Ultra Products is a well-known name that hardware enthusiasts have looked to for years. While their product line is very broad, including everything from mouse pads to MP3 players, their cases and power supplies are arguably their most popular offerings. There is also a strong emphasis on cooling in the design of these products.

Cooling and noise have both become more of an issue in recent years, and the continuous tug-of-war between components which focus on one of these attributes at the expense of the other have sharply divided enthusiasts. Certainly, dissipating large amounts of heat is simple if you don't mind surrounding (and filling) your case with noisy, high-RPM fans. Conversely, noise is easy to remove if you take all the fans out of a computer - though the risk of having the resulting heat damage critical components certainly increases.


Throughout the years, companies have dealt with the most obvious sources of heat - CPUs and video cards - and most enthusiasts are already familiar with the various players in those markets. It has only been in the last few years, however, that hard drive cooling has received serious attention by manufacturers. Various approaches to dealing with the issue of hard drive heat are available, each with strengths and weaknesses. For their part, Ultra Products has maintained an active cooling design in their HD coolers, choosing to follow an inexpensive approach of simply increasing airflow around the hard drive by using fans. This approach, while effective, eliminates their products from consideration by people for whom noise reduction is paramount - home theatre PC users, for example - and with increasing numbers of desktops finding their way into living rooms, this segment of the market is getting too large to ignore.

With this in mind, Ultra Products has launched their first passive HD cooler, the ULT40010. Will it prove effective at cooling today's hard drives without any sort of fan? We'll put the ULT40010 to the test in our labs, and see if there is indeed a reason to pursue the fanless life.
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  • Ajax9000 - Monday, November 05, 2007 - link

    So you take a 3.5" drive out of a 3.5" bay, wrap it in a metal shroud, stick it in a 5.25" bay and its temperature goes down ...

    Well, how much would the teperature have gone down if you just mounted the bare drive in the 5.25" bay?????????????
    Reply
  • SunAngel - Sunday, November 04, 2007 - link

    The following comments are not directed towards the article itself, but the product.

    It amazes me with all the "hotroding" going on in computers. A hard drive cooler? Come on, get real. If your hard drive is running hot I think you have more serious problems than a hard drive cooler will solve. Like maybe you need to have better case cooling. But, I guess there are individuals out there that will fall for this type of product.

    At $43 MSRP, this should put this product in the grave real quick. For $43 you could purchase a better cooling case or upgrade the cooling the case you already have. I feel so ashamed when I read reviews of these types of products. I always think, "Damn, if this persons wasn't so immature they would see this product is worthless." I don't know why I feel ashamed, hell, its not my money. It as if a bully is taking money from a baby. I just want to bash the nose to back of their skull. Yet, I know we are different and have different needs and tastes.

    So I'm going to end my jibber jabbing and let bygons be bygons.
    Reply
  • mechBgon - Sunday, November 04, 2007 - link

    Not to be a language Nazi, but with reference to the title, the phrase is "put it through the wringer," from the olden days when that was part of doing laundry. :) Reply
  • mindless1 - Sunday, November 04, 2007 - link

    So we have heatpipes or at least heatpipe looking *things*, but what's missing? The heatpipes should be connected to fins to increase their surface area, that is essentially the point of heatpipes. Having that fin plate arrangement on top is far less effective than it ought to be.

    For this reason I'd have to consider the product misengineered, before even considering that if it were well engineered it would still make minimal difference unless the drive was installed in some hot cramped place where it shouldn't have been w/o another cooling method already like passive intake holes in front of the bay or a fan. A couple degrees isn't even worth the time to install this if they gave it to you for free.

    If it had LEDs and the heatsink was giganormous enough that you had to buy another case with it's own zip code just to use it, then it would at least impress the younger crowd. This product has free after rebate written all over it.
    Reply
  • RichUK - Sunday, November 04, 2007 - link

    What a useless bit of kit. This is akin to putting spinners on your pimped out Hummer. Reply
  • jmv - Saturday, November 03, 2007 - link

    What does a "7% decreased load temperature" mean?

    Is that 7% with respect to
    a) ambient room temperature
    b) ambient case temperature
    c) 0 C
    d) 0 Fahrenheit
    d) absolute zero (-273 C)

    I suspect it's c), but that would be a completely arbitrary scale. For example, the result would be different if measured in Fahrenheit!
    Reply
  • Dave Robinet - Saturday, November 03, 2007 - link

    7% drop versus what the drive originally ran at (ie. without the cooler).

    SO:

    Without the heatsink, the Raptor was 58.6 degrees. With the heatsink, it was 54.7. That difference (3.9 degrees) is roughly 7% of the original 58.6 degree temperature (actually 6.665%).

    Sorry if that wasn't clear. Thanks for reading, and for the smile this morning. :)
    Reply
  • dnd728 - Saturday, November 03, 2007 - link

    Hmm... You shouldn't really do this. It would only mean anything if you use the ambient temperature as your base. 0C is simply an arbitrary point chosen because that's when water freezes. It has no relevance here - it means nothing. Reply
  • Woodchuck2000 - Saturday, November 03, 2007 - link

    Spot on... Seriously, before you write an article about practical thermodynamics, take a few seconds to actually do some research. The only meaningful reading you can take here is the difference beween drive and ambient temperature. You don't actually specify how you measure the drive temperature, and you don't consider the effects of the different mounting mechanisms within the case - the default 4 in 3 hard drive mounting of the Stacker 830 will be lousy for convective cooling compared with the 5.25" bay mounts which have clear air above and below (unless you've mounted between your two optical drives - again, not stated). This is, in the end, a pointless product which makes no practical difference to your rig and I would expect a site of Anandtech's calibre to actually say so. Reply
  • puffpio - Friday, November 02, 2007 - link

    any thermal paste used?
    Totally passive system would be sweeeeeeeet
    Reply

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