THE HEATSINK GUIDE: Cooler Master CoolDrive HDD cooler

Overview: Cooler Master CoolDrive
Noise ++
Air flow -
Dust protection ++
++ is best, -- is worst
+ cooling 'by contact' via large heatsink
+ very quiet
- limited air flow over the hard drive
- no HDD activity LED

The design

When you see the CoolDrive cooler just from the outside, you might think: Hey, that's just a face plate with two fans - just like all those other HDD coolers! Wrong - the CoolDrive unit also includes a large heatsink that cools the hard drive by contact. A self-glueing thermal interface material is included, which you can glue on the HDD's chip set, and then install the HDD "inside" the heatsink. A great concept - but the weak point of this cooler are the fans. Unfortunately, there are only two of them, which provide very limited airflow. This is, in part, due to the dust filter - it does a fine job filtering dust, but it also inhibits air flow.

If your case ventilation is already quite good, and you're just looking for something that will cool specifically the HDDs without adding much noise, then the CoolDrive is a good choice. Unlike other HDD coolers which provide more airflow, it will not have any noticable effect on overall case cooling.

The CoolDrive's heatsink

The hard drive is screwed directly on the heatsink, so that the HDD's PCB has direct contact to the cooler. The massive heatsink also has the advantage of providing vibration-free mounting for the HDD, possibly resulting in a lower noise level. The supplied thermoconductive foam pads can easily be removed once the HDD is uninstalled, so there should be no problems if the drive ever needs RMA.


Installation is quite easy; at first, you cut the provided thermal interface tape into pieces that fit your HDD's chipset, then install the HDD inside the cooler, and finally mount everything into a 5.25" slot. Note that if the drive is already installed, you will have to uninstall it in order to install this cooler.

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