Two Hard Drive Coolers Compared

Vigor iSurf II Cooling System and Masscool's Sytrin KuFormula SHF-1

Hard disk drive coolers have been around for quite some time. The goal of these devices is to lower the temperature of your HDD or your case, to make your system and drive last longer. Both the iSurf II and Sytrin HD coolers work by placing a heat sink on the drive and blowing air over it with small fans.

Vigor iSurf II Hard Disk Drive Cooling System

The iSurf II Hard Drive Cooler wraps around your hard drive with its U-shaped design. It has an all-aluminum structure that makes contact via fins in the structure. It uses a pair of Molex-connected 40 mm fans turning at up to 4,000 RPM to cool the drive of your choice. It also has a single ultra-bright blue LED.

This cooler has the following details:

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Chassis Dimensions172 x 142 x 41.5 mm
Fan Voltage Rating12 volt DC
Fan Dimensions40 x 40 x 10 mm
Fan speed4000 RPM
Fan Noise20.7 dB(A)
Weight586 g
  • virtualban
    I once got two hdd coolers that were just fans that were mounted under the hdd, and they were cheap enough and performed good enough. Seeing the small difference between heatsink or no heatsink, I believe just fans can do it most of the time. Anyway, a well ventilated case is the better choice!
  • I wonder how they longevity of the fans work.

    I've tried two disk cooler models ($10 ea) that were
    types of fans that screwed onto the drive (15K SCSI). One used 2 tiny fans, maybe 2x50mm? -- the other a fan as wide as the HD -- about 70mm. They were by the same company, vantec, and the larger fan had about 80% more airflow at lower RPM's. Rated dB's were about the same. They both brought down the drive between 15C-20C (from +50C -> low 30's (as low as 30C). They both were made from Aluminum. I liked the double-fan model better, on aesthetics -- and it had a lower profile, but after 6 months, the fans wore out! -- I'd open her up and see the fans barely turning. So I'm hoping the larger fan at a lower RPM will have a longer life -- it also might be I got a bum unit. But for $10 ea, they're worth a try. I had a drive cooler that installed in the entire 5" drive space and it also had a real tiny fan -- (fitting vertically in the drive case) -- but the little fan was the first thing to stop working. So I'm a bit leary about those little fans.

    I'm looking for some remote monitoring solutions, -- something to allow me to place probes in the computer and can be read by software -- at least the computer would know when there was a problem. As it is now, it's such an old computer, it just hangs when it gets too hot and on bootup, you might see a thermal failure if it was a cpu fan that stopped....bear skins and stone knives (440BX motherboard, circa 1999)
  • nirgal
    How does a 2.5" slot mount compare to the results?
    And which 2.5" slot do I want compared? All of them.
    A floppy disk slot is different from the extra HD slots in terms of air flow - even if there were no front fan or even an option for it.
  • colthorn
    The variation for the SHF-1 is 6 not 4 ;)
  • Good article Bob!
  • jhansonxi
    According to a white paper from Google Labs which details their drive failure statistics for nine months (they have thousands in their server farms) drives aren't really affected by heat:
  • kittle
    Got any noise measurements handy? The term "low fan noise" is rather subjective.

    Personally I found it much easier to mount a fan at the back of my case and put my HDDs near the front and let the fan draw air over the 3 drives that needed cooling. with the above approach you would need 1 cooler for each drive. $10 per cooler is $30 total. my single case fan cost me about $7 -- and its probably quieter than the above coolers.

    As for drives getting too hot? ive seen several die in my past due to overheating.
  • Peter Mauritius
    During my long experience in assembling PC's, the very first thing I would stay away from is adding a fan on a hard disk to cool it! In a desktop casing, the hard disk is already being cooled, first by conduction, since the disk is screwed along both its sides to the casing chassis. Secondly, a casing or chassis fan, if installed, is already extracting or blowing air within the casing, causing such airflow to cool down the hard disk.

    The real problem with installing hard disk fans is that the forced air actually forces much increased air volumes across the disk, resulting in dust accumulating on its underside, i.e. the PCB. Now, depending on the environment in which the PC is working, this accumulated dust in fact damages the hard disks through the controller! What I'm saying is that the theoretical life increase in letting a disk run cooler is negated several folds by the shorts on its PCB.

    This has been my experience. Morever I remember reading somewhere that normal high temperature running of a hard disk is NOT detrimental to its lifespan.

  • jkflipflop98
    . . .or you can just point a case fan at your drives.
  • bydesign
    Nearly pointless devices. Heat simpley isn't an issue 99% of the time. Your review should spell that out.