Less heat and reduced
noise are two phrases that always perk up the ears of any PC
enthusiast. It doesn't matter if you are stretching for that
next benchmark or just trying to get down to the next dB for your
HTPC, heat and the associated noise of cooling a high end build is
always a factor. With the Ultra Aluminum Hard Drive Cooler,
Ultra is bringing the same heat pipe solution found in may top
heatsinks to your high performance hard drive. Lets see how
this cooler measures up here at the Club.
Ultra packages the Aluminum Hard Drive Cooler in
the same eye catching box we have seen in most of their products
this year. The box is simple and showcases both the product
and the key specifications.
The heatsink packaging includes mounting hardware,
a simple full color guide and a registration card.
Registration is required to activate the Ultra 3-Year warranty.
The actual heatsink is an attractive blue aluminum with polished
fittings and pipes.
- Heatpipe Material:
Sintered Powder Heatpipe
- Heatsink Material:
143 x 122 x 42mm
- Passive Thermal solution for Hard Drives
- High performance sintered powder heatpipe
dissipates heat efficiently
- Rubber dampers reduce HDD noise and
- Top heatsink fins provide an outstanding
cooling surface area
- Fan-less operation
- 3-Year Warranty
The compact size of the Hard Drive Cooler is
designed to fit into your 5.25' drive bay with room for the heat
pipes to dissipate heat around the drive.
Flush mounted screws will hold the drive in place
and the top heatsink is held tight against the top surface by the
four spring mounted screws on the top of the unit. Four rubber
mounting screws will hold the assembled drive in place to reduce
For today's installation I chose one of my Western
Digital 74 GB Raptor drives. These drives are still some of
the fastest on the market and have a reputation for both noise and
heat. Normally I run a set of these drives in a RAID 0 for
maximum performance so a successful test may mean a set of these
drive coolers will find a permanent home in my gaming build.
Installing the drive is quite simple; simply insert the drive into
the drive cooler and apply gentle pressure to line up the screws,
shown here at the far right, then screw on the rubber coated
dampeners. Install the included grounding cable on one of the
mounts and you are ready for the case.
Here is a closer look at the installed drive.
Notice the top heatsink is held tightly against the top surface for
maximum heat dissipation. The sides hold solidly along almost
the entire length of the Raptor providing the heatpipes with the
rest of the cooling duty.
I installed the Ultra Drive Cooler into the front
bays on my Tagan El Diablo case. This meant using a set of the
supplied rails to hold the drive assembly in place. As you can
see here, the drive fits nicely into a single bay slot even using
With any hard drive reducing heat and vibration
will result in a more dependable and longer life of the drive.
With a street price of over $40, I want to see a measurable
performance boost. I formatted the Raptor for testing and
measured the heat both at idle and during hard drive benchmarking
with HDTach. Ambient room temperature was measured at 72
Degrees F during testing. All of the temperatures were
recorded from the center of the top surface and the leading edge
with the higher score recorded.
Here you can see the results. With the
Stock setup the Raptor Idled at 88 and load temperatures reached
almost 100 degrees. With the Ultra Hard Drive Cooler installed
the temperature dropped 2 degrees at idle and an impressive 11
degrees at load.
As you can see, the temperature difference
between a stock Raptor and the Raptor equipped with the Ultra Hard
Drive Cooler is quite measurable. The Aluminum Hard Drive
Cooler keeps the temperature from climbing more than 2 degrees.
The 11 degree difference at load is definitely a noticeable amount.
You may be thinking that the difference is not going to effect you
system performance enough to justify adding a hard drive cooler, but
remember that's potentially 11 extra degrees added to your system at
load. 11 extra degrees every other system component has to
deal with making each of your other cooling solutions work that much
harder to keep things cool.
The Ultra Aluminum Hard Drive Cooler is a nice
looking product that makes a measurable difference in your system
heat level potentially adding to your overall performance and
extending the life of your hard drive. Is it worth the $20
dollars to you? With drive prices at historic low levels you
can get a pretty good drive for not much more, but protecting your
data may also be a factor over time. If you are serious about
cooling to reduce heat and sound levels this may be the product you
have been looking for, but its overkill for most systems.
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