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

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Abnormalities During Testing

Either MBM5 is not reading the fan speed correctly or the Smart Fan II runs faster than its actual official ratings of 1300rpm (low) and 4800rpm (high) Perhaps it's just me but that just seemed a little strange. Heh, leave it to Thermaltake to overclock its fans.

So How Does It Look?

Here it is with the power on, and the HDD idling.  the plastic grille lights up very nicely, and the etched Tt logo looks great.  Things really get wild when the HDD starts reading:

I can say one thing for sure; Thermaltake makes the coolest LOOKING coolers of all.  Unfortunately, my Nikon Coolpix 2500 was unavailable at the time of testing, so we had to settle for an old Sony Mavica to do the CoolMod pics.  While they do look good, I think the Nikon would have portrayed just how vivid the colours are... Oh well, you get the idea :) In any case, it looks a lot better than those nasty 3-coloured light-up grilles I've seen around.

So do I like the V9 CoolMod? I'm still torn and undecided and probably always will be. On one hand, it does its job very well, keeping the core temp cool as you can see in the small difference between idle and full load. On the other, I expected more. The temperatures definitely aren't as low as some of the other HSFs I have. From the first day I saw the huge fan, I had high expectations for that particular aspect of the testing.

I highly recommend you use the manual fan speed adjusting but if you're not doing any overclocking, you can use the thermal sensor mode and be fine. You might see a lockup or two more than if you used the manual mode though. The V9 is the new "Smartest Fan in the World" but no matter how smart it is, it won't compare to the intelligence of the user. Performance is undoubtedly better in manual mode.

The design is great. While I crushed a CPU with this thing, blame that on my stupidity. The three-point clip is great, holding the massive unit secure. If you take your mobo out of your case, you will have no problem installing the V9. I strongly suggest you do so or you may risk crushing a CPU like I did. Because of the unit's size, chances are you will not be able to install it otherwise.

I thought that the heatsink itself could have been better. I expect to see a V9+ out soon using a full copper heatsink. One improvement Tt could make is fin density, maybe using a technique similar to the "Shiving fins" method used by Dynatron/Cooljag. The Smart Fan II, while in some aspects superior to the original Smart Fan, could also have been improved upon. While the original followed the case temperature, the successor followed CPU temperature, perhaps a little too closely. An ideal design for a smart fan would be a programmable fan which monitors CPU temperature and runs the fan at full speed until reaching a user defined ideal idle temperature.

Overall, this is a great cooler. Design and quality are solid and what I've come to expect from Tt. Performance is great and the V9 is definitely miles above some of the competition but there are better fans for the overclocking crowd available. The aspect that inspired my rating of this product is that this is definitely the combo to get for those who want to run a quiet case as you can turn the fan all the way down when you're not using the system.

For the MOD community, the V9 Coolmod is a blessing.  Yes! Another thing to add lights to! ;)

I just can't recommend it to the hardcore OCers.

  • Relatively good performance
  • Whisper quiet at low RPMs, still relatively quiet at high RPM
  • Great flathead three-point clip
  • Improved Smart Fan
  • Excellent construction
  • CoolMod grille looks awesome!

  • Some may not like the fan color
  • Running any sort of load with the fan at low RPM is dangerous... (the low setting is not designed for AthlonXPs.)
  • Smart Fan still not smart enough
  • Performance still could've been better
  • LEDs in CoolMod grille make for a lot of wires
  • The Power On and HDD LEDs on your case cannot be used in conjunction with the CoolMod V9. One or the other.

Final Score: 91%