nMedia Icetank: More than a Cute Name?

Cooling
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FAN DETAILS

Although nMedia boasts that the fan is "not proprietary" and can be changed, actually doing so is not that easy, and requires an unusual screwdriver. The screws themselves are standard Phillips-head screws, but they are hidden under the frame of the fan so that a standard Phillips screwdriver cannot be used. The fan can only be removed with a narrow head screwdriver that will fit though the mounting holes in the fan.


The fan screws require a screwdriver narrow enough to fit through the mounting holes on the fan.

The included fan is branded with nMedia's logo with no markings to identify the original manufacturer. The only information about the fan comes from nMedia's web site: 2200 RPM, 18~28 dBA, 35.3-44.3 CFM. As with all fan specs, these have to be taken with a grain of salt.


Once removed, any 92mm fan will fit.

The included fan controller is mounted on an expansion slot cover and has an adjustment range of 5~11.5V. The 5V minimum is enough to make most fans close to silent.


The fan controller looks like a cousin of the Zalman Fan Mate 2.


The controller can be installed in a PCI slot.

INSTALLATION

Installing the Icetank was impressively simple. The heatsink uses a single mounting clip that is compatible with all AMD socket types, although the arms of the clip are likely to be splayed outwards if installed on an AM2 system. Installation on an AMD system is as simple as clipping the heatsink onto the standard retention module.

Custom retention modules allow the same clip to be used with Intel boards. True to nMedia's claim, they can be installed without screws and without requiring access to the back of the motherboard. The trick is a mounting system similar to the one used by Intel's Socket 775 heatsinks. A plastic sleeve with a bulge at the end is fitted through the screw holes in the motherboard, and a plastic pin is pushed through, widening the bulge so it cannot be pulled back through the motherboard. The whole process adds less than a minute to the installation.

The installation system is not without its compromises. What is gained in convenience is lost in security, especially on Intel systems where the plastic pins are only held in place by friction. It is probably a bad idea to ship a system without removing the Icetank. Another issue is the tension on the clip, which was a bit low on our Socket 478 test bed. On the other hand, AM2 systems are likely to be quite tight, since the splayed arms will put the heatsink under greater tension.



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