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Reviewed By: Ed Lau [08.22.02]
Edited By: Carl Nelson
Manufactured By: Thermaltake

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Let's Review Here For A Second...

In the past few months, Thermaltake has been pumping out new products at a ridiculous rate, expanding their product line to awesome aluminum cases (reviewed here), power supplies, and even Bluetake, a new branch of the company that specializes in Bluetooth-enabled devices. The most recent products have impressed us with their high manufacturing quality and great performance, satisfying even the fickle overclocking crowd.

Late last year, we were introduced to the Volcano 7 (reviewed here), a revolutionary design in HSF technology. Dubbed "The Smartest Heatsink-fan Combo Ever", the V7 featured a great aluminum heatsink with a copper core. However, the main attraction is the Tt A1214 Smart-fan, which would adjust the speed at which the fan spins according the temperature, sensed by a green thermistor mounted on the Smart-fan.

While this design truly made the V7 the smartest HSF in existence, we thought that one design flaw kept it from being simply freakin' brilliant. Because the thermistor was mounted on the smart-fan, the fan RPM was more in correlation with case temperature instead of CPU temperature. In effect, your CPU could be hot as hell but if the case was getting a good airflow to it, keeping the resistor cool, it would remain at a slow 2900rpm. Recently, one of my friends purchased a V7 and told me that it never slows down, even though MBM5 read the CPU at a relatively cool temperature. This was because the thermo-resistor was mounted next to and being heated by the power supply.

Hey, They Listened!

And Thermaltake heard the cries of the people and created the Volcano 9.

The first thing you'll notice on the V9 is the new smart-fan design. Instead of having only a green thermistor mounted on the side, the A1357 Smart Fan II features two inputs: one for a flat thermo-resistor with thin wires (as seen in the Hardcano series, reviewed here) and one for an user-adjustable dial which sets the fan RPM anywhere from 1300rpm to 4800rpm.

So how is this different from the Volcano 7+, which also allowed for user adjusting of fan RPMs?

While true, the V7+ still featured the same small flaw with the fan-mounted thermal sensor. The V9's thermistor, much like the sensor of the Hardcano, can be mounted directly next to the CPU slug. In theory, this should allow the smart-fan to adjust RPMs according to CPU temperature instead of case temperature.

In addition to the user-adjustable and temperature sensing mode, you can also put jumpers on the thermistor connector, and leave the fan control unplugged to have the fan run at the max 4800rpm constantly.

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