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 Post subject: Nexus Frizzbee and Logisys HC102 reviews w/pics
PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2007 12:38 pm 

Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2005 11:06 am
Posts: 2049
Location: Klamath Falls, OR
SPCR followers frequently suspend their HDDs, and then discover they get hotter since there's no direct contact with a metal HDD rack to dissipate the heat. The common solution is to use front-mounted intake fans to blow air at the suspended HDDs.

This is double-trouble. The purpose of suspension was to reduce noise. Now, the noise goes up because the front panel has to have an open pathway to air and hence a direct path for noise to your ear. In addition, there's that intake fan, which is closer to you than any other noisemaker in constant use (assuming your optical drive isn't in constant use).

If your drives are suspended, there's a better way (IMHO) to cool them, one that allows you to seal the front panel (behind the bezel) so that noise internal to the case doesn't have a direct path to your ear. I refer to active cooling using small fans attached to the HDD(s).

A week ago, I installed a Nexus Frizzbee on my #1 computer's only HDD. I've been using it daily for a week. It had formerly been mounted in one of my patented, trademarked, secret rubber HDD enclosures that have direct-contact rubber damping, rubber noise blocking, and an internal small spot-cooling fan. Now, I placed the HDD on a foam double-cushioned "plate" and set the thing on the floor of my Aplus CS-188AF big-fan case.

Here's my rubber box with the Hitachi 7K160 SataII HDD still in place:


And here is the HDD with the Nexus Frizzbee mounted. At the upper right you can see the foam pads on both sides of the white styrene mounting plate; that provides 1/2" of foam isolation (2x 1/4"):


About the Frizzbee. I did an SPCR search on it and found only one person had bought it (3 of them), no mention of their performance, and much doubt about their noise level.

With the Frizzbee plugged into 12V, I can't hear it at all unless it's within 3.5" of my ear, and I can't identify "fan noise" unless it's within 2". Nexus advertises that the device is "inaudible". That's true unless you have your ear awfully close to the working HDD that the Frizzbee is busy cooling.

It only takes a moment with the Frizzbee plugged into 12V for all thoughts of noise simply vanish. Nobody will think of using a fan controller to reduce the voltage on this device. Not even me! ;-)

(The Frizzbee uses a 1600RPM 60mm sleeve fan. My rubber box uses a "1600RPM" 60mm sleeve SilenX "8dBA" fan that turns ~1900RPM at 12V, so I have it turned down to ~1440RPM.)

In my rubber box, Speedfan reports an 13C HDD temperature rise above room ambient. The 220mm fan on my computer case keeps the internal case temperature pretty close to room ambient. With the HDD/Frizzbee, the HDD rise was 11.5C (1600RPM vs 1440RPM). My 7K160 is rated at 6W when not doing lotsa seeks.

After I had already been using the Frizzbee for four days, it turned cold here in KF and by 1AM traffic had pretty much stopped. It got really quiet. I rebooted my computer and suddenly realized I could hear the HDD seeks! First time I had heard that noise since I started using a rubber box (which was now set aside in favor of the Frizzbee). It was very quiet - my double-glazed windows, everybody snug in their warm KF beds instead of carousing around - and I could barely hear the seeks. Once XP booted, the OS's frequent disk accesses (as seen by the blinking disk activity light) sounded like water quietly dripping off my roof.

Noisewise, I explain the benefits of suspension this way: an HDD mounted in a metal cage is like a loudspeaker. Suspending the HDD is like cutting away the loudspeaker's paper cone but leaving the voice coil assembly intact: the sound level drops a great deal but doesn't go completely away. (I claim that my rubber box in effect does make the sound go completely away. I have never heard my disks during booting or at any other time.) But my rubber box is a major DIY project. Mounting the Frizzbee is easy.

Next, I replaced the Frizzbee with a Logisys HC102:


The HC102 has two 60mm x 12mm ball-bearing fans which turn about 3500RPM at 12v. At 12V there's more noise than an SPCR person would like, but a lot of air is being moved. I checked the starting voltage: 3V for one fan, 3.25V for the other. Both wired to the same Molex and 3-pin connectors; I used my Extech strobe - there's no tach signal.

I had run the Frizbee at 12V, period. I used a Sunbeam Rheostat on the HC-102. I mounted the HDD/cooler in my case the same as with the Frizzbee, but with the external Rheostat I had to leave the side panel ajar to allow the fan power cable to pass into the case. This left a 3/8" gap at the bottom where the HDD/HC102 was located:


This gap allowed me to easily monitor the HC102 noise level. I turned on the computer and used the external, separately powered Rheostat to reduce the voltage until I could no longer hear the HC102. Since the Rheostat is separately powered, I could (and did) turn the HC102 fans off and on to confirm that I couldn't hear them. This happened at 8V. So I let my computer run for two hours, and discovered the HDD temperature rise reported by Speedfan was a mere 6C above room ambient! I dropped the voltage to 6V and got 7C, and finally 5V and got 8C. Folks, that's a very low temperature rise even allowing for the low power consumption of my HDD!

Now, you may not believe this: I turned off the computer and moved the HDD/HC102 outside and ran the Rheostat, still set to 5V. And I used my strobe to measure the RPM (of one of the fans; they turned at slightly different RPMs). It was turning 1620RPM! SilenX 1600RPM, Frizzbee 1600RPM, HC102(5V) 1620RPM, all 60mm fans! Does anybody see a trend?

ICs on a circuit board can run hot forever and be very reliable. For that reason, I had mounted the Frizzbee (as you can see above) over the motor/seek mechanisms. I'm guessing the HDD temperature sensor is on, or near, the IC board because the reported cooling of the HC102 is much better than the Frizzbee. Your opinion is as good (or better) than mine; I'm guessing.

The last review I did, a reader demanded a bottom-line report and got pretty snarky about it. Fortunately, these two HDD coolers are simple devices that are easily evaluated, so here's the bottom line:

For those who suspend their HDDs, I recommend both the Frizzbee and the HC102 wholeheartedly. They work, they work well, and they ain't no way noisy.

The $15 Frizzbee is for folks with low-to-medium power-drain HDD(s) who don't want to bother with a fan controller. Just plug into 12V and go.

The ~$6-$7 HC102 is for folks with hotter-running HDD(s) who are proven virtuosos with fan controllers. Personally, I wouldn't use a fan controller with the HC102; I'd just plug it into 5V. If I thought I needed more cooling; I'd use the "7V trick".

Do seal your front panel after installing these coolers! :P

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2007 9:03 pm 
Patron of SPCR

Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2004 12:00 pm
Posts: 3307
Location: Essex, England
That nexus product look like a winner, just plug it in and off you go.

Both of those coolers look more than adequate at cooling, and might even be too good - i.e. the temps are so low they are out of the "ideal" temp range for HDD's to run at.

Another thing with reference to the cooling, do you know where the temp sensor(s) are on the HDD, I would have expected them to be on the circuit board for ease of design. All of the 3 methods you have shown cool the circuit board side, this could send the reported temps off by some degree and thus your HDD would be running at a higher temp - not that this would matter much, those temps are so low.


Main PC, P180, CM Silent Pro 500M, i5 3570k @ 4.2Ghz, 8-GB @ 2,400MHz, 512GB 850 EVO, 500 Extreme II, 2x 2.5" drives, MSI 660Ti Twin Frozr.
Server, under reconstruction, 380W Enermax Pro82+, positive pressure only.

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