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 Review, Prometeia Phase Change Cooler, Part II
Murphy and his ever-lasting law strikes back
By: Sverre Sjøthun, April 29, 2003  Print this article


Starting the system for the first time was a very exciting moment, but we were greatly disappointed -- it turned out that the unit we received in December last year was DOA, and we had to return it to Chip-con. Chip-con sent a replacement unit to us right away, but it was held back by DHL for months as they insisted on that we pay tax on the second unit as well. After weeks and weeks of phonecalls and emails back and forth with Chip-con and DHL, Chip-con decided to pay the tax themselves, which we really appreciate. DHL, on the other hand has done everything but impressed us.

The Prometeia cooler mounted  with the LianLi kit

The Prometeia cooler mounted with the LianLi kit

The second unit was in perfect shape. We assume that the first unit got damaged during shipping, as all units that leaves Chip-con is tested before they get shipped out to the customers.

The testbench

- Intel Pentium 4 3.06 Processor
- Asus P4G8X Deluxe (GraniteBay Chipset) Motherboard
- MSI NEO LSR (Canterwood Chipset) Motherboard
- Corsair XMS3500 RAM, 512MB DualChannel setup
- Maxtor D740X Harddrive
- Creative 440MX Videocard
- TSP 550W powersupply
- On-board LAN and Soundcard

The interior of the PC with the Prometeia cooling system mounted.

The interior of the PC with the Prometeia cooling system mounted.

There are two reasons we used both a GraniteBay and Canterwood motherboard -- one simply to see if we gained any speed from one to the other, but we'll get back to that later.

The second reason was simply that during our 24/7 testing, the Asus P4G8X Deluxe took its last breath and died. This is the second motherboard of this model that we've had in our labs -- the first motherboard we received in relation with this review was DOA, so as a digression, I'm reluctant to recommend the Asus P4G8X to anyone out there considering buying one. Two dead boards in less than two weeks may be just bad luck and Murphys law, but I wouldn't feel comfortable recommending this board, especially not if you're a hardcore overclocker or need extreme stability.

We believe the problems with the second Asus board is related to the power circuitry for the CPU. When you power up a Prometeia system, a signal to the cooling unit starts the compressor. When the system has reached -33C, a signal is sent to the motherboard, and the computer starts its booting sequence.

To test the cooling unit separately, you can hook it up to the 12V rail on an ATX powersupply with no other hardware connected and then short circuit pin 13 and 14 or pin 14 and 15 on the ATX power connector.

During our troubleshooting we tried this procedure, but the cooler would not start. When disconnecting the P4 connector from the motherboard, however, the Prometeia started, and that indicates that the powercircuitry to the CPU is where the fault is. Obviously, a rock stable and functional power circuitry for the CPU is crucial for overall system stability.

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