Of course, pure power makes a big difference in your PC’s performance, but effective cooling also plays a huge role. Yes, better cooling is the answer to better desktop gaming, and HP’s unique new take on traditional closed-loop cooling caught our eye at CES 2022.
HP’s nifty idea might not blow you away with CyberPower PC’s wild “breathing” PC case, but this really ingenious design might turn out to be much more practical. HP has already patented what it calls a cryogenic chamber, an enclosure that effectively increases CPU cooling by moving the liquid cooler out of the hot interior of the PC.
For the uninitiated, most gaming PCs today use all-in-one closed-loop coolers which are essentially scaled-down car radiators. They remove heat from the CPU and remove residual heat from the PC by passing it through a heatsink. The problem is the general design of the cases themselves: you have a rectangular case where the heatsink is usually mounted at the rear, top or front of the system.
With systems that mount the cooler on the top or rear, heat is moved from the processor through a water block and pipes to the heatsink. The heatsink, however, is still mounted inside the PC, so even though the heat is expelled through the heatsink, the heatsink is first “cooled” by the air that has already been heated by the graphics card, the voltage regulator modules and other components. inside the PC.
You can see an example of this in HP’s smaller Omen 25L desktop computer, which uses the conventional configuration found in the vast majority of PCs. The Omen 25L appears to be thermally engineered to reduce heated air moving through the top-mounted radiator, but it will still be a bit warmer than cool air coming in from outside.
With the new Cryo Chamber, used in the larger Omen 45L desktop computer announced at CES, HP is solving the problem of hot air supplying the heatsink by moving it up and out of the PC case itself. External liquid cooling is nothing new. The early days of custom liquid cooling relied on radiators on the outside of the case, with an inlet and outlet leading to it (yes, that’s what those two holes in your old case were for.) Obviously, it’s a pain in the ass, so internally mounted radiators have all but eliminated external radiator systems today, at the cost of internal hot air consumption.
So far, that is, with the cryogenic chamber shown below in the Omen 45L. You can see the water block and hoses from the closed-loop chiller feeding the Cryo chamber mounted above. This method means that the front mounted fans draw in outside air which is then exhausted out the back, cooling the radiator. The space is not ventilated inside, so there is no cross-pollution with the hot air generated in the PC’s main chamber.
You may be a bit confused by the image above, but here is part of the HP presentation showing the Cryo Chamber. Unlike conventional PCs, you can see that cool air is drawn in from the front and exhausted from the back. Meanwhile, thermal energy is moved through the liquid in the pipes to the radiator which is supplied with cool, clean air through a channel running through the middle of the case. Negative Nates can say the air temperatures don’t this a lot of difference, but HP said its tests show the Omen 45L’s cryogenic chamber provides a 6 degree Celsius reduction in temperatures at full load with an ambient temperature of 25 degrees Celsius (or about 77 degrees in units of freedom ). HP’s testing was, however, conducted against a Cooler Master 120mm CLC which was likely mounted inside the case, much like the smaller Omen 25L above. With a larger 240mm front-mounted cooler, the difference could be a little closer.
HP doesn’t just wall off the cooler. The Omen 45L also seals the power supply which is another heat source in a PC. All told, HP’s cryochamber design should further improve cooling performance over conventional designs.
If you think HP’s cooling design “locks you in” to its cooler, HP has already thought of that and says the case is designed with “the test of time” in mind. You can, in fact, open the Cryo Chamber to fit a 360mm radiator inside. The Omen 45L can also accommodate a power supply up to 200mm in length and full ATX motherboards (244mm x 305mm).
And you can do it while keeping the FCC satisfied, because the tempered glass window is shielded from RF emissions that your typical DIY case doesn’t have to deal with.
All in all, it’s a good idea, especially when you think about how hot your PC’s internal components are on a summer day. At the 77 degrees HP tested (a reasonable summer day in a house without air conditioning), internal temperatures could be much hotter. Frankly giving the heatsink its own cooling chamber can only improve the cooling of any gaming PC.