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2CoolPC Plus
Author: Chris Oh
Date Posted: August 2nd, 2000
URL: http://www.slcentral.com/reviews/hardware/cooling/2coolpc/2coolpcplus

Introduction

Take a look inside your computer, what do you see in there? If you're like most people you will see a tangled bunch of power and IDE cables blocking airflow from your front mounted case fan to your AGP slot and your processor. Usually the case fan covers the ISA and PCI slots. Major computer manufacturers hire special engineers just to make sure that air flows through your case to all your peripherals and components unrestricted but most of use homemakers are faced with limited success from standard case fans and processor fans because we don't want or know how to make space in the case for airflow. If you see the diagram below:

Case layout of where air flows

This is the picture of the standard case albeit a little ugly. Please note that this is a case without any additional cooling aside from the case fan and the processor fan. The clutter of wires and the AGP card add to the blockage of airflow coming from the case fan up to the higher regions of the case so there is a definite temperature increase from the bottom of the case toward the top. This means that because cool air cannot easily get past the bundle of wires and cards, the cool air will probably not be effective in cooling the processor of the computer. Now if you take a look at the top of the case. Since there is not much cool air from the case fan is reaching the top, it's pretty warm up there. That is thanks to the power supply, which usually generates a good amount of heat, the 5.25" drives which usually spin fast to cause more heat and of course the hard drive. The newer 7200RPM and 10,000RPM drives are notorious for giving off high amounts of heat. Now you have a lot of components that do nothing but give off heat and that heat is blocked from going anyplace because of the restriction of airflow. So the heat remains on the top areas of the case until it is pushed out through the back. Now you have hot areas in the case and the processor comes into play. Processors give off a LOT of heat. But they usually have fans attached to heatsinks. What good are these fans when all they're blowing into the processor is hot air. The airflow I just explained to you is why some computers fail.

How It Works

This is also why you may have already heard of the 2CoolPC system. If you take a look at some of the pictures, it might seem a little simplistic, so simple in design that it actually seems ridiculous to call it a custom cooling system. To put the 2CoolPC simply, it is a plastic duct that fits on the floor of your case that routes airflow up and over your graphics card so that it sends cool air to the upper warm regions of your computer. Normally, this should connect to your case fan but 2CoolPC takes it a step further by adding it's own 80mm case fan to the ducting. This makes it more efficient in sending air through to the top. The system is also advertised as a PCI cooling device. This is true because if you look at the 2CoolPC from the top, only the left half of the unit is raised to send air to the top and the right side has no ducting at all. The right side is used to just send air in the general direction forward through to the PCI slots. This makes the 2CoolPC be able to send air to almost every point in the computer's case. Although simple, this is a great idea and also a great performer. I hope I explained the system well enough for you to understand but if you don't, I borrowed a good image from their website to illustrate it:

How the 2CoolPC Plus works

You can clearly see how it fits on the computer's base. Please note that this is for use inside the case only. If you can see the right side of the system, you will notice that there is no high duct. It is cut off so it basically acts like half a case fan. The left side of the system blows air through to the top of the PCI slots to the processor region as you can see and the right side blows to the PCI/ISA slots.

Specs

2CoolPC standard
Tower PC Cooling System
Made with a 42 CFM 92x92x25 mm Sleeve Fan.
2150 RPM
.2 Amp Power draw 24,000 Hour life expectancy
(Has Y Style Molex Power Connection)

2CoolPC Plus
The Ultimate PC and Server Cooling System.
Made with a Super High output 50 CFM 92x92x25 mm Double ball bearing fan.
2450 RPM
.3 Amp Power Draw. 65,000 Hour life expectancy
(Has Y Style Molex Power Connection

Installation

When I received the package, I immediately noticed that it was both lightweight and also versatile. The plastic can be bent to make sure it fits into your case. In the box came instructions on using it, the unit itself and also adhesive Velcro so you can make sure it doesn't move around inside your case. Something else also came to mind and that was "can a piece of duct plastic and a fan really make my case cooler?", I can say that is an enthusiastic yes, by channeling cool air to the hottest parts of the case, hot airflow is restricted and cool air is flowing where how air was before. So if you eliminate the hot spots of the case, the case will become a lot cooler. I really shouldn't say eliminate, it is more like supplementing most of the hot air generated with cool air.

