Fan Roundup #6: Scythe, Noiseblocker, Antec, Nexus, Thermalright

Fans|Controls
Viewing page 4 of 7 pages. Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Next

NOISEBLOCKER M12-S1, M12-S2, and M12-P

It's not clear from their web site just how long this German company has been around, but their fans are familiar to many who share information in the SPCR forums. Not surprising, as their aim, according to their web site, is "the noiseless fan." Noiseblocker sent us several models of 120mm fans, two samples of each. Three models were tested here.

The M12-S1 and S2 are lower and higher speed versions of the same 3-pin fan. A third variant, the M12-S3, was set aside for now; it has a top speed of 1800 RPM, which makes it too noisy for most SPCR readers, and similar to the next fan. The M12-P is a 4-pin PWM version of the same basic fan, with a top speed of 2000 RPM. All of these fans are part of NB's Multiframe series, whose most unusual feature is a "multipart vibration-free chassis with integrated structure-borne sound absorbers."

These fans have a 6-year warranty, and employ "NB-NanoSLI® bearings" about which no explanation is given, except the following: "Almost noise-free bearings... extremely low-noise and long-life." They are quite pricey, usually >$23 retail, and often considerably more.


Inside each box, the fan is in a plastic tray, with 4 standard metal mounting screws. The fan lead is nicely sleeved with a braided cover.


This photo shows what makes these fans really unique. The four corners are shaped to accept a soft silicone rubber plug into which the mount screws go. The frame feels tough and sturdy, while the rubber plugs add a fair amount of mass to give the fan a sense of heft. The design of the struts and the 7 fan blades is similar to that of the Nexus 120, fundamentally sound. The fan blades are made of a translucent material.

Published Specifications: Noiseblocker M12-S1, S2 & P
Brand Noiseblocker Power Rating S1: 0.36 W
S2: 0.72W
P: 2.64W
Manufacturer ? Airflow (CFM) S1: 34
S2: 51
P: 43~87
Model Numbers M12-S1
M12-S2
M12-P
RPM
S1: 750
S2: 1250
P: 1000~2000
Retail Availability Yes Noise Rating S1: 8 dB(A)
S2: 19 dB(A)
P: 12~29 dB(A)
Bearing Type NB-NanoSLI Header Type S1 & S2: 3-pin
P: 4-pin
Hub Size 1.58" Starting Voltage 7V
Frame Size 120 x 120 x 25 mm Weight S1 & S2: 150g
P: 155g
Fan Mounts 4 steel screws Number of Samples 2 of each model
Our thanks to Noiseblocker for supplying these samples.

The NB Multiframe fans are impressive. There is no question of the vibration-damping effectiveness of the corner rubber inserts. It works very well, eliminating almost all vibration transfer into a case or heatsink. The rubber corners are slightly thicker than the frame itself, so that even if wire clips are used (as on some many CPU heatsinks), the frame does not make contact with the fins. In fact, because each rubber block can be moved a bit within the corner, the frame can be positioned a bit farther from the grill of a case or the fins of a heatsink — to decrease air turbulence noise if so desired. The design is ingenious and original. Imitation is the highest form of flattery... or a sure sign of success; others, as you will see in this roundup, have already tried to emulate the NB design.

All three of the tested NB Multiframe fans sounded very similar when their speeds were matched; cooling performance was virtually identical.

Noiseblocker M12-S1


This is the summary for the Noiseblocker M12-S1 fan.

SPCR Test Results: Noiseblocker M12-S1
RPM
840~870
700
550
SPL (dBA@1m)
12
11
11
°C Rise
25
29
33
Airflow in/out (FPM)
-
-
160/220
Airflow in feet per minute are given for both sides of the fan as the exhaust side always provide much higher flow, due primarily to its much higher turbulence.

At their maximum speed of 840~870 RPM (considerably higher than the rated 750 RPM), both samples of the M12-S1 were 2 dBA quieter than the reference Nexus 120 at 880~900 RPM. The claimed 8 dBA rating is not possible for me to verify as it is below the ambient level of the anechoic chamber; I measured 12 dBA, just 1 dBA higher than the noise floor of the chamber. The quality of the noise was very good, smooth with very little tonality. There's really no need to lower the speed unless you're truly a silence fanatic and the rest of your PC components (or environment, for that matter) is as quiet. This is an exceptionally quiet fan. The cooling performance a 25°C Rise, one degree worse than the Nexus at the same RPM, a very small cooling price to pay, in my opinion.

Noiseblocker M12-S2


M12-S2 summary.

SPCR Test Results: Noiseblocker M12-S2
RPM
1265
1100
900
700
550
SPL (dBA@1m)
23
17
13
12
11
°C Rise
22
23
25
29
33
Airflow in/out (FPM)
400/600
340/500
-
-
160/220
Airflow in feet per minute are given for both sides of the fan, as the exhaust side always provide much higher flow, due primarily to its much higher turbulence.

The M12-S2 is identical in appearance to the S1, and the specs are very similar except for the top speed of 1250 RPM. There were no surprises here: It was virtually identical to the S1 samples in both noise and cooling. At 900 and 700 RPM, the S2 measured a decibel higher than the S1, but this could easily be a case of sample variance. The sound quality was the same. At 1100 RPM, it was a dB quieter than the Nexus 120 and a degree worse in cooling. The slightly higher top speed allowed it to match the cooling of the Nexus 120, but still at a decibel lower noise level. The S2 is a very versatile fan, a viable, quieter alternative to the Nexus 120 for use as a case or CPU fan even in hot gaming rigs.

Noiseblocker M12-P


M12-P summary.

SPCR Test Results: Noiseblocker M12-P
RPM
1850
1500
1100
900
700
550
SPL (dBA@1m)
32
25
17
14
12
-
°C Rise
18
19
22
25
31
-
Airflow in/out (FPM)
-
400/600
340/500
-
-
-
Airflow in feet per minute are given for both sides of the fan, as the exhaust side always provide much higher flow, due primarily to its much higher turbulence.

The M12-P differs from the S1 and S2 models in being a PWM fan and having a much higher top speed. Again, the overall noise quality is similar, although, of course, it is much louder at the >1800 RPM top speed, louder than even the huge Thermalright TY170 fan by 6 dBA. At this speed, it managed to improve on the TY170's cooling by one degree. Reducing fan speed naturally reduced noise, but it did not reach "SPCR quiet" levels till the 1100 RPM point, where it matched the cooling performance of the Nexus 120 and bettered the noise by a decibel. Below that level, it posted slightly poorer numbers than its non-PWM brethren. Despite the specified 1000~2000 RPM range, Fan Xpert 2 had no trouble starting and running this fan at 700 RPM.

While the M12-P is a quiet fan when its speed is reduced, its noise level is not quite the equal of the non-PWM variants. Althought it might be useful in a high power rig that scales down well at lower or idle power, the relatively high noise higher RPMs makes it less interesting to SPCR audiences.

There is a lower speed version of this PWM fan, called M12-PS, with a speed range of 600~1600 RPM and SPL of 7~23 dBA. This would be much more useful for SPCR readers. NB will be tapped for samples for the next fan roundup.



Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Next

Fans|Controls - Article Index
Help support this site, buy from one of our affiliate retailers!
Search: