Date Posted: September 30, 2002
Vantec are well known for their cooling products. Lately, they've been branching into other areas, such as power supplies, but their bread and butter is still cooling. Previously in our Thermoflow review, I mentioned one problem with thermo controlled fans was that in order to reach the peak air flow, your case temperatures would have to be really high. Now, if your case temperatures are that high (in excess of 50C), believe me, a fancy case fan isn't going to do anything because a case should never get that hot anyways.
What contributes to high case temperatures? Your CPU is probably a big part of it, but the video card, optical drive(s) and hard drive(s) do add to it. The general rule for case cooling is one intake fan (located at the bottom/front of the case) and one exhaust (usually a fan behind the CPU). Of course, you can have more intake and exhaust fans, but the idea is to maintain a consistent jet-flow of air through the case. What if you have all this, but your case temperatures are still high? It can be one of several things. Either your fans just plain suck, a fan is busted, or you have something blocking the air flow.
Enter round cables, specifically the Vantec Copper Sheathed cables which are the subject of review. In most ATX cases, the hard drives are situated in the lower portion of the case. Dangling IDE cables can cause problems with air flow, especially if they're literally making a wall in front of the fan. Round cables "can" alleviate the problem, but contrary to popular belief, round cables should not be left dangling in front of fans either. In any case, round cables do tend to occupy less space than flat cables, so even if you let it "hang", it shouldn't block as much air flow.
There isn't anything exotic about the Vantec IDE cables. It doesn't glow in the dark, nor are they shielded (which is reported to perform better &I'll believe that claim when I see it).
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One nice feature about these cables, though a common practice more recently among all manufacturers, is the labeling of the connections. It's pretty much foolproof installation, as you shouldn't make any mistakes plugging in the IDE connections where they're supposed to go.
The labels also function as pull tabs, which can be a cable saver in the long run. Rather than grabbing the individual wiring beneath the boot of the cable, just tug on the label instead. Because the "boot" is not attached to the IDE connection, the actual wires are exposed. The tabs will save you the headache of either tearing the cable, or dislodging them, which may cause errors in the future.
Click for a larger image.
The cables are wrapped in a nice copper, braided sheath. I've always preferred the "sheathed" look, as opposed to the flat plastic look on most round cables, as it looks much nicer. The sheath doesn't really do anything for shielding, and is merely aesthetic. There's a clear coat rubber casing around the sheath to protect it. Despite the multiple layers, the cable is still very flexible, making it easy to tuck away and hide in the case.
We received a two device IDE cable, a single device IDE cable and a floppy cable. The two device cable is a typical round IDE cable where you can hook up two IDE devices in a Master/Slave setup. The single device cable is only for one hard drive or optical drive, and will appeal to those who prefer the one device per channel setup. All 3 cables share the same design elements, so we'll only be focusing on the single device cable for the rest of the review.
Testing and Final Words