One great product that just came out is CoolIT’s Freezone, which is an all-in-one peltier/watercooling hybrid. Not only is it much simpler to install than watercooling, but it is significantly cheaper than the $1000 you were quoting for watercooling hardware. In my tests, I was able to cool my E6600 to 15 degrees C!
The Thermal Control Module is supposed to keep the peltiers from getting too cold (and thus forming condensation), but I’ve had condensation build up on the peltiers when running full blast.
If the $400 pricetag is too much, you can look at CoolIt’s Eliminator, which can be found online for $150, which is the same basic concept, but uses only 3 peltiers (instead of Freezone’s 6).
There are a few drawbacks to consider, though. The fan is rather noisy at full blast, but you could easily replace the noisy 92mm fan with a 120mm fan (using a 92 to 120mm fan adapter). The unit only cools your processor, but CoolIT is working on a system that will cool your graphics card, too.
Using a standard peltier directly on your processor is kinda dangerous. It’s hard to keep the peltier in check, else condensation will form right on the block, right next to your motherboard. Also, if the peltier malfunctions (or you don’t have adequate air cooling) then the peltier can get so hot that it fries your CPU. Using a peltier on the coolant itself is alot less risky.
There’s nothing wrong with air cooling, though. One of my favorite air coolers is Zalman’s CNPS 9700 NT. It is very quiet and cools my E6600 to 35 degrees at idle (41 at load), which is alot better than many other air coolers (and alot cheaper than water cooling).
So if you’re fed up with air cooling but aren’t quite willing to go full-blown watercooling, then you might try one of these TEC/Watercooling hybrids… you’ll also get cooler temperatures than an expensive watercooling setup, too.