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Case, Power Supply, Fan Reviews
  Product:     Vantec Spectrum Fan Card  
  Price:     $23 (CAN) / $18 (U.S) 
  Supplied By:     Vantec
  Author:     DrMobius
  Date:     December 13th, 2003
  Rating:     star star star star star star star star

MODTHEBOX would like to thank Clare from Vantec for sending the Spectrum Fan Card for review.

Vantec Spectrum Fan Card

Introduction:

There once was a time when it would be common to only have a single fan on a case and a mere metal heatsink glued to the processor. Throughout the years of technological evolution we have seen more case fans, stronger heatsink fans, the addition of chipset fans, and some pretty extreme VGA cooling solutions. More recently, manufacturers have been keeping an eye on the modding community and incorporating common ideas into their products, such as UV sensitive parts and lighted fans. Surprisingly enough, even with all these fans and cooling solutions currently on the market there is still one common dead zone in cases where cool air gets trapped; under the VGA card. One solution for getting that cache of cool air circulated throughout the case is to cut a hole in your side panel and allow more intake air through that area; however for some people cutting a hole in their side panel is not an acceptable solution. Today in the MTB labs we will be looking at a new spin on an old idea to move that cool air out of that dead zone, another thermal innovation by Vantec called the Spectrum Fan Card.

Specifications:

The Vantec Spectrum Fan Card is designed to pull air out of the bottom of the case (commonly a dead zone for air) and circulate it throughout the case while also cooling the AGP/PCI card and lighting up the case. It is primarily constructed out of UV sensitive plastic and houses two thin speed adjustable 70mm fans which are lit by UV LEDís. Here are some specifications taken directly from the Vantec website:

Vantec Spectrum Fan Card - Key Specifications:
Vantec Spectrum Fan Card: Manufactured by Vantec
Model: SP-FC70-BL
Outline Dimension: 195mm x 92mm x 20mm
Fan Size: 70mm x 70mm x 15mm
Rated Voltage: 7 ~ 12V
Power: 9W
Fan Speed: 2400 ~ 4000 RPM
Airflow: 17.73 ~ 29.54 CFM
Current: 0.327A ~ 0.750A
Noise: 25 ~ 36.64 dBA
Bearing Type: Ball Bearing
Life: 50,000 hrs
Weight: 300g
Built-in Ultra Bright UV LED Lights
Adjustable Fan Speeds
Perfect for Windowed Cases
Special Features: Increase air circulation and lower case temperatures

Vantec Spectrum Fan Card
Click image for larger view
Vantec Spectrum Fan Card
Click image for larger view
 

The Spectrum Fan Card was shipped directly from Vantec in a double-walled corrugated box. The box was filled with polystyrene peanuts and included the Fan Card in the retail packaging. The Spectrum Fan Card is packaged in a soft formed plastic with a graphical insert listing the features and specifications.

Vantec Spectrum Fan Card
Click image for larger view
Vantec Spectrum Fan Card
Click image for larger view
 

Included with the Spectrum Fan Card was a single screw for securing the card to your case and an instruction card with installation instructions. The front of the Fan Card, which would be facing the bottom of your computer case, does not have any protective coverings over the fans. This could be intentional to allow maximum airflow, but some people could find this to be slightly hazardous.

Vantec Spectrum Fan Card
Click image for larger view
Vantec Spectrum Fan Card
Click image for larger view
 

The back side of the Spectrum Fan Card (the side that would be facing the top of your case and your AGP card) is flush all the way across the card. If you compare the Fan Card with other PCI cards, youíll notice it is the same size as most PCI cards in all aspects. Due to the size of this card, you can actually mount PCI cards on both sides of the Spectrum Fan Card without running into any spacing issues. However, if you do end up putting another PCI card directly below the Fan Card, the airflow wonít be as impressive. The fan speed control is located on the aluminum PCI backing plate of the Fan Card. A slide control feature allows you to adjust the voltage going to the fans from 7 ~ 12 volts. Surprisingly, this product does not offer a feature for turning the fans completely off.

Vantec Spectrum Fan Card
Click image for larger view
Vantec Spectrum Fan Card
Vantec Vortex external casing
 

Installation of the Spectrum Fan Card is a breeze. The product installs just as any PCI card and all that is required is to push the extruding plastic foot into any free PCI slot. The card is secured using one standard mounting screw and for power all that has to be done is plug the Molex plug into a spare PSU power connector. Upon powering the case up I did notice a slight whine coming from the card. The fan setting was set to low, as I increased the fan speed using the slider, the whine went away. When slowing the fans down again, the whine is noticeable again. One large benefit of the Spectrum Fan Card is actually how much air this product really moves. Each fan pulls approximately 17.73 ~ 29.54 CFM (depending on the fan speed setting) with an RPM speed range of 2400 ~ 4000 RPM and a noise level of 25 ~ 36.64 dBA. As previously mentioned, the premise for this product is to pull air from the bottom of the case, a common dead zone in computer case where cooler air gets trapped, and blow it towards the top providing additional video and case cooling. The Spectrumís UV LEDís are very bright and illuminate the UV sensitive plastic nicely. I donít have any other UV lighting in my case, but the lighting from this fan card alone made my yellow IDE slots glow (only other UV reactive parts in my case).

 
Conclusion:

First, I must say I was very impressed by the amount of air flow these two thin fans can produce. On high, it pushes more air then my Kingwin case fans push. Also, if you canít tell from the picture, the LEDís on this card are very bright. As a matter of fact, the picture above was taken in the light (but without a flash). With that in mind, the Spectrum Fan Card does exactly what it is designed to do; move air and light up brightly. I did not experience any problems installing or operating the Fan Card with the exception of the whine it produces when run at lower speeds. After letting the Spectrum Fan Card circulate the air in my case for 24 hours, I noticed a 1 degree temperature drop on my processor and equal cooling on the video card. While the Spectrum Card is a new spin on an old idea it may not be for everyone, since it does use up an free PCI slot and produces a slight whine at lower fan speed settings. Hardcore case modders can also easily replicate a product of this nature or just use standard side intake fans on a case panel for additional peripheral card cooling. Overall, Iím rating the Vantec Spectrum Fan Card a 7.5 out of 10 and would recommend it to anyone who would like better air circulation and lowered VGA temps at the expense of a PCI slot. If you have any questions regarding this review be sure to visit the Vantec website for more information or discuss them in our forums.

 
Thumbs Up! Pros:
  • Improves air circulation inside a case
  • Can be used to directly cool AGP card
  • Helps reduce case temperatures
  • Easy installation
  • Very bright LEDís
  • Adjustable fan setting
  • Price
Thumbs Down! Cons:
  • Bottom side of fans are exposed
  • Low fan setting produces a high pitched whine
  • No off position for the fans
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