Overview: IStorm / IStorm II
Noise +
Air flow ++
Dust protection +
++ is best, -- is worst
+ cross-flow fan that provides lots of airflow
+ HDD activity LED (IStorm II only)
+ audible alarm (IStorm II only)
+ looks cool (for those who care)
- sticks out of the case
- a bit hard to install on some cases

The design

IStorm II

The "old" IStorm (black)

When I first saw the I-Storm cooler on CeBIT '98, I was really astonished - it is so radically different from other hard drive coolers, and it certainly looks cool. The black cooler is very visible from the outside, it sticks out of the case by about 4.5 cm.

The reason for this is that the I-Storm doesn't use conventional fans, but a so-called "cross-flow fan". These fans are relatively large; they provide good airflow even at a low rpm, which means that they are exceptionally silent. These fans are usually used where good cooling at a low noise is required, for example in some overhead projectors. Another advantage of the cross-flow fan is that it delivers air flow not just at one spot, but over a larger surface, making it particularly suitable for cooling hard drives.

The fact that the cooler sticks out of the case might be a disadvantage if you install it directly over your CD-ROM drive: It'll really be in the way when changing the CD. Also, it is not possible to install two IStorms directly over each other; therefore the IStorm is not suitable for servers with several hard drives.

By now, the IStorm has been replaced by the IStorm II. What are the differences between the IStorm and the IStorm II? Well, the IStorm II has a HDD activity LED, plus an audible fan failure alarm. The IStorm was available both in black and white, whereas the IStorm II is only available in white.

IStorm - view from below   IStorm - what's inside
A view from below
plus a picture showing the disassembled IStorm with the cross-flow fan

The IStorm's cross-flow fan provides a lot more airflow than the two or three 40mm fans found in most other HDD coolers, while still being reasonably quiet.


If your hard drive is already installed in your system, then you don't even need to uninstall it in order to use the I-Storm. You just open your case, remove the drive bay cover, insert the I-Storm, and fix it using the included screws.

If your hard drive isn't installed yet, then you can use the brackets included with the I-Storm to mount your 3.5" drive in a 5.25" drive bay. The I-Storm - unlike many other HDD coolers - is also suitable for 5.25" drives, as long as they are not too high. However, 5.25" hard drives haven't been available for several years (the last being the Quantum BigFoot series), so that isn't be something you should care about when shopping for a HDD cooler. Unfortunately, on some cases, the I-Storm is not as easy as on others; e.g. on the Elan Vital T10AB, the drive bay openings are a bit smaller than on other cases, and it requires a little maneuvering to make it fit.