Vantec Vortex

Effective Hard Drive Cooler – good insurance for hot drives – Joe

SUMMARY: Effective Hard Drive Cooler – good insurance for hot drives.

The good guys at Vantec were nice enough to send a sample of their Vortex Hard Drive Cooler. It fits in a standard CD ROM slot and comes in either silver or black:

Vantec HD

Weight: 750 grams; Fan speed: 2000 – 3700 rpm; Airflow: 16 – 30 cfm.

It features:

  • All aluminum chassis
  • Rubber drive mounts to isolate drive vibration
  • Crossflow fan for airflow
  • Dust filter
  • Adjustable fan speed – HI, LO, OFF
  • LED drive temp display – degrees F or C

A look inside

Inside

shows the crossflow fan at the front with the LED PCB on the left. The four blue pads are the rubber drive mounts which isolate drive noise. The temp probe and power plug are visible at the lower left.

Front

The front panel opens (filter removed) to show the crossflow fan. Included in the kit are two extra filters.

Mounting a drive simply involves bolting it in from the bottom. The only potential problem I can imagine is if you have very short drive screws – I used standard screws without any problem.

With HD

The view from the back

Back

with the drive mounted shows very good clearance all around – no problem for air exiting the chassis.

The Vortex ships with extra filters and mounting screws:

Parts

The LED display shows the temp (F or C); the panel switch activates the fan in OFF, HI and LO modes – displayed on the LED:

LED

Overall, a very nice package.

The Test

I tested the Vortex by mounting an IBM drive into it – not the hottest running drive by any means. I ran it for one hour without the fan running, then an hour at low and an hour at high. Ambient temps were measured at the front of the unit. In addition, I mounted a thermocouple at the drive’s base to check the accuracy of the Vortex’s temp display.

Noise Levels

I measured fan noise levels with a Radio Shack sound meter placed 8″ from the Vortex’s front grill. At LO, the meter was <50 dBA; at this speed, fan noise was low but audible. At Hi, however, the meter registered 54 dBA – noticeably noisier; if you have a quiet system, or don’t want to add more fan noise to your PC, the Vortex at HI could be an issue.

Further, fan noise was not the usual “swish” sound – noise from the crossflow fan was more “mechanical”.

Overall, I would not call the Vortex a particularly quiet system.

Performance Results

Test Condition

Drive Temp

Ambient Temp

Delta

LED Temp

Fan OFF

36.0 C

21.5 C

14.5

37 C

Fan LO

31.6 C

21.5 C

10.1

33 C

Fan HI

27.7 C

21.5 C

6.2

28 C

A clear difference with the Vortex unit – 4.4 C cooler with the fan on LO and 8.3 C on HI.

CONCLUSIONS

Vantec’s Vortex Hard Drive Cooler is a nice package for hard drive cooling. With drives spinning up to 10,000 rpm, drive cooling has become more critical. Vantec’s Vortex looks like a good solution, although potentially noisy, and could be cheap insurance against premature drive failure due to heat.

Thanks again to Vantec for sending this our way.

Email Joe

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