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Chip-Con's Prometeia Cooling Unit
Author : Martyn Date : 2002

3DVelocity wish to thank Chip-Con and espcially Steen for providing this unit for our review.

...Product 'Prometeia' Cooling System
...Manufacturer Chip-Con
...Supplier Chip-Con
...Price 475 Euros ex VAT




Part One: Introduction

If you regularly read such resources as this one then you have probably seen a lot of overclocks and a lot of experimental equipment. The internet is filled with this new found craze and while overclocking has been with us since the first Personal Computers, it's popularity has increased dramatically over the last few years. Maybe breaking the Gigahertz barrier has installed a new found love of speed into the average consumer as it seems even those with only a basic computing knowledge have tried to find the limits of their CPU's speed. But even the aforementioned user who lacks a rounded understanding of PC fundamentals realizes that overclocking comes at a price and that of course is heat. The faster your CPU is running, the hotter it becomes particularly if you are defying manufactures' recommendations and push the performance levels to the limit. Many have opted for bigger heatsinks and faster fans in their quest for stability and performance while some have taken the more extreme route of water-cooling or even chemical cooling. Water-cooling kits are becoming increasingly mainstream as they offer a relatively easy route to temperature satiability and the prices of such kits have dropped dramatically. But what if you hunger for better cooling but don't have access to the more exotic chemicals it can sometimes take to chill that CPU? Enter Chip-Con with their innovative Prometeia system, a case that refrigerates your CPU for those huge overclocks? Sounds very promising indeed but Chip-Con insist this performance doesn't require a rocket scientist to set it up, sounds even better. Let's see what the Prometeia is all about and whether this is one product overclocking fans should really own...

Part Two: The Fundamentals

This isn't advanced science class but this also isn't play-group; I'll attempt to run the middle ground here. I'll explain the basic idea behind such systems and how it works in the real world but don't expect me to pass any exams! What we should be interested in here is the practical 'real world' applications of such a system and what it can bring to the overclocker.

In order to conceptulize the process you may wish to view this short animation of the process. The layout may be slightly different but the principles remain unchanged.

We will see more detailed pictures later in the review but for know here are the basic of 'phase change cooling' :

(Image provided by Chip-Con)

The picture above is 'clickable' thus enabling you gain a closer look while reading this explanation.

Into the microfreezer a refrigerant is pumped, upon evaporation, and thus now containing a lot more energy as particles are now in a vapor state, the vapor is sucked into the part labeled 'compressor'. The vapor is indeed compressed in a manner of speaking which we can suggest is how they arrived at the name. This compressed vapor is forced toward the condenser who's job it is to remove some of the energy present. The refrigerant is then moved into a small capillary tube thus re-increasing the energy contained within the refrigerant, it's now very close to starting the process again as it's starting to once more evaporate. When the journey is complete it will have reached the CPU again which provides the particles with more energy from it's heat emissions and thus we end up with vapor again.

But that explains a powered state, what about startup? In theory the relative pressure throughout the system is constant at startup i.e.. It's all the same. When the coolant is first being sucked out of the microfreezer pressure is built by the condenser. It's also important to note that there is a small amount of oil present in the system, we shall see why below. At startup the system waits for the pressure to build in the condenser, this part is cooled by a powerful fan, and when enough pressure is obtained the drop of oil falls back into the evaporator and the vapor is pushed to the microfreezer As we can see from the image above the natural process of gravity ensures the oil can always end up in the evaporater as doesn't reach the microfreezer

That is how it's visualized in my head and I hope I have at least offered a gateway to a better understanding of the process. Many resources exist all over our beloved 'net so those of you who wish to obtain more information on the subject will no doubt be able to find it within a few minutes of searching.

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