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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.

Features
The Unit
  • CPU Cooling
  • Video Card Cooling
  • Mother Board Cooling
  • System Ram Cooling
  • Hard Drive Cooling

The Test:

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.

Results:

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.

Pros:

  • 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

Cons:

  • Pricey, especially the Plus model
  • Did not improve the cooling of my full tower much

Conclusions:

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.






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