Over the years, we've seen numerous cooling contraptions designed to cool graphics cards whether it is strictly the VPU or also the video memory. One of these cooling devices to stick out in the front of our minds has been the Arctic Cooling ATI and NV Silencer series. What we have today, is designed to help alleviate the buildup of heat near our beloved and expensive graphics cards. It is universally compatible with any graphics card on the market, as it doesn't physically attach to the card. What we have for testing today is the Antec VCool expansion slot VGA cooler. This cooler offers more than 100% compatibility, it claims to be able to decrease the card temperature 5 to 15°C, while offering a 3-speed fan switch to offer the desired noise to air flow ratio.
· Provides fresh cool air to your VGA card, keeping it
cooler and maximizing its life
· 3-speed switch lets you balance quiet performance with maximum cooling
· Fits in 2 expansion slots
· Blue LED illumination included
Although we generally do not like plastic packaging, due to the force required in order to open the package however, we found no problems with this Antec packaging due to the metal rivets keeping the plastic together rather than having the edges bound together. Once the package was opened, we merely found the actual VGA cooler and a plastic frame to extend the ventilation duct of the VCool. As this isn't a traditional VGA cooler and doesn't come in contact with the graphics card, no heatsink, thermal paste, or any other accessories are needed nor included. Rather it facilitates cooling by bringing cold air to the intake of the graphics card cooler.
As we have already mentioned in this review, the Antec VCool is unlike any other graphics card cooler we've seen. The basic concept behind this design is to provide fresh cool air to the graphics card, in the area of the VPU, via the extendable intake fan. At the end of the unit, is a 3-speed fan switch with low, medium, and high settings. Unlike other cooling devices that take up only one expansion slot, the Antec VCool requires two slots in order to deliver superb performance. A majority of the Antec VCool is composed of a blue semi-transparent plastic. Between the expansion slots and the actual fan, we find two clips where the extension duct can be inserted. Simply un-latch the two clips and the VCool unit is separated into two distinct components. A 3-pin wire is channeled in this air duct for controlling the fan speed from the rear of the expansion port. In the area of the fan, we see a simple grill integrated into the cooler to prevent any damage due to the fast spinning blades. Three blue LEDs are present, with the VCool fan. Protruding from the side of the unit is the 4-pin molex wire to power the fan.