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Alphacool launches compressor-based Eiszeit cooler

Alphacool launches compressor-based Eiszeit cooler

The Alphacool Eiszeit uses a refrigerant-filled compressor to offer sub-ambient cooling, but you'll pay dearly for the privilege.

Cooling specialist Alphacool has announced the launch of its first all-in-one external compressor cooler system, with an integrated pump, reservoir, chiller, and the ability to cope with a claimed 1,500W of heat.

While the actual cooling aspect of most liquid cooling systems is effectively passive, therefore unable to cool below the temperature of the environment in which the radiator is located, Alphacool's Eiszeit (Ice Age) chiller is different. Using the same compressor technology that powers fridges, air conditioning units, and dehumidifiers, the Eiszeit is able to cool below room temperature and maintain a set temperature with sub-degree accuracy, according to Alphacool's internal testing.

The external unit isn't exactly small, though. Measuring 560mm by 280mm and at 470mm tall it's effectively the same size as a compact PC case and weighs a whopping 29kg - and that's before you fill it with coolant. Inside the case, though, is almost everything you need to get up and running: a 570W compressor pre-filled with 380g of R-134a refrigerant (also known as 1,1,1,2-tetrafluoroethane, or Freon, and known for its deleterious effects on the environment when released), 9L reservoir, a 30W pump with 10m of head pressure and capable of pushing 600L of coolant per hour, and sensors which alert should the flow rate drop or the temperature exceed user-configurable limits.

Alphacool has designed the Eiszeit as a drop-in replacement for existing liquid cooling systems. The unit includes G1/4" connectors compatible with standard tubing and water blocks, while the claimed 1,500W cooling power - an midpoint between the unit's claimed 1.41KW minimum and 1.7KW maximum refrigeration capacity - should be enough to chill even multi-CPU and multi-GPU systems with ease.

The cost of such performance is threefold. First, noise: as anyone who has sat next to a fridge or compressor-based dehumidifier will know, the noise of the the compressor switching on and off is somewhat intrusive, and even has the potential to inject electromagnetic and radiofrequency interference into surrounding equipment if improperly shielded and grounded. The second is power draw: the Eiszeit draws 3.3A at peak load with the compressor fully active, meaning you're looking at a 726W power draw - as much as running a second high-end PC.

The final cost is quite literal: cost. The Eiszeit is priced at €959.95 including VAT (around £835) and excluding shipping, making it one of the most expensive methods of cooling available to the enthusiast - bar, perhaps, hiring a celebrity to stand next to your PC constantly refilling a liquid nitrogen tube.

More details on the Eiszeit are available from Alphacool's official product page, while a promotional video extolling its features is reproduced below.

12 Comments

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edzieba 17th March 2017, 11:31 Quote
Interesting, unlike previous pre-built compressor coolers this appears to use a refrigerant loop, rather than direct-contact for the evaporator. Means a bit of loss in minimum temperature capability (due to the loop acting as a radiator) and you have to be careful with tubing routing to avoid condensation dripping on things, but it also means you can potentially cool multiple components with one unit.
Journeyer 17th March 2017, 11:36 Quote
Cool!
Just the other day I thought about what happened to the Vapochill and phase change in general. A bit costly though...
maverik-sg1 17th March 2017, 14:48 Quote
The enthusiasts moved on to liquid nitrogen.
maverik-sg1 17th March 2017, 15:14 Quote
Isn't this a re-badged chiller used for fishponds?
Gareth Halfacree 17th March 2017, 15:24 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by maverik-sg1
The enthusiasts moved on to liquid nitrogen.
Not for daily use they haven't, unless you fancy standing next to your PC refilling a tube with liquid nitrogen every few minutes then suffocating to death...
Quote:
Originally Posted by maverik-sg1
Isn't this a re-badged chiller used for fishponds?
Isn't a PC radiator just a shrunken version of the ones you get in cars? (Hell, I remember when you couldn't buy specially-made radiators and if you wanted to water-cool your PC you went to the scrappies and picked up the radiator from a knackered Mini...)
Anfield 17th March 2017, 15:25 Quote
There have been other companies that tried the same before:
https://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/cooling/2010/07/20/hailea-hc-500a-water-chiller-review/1

With each previous attempt the benefits didn't come close to outweighing the drawbacks in price, noise and power consumption and since the laws of physics and thermodynamics haven't changed in the last couple years I doubt this attempt by Alphacool will turn out any different.
Ramble 18th March 2017, 09:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anfield
There have been other companies that tried the same before:
https://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/cooling/2010/07/20/hailea-hc-500a-water-chiller-review/1

With each previous attempt the benefits didn't come close to outweighing the drawbacks in price, noise and power consumption and since the laws of physics and thermodynamics haven't changed in the last couple years I doubt this attempt by Alphacool will turn out any different.

I actually have one of these, I wouldn't put it next to a computer but I suppose that's why alphacool have such a powerful pump built in.
wolfticket 18th March 2017, 19:01 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
...
Isn't a PC radiator just a shrunken version of the ones you get in cars? (Hell, I remember when you couldn't buy specially-made radiators and if you wanted to water-cool your PC you went to the scrappies and picked up the radiator from a knackered Mini...)
That's different to re-badged though. If it is a re-badged fish pool chiller essentially same thing could be available already (and potentially cheaper) without the bleeding edge tech premium attached to it.


I actually think it might make more sense to look at things a different way and create an air-conditioning unit with a hook up for a water cooling loop. Or maybe a mini-fridge so you can keep your beers and your PC cool :)
edzieba 19th March 2017, 09:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by maverik-sg1
Isn't this a re-badged chiller used for fishponds?
Can a fish pond chiller handle continuous hundred-watt-plus thermal loads?

Similar argument between direct-contact phase change coolers and hacking fridge/freezer chill systems. Yes, a fridge/freezer compressor does do the same job, but is designed to only continuously deal with the leakage from an incredibly well insulated chamber (a few watts), not a 100W+ CPU. If you're doing a handful of occasional OC bench runs that works fine, but not for continuous use.
wolfticket 19th March 2017, 21:53 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by edzieba
Can a fish pond chiller handle continuous hundred-watt-plus thermal loads?

Similar argument between direct-contact phase change coolers and hacking fridge/freezer chill systems. Yes, a fridge/freezer compressor does do the same job, but is designed to only continuously deal with the leakage from an incredibly well insulated chamber (a few watts), not a 100W+ CPU. If you're doing a handful of occasional OC bench runs that works fine, but not for continuous use.
Fridge freezers may be designed to deal with a small leakage from a well insulated chamber but they do not do this by running continuously at a low level. They "kick in" (as one can hear) when they need to and run at a relatively high wattage for a short period of time and then cut off until needed again.

It's actually pretty tricky to find figures for peak power consumption but over 100 Watts (maybe well over) seems likely. Presumably modern designs are fairly efficient so I don't think cooling capacity for a computer cooling system would be much of an issue under continuous or near continuous running of the refrigerator.
edzieba 20th March 2017, 08:19 Quote
Hence why a fridge/freezer system will work for a few short runs, but is liable to crap out if you want to run it continuously. Which is what you would expect, because exactly the same thing happens if you leave a fridge/freezer door open.
Wakka 20th March 2017, 08:28 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by maverik-sg1
The enthusiasts moved on to liquid nitrogen.

What he said^


For 24/7 overclocks even air cooling can get you 90% of what water will, and water will get you 90% of what sub-ambient can.

I don't suppose we ever will, but it'd be interesting to find out how many of these Alphacool actually built, and how many they sell - I just don't see the market for it anymore.
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