Intel Cryo Cooling Technology is an intelligent sub-ambient cooling product that offers a new and improved overclocking experience on desktop.
The Intel Cryo Cooling Technology is built around the thermoelectric effect. Simply put, the thermoelectric effect is the conversion of differences in temperature to an electric voltage and vice versa. In the PC enthusiast space it is best known as Peltier cooling.
The Peltier effect creates a temperature difference by transferring heat between two electrical junctions. A voltage is applied across joined conductors to create an electric current. When the current flows through the junctions of the two conductors, heat is removed at one junction and cooling occurs. Heat is deposited at the other junction.
Simply put: more voltage makes one side go “haaa” and the other side go “brrrr”.
The main advantage of Peltier cooling for PC enthusiasts is that it allows you to get sub-ambient temperatures. And as we all know, lower temperatures means higher overclocks.
Without going too deep in the what’s and why’s of TEC cooling, suffice to say it’s a technology that’s been around for over two decades and hasn’t really found any footing in the mainstream market. That’s because while the technology offers the clear advantage of superior cooling performance, there are also key disadvantages.
First, condensation. A Peltier cooler can produce a temperature difference of up to 70c between the hot and cold side. So, the cold side will be operating at a lower temperature than ambient. This will create condensation … which doesn’t mix well with electronics.
Second, efficiency. Peltier cooling consumes disproportionally high amounts of electrical energy for the heat it dissipates.
Third, cooling. In order to maximize the benefit of the Peltier you need to cool the hot side sufficiently. High performance Peltier units like the one included with the EK-QuantumX Delta are rated up to 200W which is significantly higher than a modern mainstream high-performance CPU like the 10900K which is rated up to 125W.
Lastly, control. Most Peltier coolers out there provide the user with no control over the cooling. So it’s either on or off, but no in between.
Intel Cryo Cooling Technology
What makes the Intel Cryo Cooling Technology so interesting? Well, a couple of things actually.
First, the Intel Cryo Cooling Technology offers a software solution to control the Peltier temperature.
In Cryo mode, the Peltier element inside the Intel Cryo Cooling Technology enabled product is only switched on when required and is switched off when not required. This greatly reduces the overall power consumed as the TEC is not running at full power all the time. The Intel software regulates the cooler temperature by assessing the humidity in the room as well as the CPU temperature. Based on this input, the software ensures that maximum cooling is provided at any time while ensuring the temperature does not drop below the dew point and cause condensation issues. This mode is indicated by a green icon in the desktop tray and a green LED on the TEC controller.
In Unregulated mode, the Intel Cryo Cooling Technology enabled product cools well below ambient temperature with less protection from condensation. In this mode there will be condensation risk on the heatsink surfaces and surroundings due to the low temperature. It can cause system damage. This mode is indicated by a white icon in the desktop tray and a purple LED on the TEC controller.
Second, the Intel controller also measures the humidity in the room. Based on this input, the controller can adjust the TEC temperature to always be above the dew point. This helps to avoid any condensation issues.
Third, it maximizes the impact of the Intel Thermal Velocity Boost feature by ensuring best-case operating temperatures. Using Thermal Velocity Boost also allows us opportunistically benefit from the added frequency range as the frequency adjusts based on when we really need it.
All things combined, the Intel Cryo Cooling Technology is arguably be the most advanced and well-rounded implementation of thermoelectric cooling for enthusiasts to date. It is available in two products: EK-QuantumX Delta TEC and Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML360 Sub-Zero.
Intel Cryo Cooling Technology in SkatterBencher Guides
We use Intel Cryo Cooling Technology in the following SkatterBencher guides: