Do memory needs cooling? You bet if you do any sort of overclocking. What is the cheapest solution that will give you the best cooling then. Well, check out CoolIT Systems Cool RAM in this review and see if this $20 fan can do the trick that allows you push your overclocking to a new height.
Every overclocker knows that heat is your worst enemy. The best components sometime just cannot cope with the excessive heat and that’s why there are tons of products on the market design to keep the components running cool. We have seen CPU coolers, after market graphics card fans, Northbridge and Southbridge fans, memory fans, and case fans. One of these components usually do not get much attention and excitement is the memory fans. Recently Corsair has offered memory with a fan pre-attached and OCZ has come up the FlexXLC Edition to provide better cooling to the RAMs. For average users who may not be able to afford these expensive RAM modules and still wans to push their system to the limit, add-on coolers provide the best bang for our buck.. Today, we will be looking at CoolIT Systems RAM Fan, a $20 memory fan that is designed to provide added cooling and may potentially help with higher overclocking.
If you have been keeping up with the latest technology news, you sure will have heard of CoolIT Systems. They are a fairly new company but they have made a big splash with their Freezone and Eliminator CPU cooler. In fact, Bjorn3D has reviewed their Freezone CPU cooler and should have the Eliminator cooler in the near future. The company’s main product line is PC component cooling, ranging from CPU, memory, and peripheral cards.
THE RAM Fan
Contrast to the Freezone and the Eliminator, the name RAM Fan is rather dull name from CoolIT Systems, but if it performs well then who cares about a dull name.
The RAM Fan is packaged in a rather simple plastic box. The fan is not being held on the box so it’s freely to move around inside the box, luckily the fan is held in place by a piece of metal so it shouldn’t be too easy to break or damage.
- Size: 60x60x10 mm
- Airflow: 17.74 CFM
- Speed: 4200 RPM
- dBA: 31.6
- Power: 12V/2W
The RAM Fan is a 40 mm fan that can be mounted on top of the memory to offer better cooling. As you can see from the picture, this RAM Fan is not as flashy as some other RAM coolers on the market; however, if it performs well, I don’t really care about the flashiness. The fan is actually glued with a double sided tape onto the metal plate, which will also serve as a bridge to mount onto the top of the RAM slots. The two ends on the metal plate will clip onto both ends of the RAM retention mechanism to secure the fan on top of the RAM. I am a bit disappointed to see the metal ends as I would prefer that the CoolIT Systems would put some non-conductive material over the ends where it meets the RAM to avoid any potential electrical grounding issue caused by the metal contacts.
It wasn’t too obvious from the picture above that the metal plate is actually angled rather than flat, I believe CoolIT Systems designed the fan to be positioned in this manner so the heat can be blowing at a certain angle to help cool the RAM.
The fan is powered by a 2-pin fan connector that directly connects to the motherboard. It’s unfortunate that CoolIT Systems didn’t choose to use a 3-pin connector to allow fan speed adjustments. Furthermore, I am a bit disappointed that the cables are not sleeved. The cable length is somewhat short in my opinion as not all motherboards will have a fan header next to the DIMM slot, thus the short cable can pose some problem for some people.
I chose to install the RAM Fan on my EVGA 680i motherboard and the fan installed without a hitch, however, when I tried to mount the RAM Fan to my DFI LanParty NF4 SLI-DR motherboard with a Thermalright SI-120 heatsink and fan, I ran into some problems. The Thermalright’s heatsink is large L shaped heatsink which will extend over the top of the RAM slots and this has prevented the RAM Fan to be installed as there’s not enough space above the RAM. Most of the newer motherboard have the RAM place on the right side of the CPU (like the one on the EVGA 680i motherboard) so it should not pose much trouble for most people who may have a large heatsink on their CPU. Just be sure to have at least ~4.6 cm of space above your RAM’s retention mechanism if you plan to use the RAM Fan. As you can see from the picture above, once the fan is installed and plugged in, the fan will emit blue LED light, not too flashy, but I guess CoolIT Systems is trying to at least add some coolness to the fan.
According to the CoolIT Systems’ specification, the RAM Fan is running at 4200 rpm. The noise is audible for a quiet system but it’s not too loud to cause too much annoyance in my EVGA system which consists of the chipset fan (~5000 rpm), Freezone CPU fan (adjusted to 3000~4000 rpm), the 7900GT graphic card’s fan, along with two 120mm fans. The noise coming from the RAM Fan is probably the loudest fan in my system (with the exception of the Freezone when it’s working at the fullest rpm) because I can definitely hear the difference with and without the fan. Our fellow reviewer, Rob, reports that he feels that Ram Fan is really loud on his system (Details below under Specifications), which despite recently converting out to a watercooling setup still features a grand total of eight 120mm fans that he keeps to around 1500rpm. According to him he feels that the noise is even audible across the room as it produces a high pitch whine when it’s in operation. Unfortunately, here at Bjorn3D, we do not have a decibel meter to measure accurately of the noise level, so we only have personal experience to go by.
- Core 2 Duo E6300 1.86ghz @ 3.5ghz
- Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3 Rev 1
- 2 x 1Gb Corsair DDR2-800 RAM 2.0v & @ 1ghz 2.1v
- Foxconn 8800GTS 320mb
- Antec NeoHE 550watt PSU
- Antec P180-B Case
- Swiftech Apogee GT + MCP655, & Koolance EHX-1050BK
- Extech 470 Multimeter
It’s not easy to test the RAM’s temperature as most RAM do not come with a temperature sensor, unless you have got one of those Corsair XMS2 Xpert series modules, which unfortunately I don’t. We decided to use an IR thermometer to measure the temperature of the RAM with and without the fan. The RAM Fan is mounted onto the motherboard and the temperature of both sticks of RAM are taken. Three readings are taken with the IR thermometer pointing to the top, middle, and the bottom portion of the RAM, with the top position being the northernmost part in the above picture. The stock memory speed’s (800MHz, 2.0V) temperatures are measured and the overclocked 1000MHz (2.1V) temperatures are also mesured.
The first thing to take a note on the result is that the temperatures are the outside temperature of the RAM heatspreader, thus the real temperature of the chip should definitely be higher than the numbers. As we can see, with just a slight overclocking from 800MHz to 1000MHz and a bump in the voltage from 2.0V to 2.1V, the temperature has risen approximately 5 degrees. We can see from the result that CoolIT Systems’s RAM fan performs fairly well. It is able to help to reduce the temperature of the RAM about 10 degrees even when the RAM is overclocked from stock 800MHz (2.0V) to 1000MHz (2.1V). Despite the fact that the fan is only placed on the center of the RAM, we can see that it is able to cool the RAMs fairly evenly. The RAM fan’s performance is even better with overclocked RAM as we can see the temperature of the RAM sticks with the fan is only about 1~2 degrees higher than the ones without the fan (~5 degrees) with the exception of the TOP position on the overclocked measurement.
The RAM Fan is a nice little product. For any overclocker out there who is pushing their system to the limits would definitely be beneficial by the added cooling from the RAM Fan. It’s extremely easy to install and performs well yet not too expensive. Of course it is not something that everybody must have or need but it would be a great addition to those who does not mind the added noise and need the extra cooling to squeeze the last little bit of overclocking potential. The biggest complaint that I have with the RAM Fan is probably the noise level, despite the good performance, the noise is definitely something that you will notice and it will be very annoying if you want the absolutely the quiet setup. Other than this, there’s not much to complain about this product except that maybe I would suggest CoolIT Systems will use 3 pin tail fan connector to allow the adjustment of the fan speed as that will help to reduce the noise level and possibly provide slightly longer sleeved cable. Still for a $20 fan, the CoolIT Systems RAM Fan is as cheap as it comes when you wish to add the extra cooling to the RAM.
The CoolIT Systems’s RAM Fan is a good of RAM cooler on a budget if you don’t mind the noise, for that it will receive a score of 8 out of 10 (very good).
+ Good performance
+ Easy Installation
+ Good performance
+ Blue LED
– Slightly noisy
– No temperature monitoring or adjustmentment ability
– May have clearance issue with large heatsink
– Possible damage the memory with the metal touching the RAM