R.A.C.H.A.L. ComputerExhaust System
R.A.C.H.A.L. Computer Exhaust System
Heat. The one thing that worries me most in a system, whether overclocking or not, is heat. In fact, just running an AMD processor, minus the overclocking, is an overheating accident waiting to happen. I can confidently say that just about 70% of computer hardware problems are caused by heat?the user does not use an efficient method of cooling and does not necessarily FRY the system but will overheat it to the point of operating system lock ups, blue screens of death, and random restarts. The folks over at ComputerExhaust.com contacted me just a couple of weeks ago with the proposal of their new invention by the name of R.A.C.H.A.L. If you came to this review expecting to find some bombshell blonde named Rachel ? sorry to disappoint you, but this is clearly not the place to find it, for we are all geeks at heart. R.A.C.H.A.L. (like all other acronyms) is actually short for ?reduce annoying computer heat and loudness.? From this point on, we will be referring to the product as RACHAL. When I first visited RACHAL?s manufacturer site, I nearly fell from my chair laughing. After looking at the pictures of this product on their site, I could not help but notice numerous flaws with the design even before getting my hands on it! The purpose of RACHAL is to screw it to your power supply?s exhaust fan and then hook this dryer hose from the rear of the power supply into a hole in the wall. Immediately I realized that this product HAS to be installed on an inner wall or the exhaust from the power supply will be blown straight into a pack of insulation (on the outer wall), blocking heat from being removed and eventually overheating the computer. Another thing that I noticed is that there is no netting inside the tube or at either end. This means that when the case is hooked into that hole in the wall, small insects have the grand opportunity walking straight into your case while the computer is off. Another thing I noticed is that with the RACHAL system, all of the chassis? hot air exhaust is being relied on ONE outlet ? the power supply fan. They actually expect the user to cover any extra exhaust holes on the rear of the case, limiting outtake and once again putting the system in danger of overheating. From the moment I saw this product, just through pictures, I had my doubts ? but then again these are all theories which have not yet been backed up.
After receiving the package from ComputerExhaust.com, approximately a week and a half later, I immediately opened it. Inside, I found a neatly stapled plastic bag which housed a rolled up piece of dryer tubing, a 1 ?? drill bit, screws, sponge gasket, wall coupling, and the power supply?s exhaust coupling. I also noticed a set of folded instructions which, to my surprise, were extremely detailed and provided me with any and all information I required for installation, from drilling the 1 ?? hole between wall studs to connecting the tubing from the wall to the power supply exhaust. If you are not much of the reading type, no worries ? they have also provided plenty of black and white CAD drawings throughout the instructions which also make the process simple to follow and easy to figure out. The tubing itself is 1 ?? diameter and a total of four feet long. If you have ever seen the tubing that goes from the washing machine and dryer to the wall, you will know what I am talking about when I say that this tubing had a sort of spiraling support of thicker plastic from end to end. This tubing was actually quite impressive as it was almost able to bend 180 degrees before it began to kink to the point of airflow resistance. Now, I do realize that the tubing is not exactly for rugged use, which means that it doesn?t require a rock solid construction, but I thought we?d have some fun anyways. Since I am writing this review fairly late, I woke my dad up real quick and decided to play a friendly game of tug-o-war with the tubing. I can honestly say that the tubing did not show any signs of giving in until I started to yank on the tubing with high amounts of tension. Unfortunately the tubing did break in a sense, but if you happen to require tubing that needs to be tug-o-war proof, maybe computers aren?t your thing. The tubing was very strong and would definitely not show aging or wear and tear for a long time to come.
In order to get the computer?s exhaust into a tubing 1 ?? in diameter, coupling for both ends of the tubing were provided in the RACHAL kit as well. On the computer?s power supply end of the tubing, the white plastic coupling was quite unique. ComputerExhaust designed this piece in the fashion that it could be universally used on ANY power supply without having to actually get inside the case and risk shocking, breaking or just plain messing up your computer. On the back end of the coupling, the end which actually attached to the power supply, the hole was 80mm. On the front of the coupling, where the tubing connected to the coupling, the hole gradually downsized to that 1 ?? diameter. On the wall coupling which connected the tubing to the hole in the wall, this was actually quite impressive. On the side that reaches the inside of the wall, the plate is just like an electrical faceplate in the fashion that is simply screws right into your wall. On the other side is an open 1 ?? hole which the ?dryer tubing? slides right over nice and snug. Before you are able to install the wall coupling, however, you are required to mark out where you want the hole in the wall then drill the hole using the provided drill bit and a drill, which is provided by the user. The last thing included with this kit was the spongy gasket. This thin black gasket is rather soft and simply peels off and sticks to the 80mm side of the power supply coupling. This will supposedly give a tighter seal and not allow any of that ?room warming air? into your office.
