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located at http://www.cdrinfo.com.

Appeared on: Friday, December 16, 2005
Card Cooler XT

1. Introduction

Imagine you're looking for a name for a company that manufactures cooling systems, especially cooling systems for VGA cards. The simplest name you can find is "Card Cooler". "Card Cooler" has been manufacturing for quite some time now, fans and coolers for VGA cards, PC cases, PC cables and accessories. You can see their full product list on their web-site.

We are used to seeing innovative ideas and fancy designs with most cooling systems. Since most PC enthusiasts are looking to make an impression through the look of their PC case, new designs are always popping up on the market that offer fancy and full of effects PC components. However, there are some basic design rules that companies should follow when designing their new coolers and fans. In some circumstances, the simplest designs are often the most effective. This is where the Card Cooler XT comes to claim a place amongst the leaders in the cooler line up. Simple design, nice look, and above all, effective cooling.

- The fans

The first thing that we noticed when we saw the Card Cooler XT was "why others haven't thought of this earlier?". This cooling system consists of two 120mm fans rotating at high speed, screwed together within the blue frames that you can see in the picture below. Of course, you can unscrew the fans and use them as stand-alone for your PC case cooling needs.

Small wires come out from the centre of the fan and stretch to the four corners of the fan's frame. These wires make the fan light up blue when turned on. If you don't like the blue color, the Card Cooler also has red and a green cables available, or then there's the "Chameleon Fan" that uses a wider range of colors. You can see the complete list of fans here.

With the "Card Cooler" product line, there's a 4-pin to 3-pin power adapter. This adapter comes with the Card Cooler XT. As you can see below, the standard power cable is a 3-pin cable, but you can use the provided adapter to convert it into a 4-pin cable.

Unfortunately, there is no rotation speed controller, but you can get one from "The Card Cooler" for only $1.99.

The first Card Cooler XT that hit the market was the one shown below, with no fancy lights. Just the fans and the 3-pin to 4-pin power adapter. Then again, why not buy the light-up version of the Card Cooler XT, since the cost is the same?

- Features / Specifications

The Card Cooler XT blows 138 CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) of air when both fans are used. Most of you might be concerned about the noise levels. Card Cooler XT promises that it will not go above 35.5dB per fan. Note, that with two fans working together, the sound energy reaching your ears will double which is equivalent to an increase of 3dB. This means that the total noise level emitted will be 38.5dB from both fans. The fans rotate at 2400RPM, one of the fastest rotation speeds that you can find for a 120mm fan.

Here are the detailed specifications as provided by "The Card Cooler":

Product Name Card Cooler XT
Rated voltage 12 V (DC)
Rated Current .20 Amp/fan
Input Power 2.4 Watts/fan
Fan Size 120mm x 25mm
Rated Speed 2400 Rpm
Air Volume 138 cfm total
Noise Level 35.5 dB(A)/fan
Bearing System Ball Bearing
Fan Safety UL/CE/CSA
Warranty Period Lifetime
Dimensions 10 x 6.5 x 2.5

2. Performance Tests

Since there is no way to accurately monitor VGA card temperatures, we decided to use one fan to cool our standard AMD 3500+ CPU (Newcastle). We should point out that temperature values shown in these tests are not related in any way to temperature you might get with your VGA cards. We also compared the results we got with a patented 120mm fan that rotates at the same speed.

But first, we had to see the rotation speed of the Card Cooler XT fan. As you can see below, the fan is clocked at just under 1855RPM maximum. As already mentioned, there is no way to control the fan's rotation speed.

We then installed the Card Cooler XT fan on the CPU heatsink, turned on our PC and measured the temperature at CPU idle. The temperature was also measured with the standard 120mm fan clocked at around the same rotation speed (1840RPM~1850RPM).

As you can see, the standard fan reported 37°C at 1850RPM...

normal fan - 1850RPM

... while the Card Cooler XT gave us 36°C at the same rotation speed.

Card Cooler XT

We had a 1°C drop in temperature and although this might not sound like a lot for a CPU fan, imagine both of these fans working together in a PC case. We should comment a little bit on the test procedure. The Card Cooler XT in not intended to replace your CPU fan or your VGA cooler. However, in this test, we simply wanted to compare a standard 120mm that we had against the Card Cooler XT fan.

When we finally installed these fans in our PC case for the job they were meant to do, we were impressed with the 138 CFM of air flow. There is also another big advantage with this design. It can cool multiple cards at the same time. Because of their combined size, the fans can help cool almost all PCI or AGP cards installed in a PC. About the only problem we can see is determining if these fans can both fit in your system.

3. Conclusion

This has been the first product that we have tested from "The Card Cooler". We were impressed at the simplicity of the design and we never expected that the fans could look so good from the outside of the PC case :-)

The manufacturer states that each fan will blow 69 cubic feet per minute of air, and when both fans are operating together, they can reach 138CFM. This is truly a lot of air. But "The Card Cooler" engineers did not only think of performance, but also of stylish design. The fans used in the Card Cooler XT light up blue when operating, and there are several other colours also available for you to choose from. The fans have transparent frame and blades to take full advantage of lighting effects under low light conditions.

Although the manufacturer promises 2400RPM, we did not reach more than ~1855RPM. This shouldn't be a problem since 1850RPM is already a very high rotation speed for a 120mm fan. Our tests reported good performance, slightly better than a standard 120mm fan. The overall size of the Card Cooler XT is big, and you should first check if it will fit in your PC case before buying it. But because of its size, it doesn't only helps cool down your VGA card, it can also cool down multiple VGA cards (very handy when it comes to SLI-enabled systems), other cards installed in your PC, memory modules and other mainboard chipsets. And if you are worried about noise levels, don't be. The fans were very quiet, with the CPU and VGA card fans being louder that the Card Cooler XT.

The aim of the Card Cooler XT is to provide greater and more effective air flow inside the PC case, but it is not intended to replace the standard cooling system. This means that if you want to change your cooling system because you want to try a noiseless solution, this product is not for you. You cannot replace you standard fans, but you can help boost overall performance with a larger volume of air flowing inside the PC case.

The colored version of the Card Cooler XT is priced at US$22.99, while the colorless version is priced at US$19.99. There are also more fans provided by "The Card Cooler" that you can choose from. Some are priced higher than US$22.99, but they do look fantastic. Check them out here.

- The Good

- The Bad

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