I need another.

  33. [QUOTE=”Paul_Johnson, post: 22968, member: 2″]
    People do. Geothermal cooling/heating are viable in a lot of places.
    [/QUOTE]

    When you say geothermal, do you mean true Iceland style geothermal, taking advantage of magmatic heat, or are you talking about a ground source heat pump?

  34. [QUOTE=”Zarathustra, post: 23031, member: 203″]
    When you say geothermal, do you mean true Iceland style geothermal, taking advantage of magmatic heat, or are you talking about a ground source heat pump?
    [/QUOTE]

    You aren’t serious are you? We are talking about heating/cooling at a persons house not electricity production.

  35. [QUOTE=”Paul_Johnson, post: 23041, member: 2″]
    You aren’t serious are you? We are talking about heating/cooling at a persons house not electricity production.
    [/QUOTE]
    Oh if I could though, I would.

  36. [QUOTE=”Brian_B, post: 22908, member: 96″]
    Do you overclock your fish?
    [/QUOTE]

    I think you use meth for that.

  37. [QUOTE=”Paul_Johnson, post: 23041, member: 2″]
    You aren’t serious are you? We are talking about heating/cooling at a persons house not electricity production.
    [/QUOTE]

    I only bring it up because at least up here, if you want a ground source heatpump, you have to ask for just that.

    Geothermal is not a synonym for it. Geothermal refers to magmatic heat, and magmatic heat only.

  38. [QUOTE=”Zarathustra, post: 23089, member: 203″]
    I only bring it up because at least up here, if you want a ground source heatpump, you have to ask for just that.

    Geothermal is not a synonym for it. Geothermal refers to magmatic heat, and magmatic heat only.
    [/QUOTE]
    Geothermal HVAC/R is a thing.

  39. [QUOTE=”Zarathustra, post: 23089, member: 203″]
    I only bring it up because at least up here, if you want a ground source heatpump, you have to ask for just that.

    Geothermal is not a synonym for it. Geothermal refers to magmatic heat, and magmatic heat only.
    [/QUOTE]

    [URL unfurl=”true”]https://www.trane.com/residential/en/resources/get-inside-look-geothermal-hvac-systems-energy-efficient/[/URL]

    Well, you are just wrong. So…..IDK

  40. [QUOTE=”Paul_Johnson, post: 23128, member: 2″]
    [URL unfurl=”true”]https://www.trane.com/residential/en/resources/get-inside-look-geothermal-hvac-systems-energy-efficient/[/URL]

    Well, you are just wrong. So…..IDK
    [/QUOTE]
    In Zath’s defense.. the article your reference does also refer to these systems as ground source heat pumps internally. That being said, I don’t think either of you are wrong. I think Geothermal is just a generic term for anything involving thermal transfer and the Earth. Most power plant scale Geothermal plants use a specific process known as Hydrothermal (making steam from underground heat) — and shares in the same renewable category as hydroelectric (dams)

    Bunch of pedantic dudes around here… :sneaky:

  41. [QUOTE=”Brian_B, post: 23135, member: 96″]
    In Zath’s defense.. the article your reference does also refer to these systems as ground source heat pumps internally. That being said, I don’t think either of you are wrong. I think Geothermal is just a generic term for anything involving thermal transfer and the Earth. Most power plant scale Geothermal plants use a specific process known as Hydrothermal (making steam from underground heat) — and shares in the same renewable category as hydroelectric (dams)

    Bunch of pedantic dudes around here… :sneaky:
    [/QUOTE]
    That is my use of the term when used by itself, as well. Without context the word could refer to anything, though.

  42. [QUOTE=”Paul_Johnson, post: 23128, member: 2″]
    [URL unfurl=”true”]https://www.trane.com/residential/en/resources/get-inside-look-geothermal-hvac-systems-energy-efficient/[/URL]

    Well, you are just wrong. So…..IDK
    [/QUOTE]

    Well, could be regional terminology issues too. Or the terminology has evolved over time.

    About 8 years ago when I was researching heat options, I called a few vendors and asked about geothermal, and got a big fat “What now?” Ground source heat pump made everyone understand what I was talking about though.

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