|Ultra ChillTec TEC CPU Cooler ULT33186|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cooling|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Monday, 13 August 2007|
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Final Thoughts: Ultra ULT33186 ChillTec
When I first received the package containing the Ultra ULT33186 ChillTec TEC CPU Cooler, I thought to myself "this sure seems very heavy for a CPU cooler". Then when I opened the package, my second impression was how nice the system was. As I researched the product, I began to daydream of the ultimate CPU cooler, nay CPU chiller. As I installed the Ultra ChillTec, which seemed like a lot of effort for a cooler, I felt very confident in the results it would yield based on appearance of cooling technology alone. But the final result erased all of this in a short amount of time.
When you spend $140 for the highest-end CPU cooler available, you tend to expect some very high-end results. Based on my controlled environment results, it has been concluded that a handful of smaller, lighter, and far less expensive coolers would perform the same when it counts: under load. Additionally, the fan on the Ultra ULT33186 seemed to shift from low to high every other minute; and since the fan could become very noisy under full speed the constant cycle became very annoying.
Ultra has always offered very nice and extremely informative product packaging. The ULT33186 ChillTec TEC CPU Cooler offers the consumer a very attractive presentation; at least until they reach the price tag.
The ChillTec almost qualifies as art! Ultra has certainly made the ULT33186 into one of the more flashy products in their lineup. Every angle resulted in a sparkle and shine, making my photo session a lot tougher.
Construction was absolutely solid, as you would expect from such a fine product. Ultra understands that nothing is worse than a broken product, which is why the ChillTec TEC CPU Cooler has so many protective panels and solid reinforcing joints.
Functionality was a bit disappointing after all of the work to get the ChillTec installed. With so many technologies involved, I expected a whole lot more than what it delivered. Ultimately it was in-line with other high-end coolers, but it should be way ahead of them.
Presently the Ultra ChillTec is available from Xoxide for $139.99, while Ultra sells it direct for $149.99. Although retailers are offering this product at a steep price point, they are only reflecting the price at which Ultra sells to them. It seems apparent that the Ultra ULT33186 ChillTec TEC CPU Cooler is not for the buyer on a budget.
The ChillTec prooved that thermo-electric cooling works; if for only low level temperatures. The loaded results were not disappointing, but they were very far from being impressive, and even farther from being acceptable from a product like this. If Chevy built a Corvette that couldn't beat a Toyota Camry off the line, you can bet that the experts would bury it. To that same extent, there's no chance of me recommending the Ultra ULT33186 ChillTec to anyone except the most free-spending hardware enthusiast and overclocker. Ultra makes great products, and the ChillTec isn't bad, but the price is nowhere near matching the performance.
ADDENDUM 11/01/2007: Just recently I utilized the Ultra ULT33186 ChillTec CPU Cooler in a customers high-end system. The hardware utilized for this system was based on the Cooler Master Cosmos RC-1000 Mid-Tower ATX Case and the OCZ Reaper HPC PC2-9200 DDR2 1150MHz RAM Kit. Instead of the usual fan orientation which places the fan at the right-hand side facing towards the front of the case and exhausting towards the rear, the extra-tall RAM modules forced me to reposition the ChillTec so that the fan was facing the bottom of the case and heated air was forced directly towards the top of the case. Since heated air naturally rises, the two 120mm cooling fans at the top of the Cosmos are perfectly placed to immediatly exhaust the heated air. This configuration dramatically improved the cooling performance, and is well worth the extra effort. Not every case can offer this setup, but in this particular configuration it proved successful.
+ Extremely attractive design
- Must remove motherboard for installation
Final Score: 8.3 out of 10.
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