The 2COOLPC cooling solution
Every so often a product
comes along that makes huge claims about its performance. The 2CoolPC and
2CoolPC-Plus definitely fit into that category. According to South Bay Engineering,
the manufacturer of these products, "2 COOL PCís unique airflow design
allows it to direct air to the motherboard, all the cards, the power supply,
the CPU, the ram chips, and all the drives." Thatís straight from South
Bay Engineeringís site. I donít have to tell you that those are incredible
claims from what basically looks like a 92-mm fan mounted in a plastic housing.
- CPU Cooling
- Video Card Cooling
- Mother Board
- System Ram Cooling
- Hard Drive Cooling
Normally I would include
the specs of a product. Needless to say my description of the unit in the
first paragraph is about it. I decided not to take pictures of this unit on
my own because as shipped it is constructed from clear plastic. That definitely
doesnít photograph well. At South Bayís site they have painted the unit white
for easier viewing. The design of these units forces the cool air from the
bottom of the case up and onto the motherboard. 1/3 of the air from the fan
is directed straight back onto your peripheral cards. Because these units
do not draw any more air into the case and only circulate the cool air at
the bottom of the case you should still have a good supply of intake and exhaust
air. While both of these units utilize a 92-mm fan the Plus version has a
fan with a higher output. South Bay claims this unit is useful in high performance
PC computers, servers, and SCSI applications.
This is the easiest fan
Iíve ever installed in a case. To break the procedure down you first open
your case and drop it in the bottom of the case. South Bay included some adhesive
pads that will hold it in place. Hook up the power connector and you are done.
That may seem deceivingly easy but even the least computer savvy person could
have this unit up and running in a minute.
Rather than only test
it in one case I put these two units to work in several cases. First on my
list was the Palo Alto ATCX mid-tower. This is where I ran into a spot of
trouble because the ATCX is a very narrow case. There is no air gap between
the edge of the power supply and the side-cover. Most cases have approximately
2" of space beyond the widest peripheral cards and the 2CoolPC units
rely on that area to be located in. Undaunted I stuffed the unit in the best
I could. It ended up sitting at a 45-degree angle with th
e rear resting on my sound
card. Obviously if you have a narrow case youíll have to figure a way to get
these units in like I did. I used an Abit BX6r2 MB with a 500e Coppermine
running at 690 MHz.
The next case I tried
was the Landmark KS-299. This case is a wide mid-tower and has ample room
inside. I had no troubles getting these units to fit inside Ė even with cards
in the lower PCI slots on the motherboard. This case only accommodates an
80-mm intake fan so the addition of the 2CoolPC and its 92-mm fan was beginning
to look very promising. I used a Soyo SY-6BA+IV with a Celeron 366 running
at 550 MHz.
The last case I tested
these units in was the Addtronics 7896A full tower. I moved the BX6r2 and
Coppermine I originally used with the ATCX into this case for comparison.
This case is also very wide and since it already comes with a 120-mm intake
fan and Iíve added several fans to it I had huge reservations whether I would
see any benefits from either of these units. To be fair I disconnected the
80-mm fan that sits above the CPU as its job is to blow cold air onto the
CPU heatsink just like the 2CoolPC units. So there you have it. The units
were tested in a very narrow mid-tower, a normal sized mid-tower, and a large
full-tower. Room temperature was kept a consistent 72.3 degrees F for testing.
Palo Alto ATCX mid-tower:
Luckily these units are constructed of a flexible plastic since I had to squeeze
the side panel back into place. This undoubtedly compressed these units somewhat.
This case has a 92-mm intake and exhaust fan already. After installation I
noticed an immediate temperature drop on the CPU heatsink. I originally was
running 93.1 degrees F. After installing the 2CoolPC the temp dropped to 89.7
degrees. I was already beginning to feel impressed with that result when I
installed the 2CoolPC-Plus. I was amazed with the result. The temperature
initially rose to 90.4 degrees and then dropped to 87.7 degrees once the airflow
stabilized. It held there for over an hour without a flinch in either direction.
That is made more impressive when you take into consideration that the unit
is not resting on the bottom of the case as designed but sitting at an odd
angle and even compressed. Thatís a 3.4 degree drop in temperature with the
2CoolPC and a 5.4 degree drop in CPU heatsink temp with the 2CoolPC-Plus.
Landmark KS-299 mid-tower:
Since this case only has one 80-mm intake and exhaust fan I expected more
from these units when placed in this case. The case is wide enough that I
had no troubles with the fit of these units. The heatsink on this CPU read
a consistent 93.2 degrees F prior to using these units. After installing the
2CoolPC the temp dropped to 88.9. I suppose that not having to squeeze the
2CoolPC units like I did into the smaller ATCX mid-tower helped the 2CoolPC.
With the 2CoolPC-Plus the temp dropped to 88.5 degrees F. Thatís a 4.3 degree
drop with the 2CoolPC and a 4.7 degree drop with the 2CoolPC-Plus.
Addtronics 7896A full-tower:
This case already has a large amount of cooling before attempting to install
the 2CoolPC units. With the same MB and CPU from the ATCX case I was already
running 3 degrees cooler on the CPU heatsink and 4-6 degrees cooler on the
motherboard (ambient air) without the installation of the 2CoolPC units. The
2CoolPC was not able to drop the CPU heatsink temperature at all. The 2CoolPC-Plus
did drop the CPU temp 0.6 degrees. As a comparison I reconnected the 80-mm
fan included with this case that blows on the CPU and had the same results
as the 2CoolPC-Plus unit.
- Very easy to install
- It cools several areas
inside your case: MB, HD, CPU, and peripherals
- Cooled the ambient
air significantly when using a CD-Writer
- Impressive cooling
considering these units help to circulate air already in a case
- Pricey, especially
the Plus model
- Did not improve the
cooling of my full tower much
The 2CoolPC retails for
$24.95 and the 2CoolPC-Plus retails for $34.95. Both the 2CoolPC and 2CoolPC-Plus
created a noticeable drop in CPU heatsink temperature when put inside the
Palo-Alto ATCX. If you have a small mid-tower or a very narrow mid-tower that
has trouble circulating air inside of it then I recommend you look into these
units. A large mid-tower like the KS-299 still had very positive cooling results
from both units, more so with the base 2CoolPC. There was little improvement
when the 2CoolPC-Plus was tried in the KS-299 over the 2CoolPC. Where these
units began to fall short was with the 7896A full-tower. The 2CoolPC had no
effect on the CPU temperature with this case and the Plus unit only cooled
the CPU heatsink 0.6 degrees more. When a case already has a substantial amount
of cooling built into it the 2CoolPC could not improve the situation much.
I canít recommend these units for a full-tower that has been equipped with
good cooling but I certainly think owners of mid-towers will benefit from
one of these units.
One large benefit I got
from these units in both of my mid-towers was the drop in temperature inside
the case when copying CDs with my CD-Writer. I noticed almost a 20-degree
F air temperature drop while running the CD-Writer. That kind of temperature
drop definitely will make components last longer so Iíd also recommend these
units to anyone who has peripherals that run hot and may have a questionable
life expectancy due to heat.