HP Unveils ‘Cryo Chamber’ CPU Cooling System
Every gamer with a powerful PC cares a lot about system temperatures, and it’s something we tend to monitor obsessively. It’s for good reason too: if a CPU or GPU gets too hot it will throttle its clock speeds down. This reduces performance and can impact component life, both of which are obviously bad.
To avoid this dreaded scenario, PC builders have resorted to using elaborate cooling configurations such as open-loop liquid cooling, closed-loop liquid coolers (these are the all-in-one solutions you can buy today), and air coolers that are the size of a small mammal. There’s only one problem with this approach, which is all of these solutions still rely on the warm air inside the chassis to cool the components, which can be an uphill battle for obvious reasons. HP has come up with a clever solution to this problem with its new Omen 45L chassis, however, which is to simply remove the CPU cooling apparatus from the chassis entirely.
HP’s design, which it notes is patented, is called the Omen Cryo Chamber. Though the name conjures up elaborate phase-change coolers and chillers from our Pentium 4 overclocking days, the reality is actually a bit more pedestrian. HP simply added a chamber above the ATX chassis and isolated it from the rest of the system to keep it secluded. Inside the chamber is a closed-loop liquid cooler, with a 240mm radiator and dual 120mm fans (HP allows this to be upgraded to a 360mm setup too). The trick is the radiator/fan setup is cooled by pulling in air from outside the chassis, which is typically cooler than the air circulating inside the case, as that air has been warmed up by all the internal components.
HP has situated the chamber up to 43mm above the main compartment, and it says in its own testing it was able to keep the CPU 6C cooler than in a similar system without the Cryo Chamber. The testing regimen involved an ambient room temperature of 77F, and HP used a Cooler Master 120mm liquid cooler that was run on the 45L with the chamber, and also on the smaller, non-chambered Omen 40L chassis. HP doesn’t say which CPU was used in testing, but the press release notes it will be offered with Intel’s 12th-gen Alder Lake chips and AMD latest Ryzen CPUs.
Though 6C might not seem like a big temperature delta, it can make all the difference in the world if a CPU is overclocked, and the difference under full load is something like 85C versus 91C. Also typically to achieve sizable gains in cooling performance such as this, you would have to resort to going with a bigger radiator, or just cranking fan speeds way up, which usually results in a PC that sounds more like an airplane than the silent PC you had hoped for.
What’s also interesting about the Cryo Chamber is a most, if not all, DIY PC builders shun pre-built PCs simply because they like to build their own computers, and HP is aware of this reality. Therefore, it will be offering the Omen 45L chassis as a stand-alone ATX chassis you can buy, though pricing is still to be determined. This is reminiscent of when HP bought Voodoo PC and introduced the revolutionary Blackbird PC, which was very forward-thinking in 2007. PC builders were smitten by the chassis so much HP offered it for sale to enthusiasts, and even to this day there’s still some on eBay.
The Omen 45L with its Cryo Chamber is joining a long list of rather interesting cases that made their debut at CES 2022, and like the CyberPowerPC Kinetic case with active ventilation, we appreciate its emphasis on keeping the system cool instead of just looking cool.
One thing to keep in mind is that CPUs are much less overclockable today than in years past. The old era of +50 percent top-end overclocks is over, regardless of innovations like this.