EK's new and unusual CPU cooler delivers sub-ambient cooling for extreme overclocks

EK-QuantumX Delta TEC water block
(Image credit: EK)
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EK has joined forces with Intel to piece together an uncommon CPU cooler in the EK-QuantumX Delta TEC water block. Just by looking at it you can tell this isn't your regular chip chiller, and that's because it uses Intel Cryo Cooling technology combining a Thermoelectric Cooler (TEC) plate with advanced monitoring to deliver sub-ambient CPU temperatures.

Thermoelectric cooling is what we'd sometimes call a Peltier cooler, one which uses an electrical current passing through two differently conductive thermoelectric materials to absorb heat on one side of the cooler and expel it at another. Peltier effect coolers tend to be very effective, compact, and quiet, but require some clever workarounds to deal with condensation, heat dispersion, and energy loss at sub-ambient temperatures.

In this case, EK is using a integrated insulation shroud to isolate the cold surface from the interior of the PC it operates within, thus minimising the risk of condensation causing trouble for your other PC components. It also uses that big vertically-mounted block on top of the cooler to monitor and adapt the chiller's vitals to minimise further condensation from developing.

The heat generated by the TEC plate itself is then dissipated by the liquid cooling loop itself, and since this is a copper and nickel part, it should fit nicely into most common water cooling loops found in high-end PCs today.

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It's all a part of a careful balancing act that must be maintained in order to keep the chip below cool and dry with a Peltier cooler. 

The pay off is that when the QuantumX Delta TEC is operational it should allow for excellent cooling potential. This cooler has been built with Intel's 10th Gen Comet Lake chips in mind, and features compatibility with the LGA 1200 socket, and that should mean you can overclock the Core i9 10900K (opens in new tab) to greater heights without worrying about exceeding a happy operating temperature medium.

But you will have to pay for the privilege of such a neat sub-ambient solution. The EK-QuantumX Delta TEC will set you back €349.90 (opens in new tab), and you'll of course need a copper liquid cooling loop ready to plug it into, and those don't come cheap either.

EK's approach isn't the first Peltier cooler to be chucked at our gaming chips. There have been a fair few attempts to harness thermoelectrics in the past, although most you'll find with large radiators in order to disperse both the heat from the CPU and that which the cooler generates itself. Obviously EK's approach is a little cleaner with a pair of liquid cooling fittings, but even there's no getting away from Peltier's relatively high energy and heat demands.

But who said PC gaming always had to make complete sense, eh?

Jacob Ridley
Senior Hardware Editor

Jacob earned his first byline writing for his own tech blog from his hometown in Wales in 2017. From there, he graduated to professionally breaking things as hardware writer at PCGamesN, where he would later win command of the kit cupboard as hardware editor. Nowadays, as senior hardware editor at PC Gamer, he spends his days reporting on the latest developments in the technology and gaming industry. When he's not writing about GPUs and CPUs, however, you'll find him trying to get as far away from the modern world as possible by wild camping.