Like most people, I don't like losing things, be it keys, wallet, tickets, money, g-strings, cars, pets or polaroids of yourself wearing women's underwear. And for me, losing data has to be at the top of the list.
In the past, I've lost data to dead hard drives, viruses that munched the first megabyte of the hard drive platter (including the all-important Master Boot Record) and just plain stupidty, e.g.: "Did I mean to permanently delete that folder that accidentally had the only copy of some photos from an important family event?"
The upshot of all this rambling is that while I don't care much about my gaming workhorse in terms of redundancy, my file server gets much love, in the form of large hard drives, a 4-port RAID 5 card, a 700va UPS, a decent, brand-name 430w PSU, and a big case.
In regards to the big case, while it can hold six 3.5" devices, it keeps them in two 3-device cages, with little space between neighbours. Normally this isn't a problem - you spread out the drives and you've got airflow; but if you're me, and you place 6 hard drives in there, the heat builds up very quickly and that can cause problems.
I had considered some other solutions (which i'd still love to get my hands on), but at around $200-250, I was a bit reluctant. Then today, I was browsing my local computer store, and I found the Thermaltake iCage "fancage". With a price tag of $50 and a 120mm fan glaring at me, how could I say no?
Let's be honest - this is not a high-tech device, and as a result, this review isn't going to be very big, but let's at least break down what you get.
An aluminium cage, that uses up three 5.25" drive bays, and takes three 3.5" hard drives.
A clear, LED-lit 120mm, 1300rpm fan, generating 17dBa.
A finger guard for the fan (already attached).
A bag of screws.
A one-sided, full colour guide to installation, on one of Thermaltake's own cases.
A cardboard box, containing all of the above.
Okay, so maybe I'm trying to dress up a simple product, but it looks so nice and shiny, I just can't help myself.
The cage itself is solid, even though it's aluminium and features some rolled edges, but not all. All screw holes are spot-on in terms of actually matching up to drives, but there is no dampening included (e.g: rubber gromets) although I'd argue that it's not entirely neccessary, because I've tightened everything up fairly well and there's no rattling. Speaking of noise, the fan hardly makes any, in addition to glowing blue, spinning around, and pushing air past the hard drives, which have plenty of airflow space around them.
The only thing to worry about when installing the iCage is where you feed the power and fan-speed cables. I've fed them to the side of the top hard drive, where the edge of the cage is rolled, because you really don't want bare wires in a case. Fine, so it's a longshot that they'll rub enough of an edge to be exposed and zap things, but you never know.
The iCage does exactly what I want - gives my all important hard drives room to breath and be cooled, extending their life, as well as giving me more drive space in the case's original drive cages. Being only $50 just sweetens the deal. There's nothing bad I can say about it.
Oh, except I cut my thumb when pushing it into the case.
I didn't cry, honest.