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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [04.03.02]
Manufactured by: Thermaltake
Price: $TBA (Est ~$20)

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Something to add to your collection

Over the last 2 years, we have looked at all sorts of cooling devices.  The vast majority of these have been CPU coolers, but we've also seen video chipset coolers become a pretty big market, and now as RAM is getting faster an hotter, we are even starting to see RAM heatsinks/heat spreaders.

For the longest time, heat has never been a consideration with IDE hard drives.  Unlike their SCSI counterparts, IDE drives are usually quite limited as to how hot they can get.  The fastest IDE drives, spinning at about 7200 RPM, still can't even come close to a 10,000 or 15,000 RPM SCSI hard drive.  Obviously, a lot of power is required to spin a HDD at that speed, so cooling is most definitely a consideration for all who choose to install SCSI drives in their systems.

Recently though, certain drives have been having some serious heat issues.  It's no secret that there are some pretty strong rumours going around about IBM's Deskstar IDE hard drive lineup.  Reports of drives spontaneously dying hare way above average for these drives.  In addition to that, there is the whole fiasco about IBM drives only being designed to run for around 8 hours a day... I personally think that is a bogus story, or a misunderstanding, but the fact remains that these drives get EXTREMELY hot.  I had a 30GB 60GXP Deskstar drive running for over 2 years without a single problem.  It did get very hot compared to my current drives, a pair of Maxtor ATA133 40GB's.

With IBM on the forefront, IDE cooling is going to become more and more important to PC builders, particularly those who run more than a single drive.  There is a slight problem with most cases however; most only have three 3.5" bays.  After installing a floppy drive, that leaves room for exactly 2 drives.  However it is not recommended that you install a pair of drives right beside each other.  The heat produced  by a pair of 7200 RPM drives can be damaging.

Enter the HDD Cooler

This is where Thermaltake's HARDCANO 2 (you gotta love the name!) comes in.  The Hardcano 2 is a pretty simple solution, and we're going to find out how effective it is. 

That little dude that looks like a Monkey getting friendly with himself is Thermaltake's interesting attempt at creating a company mascot.  They named him "TT Boy" but failed to notice that the name had already been used by a male porn star who has been in over 1000 movies.  TT Boy was used on Thermaltake's recent product launches, and now he has his very own page, where he struts his monkey pr0n star bod.  No idea what he's doing in that middle pic...

As you can see, there is a small fan on the front, which is intended to help cool the drive.  We'll get to the fan later, because I think it is more of a secondary solution.  I think the primary intention of the Hardcano 2 is to get one of the drives out of the hot 3.5" bay area, and into a cooler part of the case.  At the same time, there is a handy pair of LCD displays, with flat Thermistors, for all your temperature-gauging needs.

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