Reviewed by: Propane
Reviewed on: August 2, 2007
Price: USD 12.00
People like lots of things on a stick. Ice cream, hot dogs, and...fans? Thats Antec's hope with its product, the Spotcool. This little device has a small fan on the end of a bendy stick that can screw onto several different places inside your computer. The Spotcool can then be directed to point at most components in your case to help provide some extra cooling.
Antec has been one of the world's leaders in several of the computer component sectors, namely the cooling, enclosure, and power supply areas. Born in 1986 in Fremont, California, Antec has come a long way to earn its title of "The world's #1 brand of high-performance computer components" and is still moving forward today.
The packaging that the Spotcool comes in is not very showy, but does a good job providing emphasis on the fan and making some of its features known. The back of the case shows the fan in one of its many possible configurations and also lists some of its features. It was very easy to get to the fan, as all that holds it together are two rivets near the top.
The fan apparatus itself seems sturdy and is about 8.5 inches long. This is long enough for the fan to reach most places in the case, but short enough to not be a nuisance in most cases. The fan is 70mm, which should provide a decent amount of airflow over any component at a fairly reasonable noise level. The fan also has 3 blue LEDs which light up when the fan is on. There is no option of turning these off, however, which might be annoying to some users. On the outside of the fan casing, a three value selector is located, allowing the user to pick from high, medium, and low settings. Finally, the 3 pin connector is 8 inches long from the side of the fan casing.
The installation of the Spotcool is very simple, and very customizable, but could be a nuisance if you already have a full case or a small case. To install, all you have to do is remove a screw out of the motherboard or case and then use the screw to sandwich the Spotcool down. Then the neck of the Spotcool can be moved around to provide cooling where it is most needed. Don't forget to plug in the 3 pin connector, as that's how the fan gets power.
- Quiet and Flexible 3-speed blue LED fan.
- Mounts on your motherboard or elsewhere to cool your RAM, expansion cards, etc.
- High, Medium, Low fan settings
To test the Spotcool out, I used my fancy IR thermometer, purchased from Radio Shack. The thermometer's range is 0-300 degrees Fahrenheit and is accurate to +/-2.5%. The spot cool was placed in several different areas to cool different components. One position to cool the north bridge and video card, one position to cool the north bridge and the PVM (the capacitors that control the VCore), one position to cool the hard drives, and one position to help provide airflow to the Tuniq Tower that is used to cool my CPU. The computer was allowed plenty of time to heat up before initial measurements were taken. Likewise, the computer was given plenty of time to cool off before final measurements were taken. All temperatures are in Celsius.
- Intel Core2Duo E6600 Processor
- Gigabyte 965P-DS3 Motherboard
- 2048Mb G.Skill HZ RAM
- eVga 8800GTS 64Mb Video Card
- GameXtreme 700w Power Supply
- Westren Digital 74Gb Raptor
- Westren Digital 500Gb Caviar
- Sony Optical Drive
- Antec SonataII Mid tower Case
- Windows XP Professional
- Logitech wireless Mouse.
Most of the temperatures turned out slightly lower when the Spotcool was providing the components with airflow. The exceptions to this were with the hard drives and the CPU. The hard drives were not very hot to begin with, however, which means that there was less room for improvement. Also, the cooling setup in my case provides excellent airflow to the hard drives already, so, again, there would not be a lot of room for improvement. The same story is probably true with the CPU. The Tuniq Tower has its own fan, and improvements on the fan would be hard to come by. The lower temperatures were most pronounced on the north bridge, which had a heatsink, but no fan. By providing airflow over it, the heatsink's potential was released, which is clearly evident with temperatures almost 8 degrees lower.
The Spotcool does its job well, providing cooling to those tight to reach areas. However, if an in-depth cooling plan with lots of after market additions is already in use, then the Spotcool might not be the right choice. In addition, if a small case or a rather full case is what you have, you might look to smaller solutions to your cooling problems as it can be tricky to find a place to screw down the Spotcool. Though in all fairness, the Spotcool did its job and did it well in many cases (8 degree drop on the north bridge! Wow!) and could provide that extra little boost you need to get your overclock to the next level. Also, if you are a case modder, this could be the cool device that all of your friends ask you about. After all, how often do you see a fan on a stick? Finally, the speed control dial allows those who wish to have a quiet computer or own an HTPC to still be able to use the Spotcool without sacrificing their precious silence.
- Ability to get into tight spots.
- LEDs (for some).
- Provides cooling to vital components that most forget about.
- Fan speed control.
- LEDs (for some).
- Not good for small cases.
- Might hinder well thought out cooling plans currently in use.