120mm Fan Roundup: Scythe, 1stPlayer, Reeven, Phanteks

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1stPlayer SteamPunk Pro

The most intriguing fan here is from a company no one's heard of. Mostly unknown Chinese manufacturer 1stPlayer's website and products have a stylish, distinctly modern look, though their catalogue consists only of a handful of power supplies and gaming accessories and a single fan. Despite their relatively obscurity, 1stPlayer felt their unique design was worth selling directly to the American market through Newegg, where it can be purchased for an extravagant US$33 for the 1600 RPM model and a bit less exhorbitant US$24 for a 2000 RPM variant.



Fan impeller and frame.

The SteamPunk Pro ships in a large black and white box with plastic inserts inside separating the goods. The fan is disassembled by default, the impeller separated from the fan frame. It is meant to operate in either configuration, with the frame when the airflow needs to be directed in what 1stPlayer deems "target cooling" and without for "environment cooling." The latter setup seems completely ineffective in any situation with the air spilling out in every direction with little pressure. Included in the package are two low noise adapters, a Y-cable, isolators, and two different sets of mounting screws.

Assembled, powered fan on the right.

Exhaust side.
Specifications: 1stPlayer SteamPunk Pro
Manufacturer 1stPlayer Power Rating 2.4 W
Model Number DF121225SE Airflow Rating 60 CFM
Bearing Type Nano Ceramic Speed Rating 1600 RPM
Frame Size 120 x 120 x 25 mm Noise Rating 25 dBA
Hub Size 41 mm Header Type 4-pin
Blade Diameter 110 mm Fan Mounts Screws, isolators
Cable Length 30 cm Weight 120 g
Starting Voltage 4.5 ~ 5.0 V Number of Samples 4
Corner Type N/A Retail Availability Yes
Additional accessories: two low noise adapters, Y-cable.

The fan frame is secured through four pairs of pegs that attach to the fan's struts, which unusually, are on the exhaust side of the fan with mounting holes drilled into the tips. The structure is so bulky that the white portion containing the fan blades is just 14 mm thick compared to 19 mm for a typical case fan. This effectively means the SteamPunk Pro is a 20 mm fan in a 25 mm thick body, putting it at a major disadvantage. As the fan can only sit flat on the exhaust side, it's fine for a CPU or exhaust fan. As an intake fan, it will only mount properly in a tower case if it allows placement outside the chassis underneath the front panel. The fan's 11 blades are short and stubby due to its big hub which contains the LED(s) for illuminating the 1stPlayer logo in a pleasant white color. The almost parallel angle formed between the leading edges and struts typically produces added tonality but this effect may be lessened or nonexistent as the struts are on the opposite side compared to a traditional case fan.

1sPlayer provided four samples of the 1600 RPM model and there was minor variance between them. One fan exhibited faint bearing chatter at 900 RPM that wasn't produced by the other three, while two of the samples sounded slightly smoother than the others at 700 RPM.

Fan Xpert 2's fan speed analysis of the SteamPunk Pro.
SPCR Test Results: 1stPlayer SteamPunk Pro
Fan Speed (RPM)
Thermal Rise (°C)
Airflow in/out (FPM)

According to Fan Xpert 2, our test sample has an unusually high minimum speed of about ~820 RPM which limits its minimum noise output on PWM control. The provided low noise adapters allow the fan to run slower but also reduces its maximum speed with the "Q-mode" and "S-mode" adapters changing its range to 500~850 RPM and 650~1000 RPM respectively. Alternatively, it can hit under 550 RPM without issue if you use old fashioned DC voltage control.

The SteamPunk Pro starts off very quiet at 550 RPM like most fans but as the speed increases, the noise level shoots up more than usual. Despite not being the highest speed fan in this roundup, it manages to be the loudest by a sizable margin (the next closest fan emits 6~7 dB less). It's just plain noisy, recording higher SPLs than its competitors at every tested speed. It's also an abysmal performer across the board. It has the unfortunate distinction of being the first fan we've tested to produce a 40°C or greater temperature rise, which it accomplishes at 550 RPM. The airflow is also the lowest we've measured. In free-air, at 1100 RPM, it pushes about as much air as a typical case fan operating at half the speed.

Acoustic analysis of the SteamPunk Pro.

To make matters worse, the fan doesn't sound good, with a buzzy quality that is evident at all but the lowest speeds and has pervasive low pitched hum at 900 RPM and above. The pitch increases with speed, becoming more bothersome the faster it runs.

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