Hard Drive cooling is not something that is personally big on my list of necessities. I've not had any problems with heat from Hard Drives, and all the cases I've used had a front fan blowing air over the HD's anyway. This isn't to say that HD's don't produce heat however and that everyone has no issues with Hard Drive heat.
This naturally opens up a market area for dedicated cooling of HD's which can be facilitated by simple add-on fans or complete enclosures. When it comes to the enclosures most take the form of a 5 ¼ bay unit that holds a Hard Drive and has a fan to blow air across it, though there are variations on this design. I've looked at about 3 or 4 different units and not one has shown to me to be worth buying over a fan mounted in the front of the case and blowing over the drives. Will the Vantec Vortex HDD Cooler be any different?
Lower your hard drive temperature by up to 40%
Unique mounting design to dampen hard drive vibration
Special design crossflow blower for superior airflow
Adjustable fan speed (High, Low, OFF)
Temperature display in C / F
Replaceable filters to reduce dust build up
Compatible with all 3.5" hard drive
Fits in a standard 5.25" drive bay
Includes 3 dust filters
Dimension: 210 x 148.5 x 42.5 mm
Weight: 750 g
Rated Voltage: 12V
Rated Current: 0.1A
Fan Speed: 2000 ~ 3700 RPM
Airflow: 16 ~ 30 CFM
Noise Level: 28 ~ 38 dBA
Fan MTBF: 30,000 hrs
Bearing Type: Ball Bearing
The Vortex differs from the rest of the pack right away by using a crossflow fan design, which in comparison to the usual 40mm fan most companies use is going to immediately make a huge difference to the capabilities of the Vortex.
The box for the Vortex is done in Vantec's usual full colour appealing design, showing off the unit and its uses. The unit itself is wrapped in bubble-wrap inside the box which should protect it nicely during shipping.
The front features on the left and extending to the right the intake for the crossflow fan (filtered) behind a slightly curved mesh. Flipping down the front reveals the fan behind it.
On the right we have an LCD temperature display, and a singular button to set up the Vortex. Fan speeds can be controlled from Hi to Lo to Off with just a touch as well swapping between Celsius and Fahrenheit display of the temperature via holding down the button. Note that flipping down the front won't shut off the fan, so don't go sticking your fingers in there with the fan going.
The bottom and sides are uneventful, but the top features a nice Vortex logo and a grooved appearance. Obviously being a bay unit the top here is rarely going to be seen so the addition of the logo is pretty much irrelevant.
Opening up the Vortex is a case of removing 4 screws (2 down each side) and lifting it off. Inside we find 4 blue rubber mounts for your hard drive and of course the crossflow fan. One thing I have to point out here is that Vantec have used a proper temperature probe, which you simply stick down onto the drive where you see fit (tape included). Very good to see as the majority of bay units with temperature monitoring I have seen just place a probe on the back of the PCB and nowhere near the actual drive. As you can see the rear of the Vortex is completely open which will allow it to accommodate virtually any 3.5” drive, from IDE to SATA to SCSI.
Construction is Vantec's usual high standard and the design of the unit would appear to be better than most. Let's install a drive and get some numbers.