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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
The fan controller looks like a cousin of the Zalman
Fan Mate 2.
The controller can be installed in a PCI slot.
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
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