Date: July 8, 2005
Author(s): Rob Williams
In trying to think up ways to keep your computer cool, hard drives are sometimes overlooked entirely, but it shouldn’t be. We are taking a look at the Silverstone FP53 HDD cooler. Let’s take a look to see if it makes any substantial difference to the temps!
Two weeks ago, we took a look at the SilverStone FM82 fan and controller. I was very impressed with everything about it… the looks, performance and cost. Needless to say, I was looking even more forward to the FP53, because I like to know that my hard drive is being kept as cool as possible. Here is a quick snippet about SilverStone before we jump into the review.
Founded in the summer of 2003, SilverStone Technology is now a proven leader in the field of aluminum enclosure design and manufacturing. Our expertise in creating functional works of art from ordinary electronics and computer components is widely recognized. Numerous designs and ideas for improving computer enclosures were first created by our talented team of engineers, who are regarded by many as leaders in their respective fields. Today, SilverStone Technology continues to garner attention and awards that reflect our original vision of creating the most advanced and beautiful products available on the market.
The box that the FP53 comes in, is very tightly packed. There’s room enough for the product and a leaflet, tis all. Unlike some HDD coolers that just strap to the drive, the FP53 is a rather a panel that sits in any of your 5.25″ drive bays. When installed, the drive bay sucks air into the cooler, over the hard drive, and out the back. Because of this.. it only makes sense to install this on a case without a door, because with a door closed, it won’t get any air.. and won’t cool too well.
We received a Silver version of the cooler, but it also comes in black. Of course, in my black case, it stands out, but we are worried about performance here. As you can see in the pictures, the unit has some great styling. It also feels very sturdy and well built, while holding it. It’s obvious, as with most SilverStone products, that the quality is there.
The top of the unit acts somewhat as a heatsink, adding to the cooling affect. On the opposite side of the “heatsink”, is a large strip of thermal tape, for greater heat transfer.
The bottom of the unit is completely flat, so that it can easily slide in and out of your drive bay. Out of the eight holes seen, four are to keep the unit in one piece, and the other four are for the vibration pads. Vibration pads? They are the blue tabs that you can see in the pictures, and are there to reduce the effect of vibration on the drive. Very smart addition.
Looking straight into the unit, we see a small fan at the end of the tunnel. As mentioned already, it’s purpose is to suck cool outside air in, then blow it over the drive. They made sure to leave enough room for sufficient airflow as well. The fan goes a constant 5000RPM, so there is a light whirring sound. If the rooms completely quiet, it’s audible, but not so much as other fans in the computer.
The hard drive installation is incredibly simple. The most difficult part was screwing the unit back together. If your screwdriver has a magnetic end, you’ll be fine. Because of the holes in the unit though, it was fun trying to get the screw to the hole, without losing it.
To test the cooler out, I’m going to use my primary Western Digital 160GB hard drive. As you can see in the picture, the harddrive is much smaller than the unit itself. Black cat that won’t leave you alone while working, not included.
The unit installed flawlessly into the computer. I had a difficult time fitting it in around cables, but that’s due to my small case, not the cooler. To test the temperature, I used both HD Tune and SANDRA 2005. I did some manual stress tests with both programs to see how high I could get the temperature.
Without the cooler, my harddrive used to hover around 30ÂºC at idle. With the cooler installed, it now stays around 27ÂºC. Without the cooler, and after the stress tests, I managed to get it up to 45ÂºC, which is a tad high, but not really dangerous. With the cooler installed, after performing the tests again, I couldn’t get it past 38ÂºC!
I had personal doubts that a HDD cooler would make much difference, and I was actually harsher with the stress tests with the cooler installed, because I really wanted to see if I could break 38ÂºC, but I couldn’t. In the end, the cooler shaved 3ÂºC off the idle/regular use temp, and 7ÂºC off the load temperature.
Some may ask the question.. is it really important to keep a hard drive cool? Even myself, I don’t usually care about how hot my HDD’s get.. as long as they are not outrageously high. Generally speaking though, when your computer components overheat, they could end up dying on you sooner. So keeping your HDD cool, could prolong the units life. If you live in a cool environment, you may not need one as much. Personally, if I had hard drives hover around 40ÂºC all the time, I would considering getting a cooler. If it’s 50ÂºC+, I would consider it a definite need.
Overall, I highly recommend the FP53. I knew that it would likely help keep my hard drive cooler, but I consider 7ÂºC cooler to be quite significant when talking about a hard drive. It looks great, and does as it’s supposed to. If you are in the market for a HDD cooler, you should definitely check out the FP53.
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