CoolerMaster CoolDrive 3 Review

Admin - 2007-02-05 22:36:11 in Hard Drive Cooling
Category: Hard Drive Cooling
Reviewed by: Admin   
Reviewed on: August 6, 2003
Coolermaster
Price: $25 USD

Introduction


Over the last couple years, we’ve taken a look at cooling products for just about every device inside our computer case. Usually this tends to be a new CPU or GPU heat sink, or some cool new fan, however today we’ll be taking a look at a new hard drive cooler from CoolerMaster, the CoolDrive 3. Our past run-ins with hard drive coolers hasn’t left us to impressed, can the CoolDrive3 change that? Read on to find out!



Specifications

Before we take a look at it, let's see what kind of features the CoolDrive3 has to offer.
2 Blue Neon LEDs
Reduce Hard Drive Surface Temp
Suitable For Any Brand Name HardDrive
Fits Any 5 1/4 Drive Bay
Supports Both IDE & SCSI Standards
Reduce Hard Drive Noise
Removable Front Panel & Filter For Easy Cleaning

Closer Look


The CoolDrive 3 arrived packaged in its own black and blue box.


A cardboard box, and a thin plastic bag was all CoolerMaster used to package this. Good thing UPS around here doesn't break every package they ship, otherwise the CoolDrive3 could have ended up in pretty bad shape.

Included inside the plastic bag was the CoolDrive3, a piece of paper that contained the instructions, and another bag containing several screws.

The CoolDrive 3 actually put together very solid, in most areas the case measures appx 3mm.

As you can see the front and top of the CoolDrive 3 displays a "CoolDrive 3" logo. Of course, this is an internal unit, so once it goes inside your case, no one will probably ever see the logo on the top of the drive... that is, unless you have a top window. :-)


As with any type of device designed for a drive bay, the CoolDrive 3 offers several screw holes for secure mounting.

The bottom of the CoolDrive 3 isn't anything fancy, four screw holes to mount the HDD to the CoolDrive 3, and another four screw holes to fasten the CoolDrive 3 together.

The inside of the CoolDrive 3 features a 40mm fan as well as a pad to help reduce vibration and noise.

The 40mm fan uses the latest "Rifle Bearing" technology.

Closer Look (Cont.)

As pointed out in the "features" of the CoolDrive 3, the faceplate dose remove easily, which gives you access to the plastic filter for the 40mm fan. Also, next to the 40mm fan, are two small blue LEDs, and we'll see those lit up here in a moment.

The CoolDrive 3 has a male and a female 4-pin Molex, which allows you to power the HDD and the CoolDrive 3 without having to run another line, or find another connector. The wires running back to the 40mm fan are kept tucked away via two small clips on the inside railing.

With the unit powered up, and the faceplate removed the LEDs are nice and bright, as you can see below.

However, due to the "smoked" effect of the plastic in the faceplate the blue LEDs are rather dim with the faceplate on. It would have been really nice if CoolerMaster would have used a few more LEDs on the face plate, maybe 2 or 3 more on each side. That would have really lit things up.


Installation


Installation of the HDD into the CoolDrive 3 is extremely easy. Just put it in place, and fasten the screws through the bottom of the CoolDrive plate to the bottom of the HDD.

Next you just screw the bottom plate into place on the CoolDrive 3.

The third step would be to attach cables, and install into a drive bay.

And the last step would be to turn on the power.

Not exactly the hardest thing in the world to do, but in case you need a little help, CoolerMaster does provide an instruction sheet that includes the instructions in 9 different languages.

Here is what the CoolDrive 3 looks like with a HDD in it. - The extra wire you see coming out from above the HDD is from my thermal probe for testing, and is not included with the CoolDrive 3.

Testing


To take the temperature of the HDD, a thermal probe was attached to the HDD's chipset. To see how well the CoolDrive 3 worked, I used the program HDTach to "benchmark" the HDD, which put it under a load condition; this was maintained for 25 minutes. - This was done once with the HDD in a bay with no type of cooling, and then done again with the HDD installed in the CoolDrive 3.

Conclusion

As promised, the CoolDrive 3 does keep the HDD cooler than it would be without any type of cooling. And of course, cooling the drive will help pro-long the life of the HDD. Exactly how much longer a drive will last by running 3.55°C is anyone’s guess. Most of us will probably swap drives out before our current HDDs even come close to the end of their life anyway. Aside from that, the CoolDrive 3 is a "cool" product, with a sleek design, and blue LEDs, it'd make a good addition to any Aluminum/Silver case. I do wish that the LEDs were either brighter, or that the CoolDrive 3 had more LEDs... but then, those that know me, also know I'd like to see something other than blue. ;-)

Pros
Looks Cool
Keeps HDD Cool
Easy To Remove / Clean Filter
Installs Easily
Built Well / Good Quality
Blue LEDs For Those That Like Blue
LEDs Could Be Easily Modded
Quiet Fan

Cons
LEDs Are Dim With Faceplate
Only A Small Decrease In HDD Temp
Bevel Of CoolDrive 3 Looks Odd In Most Cases
Price
Only Available In Silver
Poor Packaging