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Vantec HDC-502A HD Cooler

Date Reviewed: April 25, 2002
Reviewed By:
Vinny D.
Cost: $14.95
Companies: Vantec, eXtreme PC Gear

First Impressions:

Every overclocker is always looking for something new to make their computer run as cold as possible. We have all tried many different ways to shave a degree or two off our temps, with some things more successful than others. Today we are going to be taking a look at a new HDD cooler from eXtreme PC Gear, I'm sure everyone is anxious to see how well it works.

The first thing that is noticeable when taking the cooler out of the box was how nice it looks and how sturdy it is. It is actually a bit heavy and would take some serious work to bend one of the fins. The cooler is made out of Aluminum and has been anodized for the cool blue color. Lets take a look at the specs:

Spec: Rating:
Voltage: 12v DC
Current: 0.24A
Power Consumption: 2.16W
Fan Speed / Airflow: 5000RPM / 24CFM
Dimensions: 110.0mm x 101.8mm x 12.2mm
Weight: 110 grams

 

Installation:

Installation was very basic and easy. Just put four screws in, plug the fan power into the hard drive power and viola. One issue that I have with this cooler is that the power connector fits very tightly into the drive and is EXTREMELY hard to remove. I was almost worried that I would damage the drive when I was trying to get the power connector out. Some people might want to play it safe and plug it into an extra power connector if you have one in your system.

In most case configurations you better plan on kissing the 3 1/2 slot below the drive goodbye. The cooler is just large enough to prohibit you from mounting a drive directly below it if your drive bays are meant for 1" drives (which most are).

 

Testing:

I sat down before testing and decided which tests would give me the best ranges of temperature. The following three tests are the ones that I decided to use:

System Idle - Windows Booted & Sitting Idle for 10 minutes
Normal Use - Outlook Open, Winamp playing music, Browsing the web for 10 minutes & Running Genome@Home
Heavy Load - Running SiSoft Sandra HDD Benchmark for 10 minutes

The hottest place on the drive is obviously the drive motor, so that is where I decided to mount the probe for these tests. I ran through each test twice, with and without the cooler.

 

 

 

Temperatures:

I made every attempt to keep room temperature as stable as possible while taking these measurements, and used my other thermometer to continuously monitor the ambient temperature.

Ambient Temperature:
74F / 23C

HD Tests Without Cooler With Cooler
HD Idle: 79.7F / 26.5C 77.1F / 25C
Under Normal Use: 85.7F / 29.8C 82.9F / 28.2C
Under Heavy Load: 88.1F / 31.1C 84.1F / 28.9C

 

Conclusions:

In my opinion 88.1F is not too hot at all for the drive, and from the testing it did not look like the temp was going to go up any more. The cooler does knock off 4F though and that is always a plus. I don't have a SCSI drive to test this cooler, but generally SCSI drives get a LOT hotter than IDE drives. For a SCSI drive this would definitely be a worthwhile investment since active cooling is a requirement on all 10K & 15K RPM drives..

One thing to note however, today's 5400 & 7200 RPM IDE drives are meant to function just fine without being actively cooled. So while a hard drive cooler isn't a requirement, it is still a good investment. Cooler components will function more reliably, and last longer, this is true for just about every component in your PC.

I personally have used a HD cooler for quite some time and I believe that one can never have too much good cooling. This is definitely an item for those like me who like knowing that everything is nice and cold.

A big thanks goes out to eXtreme PC Gear for sending the unit to review.

Pros:
  Extremely simple installation
  Very quiet and uses very little power
  Very sturdy construction
  Definitely looks nice

Cons:
  Takes up the 3.5 drive bay below it
  Power connector is very difficult to remove after it is mounted.

Rating:
  For the Normal User: 4 of 10
  For the Extreme Gamer: 5 of 10
  For the Extreme Overclocker: 8 of 10

 

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