Fan Roundup #7: Antec, be quiet!, Corsair, GELID, Noiseblocker, SilverStone

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Antec TwoCool 120

Being one of the biggest case manufacturers in the world, a lot of users have been exposed to Antec fans. Though a few of their recent noise-conscious cases ship with TrueQuiets, which utilize soft rubber corners and noise isolators, most still sport fans with a more traditional design; the TriCool, and its successor, the TwoCool, are far more common.


The TwoCool 120 ships in a simple plastic box with minimal adornment. The fan is placed front and center, fully visible in the transparent package.

Aside from the two-speed switch, the design of the fan, like the package it comes in, is Spartan, including just a basic 3-pin to molex adapter and a set of standard fan screws. This is the one fan in our roundup that you might not be able pick out of a lineup if you ripped the sticker off, your old school, meat and potatoes black case fan.

With a small hub, the TwoCool' offers quite a bit of extra real estate inside its frame but the gently curved blades are noticeably thin, taking up little of the available space.

Specifications: Antec TwoCool 120
Manufacturer Antec Power Rating 3.6 W
Model Number TwoCool 120 Airflow Rating 42.6 CFM
Bearing Type Sleeve Speed Rating 1,200 RPM
Frame Size 120 x 120 x 25 mm Noise Rating 23.7 dBA
Hub Size 33 mm Header Type 3-pin w/ molex adapter
Blade Diameter 112 mm Fan Mounts Screws
Cable Length 50 cm Weight 100 g
Starting Voltage 4.0 ~ 4.5 V Number of Samples 6
Corner Type Open Retail Availability Yes
Additional notes: high/low speed switch (low ~450 RPM)


This is the screen capture of Fan Xpert 2's auto-analysis of the Antec TwoCool 120 fan.


Acoustic analysis of the Antec TwoCool 120.

SPCR Test Results: Antec TwoCool 120
Fan Speed (RPM)
1100
900
700
550
SPL (dBA@1m)
17
14~15
12
11
Thermal Rise (°C)
22
26
31
34
Airflow in/out (FPM)
380/550
-
-
190/270

At its nominal speed, the TwoCool 120 was surprisingly quiet for a traditional style fan, topping out at only 17 dBA@1m. The noise generated was generally inoffensive, a typical combination of smooth turbulence and underlying bearing chatter that is more characteristic of ball bearing models. However, the fan's acoustic quality degraded at lower speeds; the turbulence produced at higher speeds did a good job of hiding a clicky, low frequency underbelly, which became more and more prominent as the fan's speed was reduced. The slower it spun, the worse it sounded.

All six samples we received sounded very similar at high speed but there was some variation at low speed. Two of the samples exhibited a stronger clicking characteristic while a third was a bit on the whiny side. The remaining three, which included the sample we used for testing, is probably more representative of what to expect.

At top speed, the TwoCool not only sounds best, but also performs optimally, with a 22°C thermal rise at 17 dBA@1m. This is about average compared to most of the fans we've tested. As the speed dropped, the performance deteriorated faster than most. Simply put, if you don't plan on running the TwoCool at full speed, it's not worth considering.



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