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A fan for the Valve Index? Consider it an essential upgrade purchase

By - | Views: 18,116

It's Summer here in the UK, it's bloody hot and that has meant that playing VR has turned into a very sweaty experience.

There will be jokes of course from plenty of people about the UK, because of course many countries are hotter and a lot of them have that heat all of the time. However, the UK and houses / offices here really aren't built for it. Pretty much anything other than a little rain and cloud or a tiny bit of sun and we're just not prepared.

So we come to my moaning and groaning about playing VR in the hot temperatures we've had recently. I was not ready for it — not at all. Hilariously underprepared you might say. I don't think I've ever sweat that much doing anything. When you're in a room that's already around 27C and you add the heat from a VR HMD right on top of you're head - you're just turning yourself into a sweat machine.

Instead of complaining though, I went shopping to try and improve the situation.

For those that don't know, the Valve Index HMD has a USB slot on the front of it. The face panel just pops off nice and easily, which hides a nice little slot for you to add something into the HMD:

Here then, you have space to put in a fan (or whatever else). So that's exactly what I did!

Luckily there's a few of them around and for £37.99 I picked up the KIWI design Q19 USB Radiator Fan that was made just for the Valve Index (Amazon). It's absolutely tiny, hilariously so but it's quite a nice little unit. With a single button on the front to turn it on and off, there's absolutely no fussing around. Installation is ridiculously simple too. You plug it into the USB port on the front of the Index HMD, then slot the KIWI design Q19 into the Index and that's it - done. The design near-perfectly matches the Valve Index too so you once you've had it for a few days, you just don't really notice that it's an added extra on the unit.

It sticks out a little sure, but we're talking a really small amount. The whole thing is small at only about 16MM / 1.6CM thick and about 110MM / 11CM long. Considering it's something you put on your face so you don't see it, that just doesn't matter. It weighs absolutely nothing too, so it's unnoticeable while wearing it.

How's the build quality? So far, great. No issues there. The fans are of course tiny but they do the job. Easy to clean too, since the KIWI design Q19 just pops back off, and the back is left open for you to properly clean it when you need to. The casing feels sturdy enough too.

Does it actually work well though? Considering the size, I was absolutely ready to write it off and look at something bigger. Sure enough though, it does as advertised quite well. Not incredibly so though but enough that you can tell the difference between having it and not during warmer days. I went from being a complete sweat machine to a small dribble here and there - so yeah, very happy with the unit overall.

Something else to think about is not just your own comfort but the life of the Valve Index HMD. It gets hot, and over time that heat can damage it like heat can damage any other piece high-priced equipment. Keeping it cooler with some fans blowing away a bit of the heat can extend the life of the HMD too and hopefully save your bank balance.

How is the noise though? Those little fans are right up on your face, close to your ears. They're audible when you turn them on for sure. However, the Valve Index speakers being as fantastic as they are, you don't hear a damn thing from them while playing. Even on a real low volume you would need to really concentrate to hear them.

The main downside is that it has only one speed setting: on. For people who perhaps need some heavier heat lifting, you might want to look at another. However, it does the job nicely in my many VR sessions.

If you're a Valve Index user and find yourself getting hot and bothered, go buy it a fan, your head will thank you.

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Beamboom 4 Aug
Wow I was not aware of that "hidden department"! I wonder what else that slot is intended for?!
Quoting: antisolBe thankful for that, it comes with eyewatering power bills.

Especially in South Australia!
t3g 5 Aug
I'm used to it being in the mid 90s Fahrenheit where I live in the southern United States
Phlebiac 5 Aug
Quoting: Purple Library GuyOne town beat its previous climate record by 4-5 degrees C for days on end, hitting mid-40s, and then spontaneously combusted and burned to the ground. Really, WTF?!

Sounds like California... 41-43°C here this week, and there are fires quite close. :(
Eike 5 Aug
Quoting: Purple Library Guy
Quoting: The_Aquabatyep I was checking my weather forecast and tomorrow it will be 25C and it's winter
but last week we had below 0C temperatures... global warming sucks
Yes, well, for a little while a few weeks ago, here in British Columbia there were places with the third highest temperatures on Earth. That is not supposed to happen in Canada. One town beat its previous climate record by 4-5 degrees C for days on end, hitting mid-40s, and then spontaneously combusted and burned to the ground. Really, WTF?!

Canada has made it to German news (which doesn't happen too often) with both incidents.

Last edited by Eike on 5 August 2021 at 8:28 am UTC
Eike 5 Aug
I love that Valve let some space in there!
Are their other useful gadgets to put in?
whizse 5 Aug
  • Supporter
Quoting: BeamboomWow I was not aware of that "hidden department"! I wonder what else that slot is intended for?!
Hidden snack compartment? I mean, it heats up, and it looks like it's the perfect size for a pop-tart.
einherjar 5 Aug
Nice luxury problem.

I will think over this, when I finally got a new GFX Card and a Valve Index....

But have a lot of fun with your new fancy toy ;-)
bingus 6 Aug
View PC info
  • Supporter
Quoting: TheRiddickEspecially in South Australia!

Maybe in the past, but now its worse here in NSW. And you guys are killing it with renewables!
Nah, I understand where you're coming from Liam. As an American I used to laugh when people in other countries complained about perfectly reasonable temperatures.

Then I moved to Melbourne.

I can't decide if the people who build houses here simply haven't heard of such esoteric concepts as "insulation" or "basic weatherproofing", or are actively boycotting their use, but it's all the same in the end. It regularly gets into the 30s (Celsius) indoors during the summer, and in winter like right now I can wake up to single-digit temperatures in my room in the morning. There's neither central heating nor air conditioning, of course. (We did finally get the landlady to install a small wall-mounted AC in the living room in late 2019, but—like the natural gas-powered fireplace out there—it doesn't reach back to my bedroom.) World's most livable city, my foot.

TL;DR: The people complaining about temperatures in other countries than yours are probably not wimps, they're probably just unfortunate enough, through no fault of their own, to be living in a house that's not fit for purpose.

(Thankfully I'm moving back to Hawaii next month so all my Australian friends here can be free of my constant kvetching about the indoor temperatures. )

Last edited by Philadelphus on 6 August 2021 at 11:56 am UTC
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