A Thermoelectric Cooler For The Steam Deck! Can We Cool This Hand Held With Science?

Last Updated on January 8, 2023 by Detective Dev

What's going on everybody it's ETA Prime Back here again with another steam deck Experiment and today we're actually Going to be taking a look at some Thermoelectric coolers now these are External coolers that go on the back of The steam deck and I've seen these Popping up all over the place now these Are not new thermoelectric coolers have Been around for years they're also known As Peltier coolers and I've done several Experiments on the channel using these Peltier coolers a lot of the time you're Going to see these in phone coolers Razer makes them a black shark makes Them they strap on the back of your Phone you add power from an external Source and with a Peltier cooler Basically what happens is one side gets Hot the other side gets really cold and Because the hot side is actually Extracting all of the heat out of the Cold side it needs a way to keep itself Cool and in turn there's usually a small Fan and this does work I mean it's not Magic this was discovered years ago it's Known as the Peltier or the Thermoelectric effect a couple years ago Ago I did a video cooling a Raspberry Pi With one of these and yeah I mean the Results were great we could overclock it And wouldn't overheat stayed nice and Chilly but in this video we're going to Be using these on the steam deck just to

See if we could get lower temps out of The CPU on this thing now when it comes To strapping one of these on the back of A phone they're not pulling as much Wattage or putting out as much heat as The steam deck does so I'm not exactly Sure how this is going to work out but I've got a couple here to test out and One of them does look really promising So I've actually been running the steam Neck for a little while now with Spider-Man Miles Morales and overall When it comes to CPU and GPU temps on Average 83 degrees Celsius on the GPU 85 Degrees Celsius on the CPU and this is With the AAA game obviously we're Pulling a lot more wattage with this Spider-Man game so Indie Games will be Much less But let's go ahead and take a look at These coolers we're gonna go with the Small one first and both of these are From a company on Amazon known as daveso I believe that's how it's pronounced This one was around twenty three dollars But you know I've seen these kind of Rebranded and they're basically the same So what we've got here is a Peltier Cooler we've got a hot side we've got a Cold side USB type-c power in and we've Got a power switch it also has an RGB Light in it just to make it look cool I Guess you're also going to get a USB Type-c cable and a metal mounting pad

That'll stick to the back of the steam DAC so this one is a lot smaller than The other one we're going to be taking a Look at and I don't know how well this Is going to cool anything on the steam Deck given that it's pulling a lot more Wattage than a cell phone would but We're definitely going to be testing it Out now the next one that they offer is Much larger and I actually ended up Ordering two of these because I will use The other one for some projects down the Road now this could be used on the back Of a tablet the back of a phone and uh Even for like a Mini PC or An Arm based SBC that's why I want to get another one Just in case because I did plug this Into power and it works really well as You can see it dwarfs the smaller one We've got a lot more cooling area here It's got two modes and there's also RGB Built in you know I could definitely Live without the RGB but it does work Great you know when I bench tested it Plus it's got a little LCD readout that Tells you the temp it's not super Accurate but you know it's getting real Close and this one also comes with a Metal mounting pad for the back of the Steam deck or the back of your tablet or Wherever you're going to put this thing Okay first things first I wanted to show You how these things work now this does Have a power switch on it I've got it

Plugged in but it's not turned on yet I Just want to show you kind of the area Temperature here 22.4 degrees Celsius The back of this is 23.5 and as soon as We turn it on it's actually going to Start getting a lot colder So from 23.5 to 21.3 down to 19 and I've Seen this one go as low as 13 degrees Celsius but the other one we have does Get much cooler because it's got a Larger thermoelectric cooler built in Now on the front here with that fan you Can see we've got a little bit of RGB Like I mentioned I can live without it But some people love it we'll go ahead And check this temp again we're down to 16.2 Just wait a few seconds here 15.9 and after about two minutes this Does go down to around 13.3 degrees Celsius so obviously it's working I mean This side is definitely getting a lot Colder than ambient but this one just Doesn't have the surface area as the Larger cooler we're going to take a look At next Okay so basically the same thing just in A larger form factor we do have a power Switch it's got two modes I'm just going To go to the full blast mode and uh Right off the shelf this is sitting at 23.6 and as soon as we Power It Up See that fan starts spinning up it's Also got a temperature readout which

Isn't really accurate but I mean it's There it's kind of close 15.3 12.8 and this actually goes as low as 4.4 degrees Celsius And now taking a look at that little Readout you can see 10 and usually it Kind of just drops down to zero I've Seen it go to minus I just I don't know Exactly how it's working but uh this Infrared thermometer is pretty accurate Here we're at five degrees Celsius right Now And you can see condensations start to Build on the back here Not sure if it's showing up on camera But this thing gets really cold and I Have checked the wattage on this using a Little kilowatt meter it's pulling 18.7 Watts right now so yeah I mean it's Definitely doing something here So I've got a couple steam decks here And I've pulled the back off of one of Them so we can get a good idea of where To put these coolers now in the Instructions for these they do give you Kind of a rough estimate on where to put Them but right here we've got our Cooling fan if we put it there it's not Going to do much but we do have the Shield here which goes over the CPU and The SSD it also makes contact with a Little conductive pattern this little Plate gets pretty hot when the steam Deck's running so I think this is going

To be the best spot to put the smaller Cooler and it fits right in that Location pretty well we're not blocking Off any of the ventilation or anything Like that on the back of the deck itself But we don't have a lot of surface area Now when it comes to the larger cooler They actually want you to place it right In the middle of the steam decks back And obviously you don't want to block Off that intake vent on the back of the Deck so they're saying you know right About here and if we take a look at the Deck with the back already taken off It's just going to kind of sit over that Fan which in turn could absorb a little Bit of that heat but you know going Right over where that plate is directly Above the CPU I think would be the best Option and so I'm going to test it in Both spots but I'll make sure not to Block the vent with the larger cooler Okay so for my testing I'm just going to Be using this dock here it's one of Those cheaper HDMI docs we've got USB Type-c plugged into the cooler and I'm Going to go ahead and plug power into The dock Cooler is on now it's got a little bit Of RGB as you can see and I have been Running this game for quite a while the Steam deck is a bit heat soaked but yeah I mean that's really kind of real world Performance to see what would happen

Here with this smaller cooler it's on Full blast and the GPU is around 83 to 84 degrees Celsius so when it comes to The CPU 85 86 87 I've seen it jump up to I'm going to let this sit for 10 minutes And see if we can significantly lower The temperature on either the GPU or the CPU with the steam dag not sure how well It's going to do given the surface area Here but uh we'll let it go I'm going to Fast forward it and see what happens All right coming up on 10 minutes now And to tell you the truth not much has Happened here we may have got a one Degree drop on that GPU but CPU is still Sitting on up there 85 86 87 was hoping To see at least two degrees on both of These drop down but I really think it Comes down to this thing just not having Enough surface area and not enough Cooling power it's only pulling around Seven Watts but the larger one is Pulling 20 watts and as you saw it does Get much cooler All right so with the larger cooler I've Just placed it right in the middle like They stay in the manual and I want to Make sure that this is on Full Speed We've got two modes here we want to go Kind of as cool as possible with this And we actually don't even need a stand Because uh the cooler itself sticks out Enough to kind of stand up the steam DAC So just plug power in here it's already

On full blast so it'll come on Automatically and we're going to do the Same thing we're going to let this sit For 10 minutes and see what happens And kind of just like the small one not Much I mean we're at 81 with that GPU it Does fluctuate between 81 and 82. so you Know we are taking a little bit of heat Out of this thing but I think this Larger cooler could do much better if we Were right above that CPU we've got that Heat shield right there and the way it's Set up right now I mean we're right in The middle of the back of the steam

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