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CoolIT Systems PCI Cooling Booster

Need additional cooling on your expansion cards? If so, check out our review on the CoolIT Systems PCI Cooling Booster. This little 80mm fan mounts above the PCI expansion slot to offer additional cooling to the area where cooling is usually not as readily available as other components. Check out out review and see how well this fan performs.

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INTRODUCTION

Bjorn3D has looked at the CoolIT Systems’s Freezone and the Ram Fan in the past and was fairly satisfied with the CoolIT’s ability to bring good cooling products to the market, especially the Freezone.  Today, we will be looking at yet another CoolIT’s product, the PCI Cooling Booster, a rather unique product which is designed to help cool the expansion cards.

Most of the time, the PCI expansion cards do not need any additional cooling as these components are not subject to overclocking and hence they should not overheat like the rest of the components.  With the exception of the graphic card, the area around the expansion slots usually does not have any designated cooling except the heatsink and sometimes the fans attached to the cards themselves.  However, this does not mean that these components do not need proper cooling and any additional cooling to the internal components is welcomed as long as it does not add too much or any noise to the overall system.  Let’s see if the CoolIT’s PCI Cooling Booster can fulfill this requirement and keep the expansion cards cool.
 

 

SPECIFICATION

  • Voltage: 12
  • Power: 2Watt
  • Speed: 3000rpm
  • Airflow: 38.88 CFM
  • Noise: 32.31 dBA

Features:

  • Provides direct air flow to cool PCI components.
  • Simple to Install
    • Simple bolt-in to any standard 7 slot PCI bay
    • Plugs into any available fan header
  • Cools PCI Components
    • Provides direct airflow to cool all PCI cards to increase stability and reliability
    • Guaranteed to reduce temperatures on video cards
    • Maximize overclocking potential

CLOSER LOOK

   

The PCI Cooling Booster comes in the same package as the Ram Fan which is in a sealed plastic box that requires a sharp knife to open it up.  You can clearly see the fan on the front and read the features of the fan on the package.

  

The PCI Cooling Booster is a rather simple design, it is basically an 80mm fan mounted to a piece of metal.  In fact, it is exactly the same design as the Ram Fan.  The fan is taped to the metal bridge with four double sided pieces of tape on the four corners of the fan.  The unit is mounted onto the PCI expansion slot with four thumb screws that are already installed on the metal bridge.
 
 
The fan is clear but when you connect it to the motherboard, it will light up blue LED just like the cool ram.  We see a two pin fan connector that is used to power the fan.  The cable is somewhat short, only about 18cm long.
  
 
Once the PCI Cooling Booster is installed, the fan will raise about 3.5cm in height from the edge of the PCI expansion slot and it will cover about 10.5 cm into the expansion slots.  The PCI Cooling Booster will span across all seven expansion slots so it will be able to assist cooling of all cards.
 
The booster actually uses four screws, two screws are used on the case’s expansion slot and two screws are then used to screw the metal bridge to the case.   All four screws are identical, so there’s no way to mess them up.

INSTALLATION

 
The installation of PCI Cooling Booster is extremely easy.  You simply unscrew the screw that’s currently holding the PCI cards and screw the unit onto the expansion slot.  However, I did encounter problems when I installed the fan.  The first little problem that I encountered with the unit was that it won’t work with cases that have a screwless design for the PCI expansion card’s retention.  Many of the cases on the market actually come with such design where a metal bar is used to lock the PCI cards in place.  Unfortunately, the mounting mechanism of the PCI Cooling Booster forbids you to use the case’s PCI expansion lock.  I would advise CoolIT Systems to maybe tweak the metal bridge slightly and have the two screw holes protruding to the back of the fan rather than sideways as that may allow people with screwless case to mount the fan with the case’s PCI retention mechanism.
 

 
I thought, “Fine, I will just use the screw to mount the PCI Cooling Booster since my NZXT Zero case allows users to screw the PCI expansion cards without using the retention bar.”  Unfortunately, it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be as the metal bar’s protruding metal piece (which functions to hold down the PCI expansion cards) forbid me to line up the screws on the fan to the expansion slot.  I thought “Okay, that’s fine, I will just try with another case, the Antec Sonata, as this case still uses the screws instead of the metal bar to retain the PCI expansion cards.”
 

 
Well, then I was faced with another challenge.  This time,  my Thermaltake Big Typhoon (which I have installed on my processor) was blocking the first PCI slot so it prevented the fan from being installed.  I am thinking, “You have got to be kidding me!”  After some adjustment, I decided to install the fan above the second PCI expansion slot instead of the first one.  The whole process should be quick and easy but unfortunately, I encounter more problem than I had anticipated.
 

TESTING SYSTEM

  • Processor: AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+ Manchester
  • Memory: 2x G.Skill Extreme Series (F1-3200PHU2-2GBZX)
  • Motherboard: DFI Lanparty nF4 SLI-DR (BIOS NF4LD406)
  • Graphics Card: Gigabyte GeForce 7900 GT (GV-NX79T256DP-RH)
  • Sound Card: Onboard
  • Internal Hard drive:  Maxtor DiamondMax Plus10 250GB Hard Drive (Maxtor 6B250S0), 250GB, 7,200 rpm, 16 MB Cache, SATA 150
  • LAN: NVIDIA nForce 4 Gigabit ethernet, forceware 6.86  
Since CoolIT Systems guarantees that the PCI Cooling Booster is guaranteed to cool the graphics cards, I decided to put that to the test.  I set the Northbridge fan and the CPU fan to the maximum under the BIOS so they would be at constant rpm so that I could measure the added cooling of the PCI Cooling Booster’s performance only.
 

RESULT

 

 

Lowest temperature Lowest Temperature Highest Temperature Highest Temperature
without the fan with the fan without the fan with the fan

Motherboard

38 42 46 48

CPU

32 33 40 40

Core 1

32 31 46 47

Core 2

28 28 43 43

Northbridge

39 41 43 44

GPU

44 46 62 63

The result is somewhat disappointing as we can see that the PCI Cooling Booster does not really help to cool the components, rather it actually makes the components slightly hotter.  I think it’s possible that the fan blows hot air away from certain areas into some of the sensors thus making the temperature hotter.  We see the GPU is also not getting the promised cooling either but that could due to the fact that the Gigabyte graphic card (GV-NX79T256DP-RH) that I was using actually has a modified heatsink and fan which provides better cooling.  The placement of the PCI Cooling Booster could also be the culprit as it does not really cover the center of the GPU’s fan.  Many of today’s graphic cards are long and they have the fan actually closer to the middle and front of the card and have the hot air escape the graphic cards through the rear.  The PCI Cooling Booster actually is closer to the rear of the card, so it may not be able to efficiently push the hot air away from the card to assist GPU’s cooling.

CONCLUSION

The PCI Cooling Booster is a good concept as it adds cooling to the area where additional cooling is usually not as readily available as other areas inside the system.  However, it’s performance is not as good as I would have hoped.  Furthermore, the installation, although simple, can be problematic for some people with tool-less case and/or cases with side panel fans.  For a system that does not have proper ventilation, the PCI Cooling Booster may serve as a good addition and may provide some assistance in cooling.  However, if you have the option of installing a 120 mm case fan or have other means of replacing the heat sink and the fan of the internal components, then that would be the better option as we see that they are far more effective than the PCI Cooling Booster.

 

Pros:

     + Nice concept
     + Quiet
     + Nice looking LED
     + Easy installation 

Cons:

     – Not for screwless cases and maybe even case with side panel fans
     – May not enhance added cooling for a well ventilated case
     – Short fan power cable

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