Antec MX-1: Actively Cooled External HDD Enclosure

Storage
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INSTALLATION

Access to the interior is gained by the removable of a single long screw from the bottom. The top cover must then be slid a bit to be unlocked, after which it can be removed. What greets the eyes is a PCB with the I/O panel, a central blower style fan, and a one-piece silicone rubber grommet against which the hard drive is to be mounted.


More complex inside than most.

Two screws on either side of the fan allow the internal subassembly to be removed so that the HDD can be attached with screws threaded from the other side. A bit of care must be exercise when removing and reattaching the internal subassembly, as there is a bit of interlocking of plastic parts and a wire to blue LED power light under the Antec logo on the front of the device.


Subassembly holds the HDD and everything else.

We took a quick look at the underside of the PCB. A SATALink IC is employed.

The fan itself has a diameter of 70~80mm, with a fairly large center pole. The blades are quite short and have a depth no greater than 1cm at most, probably less. The intake is the circular opening you see above. It does not look like it moves much air... but to cool a single hard drive, it does not have to. The next photo shows the underside of the internal subassembly.


Long HDD screws "borrowed" from Antec P180, P150 and NSK2400/Fusion cases.
Proper grommets ensure no direct contact between HDD and subassembly.

INGENIOUS AIRFLOW

The arrows in the photo above give some idea of the way air flows within the MX-1. The left arrow shows a small gap between the fan and the bottom of the hard drive through which the fan draw in air. The rubber gasket between the subassembly and the bottom of the drive (visible under the left arrow) ensures that this is the only way the air can come into the fan. The arrow on the right shows the exhaust path, which is via the bottom slot.

You ask where the air comes from on the left. Well, there's only one way it can get into the MX-1, and that's through the intake vent on the top cover, directly over the exhaust slot. This means the air goes across the entire top surface of the drive, then around and under the drive, through the fan blades, then out the back. In essence, the air flows in a 180-degree loop over, around, and under the hard drive. The hard drive is literally surrounded by a soft flow of cooling air. The illustration below should explain this clearly.


The HDD is bathed in a cooling flow of air.

This design is ingenious in that it maximizes the surface area over which the air flows. Its effect should be similar to increasing the area of the cooling fins in a heatsink. A very modest flow of air will have a substantial cooling effect on the drive.



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