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With summer quickly approaching (for all of us northern hemisphere folk at least), your rig is going to need all the cooling it can get without you having to crank up the costly air conditioning (or spend exorbitant amounts of money on cooling solutions). Your video card is going to be hit especially hard if you're planning on heavy gaming, overclocking, and graphical usage, leaving you with a few options - either purchase a more dynamic chassis, throw in some high RPM fans (everyone loves the pleasant roar of a jet engine), fiddle with expensive (and time intensive) water cooling, or merely install an expansion slot based fan. Today we are going to take a look at one such device - the "Vizo Propeller Dual-Fan Card".
• Manual fan speed control
• 2200 RPM - 3600 RPM
• Two 70mm Fans
• Blue LED Lights
• 16 - 28.3 CFM
• 20 - 35 dBA
Vizo's Product Page
Price $18.98 @ Sundial Micro
Normally, I would cringe at the thought of having to deal with plastic packaging, but Vizo has decided to forgo the "traditional" heavy-duty-clamshell-scissors-required packaging and opt instead for a thin plastic blister design with small breakable rivets, allowing for scissor-less removal; this means that you aren't going to embarrassingly injure yourself while trying to get the product out.
The front of the package allows you to easily see the Propeller, while the back contains everything you'd ever need to know about the fan. And thankfully, by purchasing this fan, you will have a "cool and fabulous feeling". English criticism aside, the packaging is highly effective, inexpensive, informational, and rather simple to open.
Inside the Packaging:
Once you pop open the packaging's blisters, you will find only the Propeller and a small screw incased in a plastic baggie. While no manual is avaliable, Vizo has had the foresight to include installation instructions on the back of the packaging (regardless of how easy it is).
The Propeller Itself:
Compared to a lot of other cooling accessories avaliable on the market (I'm looking at you Vantec), Vizo's Propeller manages to look absolutely classy. The blue LEDs aren't too bright, but are a nice dark hue that put my other blue case fans to shame. The plastic is very durable and sturdy, and the color choice is a nice dark blue which does a fine job of accenting any silver or black computer case (if you've got a window that is). While the molex connector is very well wrapped, the fan cables that run alongside the back of the card look slightly messy and in future revisions should be sheathed together. The entire body of the fan is about the same size (except for being half the thickness) as the original nVidia 8800's fan shroud. So, if you want to get the most out of this fan and you're running a newer video card, you are going to want to pop off your video card's fan shroud (unless you want to keep the superficial plastic casing cool).
The plastic "key" on the bottom of the fan fits snugly into mini PCIe slots (unlike most of the other card fans), regular PCIe slots, and good old fashioned PCI slots. Unlike a lot of expansion cards, the Propeller's bracket is stury and rigid, which should make for relatively good longevity. And, like the bracket, the speed slider is well made (making for easy slidin'). However, the molex conector's cable (while two sided) is extremely short - so, you're going to want to hope that your motherboard has a built-in molex connector (most do), or you are going to want to route the cable over to your hard drives (if they're close). I would recommend purchasing a molex to 3-pin fan connector so you can simply run the fans off of your motherboard header - Vizo should have included one (the 3-pin connector can provide enough power). Also, if you're into neat cabling you could get a molex extension cable and run it under your motherboard.
While I left the shroud on in this picture, for the testing I removed it - I would advise you do the same, or else your temperatures may actually increase. Installation couldn't be easier - you merely find a free card slot (PCIe, mini PCIe, PCI), pop the card in, screw the bracket in place, and connect the molex connector.
Intel Core 2 Duo E4500 2.20GHz
Fallen Earth MMO (Used for Load)
It's not going to make your computer sub-zero, but for the amount of effort required for installation and the low cost, it's one of the best ways you can help your stressed video card beat the heat. In the future, I would like to see the fan cables better sheathed, a 3-pin adapter, and a longer molex cable. With these few changes, a price drop to $15, and better availability (NewEgg?), this could be the best expansion card based fan.
Quiet even at high speeds
With video card fan shroud on, fan is not effective
Price could be lowered
Thanks again go to Vizo for the opportunity to take a look at another cool product!