"With the technology behind the Cool K6-2 evolving so rapidly, a Cool K6-2 purchase now probably wouldn't be the best investment unless you have $1700 to kill on something cool, however next year should be quite promising for Kryotech. Kryotech's already close relationship with AMD should allow the public to see a Cool K6-3 product release in the very near future, and if Kryotech can fix the problems currently associated with the Cool K6-2 system by then, a K6-3 running at 550MHz may be on the horizon...an easy competitor to Intel's upcoming Katmai. For now, unfortunately, AnandTech can't flat-out recommend the Cool K6-2, but keep your eyes on Kryotech, they've got the potential to make something spectacular, and as next year will most likely show us all, with the life of the K6-2 slowly coming to a close, that potential walks hand in hand with the release of AMD's K6-3." Kryotech's Cool K6-3 500

…and so went the conclusion of AnandTech's Kryotech Cool K6-2 500 review from late last year. Have things changed now that the New Year is finally upon us? You better believe it. Take every single problem from the original Kryotech Cool K6-2 system and flush 'em down, you're about to see what Kryotech's cooling technology can really do as AnandTech takes a look at their improved Cool K6-3 500 system. Will Kryotech come away with a positive recommendation this time? There's only one way to find out…

The Problems

In software/hardware development there are generally three types of product names that can be assigned to a product before or after its release: alpha, beta, and final release candidate. The alpha product is an operational package with a variety of bugs, incompatibilities, etc…, alpha products are usually optimized as a test of the software and usually aren't the best performers. Beta products usually offer a greater level of stability and compatibility than their alpha counterparts as well as increased performance however there are still quite a few kinks left in them that prevent them from being sold. Finally you have the final release candidate, which has been thoroughly tested and is performing up to speed although it may feature a few undocumented bugs upon its release. Given that three level scale, it would not be a stretch to say that the Cool K6-2 announced and released by Kryotech in 1998 would have been better known as a beta release. Although the final system itself was up to par with what Kryotech hoped the bare minimum would be for the shipping product, it did feature quite a few problems that simply couldn't be overlooked.

The Clunky KryoCavity

The original Cool K6-2 system featured an extremely bulky device known as the KryoCavity, a jacket like device that fit over the processor in order to isolate it from the rest of the system and provide direct cooling to the processor's surface. The problem with the KryoCavity was that it made the upgrading/removal of the CPU extremely difficult and the milling for the cavity itself had to be specially done by Kryotech and therefore drove the cost up considerably. The cavity itself was quite bulky and was difficult to manipulate in the relatively cramped Kryotech case. However the real problem with the KryoCavity doesn't have anything to do with the design of the cavity itself, rather the requirements the cavity inspires…

The Thermal Jacket

The KryoCavity prevented the CPU from being plugged directly into the motherboard, instead the CPU sitting in the cavity plugged into a thermal jacket which then plugged into the motherboard. The problem with this design was the fact that the lack of a direct connection between the processor and the motherboard introduced a two-fold engineering problem, the absence of that direct connection decreased the quality/strength of the electrical signals coming from the processor (capacitance) and because of the capacitance problem, the FIC PA-2013 motherboard, which itself isn't the most stable board when capacitance issues are introduced, begins to flake out as well. The result of all of this was…

SCSI/Windows NT Incompatibility

Because of the capacitance issues introduced by the thermal jacket, the stability of SCSI devices as well as the Kryotech system running under Windows NT was sketchy at best. All of the sudden, the Kryotech Cool K6-2 became a gaming only solution, a definite con when it comes to establishing a company's presence in the market.

Poor Expansion Capabilities

The 4/2/1 (PCI/ISA/AGP) expansion slot configuration of the FIC PA-2013 motherboard left many users unsatisfied due to the lack of that precious 5th PCI slot, and at the same time, the small Kryotech ATX tower only left 2-5.25" drive bays free as a result of the system monitoring LCD panel taking up 1 of the 3 - 5.25" drive bays.

Price

At $1695, consisting of a case, the cooling unit, the motherboard, and processor, and while offering Windows 9x support only, the Kryotech Cool K6-2 500 was not a sure fire winner regardless of how you look at it. The system was way too expensive for the relatively invisible performance increase it offered over K6-2 400 systems or even overclocked 400 systems, not to mention the fact that it still couldn't beat the performance of an overclocked Intel Celeron which could be found in complete systems for a price lower than that of the barebones Kryotech.

In the end, the Cool K6-2 500 was a failure in terms of sales, but a step in terms of the progression of Kryotech's promising cooling technology. The next step?

Solving the Problems

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