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Vantec SK-5026FD Socket 7/Socket 370 Cooler
Last updated: 1/6/2000

The Vantec SK-5026FD socket 7/socket 370 Cooler or CPU fan characterizes what one should be looking for in the way of a device to prevent a CPU from frying:

1.  Ball bearing fan.  Cheap fans with only sleeve bearings have no place in your computer.  Most sleeve bearing fail within the first year of operation, and some fail sooner.  The two other common types of bearings are one ball with a sleeve and two ball bearings. This product uses the Y. S. Tech FD12507B-1A fan.  It has a one ball with a sleeve bearing which gives it a rated  life expectancy (Y.S. Tech's specs) of about 50,000 hours (almost six years of constant use).  A two ball bearing fan would last, if you believe the specs, about 80,000 hours (about nine years).

2.  Lots of quite air.  The fan measures 50X50X10 mm.  It blows 12.2 Cubic Feet of Air per Minute (CFM) towards the CPU.  You can really feel if coming out the sides of the heat sink.  This fan runs quite, emitting about 30 dB of noise.

3.  Not too big!  Bigger is not always better... For awhile we used oversized (60 mm) CPU fans  for socket 7 computers thinking that the larger the fan (and heat sink), the cooler the CPU (and, of course, bigger has to be better).  That's not always true.  This fan keeps a 400 Mhz K6-2 at about 96F/36C in an open case at room temperature and no thermo grease, while one of the large fans (without a thermo pad) runs it about 4F warmer.  This is far below the 140F/60C maximum CPU case temperature specified in the AMD K6-2 Processor Data Sheet (I wouldn't run a K6 hotter than 100 or so degrees on a hot summer day; the CPU might take 140F; the motherboard more than likely won't). The disadvantage with the larger fans we have used is they usually have more mass and inferior clamps and, thus, a nasty way of popping loose from the socket during shipment.  During one shipment (I am tempted to name the shipper), one came loose with such force that it sheered one of the capacitors off an Epox MVP3G-M motherboard.

4. RPM sensor circuit.   The  FD12507B-1A is a "3-pin fan" which plugs into the motherboard.  It, of course, has three wires.  The red one is for 12 Volts DC to power the fan, the black one is a common ground, and the yellow one is connected to a transistor circuit in the fan.  The transistor circuit produces a series of pulses with a frequency which is proportional to the fan speed.  In other words the fan has a built in tachometer output.  If your motherboard has a monitoring chip with an RPM input and a BIOS which supports it, the fan speed can be monitored and an alarm can be set for a dead fan or low fan speed (see the Epox motherboard reviews, Motherboard Monitor Lite, and USDM).

5.  Thermo-conductive pad.  One of these pads is on the bottom of the heat sink where it comes into contact with the CPU.  Although thermo-grease provides the best heat-conducting medium because it more effectively fills in microscopic scratches and indentations on the CPU and heat sink mating surfaces,  a thermo-conductive pad is usually satisfactory for existing (as of 1/4/2000) socket 7/370 CPU's and eliminates the mess caused by thermo grease.

6.  Easy fan replacement.  If, however, you are a fanatic and want to scrape-off the thermo pad and  " glue" the heat sink to the CPU with silicon thermo-grease, the fan is easily removed from the heat sink, for separate replacement, by unscrewing four plastic screws.  You won't have to pry the entire assembly  off the CPU (which can be quite difficult) if the fan goes bad.

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