When Antec aren’t throwing together stylish, silent or utterly absurd desktop computer cases they’re busy applying their quiet cooling know-how to anything else that could possibly require a cool breeze in order to prolong its lifespan.
One such device, The Antec A/V Cooler, is apparently “the perfect device for cooling all your home audio/video equipment.” Now I don’t want to question this wisdom… actually… I do!
The Antec A/V Cooler makes me wonder if it’s actually solving a problem, or if Antec have simply devised a problem to solve. I accept that a couple of pieces of A/V gear can get pretty toasty, however, I’ve always found that placing some extra feet (or spacers) between the two allows them to more effectively vent their hot air and keep within acceptable temperatures.
If over-complicated solutions are your thing, however, then the Antec A/V Cooler technically does act as a spacer. It also does exactly what it claims, blowing hot air from your amplifier, or whatever piece of kit it’s sitting upon, out of the back and thus giving it some cooling assistance. It’s also whisper quiet and, as far as build quality goes, appears to be exceedingly sturdy and capable of supporting any A/V gizmos you might want to place on top of it.
Aesthetically… well, if you are about co-ordinating your gear then you’ll probably not be too keen on bisecting them with a large slab of black plastic and aluminum. However, the Antec A/V cooler is relatively inoffensive in appearance with a subtle, blue light that glows to indicate when it’s running.
A serious flaw in the design is that the rear feet are not adjustable. This means that, when I lined the front of the cooler up with the front of my amplifier the rear feet very nearly slipped off the back. I’m stunned that Antec didn’t, at least, include multiple, fixed positions into which the feet could screw to suit different depths of A/V equipment.
It’s worth noting that the Antec A/V cooler will provide approximately zero cooling to anything placed on-top of it, so don’t even think about sitting your Xbox 360 on top of one for assisted cooling unless you would otherwise be sitting it on top of an Amplifier or A/V receiver which is likely to get warm or even hot.
What the Antec A/V cooler will do, however, is thermally isolate an A/V amplifier from anything sitting on top of it, by redirecting any heat that would normally rise up to the rear of your system. In these circumstances, especially when the device you’re trying to sit on-top is a significantly different size or shape from whatever is below, it’s actually quite useful. If, for example, you’re short on space or have just a single shelf and wish to place your Sky box, games console or DVD player on top of a larger, hotter piece of equipment then the Antec A/V cooler makes an excellent pseudo shelf, providing its feet will sit comfortably on top of whatever you want it to sit on top of.
Otherwise… the Antec A/V cooler is still clearly over-engineered and overkill for the task of separating two, matched pieces of high-end A/V equipment for which you should be fine with an inch or so of adjustable, screw-in feet.