When I first started using my HP Pavilion a1440n in 2006, I did not know much about keeping a computer's temperatures down. I knew that it was important to reduce heat to internal components, so that longevity could be increased. How to achieve this was not within my knowledge. I searched the Internet for different solutions. Some forums suggested water cooling, which seemed advanced and a bit dangerous for a computer novice like me. Others described modding, or modifying, cases to install additional fans or something similar. Because I was not experienced at the time, I wanted to find a simpler solution. I became aware of PCI slot fans/ coolers, which could be installed in an empty PCI slot in a computer.
The Antec Cyclone Blower has a very simple design. It appears to have one fan that sucks out air from the case and blows it out a vent outside. Theoretically, it should drop the ambient case temperature.
I had installed a graphics card, the BFG 7600GT, before in my HP and installing a PCI slot fan was much easier. It required a 3 pin connector from the power supply to attach to it, and according to the specifications, it did not consume much energy.
Another positive aspect of the Cyclone Blower is that it was and still is fairly cheap. I bought mine for about $10.00 at Circuit City more than 2 years ago. I believe that price is either the same or lower at this point.
Of course, the main test is whether or not it can lower temperatures within a computer case. I used a software program, Speedfan, to monitor temperatures of different components within my case. While operating the Cyclone Blower, temperatures dropped around 3-4 degrees Celsius. I could feel the fan working by placing my hand in front of the exhaust vent, which was displacing a large amount of air. Overall, I was pleased with the results considering the cost and the minimal installation work.
Several problems exist with the product though. After a month or two of operation, the fan started to make a severe noise upon the startup of the computer; it sounded like a trash compacter. After a minute or so, the sound would dissipate, but it was very annoying. Eventually, I disconnected the fan and have not used it for some time.
In addition, I have since read various forums that suggest that although it may lower the temperature of the case, the fan might affect the graphics card in a negative way. To clarify, my video card fit in the PCI Express slot and the extra PCI slots were underneath it; most computers follow this design as well. It was proposed that the slot fan was interfering with the fan of the graphics card. The video card fan would be working to keep the card cool, but the slot fan may vary its effects due to their close proximity to one another. Also, the slot fan was removing air at the bottom of the case. Air at the bottom of the case should theoretically cooler, whereas hot air would rise to the top of the case. Therefore, it was said that the slot fan was merely removing cold air as opposed to the hot air.
Many forums also suggest that a single slot PCI fan like mine, while cheap, is not worth the money for its performance. Most believe that one should either seek an alternative or buy a slot fan that is more expensive and effective. For the latter, I have encountered the product Lian Li B-08 Slot Fan on several websites. Unlike the Cyclone Blower, it has two fans and a larger vent but is quite expensive. I may purchase it in the future and test it later.
Recently, I have recovered the Cyclone Blower and removed much of the dust that coated the fan blades. I did so upon reading a review from an author that claimed he had run across a similar noise problem as I had. He suggested that dust buildup was partly responsible. Using a brush, I dusted the blades between the grill of the fan. I hooked it up to my old HP Pavilion a1440n to test whether or not it made a noise. While it made an audible whirring sound during operation, it lacked that horrible noise that used to appear when the computer was started.
I am going to test the Antec Cyclone Blower again in my new computer soon to determine whether or not the sound problem is truly fixed. Even if it is, however, I would still have to remove it and clean it periodically. That may not be convenient for those who want to install it once and never want to remove it for maintenance. For the money, one cannot really complain about its quality, although I would recommend looking at other methods of reducing heat in your computer first before purchasing a PCI slot fan.