Fan Roundup #5: Attack of the 120 Scythes

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SCYTHE ULTRA KAZE DFS123812H-3000

Ambient noise at the time of testing was 18 dBA.

Brand Scythe Power Rating 0.60A
Manufacturer Scythe Airflow Rating 133.6 CFM
Model Number DFS123812H-3000
RPM Rating 3,000 RPM
Retail Availability Yes Noise Rating 45.9 dBA
Bearing Type Sleeve Header Type 3-pin
Hub Size 2.17" Starting Voltage 3.1
Frame Size 120 x 120 x 38mm Number of Samples 2
Weight 300g Variance Noted See below
Voltage
Noise
RPM
CFM
12V
47 dBA@1m
2760 RPM
107 CFM
9V
40 dBA@1m
2180 RPM
77 CFM
7V
34 dBA@1m
1710 RPM
56 CFM
5V
24 dBA@1m
1160 RPM
34 CFM
@20 CFM (3.6V)
19 dBA@1m
730 RPM
20 CFM

Scythe also carries a line of 38mm thick, high performance fans. The Ultra Kazes come in three speeds: 3000, 2000, and 1000 RPM. The extra width allows for deeper fan blades, but with it comes increased weight and a larger, more powerful motor — the hub size is more than two inches across. A molex adapter with RPM header is included. We highly recommend using the adapter as lower quality fan headers may not be able to supply enough power and may burn out if used in conjunction with this fan — especially the high speed variant. The spokes are curved exactly like the Like the Slip Stream series for acoustic benefits.

The 3000 RPM model is the loudest 120mm fan we've tested. Its acoustic quality is poor, droning and buzzing at low speeds, and shaking and vibrating at high speeds. It also clicks throughout its entire range and one of our samples had an unpleasant resonant spike at 7V. It is nowhere close to our standards for a silent fan, and unfortunately doesn't offer any performance advantage either.

It pushed less air than the Slip Stream 1200 RPM and 1600 RPM models while producing the same level of noise (24 dBA) and it was the only fan that was unable to output 20 CFM without overtaking the ambient noise level. Being so large, heavy, and with poor acoustics, one would think it would at least perform more efficiently, but it just wasn't the case, at least for the H model. It may have something to do with the unusually high weight. At 300g it is 70g heavier than the lower speed Ultra Kazes.

One has to assume that the greater depth of the blades result in higher pressure, which would probably be useful in a high airflow impedance application like a heatsink with very tightly spaced fins. (We do not test for pressure currently.) However, this is not something we recommend, and most SPCR readers seek to minimize airflow impedance in order to enable good cooling with very slow fan speeds.

Noise Recording

  • Scythe Ultra Kaze DFS123812H-3000— 3.6V-5V-7V-9V-12V with 5s ambient between each level: One meter, at 20 CFM (3.6V)

SCYTHE ULTRA KAZE DFS123812L-2000

Ambient noise at the time of testing was 18 dBA.

Brand Scythe Power Rating 0.25A
Manufacturer Scythe Airflow Rating 87.63 CFM
Model Number DFS123812L-2000
RPM Rating 2,000 RPM
Retail Availability Yes Noise Rating 32.91 dBA
Bearing Type Sleeve Header Type 3-pin
Hub Size 2.17" Starting Voltage 2.4
Frame Size 120 x 120 x 38mm Number of Samples 2
Weight 230g Variance Noted None
Voltage
Noise
RPM
CFM
12V
37 dBA@1m
2030 RPM
71 CFM
9V
32 dBA@1m
1670 RPM
53 CFM
7V
25 dBA@1m
1380 RPM
42 CFM
5V
20 dBA@1m
1060 RPM
29 CFM
@20 CFM (3.3V)
~18 dBA@1m
740 RPM
20 CFM

The L2000 Ultra Kaze 120 has characteristics similar to the H model but it is much less aggressive sounding. It exhibited a lot of drone, and some buzz. Despite being 1000 RPM slower than the H model, it could not be be described as quiet, even at 5V. Performance was more efficient compared to the high speed model, but not as good as the Slip Streams.

Noise Recording

  • Scythe Ultra Kaze DFS123812L-2000— 3.3V-5V-7V-9V-12V with 5s ambient between each level: One meter, at 20 CFM (3.3V)

SCYTHE ULTRA KAZE DFS123812L-1000

Brand Scythe Power Rating 0.25A
Manufacturer Scythe Airflow Rating 44.44 CFM
Model Number DFS123812L-1000
RPM Rating 1,000 RPM
Retail Availability Yes Noise Rating 19.81 dBA
Bearing Type Sleeve Header Type 3-pin
Hub Size 2.17" Starting Voltage 3
Frame Size 120 x 120 x 38mm Number of Samples 3
Weight 220g Variance Noted None
Voltage
Noise
RPM
CFM
12V
20 dBA@1m
1000 RPM
27 CFM
9V
~18 dBA@1m
780 RPM
22 CFM
7V
<18 dBA@1m
610 RPM
16 CFM
5V
<18 dBA@1m
440 RPM
11 CFM
@20 CFM (8.3V)
~18 dBA@1m
720 RPM
20 CFM

The 1000 RPM model is similar to the other two in the Ultra Kaze series. The lower speed results in less drone and buzz, but its acoustic character is still noticeably poor even when undervolted to 5V and 18 dBA. Performance was very similar to the 2000 RPM variant. It's simply not quiet enough. There are many, many alternatives that will provide the same airflow, but with much better acoustics.

The Ultra Kaze line is disappointing. They are really only suitable for high heat, high impedance situations where noise is not a factor.

Noise Recording

  • Scythe Ultra Kaze DFS123812L-1000— 5V-7V-8.3V-9V-12V with 5s ambient between each level: One meter, at 20 CFM (3.3V)

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