Vigor iSurf II - Cooling For Your Hard Drive
Vigor gaming is known for providing custom built gaming rigs. What some may not know is that they also have cooling components, and today we are looking at Vigor’s newest hard drive cooler, the iSurf II. Vigor says that the iSurf is designed to keep your drive cool and look cool in the process. The iSurf II‘s all aluminum design helps to dissipate heat quickly with the aid of two 40mm fans. Before we get too much further let's take a look at the features and specifications for the iSurf II.
- All Aluminum Design: Aluminum is the best material to quickly dissipate heat generated by your hard drive.
- Reversible Fan Design: Reversible fan design gives user flexibility for creating the optimal air-flow.
- Ultra-low Thermal Resistance: Minimal thermal resistance provides extreme cooling performance.
- Worldwide Patents: Including USA, Germany, China, etc.
- Stylish Design: Blue LED power indicator designed to enhance gaming environment and look.
- Model: HCC-S2BL(Black)
- Chassis Dimensions: 172 x 142 x 41.5 mm
- Material: Aluminum
- Voltage Rating: 12V DC Standard
- Fan Dimensions: 40 x 40 x 10 mm x 2 pcs
- Fan Speed: 4000 RPM
- Fan Noise: 20.7 dB(A)
The iSurf comes in a sturdy cardboard box sporting a shot of the iSurf itself.
On the back are the features and specifications as well as the instructions.
Inside, the cooler is packed snuggly in high density foam.
A closer look and installing the iSurf
With the iSurf out of the box we can start to get a good look at it. The whole cooler is made of aluminum -- even the front bezel.
Flipping the cooler over we can get a look at the power wires and the dual 40mm fans. One thing that Vigor did that I really like is that they separated the power for the fans and the power LED. I know lights add to the cool factor, but there are some who don’t care for them.
The fans on the iSurf II are reversible. So, if you wanted to, you could change the fans to push air out the front of the case rather than draw in air. To do this, all that needs to be done is to remove the font panel and fans, flip the fans and reinstall.
Looking from the end we can see the shape of the cooler. With the iSurf’s cooling fins it will not be in contact with the entire drive surface. Drive coolers that I have used in the past used a flat plate for the drive to set against. The way the iSurf is set up, it will only touch a small amount of surface area of the drive.
Installing the cooler
Installing a drive is very straight forward, but there is something I noticed while putting the hard drive in the iSurf. There is a fair amount of side to side play, almost .125”, so if you were to tighten one side down completely then the other side would not touch the drive. The mounting screws are long enough to hold the drive, but there could be a loss of heat transfer through the sides.
Looking from the end the top of the drive rests on the fingers of the heat sink nicely. A flat plate would have made more contact with the drive body. It will be interesting to see how the cooler performs with this small amount of contact.
Testing and Conclusion
The hard drive I will be using to test the cooler is a Western Digital Caviar WD2500 250GB SATA hard drive. Temperatures were taken using a drive utility called Active Smart 2.6 which utilizes the S.M.A.R.T. technology in the drive. To test the drive, I let the system idle for 1 hour, and then copied 30GB of data to the drive to get it heated up. This was done with the drive in 3 configurations:
- Bare drive in the case drive cage without any cooling.
- Bare drive with a 120mm case fan installed on the drive cage.
- With drive cooler and installed into the 5.25” bay.
All temperatures where taken with an ambient room temp of 22 degrees Celsius (72F). The rest of the test system is as follows:
- Motherboard: Intel 975XBX2
- CPU: Intel Q6600
- Ram: Kingston Hyper-X DDR2 KHX9600D2/1G
- Hard Drive: Western Digital 250gb SATA
- Case: Ultra M998
- Power Supply: PC Power and Cooling Silencer 750 Quad
At idle the iSurf II and case fan were even at 25*C. With the drive under load, the gap widened just a little with the iSurf II coming out on top at 29*C. The case fan configuration was only a couple of degrees warmer at 31*C. As it should be, the bar drive with no cooling was the worst at 33*C.
The iSurf II from Vigor has an MSRP of $29.99 and a quick search on our shopping link shows that it can be found for less. For that price you get a solid attractive piece of hardware. Despite having two 40mm fans, it is rather quiet. Even with the test system sitting on top of the bench and the iSurf II at the same level as my head it was not noticeable over the rest of the system.
The LED can be a little bright for those of you who set your system on top of a desk. It is strong enough to light up the wall across the room from my test bench with the over head lights off. This can be adjusted in a couple of ways. One way is to not even hook up the LED, or move it up or down between the fans so the front bezel will act as a light diffuser.
Legit Bottom Line: The new iSurf II is good performer, even better than a 120mm case fan, and an upgrade that won’t hurt your wallet any.