Cooler Master GeminII M4 Low Profile Heatsink

Cooling
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STOCK FAN MEASUREMENTS

Specifications: Cooler Master GeminII M4 Stock Fan
Manufacturer
Power Rating
2.4 W
Model Number
FA12015M12LPA
Airflow Rating
17.4 ~ 58.4 CFM
Bearing Type
Sleeve
Speed Rating
500 ~ 1,600 RPM
Corners
Open
Noise Rating
8 ~ 30 dBA
Frame Size
120 x 120 x 15 mm
Header Type
4-pin
Fan Blade Diameter
113 mm
Starting Voltage
5.5 V
Hub Size
40 mm
Weight
80 grams
Data in green cells provided by the manufacturer or observed; data in the blue cells were measured.

We've seen past Cooler Master fans with twisted blades and translucent blades but this is the first time we've seen both design elements together in the same unit. It's a 15 mm thick, 13-blade, sleeve bearing fan with a 30 cm 4-pin cable

Stock Fan Measurements
Voltage
Speed
SPL@1m
12V
1580 RPM
30 dBA
9V
1240 RPM
24 dBA
7V
940 RPM
16~17 dBA
6V
770 RPM
14~15 dBA
5V
580 RPM
12 dBA
Measuring mic positioned 1m at diagonal angle from the center of the heatsink.
Ambient noise level: 10~11 dBA.

The GeminII M4 fan is fairly inoffensive. Its acoustics are typical for a decent sleeve bearing fan. It has a buzzy and turbulent sound at higher speeds and is generally smooth at lower speeds. Being a 1,600 RPM model, it has quite a large noise range. The cooler is an almost inaudible 12 dBA@1m at 5V, while at 12V, it measures 30 dBA@1m.


Loose fan clips.

We're not happy about the way the fan is mounted. The clips are so loose that an undesirable hum is generated by the interaction with the rest of the heatsink. As you can see in the image above, lifting the fan after the cooler is installed physically separates it from the heatsink.


Stock fan at 7V.

Naturally we wanted to see how much of a difference this issue made, so we slipped some foam padding under the four corners of the fan to make things tighter. This resulted in a noticeable improvement in acoustics. At the 7V level, a number of tonal peaks in the 120 ~ 1,500 Hz range dropped considerably and the overall noise level dropped by 1~2 dB.

Cooling Results

Cooler Master GeminII M4
Fan Voltage
Fan Speed
SPL@1m
°C Rise above Ambient
CPU
VRM
RAM
Stock Fan
12V
1580 RPM
30 dBA
45
24
16
9V
1240 RPM
24 dBA
47
27
18
7V
940 RPM
16~17 dBA
53
34
24
6V
770 RPM
14~15 dBA
56
38
26
5V
580 RPM
12 dBA
64
49
32
Reference Nexus 120mm Fan (+10mm)
12V
1080 RPM
16~17 dBA
48
25
19
9V
880 RPM
13 dBA
51
30
22
7V
720 RPM
11~12 dBA
54
32
23

The cooling performance was very disappointing. At the lowest tested stock fan speed (580 RPM/12 dBA), it was only about 10°C away from the CPU throttling, something that only happens to very small or very poor heatsinks. The sweet spot seemed to be somewhere between 770 and 940 RPM. Our thicker, reference Nexus 120 mm fan was significantly superior, especially at very low noise levels. The difference was about 10°C at the 11~12 dBA@1m level.



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