Today I'm having a look at CoolIT's active memory cooler, simply named, the RAM Fan.
Above is a look at the back of the package. Let's run down some of these bullet-points....
Simply clips onto all standard DIMM's: Because CoolIT's product clips onto the RAM's PCB and not the clips that secure the RAM into the DIMM slot, it's more likely that the CoolIT RAM Fan will fit more RAM than some other products.
Plugs into any available fan header: The CoolIT RAM Fan uses a three pin fan header instead of the four pin "Molex" a lot of active memory coolers have. Most high-end boards (I'm trusting that if you need a RAM Fan, you're high-end) have plenty of fan headers, especially if you're not using a lot of your fan headers because of a water loop. And if I didn't have a three pin fan header available, I'd rather adapt a three pin to a four pin than the other way around. The fan connector does not have an RPM lead, though. Too bad.
Eliminates the risk of RAM overheating: No doubt, as RAM runs faster, it gets hotter. Any way you can introduce additional cooling is going to help that RAM last longer than a mere heatspreader.
Provides the ultimate in overclockability: Well... that's sort of a bold statement. Naturally, cooler running RAM is going to overclock more easily, but can the CoolIT RAM Fan truly be the "ultimate?" There are water blocks for RAM on the market, so I'm going to say "no."
Here's the top of our RAM Fan. It's made of aluminum, which really doesn't help its cooling effectiveness because the aluminum doesn't come into contact with any part of the RAM that would generate heat. The trademark CoolIT logo obstructs the 60MM fan on the top. Feel free to cut these off with your Dremel, if you wish. They serve no real purpose. The fan is supported on the edges of the aluminum shroud with an adhesive tape.
Above is a photo of the underside of the RAM Fan. It sort of looks like an upside-down Klingon Bird of Prey here, no? You can see how the fan connector is using only two wires and has no RPM lead.
Here's a side view of the RAM Fan to show how the fan is actually sitting at an angle to the RAM. This angle is supposed to bring air in from the front and sort of push it back towards the CPU.
Now, I'm going to be honest with you (when am I not?) I am a bit skeptical going into this review. Why?
I've never actually thought that RAM ran hot enough to actually require active cooling. Furthermore, at a price of around $20, it's actually more expensive than the Thermaltake Spirit RS passive cooler I use in one of my machines.
So why bother with the CoolIT RAM Fan? Well, first off the fan used on CoolIT's product is a 60MM and not a 40MM, so I'm going to assume that it's not going to be as loud as Thermaltake's Cyclo or Corsair's Dominator. Also, and of course this is completely subjective, I think the CoolIT RAM Fan looks a lot cooler (no pun intended) than the other units on the market.
Also, we have to take into account that passive memory cooling isn't going to work for everyone. My Thermaltake Spirit RS works for me because I have a big Ultra X-Wind CPU cooler in that build and have the radiator of the Spirit RS leaning into the air flow of the X-Wind's mammoth fan. But what about those who use water cooling? Typically, if you use water cooling, you have a minimum number of fans in your PC and those fans move little air. Why? Because there's not as much hot air to exhaust from the system as a non-water cooled system. Most of your heat is carried away by water and is cooled at a remotely located radiator. But unless you have your memory hooked into your water loop, your memory isn't running any cooler and in fact may be running hotter than before because of the reduced air flow inside the chassis.
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