I thought I'd give you all a review of the HC01-TC hard drive cooler/enclosure, which I just installed in my computer yesterday.
I didn't take any pictures, so here: http://www.arctic.ac/en/p/cooling/ram-and-hard-drive/201/arctic-hc01-tc.html?c=2311
The cooler is a very simple and straight forward design, with a vented aluminum case, vibration absorbing foam pads, and a 40x20mm fan controlled by a small thermistor. The only accessories are 8 case screws, 2 adhesive foam blocks to be stuck to the top of the hard drive, and an Arctic Cooling case emblem.
Assembling a 3.5" hard drive is very straight forward. Open the case, drop in the HDD (okay, don't "drop"), stick on the top pads with the thermistor stuck between one pad and the spindle motor, close it up, install in a 5.25" bay, and plug it all in. The rear opening is large enough to easily plug in straight SATA connectors (NOTE: 90 degree connectors DO NOT FIT), and the fan is powered by a double-ended molex connector. The enclosure is intended for SATA hard drives, and i don't think an IDE drive will fit.
Before I go on, I'll mention one little con I had with mine. I use an Apevia X-Plorer case, which has fit all of my 5.25" drives fine before, but NONE of the screw holes in the HC01-TC lined up properly. I had to drill and tap my own screw holes. Fortunately, the aluminum construction made it very easy, and I was able to tap the holes using the case screws themselves. Not a big deal to me, but this could be quite an annoyance for someone less mechanically inclined.
Now, OPERATION!! My previous setup was hard drive suspension in the same spot as the cooler is now. I use an ExcelStore Jupiter 160GB hard drive (short-lived brand name, but it's held up well for 3 or 4 years now). It's a cheaper drive, and the seeking noises are very sharp and audible, but the motor and platters are practically silent. I have no testing equipment, so everything is based off of my own perception.
With the HDD attached directly to the case in a 3.5" bay, there was a slight but noticable hum, and the seeks were pretty loud. After suspending it with silicon in the 5.25" bay, all humming/vibration noise was gone, and the seeking noise was reduced greatly. Typical temperatures while suspended ranged from 38 to 40 degrees C.
After mounting in the HC01-TC, vibration noise is still completely gone. Seeking noise is actually a hair less
than when the drive was suspended, indicating that the vibration absorbing foam dampens vibrations as well as suspension, and the aluminum enclosure helps to contain noise even better.
The 40x20mm fan is temperature controlled, with a starting speed of 1,600RPM, and a maximum speed of 4,600RPM at 47C. It remains at its lowest speeds most of the time, so the hard drive remains at its previous 38 to 40C. The fan seems to be more for emergency cooling, so if the hard drive should ever get hot enough, the fan will speed up and probably provide enough airflow to maintain a safe
temperature. Not cold or cool, just safe.
I tested the fan alone in a quiet environment to see what kind of noise it makes. At its lowest speed, it's near inaudible, with nothing but a smooth, faint "whooshing" sound. I was able to heat up the thermistor enough to increase the speed of the fan to about half of its capability, and it remained very smooth and quiet. Many fans have a certain "resonance" that can be heard faintly, or in the worst cases, very clearly when mounted on a case. This fan has none of that, and as it is now mounted in my case and working, it's inaudible over the rest of my fairly quiet system.
At a usual going price of $20, the HC01-TC is a great value, costing much less than most other enclosures. It's not a high-performance cooler, and it has a couple issues that could be a turn-off to some buyers, but it's an overall excellent and quiet alternative to suspension.