Second 140 mm Fan Roundup: Antec, bequiet!, Corsair, Scythe

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Scythe Kaze Maru 2 (SM1425SL12HPVC-V)

Scythe's Slip Stream series has been a favorite of ours since their release. Back in the day, CPU coolers were often bundled with lousy sounding stock fans, but with Scythe you were almost guaranteed a quiet and smooth sounding experience right of the box. As an aftermarket fan, the relative low cost of Slip Streams made them a great alternative to premium models from Noctua and others. The Kaze Maru 2 (aka Slip Stream 140) is available in several speeds but we're testing the only adjustable speed model.


The biggest selling point of this model is a hardwired variable fan controller designed to be installed in an expansion slot. We no longer have the box on hand but it was a simple clear plastic package with steel screws and a 3-pin to molex adapter with an RPM sensor cable.

The controller can use either voltage or PWM to slow down the fan, though we could not detect any acoustic difference between the two methods. On PWM, the lowest speed was 1,380 RPM, while on VR it went down all the way to 660 RPM.

The 11 blades, circular frame, and curved struts of the first generation Slip Stream has been abandoned for a more conventional design with 9 larger blades and straight struts.

Specifications:
Manufacturer Scythe Power Rating 4.2 W
Model Number SM1425SL12HPVC-V
Airflow Rating 92.4 CFM
Bearing Type Sleeve Speed Rating 1,700 RPM
Frame Size 140 x 140 x 25 mm (120 mm holes) Noise Rating 36.4 dBA
Hub Size 40 mm Header Type 4-pin PWM with molex adapter
Blade Diameter 128 mm Fan Mounts Screws
Cable Length 60 cm Weight 150 g
Starting Voltage 4.5 ~ 5.0 V Number of Samples 2
Corner Type Open Retail Availability Yes
Extras: 20 cm molex adapter, 30 cm RPM sensor cable, screws.


This is the screen capture of Fan Xpert 2's auto-analysis of the Scythe Kaze Maru 2.


Acoustic analysis of the Scythe Kaze Maru 2.

SPCR Test Results: Scythe Kaze Maru 2
Fan Speed (RPM)
1900
1500
1100
900
700
SPL (dBA@1m)
36
28~29
19
15
12~13
Thermal Rise (°C)
15
16
18
19
22
Airflow in/out (FPM)
770/1030
-
470/610
-
-

Most fans we encounter don't adhere to their specified speed, usually varying by 100 RPM in either direction. The Kaze Maru 2 on the other hand was a full 200 RPM faster than specified at its rated speed. At 1,900 and 1,500 RPM, the fan was almost violently turbulent and whiny and when held close to the ear we could also hear an uneven flutter. At 1,100 RPM it emitted a strong buzzing while at 900 RPM, a noticeable hum developed as well. At 700 RPM, the sound was tonal. The smooth nature of the original Slip Stream series seemed far removed from the Kaze Maru 2.

The fan we tested was one of a pair. The second, untested fan had an even rougher character at low speed. With only two samples, we can't say with any degree of certainty which is closer to the norm.

We encountered a slower model from the same family a couple of years ago, paired with the Grand Kama Cross, that wasn't nearly as bad. It's entirely possible that only the speed adjustable variant sounds like this.

Despite being the worst sounding fan in our roundup, it was among the best performing 140 mm fans we've tested, delivered strong results in our thermal tests.



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