Vantec Vortex HDD Cooler Review
By Gabriel Torres on June 19, 2006
With everything inside the computer producing more and more heat, you may think of installing a cooler for your hard disk drive, especially if you have a high rotation model (7,200 rpm or above) in order to increase the lifespan of your HDD and, at the same time, decreasing the PC internal temperature, preventing it from overheating.
Vortex is a hard disk drive cooler from Vantec that blows cold air from outside the computer case on the hard disk drive, decreasing your HDD temperature. It is available in two models and two color options (silver and black). The first model, VTX-CO1, has a digital thermometer and you can adjust the fan speed as hi, low or off. The second model, VTX-CO2, doesn’t have a digital thermometer but has a potentiometer that controls the fan speed. We reviewed VTX-CO1-SL model.
Vortex is a 5 ¼” aluminum enclosure to be installed on any slot targeted to 5 ¼” devices available on the front panel of your PC. Your HDD must be installed inside this enclosure.
In Figure 2, you can see how Vortex looks like inside. On the left side you can see the blower in charge of pulling cold air from outside the computer case and blowing it on the hard disk drive. If you pay close attention you can see on the far left a dust filter (the product comes with two extra dust filters for you to replace it in the future). Since this product blows air from outside the computer case to inside your PC, it if didn’t have a dust filter your hard disk drive would become dirty very quickly. In the middle of the product you can see its thermal sensor.
Instead of a regular fan, this cooler uses a crossflow blower, which distributes the air more evenly through the hard disk drive.
As we mentioned, this Vortex model has a digital thermometer built-in. In Figure 5, you can see the thermal sensor used by this thermometer.
Vortex has just one button where you can configure the fan speed (hi, which makes the fan to rotate at 3,700 rpm, low, which makes the fan to rotate at 2,000 rpm, or off) and the digital thermometer scale (Celsius or Fahrenheit).
* Researched at Shopping.com on the day we published this review.
This is a great product, far better from other HDD coolers we’ve seen in the past. Everything about it is great: its fan isn’t a regular fan but a crossflow blower, which distributes the air more evenly through the hard disk drive; its digital thermometer is a must-have for all users that are really worried with the hard disk drive temperature; and you can select the fan speed or even disable it to find the perfect balance between noise and performance.
In our tests we installed Vortex on our PC and ran 3DMark03 three times. With its fan turned off, the hard disk drive temperature reached 41º C (105.8º F). With its fan set to “low” the hard disk drive temperature dropped to 33º C (91.4º F), and setting it to “high” the hard disk drive temperature dropped to 29º C (84.2º F), which is a very good result. We were using a DiamondMax Plus 9 hard drive from Maxtor, which runs at 7,200 rpm.
We can only think about two things missing on this product. The first one is the lack of more fan speed options. While Vortex 2 provides this feature, it lacks the digital thermometer. The second one is regarding its material. While its top cover is aluminum-made, its base is steel-made. It would be a far better product if it were entirely made of aluminum. However this would probably increase its price.
Talking about pricing, we think its price is right for what this product is: a HDD cooler with a digital thermometer, a crossflow blower and an aluminum top cover.