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 Post subject: Quieting down the stock ZEROtherm ZEN FZ120 fan?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 10:14 pm 
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Location: San Carlos, CA
It's been about 6 years since I built a PC up from components, but I'm recently upgrading my system with the following:

AMD Athlon II X4 630 Propus 2.8GHz Quadcore CPU
ASUS M4A785TD-V EVO AM3 Motherboard
ZEROtherm ZEN FZ120 120mm CPU Cooler
Corsair XMS3 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM
Nexus 430w Compact ATX Quiet Power Supply
Samsung EcoGreen F2 500GB SATA 5400 RPM Drive

Overall the system if very quiet, with one exception -- the CPU fan. If I take my finger and stop the CPU fan for an instant the system is nearly silent. I believe my problem is the stock ZEROtherm ZEN FZ120 fan isn't quiet and using SpeedFan the M4A785TD-V motherboard will only control it between 1480 and 1850 RPM.

I would like to try the Akasa Apache AK-FN057 fan which is quieter and has a lower RPM. Unfortunately, I can't find a US source for the fan. Is there another fan more readily available in the US that performs nearly as well as the Akasa Apache is reputed to be?

As an alternative, is there any way I can reduce the speed of the stock ZEROtherm ZEN FZ120 fan so that it rotates at a lower RPM? Say between 800 and 1400 RPM. I guess I'm hostage to the M4A785TD-V motherboard being unwilling to allow a very low PWM signal to the fan.

Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks...


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 Post subject: Re: Quieting down the stock ZEROtherm ZEN FZ120 fan?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 11:08 pm 
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Location: Massachusetts, USA
mpthompson wrote:
I guess I'm hostage to the M4A785TD-V motherboard being unwilling to allow a very low PWM signal to the fan.

Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks...


Not true. It's just that you found the bottom threshold of that fan. (not the mobo).

Honestly, if you want a quiet, cool cpu, get yourself a scythe slipstream fan

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835185057&cm_re=slipstream-_-35-185-057-_-Product

the beauty of this fan is its near silent at full speed while inside a case (like cooling the CPU). So you don't even need to use the PWM header, you can just wire it to a 3pin chassi header on the mobo.

If you want a sturdy, well designed, quiet fan, look no further than scythe fans.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2009 5:18 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 25, 2009 1:43 pm
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Location: San Carlos, CA
Thanks for the reply and the correction. I'm beginning to understand these things a bit more. The Scythe does get very good reviews on NewEgg in terms of noise.

Do you think the ZEROtherm ZEN FZ120 with an 800 RPM Scythe SlipStream fan will be sufficient for all loads on the CPU? Perhaps the 1200 RPM version would be bit safer and I can make a 4 pin to 3 pin adapter that will control the fan speed using SpeedFan. I'll have to think about this some more.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2009 6:08 pm 
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Location: Massachusetts, USA
i recommend against using speedfan for things other than case fans...

Reason being, you need to be loaded into windows for it to be working correctly. It's kind of annoying to tell you the truth.

To answer your question, the 800 should be fine for cooling the CPU. The slipstreams move a lot of air for what little RPM they run at..you will be surprised. That said, you also have the following option: you can pick up a 1200 RPM slipstream, and a Fanmate. The fanmate will allow you to "set it and forget it" after an initial trial and error period with various speeds. Try turning it up to a point where you can hear the fan, go a little slower, then benchmark your CPU. If core temps stay below 60C after 10min or so, just leave it at that speed, and forget about it forever! (that is until you do a little housekeeping in the case).

That said, I still believe the 800 is fully capable of cooling your CPU. Hope this helps..

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2009 7:52 pm 
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Location: San Carlos, CA
Great recommendation. I have the 1200 RPM on order and pick up the Fanmate as well. I'll post back with how it went.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2009 10:01 pm 
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Location: Massachusetts, USA
mpthompson wrote:
Great recommendation. I have the 1200 RPM on order and pick up the Fanmate as well. I'll post back with how it went.


good choice..at 1200 its MORE than capable of some serious cooling (say..when gaming), and if you turn it down it can be dead silent. I actually own the 1200rpm slipstream as a case fan, and I can get it down to 400 rpm EASILY...so you have a large range to work with.

Let me know how it goes..you wont be disappointed with scythe.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 10:18 pm 
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Location: San Carlos, CA
I got the Scythe 1200 RPM fan it have it installed on my system. I temporarily hooked it up the fan speed control on my case so I could test it out at three speeds -- low, medium and high. I can't measure the RPMs from the controller, but it probably runs at about 500, 800 and 1200 RPMs at each setting.

At the high-speed 1200 RPM, the fan is quiet, but has a noticeable high frequency whine. The whine is not very loud, but I wouldn't want to run it all the time at this speed.

At the med-speed ~800 RPM value the whine disappears and the fan becomes very quiet. It's still the loudest component in the case, but not by much.

At the low-speed ~500 RPM value the fan blends into the background noise of the very quiet case and power supply fan and the HDD. At this setting, the PC is nearly silent for my purposes -- much quieter in fact than the Mac-mini I have sitting next to it for development purposes.

At the low speed setting the CPU will run at about 35C doing normal stuff such as web browsing, email and other basic software. Kicking the fan up to 1200 RPM I was able to fully load all four cores on my quad-core CPU with Prime95 and the temperature settled in at 58C after about 30 minutes.

Given how quiet the system is with the new fan when running at a lower RPM I went ahead and purchased a Nanoxia PWMX 3 to 4 pin PWM converter so that the FAN speed can be automatically managed through BIOS. I suspect 95% of the time it will run the fan at the minimum speed.

I'll post a final update after I have the Nanoxia PWMX installed, but I believe I finally have the quiet and fast PC I've wanted for a long time. The systems probably not as absolutely quiet as it could be, but it's pretty damn silent and will suit my needs.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Dec 27, 2009 2:02 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 25, 2009 1:43 pm
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Location: San Carlos, CA
Just wanted to follow up regarding my question that originally began this thread.

First of all, thank you to the folks who put together the great resources on this web site and to the people who answer questions in this forum.

To quiet down the ZEROtherm ZEN FZ120, at the advice of RoGuE, I went ahead and purchased the 1200 RPM version of the Scythe SlipStream 120 mm case fan and paired it with the Nanoxia PWMX to control its speed. The results have exceeded my expectations.

For most every day computing the fan hovers just above 800 RPM and the whole system is near silent. With a Prime95 torture test stressing all four cores of the CPU the fan will eventually kick up to about 1150 RPM and the temperature creeps up to a respectable constant 56 C, but the system remains very quiet.

Needless to say, I'm very happy with the results and I now have a fairly powerful system that is quieter than I imagined. The noise of the system is easily drowned out by ambient noise within and outside my house -- particularly if I crack open the window to let sounds of birds, wind and other neighborhood noise into the my room.

Thanks again everyone.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Dec 27, 2009 3:49 pm 
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Location: Massachusetts, USA
Glad I could help, and glad you like your new quiet system.

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