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 2.26 which utilizes the S.M.A.R.T. technology in the drive. To test the drive, I left the system set 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:
All temperatures where taken with an ambient room temp of 22 degrees Celsius (72F). The rest of the test system is as follows.
First, we will look at the idle temperatures. As one would expect the bare drive was the hottest. What got my attention was that Ultras Aluminum cooler cooled better then the fan configuration. The Ultra cooler kept the drive at 5C (8F) over room temp compared to the active cooling from the fan, which kept the drive a 7C (12F) over room temp.
Next, we have the load temps. Again, Ultra’s Aluminum cooler wins. The bare drive and fan configurations both increased by 7C (12F) over their idle temps. The Ultra cooler however only increased by 2C (4F).
The aluminum hard drive cooler from Ultra is not just eye candy and, as stated on the box, it is highly efficient. The cooler preformed better than I thought it would and in doing so should extend the life of the drive thanks to the lower temperatures. The performance comes at a price though, the MSRP for the cooler is $43, now granted, for that amount of money you’re getting a nice part that looks as good as it performs. With a little shopping you should be able to find it for less.
The installation was simple and easy to do. It took longer to get it the hard drive out of my case than it did to install the drive into the Ultra cooler. The grounding wire though made me think twice about using the cooler though, as I was trying to figure out why it needed to be grounded. Then it clicked, with the rubber mounts the drive and cooler are not gounded to the case in any way.
This cooler (I assume) is meant for the HTPC and silent PC crowd. The silent PC folks shouldn’t have an issue mounting this cooler, but the HTPC folks may have issues since most HTPC cases only have one 5.25″ bay.
Bottom line: Whether your goal is to just cool your drive, go silent, or both; the Aluminum Hard Drive Cooler with heatpipes from Ultra can help you in your quest and not break the bank in the process.