After taking a couple of minutes to read the included instructions, I used the list at the top of the instructions to start gathering tools that would be needed. The list included a drill, phillips screwdriver and a utility knife. All three of these are tools which should be in every household anyways, so gathering them was not much of a big deal for me. After locating my studs, I measured about 8? from the stud so that I would be able to miss any electrical, phone, or grounding cables in the walls. Keep in mind, this was on an INSIDE wall ? a wall with insulation will NOT work! After drilling the 1 ?? hole with the included drill bit, I simply shoved the wall coupling into the hole and screwed the faceplate into the wall with the included screws. Since this was the only messy part of the process, I pulled out my vacuum, cleaned up my mess and continued on with the process. Next, I unpeeled the thin black 80mm spongy gasket from the wax paper and stuck it around the edge of the power supply coupling to create a better seal. Then, I pulled out my trusty Phillips screwdriver, unscrewed the power supply?s four mounting screws and placed the power supply couple on the rear. After screwing the four mounting screws back in place, I was extremely surprised to see that ComputerExhaust engineered the power supply coupling in such a way that it would not interfere with any power connectors, variable fan speed controllers on the rear of the PSU, or the Euro/American Voltage switch. The last step to setting up the RACHAL kit is the use of the ?dryer tubing.? Once you have your computer in it?s place, simply measure how long the tubing will need to be to reach from the wall to the power supply coupler and use your utility knife to cut it to the correct length. Keep in mind that a straight shot to the wall will definitely help airflow rather than leaving it 4 feet long with twists and turns. Fire up that PC of yours and get ready to take it for a spin!
Since I do run an AMD Athlon XP 2200+, which is fairly warm compared to an Intel Pentium4, I made sure to keep a CLOSE eye on processor temperatures for the first couple of days. Any significant increase in case temperatures would have me immediately powering down the system to prevent hardware stress and possible damage. I know that frying hardware would be an extreme case, but it?s not worth ruining a perfect performing system for such a small and humorous product. Prior to testing the unit with the RACHAL ventilation system, I took a case temperature reading though my Digidoc5 and it came to about 79.3 degrees Fahrenheit (or 26.1 degrees Celsius for all of you overclockers). I also took a ROOM temperature reading before installing the RACHAL ventilation system and received a reading of 71 degrees Fahrenheit (or 21.6 degrees Celsius). After running the system through a series of gaming, Seti@home, and 3dmark ? I was certainly surprised to see that my system was still RUNNING! I did notice however that after a couple of intense hours of use, the case temperature rose to 81.5 degrees Fahrenheit (or 27.2 degrees Celsius). There was a total of 2.2 degrees Fahrenheit in case temperature increase, and I still didn?t notice ANY difference in noise levels. Although noise levels aren?t the main purpose of the product, ?Reduce Annoying Loudness? is in the title of the product, and that?s what I expected it to do. After the intense computer usage, I also took a room temperature reading and found that room temperature was now 70 degrees Fahrenheit (or 21.1 degrees Celsius)?only ONE DEGREE LESS. One variable that could be a problem in this case is the fact that it is winter, and in Oregon during winter ? it?s already fairly cold. It is very possible that this product may perform quite a bit better when temperatures outside the house are warmer, but one degree drop could be obtained merely by one less breath?or close to it.
As processors get faster, overclocking becomes more apparent and new ventilation systems arise, heating is becoming a bigger issue than ever. To put it simple, KEEP WALKING FOLKS. While I had small doubts on this product in the beginning of the review, apparently my gut feeling was right on this decision. R.A.C.H.A.L. promised to reduce annoying loudness and heat but only caused more problems than it cured. Not only does this product make computer placement in a room inconvenient (can only be installed on inner walls with no insulation), but RAISED case temperatures and only dropped the actual room temperature by ONE degree Fahrenheit. No only is this product inconvenient for the user, it requires drilling a hole in your wall, causes heating problems inside the case, allows bugs inside walls easy access to computer insides, and really doesn?t do much for room temperatures ? this sounds like a good idea gone bad. If your computer runs so hot that it heats up your room, turn the monitor off when it?s not in use and open a window for God?s sakes. Rather than spend $19.95 for this kit on ComputerExhaust.com, save the $20.00 and spend it on the air conditioning bill ? at least you won?t be left dissatisfied as you sip lemonade in your nice cool room.
SCORE: At this point, TwistedMods.com does NOT support this product.