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Vantec Vortex 2 HDD Cooler

Date: January 27, 2006
Author(s): Rob Williams

Keeping your hard drive at a healthy temperature is essential in prolonging it’s life, and in keeping your data safe. We are taking a look at another Vantec HDD cooler called the Vortex 2, and I have high hopes for this one.



Introduction

We have recently taken a look at a few Vantec products that were both hard drive related. The first was the 701A cooler which Greg found to reliably lower his HDD temp by more than 10°C. The other product was the NexStar 3 enclosure that we awarded a perfect score.

There are many hard drive coolers on the market that do not do much more than just take up extra space in your computer. When I first seen this one, it reminded me a lot of the SilverStone FP53 that I reviewed last July. That turned out to be a great cooler, but the reason I loved it the most is that I could mount it in a 5 1/4″ drive bay.

How does the Vortex 2 work?

Some coolers similar to this on the market act as enclosures also, such as the previous reviewed FP53 by SilverStone. This one however, allows your hard drive to have as much open air as possible. When installed, the entire top and bottom of your disk will not be covered. Though I make no sense right now, you will as soon as you check out these pictures!

The installation was extremely simple, just a matter of holding things into place while you grab a screwdriver. Instructions are included, but are not likely to be needed. You first need to piece the frame together, and then worry about your HDD. Once the frame is complete, you can lay your HDD within it and then screw it into place. This will make the product as a whole fairly heavy, which is a good thing. The HDD is very secure when installed, and even if you accidentally drop the contraption it would not likely even touch the HDD.

Once your HDD is installed, directly behind it will lie the crossflow blower. Instead of using a fan like so many others do, they chose to use this blower which I hope will prove more effective than a regular fan. One obvious benefit that the blower will have over a standard fan, is that it will cover more of the HDD, not just shoot a stream of air down the middle.

To power the cooler, they use a standard 4-Pin Molex connector. If you do not have a spare one free, then you will appreciate the spare connector that this will provide. Since the cooler will essentially be pulling air from outside the case in through the front panel, they have lined the inside of it with an air filter to prevent too much dust from getting inside your case. This is quite appreciated, and I’m glad to see that they actually considered it while so many others plainly overlook it. They even go as far as to include an extra filter to use as a replacement when the other one is old.

One major feature of this cooler is that you can control the speed of the crossflow blower. This is important if you wish to maintain a quite PC since HDD Water Cooling is not likely to happen for quite some time ;)

Overall, this is a great looking cooler and I can’t wait to test it out.


Testing

To test the Vortex 2, I used both HD Tach and HD Tune. HD Tach was run to benchmark the hard drive, putting a lot of stress on it to help heat it up. At the same time, I ran the disk benchmarking tool in HD Tune. HD Tune is also how I grabbed the temperatures.

By the design of this cooler, you’d expect that it would work best in a case that is open in the front, so that it can grab cool air to suck in. The case I currently use has a door on it, and I usually keep it shut. I have taken temperatures with the door open and closed, to give you a general idea of what to expect with your case.

“Normal Case Cooling” is not really cooling at all, as the HDD is installed with no fans aiding in the temperature. 54°C is a little high for my liking, and that’s what my HDD hit prior to installing the cooler. With the cooler installed and the lowest fan setting in action, the highest temp I could make it reach matched the idle temp without the cooler.. nice!

Testing with the blower at the highest speed, it didn’t really make a difference whether the door was open or closed, which is good. Since the absolute high was 37°C, that cuts 17°C off the highest temp without the cooler. It’s clearly evident how much of a difference this cooler makes.

Conclusion

Most times when I complete a review, I usually pull the hardware out next time I’m in the PC, because I hate extra stuff getting in the way. This one is a huge exception because it works so well. Not only is it a superb looking cooler, it knocked 17°C off of our previous high! After straining my brain (not hard to do) trying to find a fault in the Vortex 2, I came up empty handed. The price for the Vortex 2 is $29.99US, which is slightly higher than expected, but that is due to this including a crossflow blower instead of a mini-fan.

The noise level from the cooler is nothing to worry about at the low fan setting. When you bump it up all the way though, it’s as loud as you’d expect, with a very audible whirring. Paired with this ultra-loud stock Intel cooler I’m using, it’s not so bad :)

I am awarding the Vortex 2 a well deserved 9/10 and our Editors Choice award.

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