Following the instruction manual, I put the 2CoolPC kit as far back on my case as I possible could so air is channeled directly above the video card and processor area. The Velcro can be used to hold the kit in place. The last step to the puzzle is plugging in the molex connector to an available 4-pin from your power supply which isn't hard, I had my case fan and the 2CoolPC share one connector via a Y-splitter. With the 2CoolPC secure on the bottom floor of my case and the power ready, I turned my computer on.

Usage

Seriously, I was expecting a loud roar to come from the fan of the kit but I was surprised when all I heard was a dull hum from the fan, nothing even remotely as loud as my YS Tech case fan. Actually, it seemed to muffle the other sounds in the case quite well. The airflow from the fan was pretty nice, more than enough to cool most components.

I was thinking about buying many of these to put in my various cases when a thought came into my mind. Will this fit in all cases and configurations? The answer is a no. I originally tested the system first with a GF2 and a low profile PCI Ethernet card under it so there was nothing in the PCI slots. Then I tested the system in another case where there was a standard Vortex2 sound card, WinTV card, and an Ethernet card, all PCI. The 2CoolPC system will not fit in this case configuration because the cards from the PCI slots stick up too high and the 2CoolPC is too wide. The kit would not fit because the PCI slots, this would mean to use this system effectively you would need a wide case, low-profile PCI cards, or some handy bending of plastic. The latter is probably the most effective as it channels air faster. Aside from the PCI problems, this kit is a wonder to cool cases.

To describe it better to you, this is a 92mm fan in the 2CoolPC Plus, while some cases use a 92mm case fan, 80mm is much more commonplace. At airflow at 50CFM and being quieter than my 38CFM 80mm case fan, this is a far more efficient way of cooling your case. Also, while you're contemplating buying this unit, make sure that you have good ventilation in your case because hot/cool air is going to need a place to escape to and since this kit blows air towards the top of the case, a exhaust fan would be ideal. The 2CoolPC is not a small system, you will need to remove it from your case whenever you want to upgrade your computer, this might be tedious if you are the frequent upgrader like I am. Alrighty, lets see how this worked:

First of all, I tried to get the system to run as hot as it could while running all of my case fans. Overclocked 550E at 733Mhz, overclocked GF2, 7200RPM hard drive, and a hot power supply got my ambient case temperature to 36C! That has got to be some warmness in there, especially since it's idle. I decided to put in the 2CoolPC and see how it stacks up against the heat. Lets just say it cooled it down pretty darn good, down to 32C. To get a system cooled to that level even with the case fans running is quite a feat and the 2CoolPC obviously works as advertised. I didn't expect the system to work this well but it did, so I better not argue, this is staying in my system.

2CoolPC Plus (the one I used) is available at www.2coolpc.com and priced at $24.95, that is pretty high for what this is made of and I'm sure they're pocketing quote a few bucks but nothing on the market is as simple as this and as effective, if you think the investment is worth it, dive right in.

Pros & Cons



Pros
Quiet
Efficient channeling of air
Easy to install
Effective
Cons
Expensive
Doesn't like high PCI cards
Hassle to put in and take out


Conclusion

In today's world, our computers are running hotter than ever, in tomorrow's world of 15,000 RPM's, 1.13GHz processors and PC800 RAM, heat is definitely going to overtake the cooling methods of today, that's why the cooling business is booming as investors pump more money into fancy technologies such as different metals used to cool better but why resort to that now when you have an effective combination of plastic and metal in the form of a 2CoolPC. I started writing this review with doubts of it's viability but when my system temperature dropped 4 degreed Celsius, I was impressed and I'm sure anyone who knows about case cooling would be too. I would give this product an editor's choice if only it was cheaper and also designed to accommodate PCI cards better.

Rating: 8/10 SystemLogistics

Re-Printed From SLCentral