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

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SCYTHE GENTLE TYPHOON 120

Scythe fans have been highly recommended here for many years, and our last roundup actually covered nothing but 120mm Scythe fans. The Gentle Typhoon series has been around for a number of years. We did not experiment much with them in the past, partly because the Slipstream models were in wide use all over our lab. Scythe states that, "The GentleTyphoon has a different type of tone. The fan propeller is designed to reduce the disturbing frequency fan noise to human ears."


Three of the five GT models; the others are rated for 1150 and 1450 RPM.


The GT120 fans are characterized by a larger than normal hub, 11 curbed blades that are extremely forward-swept, and high mass. The struts/blades geometry is good for minimizing tonal noise. As with all Scythe fans, a fair bit of plastic is used in the package, which includes an adapter for use with a 4-pin Molex connector and 4 mounting screws.

Two of the five GT models were tested: The 800 RPM D1225C12B2AP-12 and 1450 RPM D1225C12B4AP-14. The 500 RPM model was deemed too slow for any real cooling usefulness, while the 1800 RPM model would be too loud. The 1150 RPM model would have been nice to test, but Scythe had no sample stock at the time of our request. Next time.

Published Specifications: Scythe Gentle Typhoon 12 & 14
Brand Scythe Power Rating 12: 0.023A
14: 0.049A
Manufacturer ? Airflow Rating 12: 48 m³/h
14: 85 m³/h
Model Number D1225C12B2AP-12 D1225C12B4AP-14
RPM Rating 12: 800
14: 1450
Retail Availability yes Noise Rating 12: 9 dBA
14: 21 dBA
Bearing Type Double Ball Bearing Header Type 3-pin (4-pin adaptor included)
Hub Size 1.65" Starting Voltage n/a
Frame Size 120 x 120 x 25 Weight 200 grams
Fan Mounts screws Number of Samples 2 each

In case you didn't notice, I reiterate: These are heavy fans, weighing 200 grams, 10% more than the 17cm Thermalright. The huge hub has something to do with this, and probably the high number of blades. The use of ball bearings is unusual in a quiet fan; most use sleeve or modified sleeve bearings, which generally tend to be quieter. The bearings used in the GT do seem very high quality. There is no perceivable play or rocking, and all the fans seem very well balanced with low vibration in actual use. They are fairly pricey, at $16~20 typical retail.


GT 120 800 RPM model summary.

SPCR Test Results: Scythe Gentle Typhoon D1225C12B2AP-12
RPM
880
700
550
SPL (dBA@1m)
12
11
11
°C Rise
24
27
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.

The GT 800 RPM model is extremely quiet, yet provides the best cooling result of all the fans in this roundup at 12 dBA@1m. No other fan provides 24°C temperature rise at this low SPL. The Noiseblocker M12-S1 is its closest competitor: It is the same size and has the same speed rating, but delivers one degree poorer cooling, and it is more expensive, although it does have the benefit of the soft corner rubber block mounts. As with the M12-S1, there's little benefit in slowing this fan because even at full speed, it is so quiet as to be inaudible in most applications.

SPCR Test Results: Scythe Gentle Typhoon D1225C12B4AP-14
RPM
1450
1100
900
700
550
SPL (dBA@1m)
20
16
13
12
12
°C Rise
19
22
24
27
33
Airflow in/out (FPM)
-
300/450
-
-
-
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 GT 1450 RPM model is also very quiet for its cooling peformance. The 19°C temperature rise at the 20 dBA SPL (at full speed) is comparable to what the big Thermalright 17cm can achieve at the same noise level. No other 120mm fan in this roundup does as well.

On paper, it scales down nicely, but there's a hidden flaw not shown in the SPL numbers: When slowed to any speed below ~1100 RPM, a sharp tonal spike around 500 Hz appears, and this is clearly audible at ~2 feet. It might be responsible for the slight 1 dBA increase at 900 Hz and below. I tried both of the 1450 RPM samples on hand and heard the same effect; ditto the 1800 RPM models. It also occured with both voltage controllers in the lab. Interestingly, at maximum speed, the tonal sound, a kind of ringing, could be triggered a bit by placing the fan on the wood lab table surface. Putting a soft pad under it eliminated it. This suggests it might be some kind of vibration-induced noise from the bearing, but the odd thing is that it is not apparent with the 800 RPM model.

The tonal effect at reduced speed is distinctive enough to say that for most users, it is best to obtain the fan with the speed/noise you need, and don't bother slowing it down. Soft mounting is recommended for best results.



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