SPCR's Fan Round-Up #3: 92mm Fans

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NOISEBLOCKER ULTRA SILENT FAN SE2 AND BLACK SILENT FAN XE1

Ambient noise at the time of testing was 18 dBA.

Ultra Silent Fan SE2 (NB-USF SE2)
Brand Noiseblocker Power Rating 0.13A
Manufacturer Y. S. Tech. Airflow Rating 38 CFM
Model Number NB-USF SE2 RPM Rating 1,850 RPM
Retail Availability Yes Noise Rating 22 dBA
Bearing Type Double Ball Bearing Header Type 3-pin
Hub Size 1.27" Starting Voltage 3.9V
Frame Size 92 x 92 x 25 Number of Samples 2
Our thanks to Noiseblocker for supplying these samples.
Voltage
Noise
RPM
CFM
Power
12V
28 dBA@1m
1780 RPM
41 CFM
0.80W
9V
23 dBA@1m
1330 RPM
31 CFM
0.62W
7V
21 dBA@1m
1030 RPM
23 CFM
0.50W
5V
~19 dBA@1m
690 RPM
13 CFM
0.40W
@15 CFM (5.4V)
~20 dBA@1m
750 RPM
15 CFM
0.42W
May 5, 2008
The updated airflow results here are the result of improvements in our testing procedures. They are more accurate than the original results above, but they are not directly comparable. Please compare these only with fan reviews published after May 5, 2008 — or ones that have updated results published in a box like this one.
12V
28 dBA@1m
1780 RPM
26 CFM
0.80W
9V
23 dBA@1m
1330 RPM
20 CFM
0.62W
7V
21 dBA@1m
1030 RPM
16 CFM
0.50W
5V
~19 dBA@1m
690 RPM
10 CFM
0.40W
@15 CFM (6.8V)
~20 dBA@1m
980 RPM
15 CFM
0.48W

The Noiseblocker SE2 is barely worthy of note. It is included here mainly because it is identical to the Coolink X9 series, with the following "important" differences:

  • It has blue fins instead of green
  • It has a Noiseblocker label
  • The retail package includes silicone grommets and a fan controller

We refer you to the previous page to find out why we don't think it worthy of further comment.

Black Silent Fan XE1
Brand Noiseblocker Power Rating 0.10A
Manufacturer Noiseblocker Airflow Rating 28.9 CFM
Model Number Black Silent Fan XE1 RPM Rating 1,400 RPM
Retail Availability Yes Noise Rating 17 dBA
Bearing Type Sleeve Header Type 3-pin
Hub Size 1.37" Starting Voltage 3.9V
Frame Size 92 x 92 x 25 mm Number of Samples 3
Our thanks to Noiseblocker for supplying these samples.
Voltage
Noise
RPM
CFM
Power
12V
21 dBA@1m
1490 RPM
34 CFM
1.11W
9V
~19 dBA@1m
1180 RPM
26 CFM
0.81W
7V
~19 dBA@1m
930 RPM
20 CFM
0.64W
5V
<18 dBA@1m
630 RPM
12 CFM
0.45W
@15 CFM (5.8V)
<18 dBA@1m
760 RPM
15 CFM
0.52W
May 5, 2008
The updated airflow results here are the result of improvements in our testing procedures. They are more accurate than the original results above, but they are not directly comparable. Please compare these only with fan reviews published after May 5, 2008 — or ones that have updated results published in a box like this one.
12V
21 dBA@1m
1490 RPM
22 CFM
1.11W
9V
~19 dBA@1m
1180 RPM
18 CFM
0.81W
7V
~19 dBA@1m
930 RPM
14 CFM
0.64W
5V
<18 dBA@1m
630 RPM
9 CFM
0.45W
@15 CFM (7.7V)
<18 dBA@1m
1040 RPM
15 CFM
0.70W

The Black Silent Fan XE1, on the other hand, is a very different beast, despite having similar semi-transparent blue fins. If somebody recommends you a Noiseblocker fan, it's probably this one, not the previous one that he's talking about. Aside from the blue fins, it's fairly evident that the manufacturers for the XE1 and the SE2 are not the same. Differences in blade style, frame shape, and, most importantly, noise character all prove that these are two very different beasts.

The XE1 sounds almost identical to the Nexus. It's very smooth, and it is inaudible below about ~7V. In fact, until we started breaking down the data and doing comparisons on the basis of noise for airflow, we were hard pressed to call a victor between the two. However, when airflow is taken into account, it's clear that the Nexus has a tiny edge. The difference is not much — we really had to hunt for it — but it does seem to be there.

The main difference is in the tonal quality of the noise. While both fans sound smooth and fairly low pitched, the XE1 seems just a little harsher than the Nexus. It also has a small range (9~10V) where it produces a quiet overtone, giving the noise a harmonic "two-tone" quality. This is only of real concern if the fan is thermally controlled; it's easy enough to avoid the 9~10V range if the fan's speed is adjusted once and set for good.

The XE1 also seems to stay audible for slightly longer than the Nexus. The threshold of audibility for the Nexus is roughly ~21 CFM, while the XE1 didn't disappear until ~18 CFM. This is not a large difference though; it's unlikely to amount to more than a single degree difference in cooling power — and that mounted directly on a heatsink. In the context of a case fan, the difference is irrelevant.

Noiseblocker lists the bearing type as a "longlife" sleeve bearing, but it's not at all clear what "longlife" means or how it is achieved. The MTBF specification is listed at <68,000 hours, which puts the 20,000 hour rating of the Nexus' sleeve bearing (see Dynatron's web site) to shame. On the other hand, the Fander FX92-W is rated for 80,000 hours. Given how much controversy there is around the MTBF, we suggest taking all of these numbers with a grain of salt. However, we do recommend paying attention to the way the XE1 is mounted; our testing showed that the rotation speed dropped by ~7% when the XE1 was blowing downwards.

The XE1 and the Nexus share one other trait: We examined three samples of both, and in both cases found one sample that had a slight ticking. It seems that Noiseblocker is not immune from sample variance...

Noise Recordings

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