Front Panel Knicknacks by Coolermaster & Matrix Orbital

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PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

COOLDRIVE 6

The bulk of the Cooldrive 6 is made from extruded aluminum with a series of fins on the bottom and light grooves on the top of the unit. The front of the Cooldrive 6 sports a sleek well laid out front panel. According to Cooler Master, the buttons can control every feature of the drive without using the software interface. The LCD sports a blue backlight and is very bright. The LCD brightness is not adjustable nor can be it disabled.

The Cooldrive 6 comes prewired with four temperature probes, 24" in length, and three 3 pin 10" fan leads. Each fan lead is rated for 18W, enough for even the largest of case fans. The built in blower fan is prewired to the unit. The long temperature probe tails could be trouble those wanting to tuck them out of the way. The fan leads could certainly be longer; 10" may not be enough to reach distant rear case fans.


A thermal pad is included for the HDD.

Differentiating the Cooldrive 6 from the MX-411 is the HDD mounting option. Installing the hard drive into the unit is fairly straight forward. First the thermal pad is attached to the underside of the hard drive. Depending on the drive, the pad may need to be cut to size in order to avoid obstructions. The pad has a peel and stick side, and applied to the PCB underside of the hard drive. This thermal pad serves two purposes: 1. to be a transfer medium from the hard drive itself and aluminum cage it is mounted in. 2. it provides some degree of decoupling between the hard drive and the aluminum cage of the unit. The top of the cage has a preapplied thermal pad attached at the factory to draw heat from the top of the drive to the extruded aluminum shell.

Securing the hard drive to the sled reveals a welcome surpise: Very large (and fairly soft) rubber isolation washers, which help decouple the drive from the aluminum cage. The cage is then screwed into the main housing, slid into a free 5.25" bay.

Once assembled, hard drive is bathed in airflow from the small internal fan. Image courtesy of Cooler Master.

The Cooldrive 6 physical installation took about 5 minutes from start to finish. Without the HDD to worry about, the MX-411 is even simpler: just mount in a pair of vacant bays and run the cables. Once the units are installed, all that is left to do is install the software and configure them.

MX411

The faceplate of the MX-411 is available in black and silver and a wide range of LCD colors. The display occupies a pair of 5.25" bays. This could make installation an annoyance if you don't have two free optical drive bays. The oversizing of the display seems to be driven more by the PCB behind it than by actual need, it could be easily redesigned to only accommodate one 5.25. Unlike the controls of the Cooldrive, all of the buttons on the MX-411 can be customized to perform a variety of functions.

The backside of the MX-411 reveals its inner workings. The PCB is tightly packed with jumpers, power plugs, USB connections, four 3 pin fan connection points capable of 12 watts per fan, and 6 thermal probes. If the PCB where rotated 90 degrees it would allow again for the entire unit to occupy only one 5.25" bay.

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