SUMMARY: The BE Cooling radiator is the best one I have seen for in-case cooling.
BE Cooling makes the AquaStealth water cooling system; I have used it for about 9 months now and one thing I like very much is mounting the whole system inside the case. I have not seen any marked elevation in case temps with the radiator venting into the case (at most 1 C). However, if you are running a water-cooled peltier, the heat load is much higher and case temps will increase more.
In my search for radiators, I came across the Perma-Cool radiator (pictured above) and purchased one to try out. Not cheap (about $50) but a perfect fit with a 120 mm fan – there are holes in the metal brackets that line up perfectly to zip-tie the fan to the radiator.
BE Cooling dropped me a note about their new radiator and kindly sent me a sample to test out. As you can see, the great feature of the BE Cooling radiator is its compact size – almost 1 1/2″ shorter than the Perma-Cool and yet has more cooling fins (Perma-Cool: 56 vs. BE Cooling’s 73). Also note that the BE Cooling unit’s connectors use right angle fittings so that it will fit more situations than the Perma-Cool unit.
I use my portable test system (Details Here) which uses two peltiers – this results in a heat load of about 100 watts to cool. In testing, I ran each radiator until temps stabilized – the only difference between the two setups was the radiator. Listed below are the resulting temps:
Perma-Cool: -28.7 C
Not much difference except from a price/performance standpoint; the BE Cooling unit is way ahead – available at about $35, the BE Cooling unit is clearly a much better buy than Perma-Cool. To be fair to Perma-Cool, CPU Cooling is a market that they do not address – this unit is an an oil cooler.
If you’re buying a radiator, unless you get a scrap unit, you’ll wind up paying about $20-$40 for a good one. For an case-mounted radiator, the BE Cooling is a nice, compact unit that should do a credible cooling job. I’ve used it for about 9 months now and I’m very pleased with its performance.
Thanks again to BE Cooling for sending us a radiator to test.