RSS Feed

HCW Tech Blog

For the latest info on computer hardware, tech, news, video games, software tips, and Linux, check out our new improved front page: HCW Tech Blog

Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [02.17.04]
Manufactured by: Cooler Master
Discuss this article in the forum!


The Performance

I said that the Cooldrive 4 has a nice little surprize in its design. Cooler Master didn't simply slap a HDD bracket onto the Aerogate II and call it a day! No, they wanted to make use of the extra surface area provided by the Cooldrive 4; they turned it into a heatsink for the HDD! And what good would a heatsink be without some sort of TIM (thermal interface material)?

If your 3.5" drive is the 'full size' variety, it will make use of the TIM here. It is clean, and will not leave residue on your HDD. If you have the low-profile type of drive however (usually the smaller drives with a fewer number of larger platters, such as 40GB), it will not reach the top of the Cooldrive4.

The Test

To test the performance of the Cooldrive 4, we connected all four of its thermistors to four different locations of a Maxtor 7200RPM 80GB hard drive, and averaged the results. The drive was loaded for 20 minutes, and a temperature was given. We also recorded the temperature of the drive without being installed in any cooler for 20 minutes.

We also used Vantec's competing product, the Vortex HDD Cooler, which will get its own full review very shortly. Note that the Vortex is primarily an HDD cooler, so while it does not have as many features as the Cooldrive 4, it is meant for one thing, so expect it to excel in that.

As you can see, the Cooldrive 4 does offer a noticable drop in temperature for the hard drive. This will be even more pronounced inside a case stuffed with cables as well. It performed just as well as the Vortex, it was a LOT quieter, even in high speed mode, and honestly it looks so much better and has so much else to offer, there's really no comparison between the two. This will definitely have an effect on our conclusion to the Vortex.

If you were already eying the Aerogate II, you really should look at the Cooldrive 4 instead. In fact, if you were considering ANY drive bay fan controller, I would highly recommend the Cooldrive 4!

While the manual is clearly written, having unmarked fan and thermistor headers on the back really calls for a diagram installation. However once you get everything hooked up, operation is an absolute breeze.

You might compare this to Thermaltake's latest "Hardcano", which also looks very nice. Honestly, you wouldn't lose going with either one. It really just comes down to personal preference of the looks of these fan controllers. Then again, the HDD cooling ability might just push the Cooldrive 4 to the lead in many peoples' opinions.

  • Looks awesome
  • Functions well as an HDD cooler
  • High quality "car stereo" feel
  • HDD fan is very quiet

  • Somewhat pricey, although in line with other name brand fan controllers
  • Only comes in silver

Final Score: 91%