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Six fans tested for noise as chassis exhaust fans at 1028RPM
http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=29599
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Author:  Felger Carbon [ Tue Feb 28, 2006 2:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Six fans tested for noise as chassis exhaust fans at 1028RPM

Arctic Cooling Arctic Fan 12 $10 Newegg.com
Global Win NCB $8 Coolerguys.com
Scythe S-Flex 21E $15 Heatsinkfactory.com
iXtrema "11dBA" $25 SilenX.com
Cooler-Master SUF $6 SVC.com
Sunbeamtech Silent LED $6 SVC.com

Results first, comments later.

Quietest are the GW and the iXtrema, with the GW having a very slight lead. These two are separated from the other 4 fans.

The C-M and Sunbeam are tied for 3rd & 4th place

The S-Flex 5th

The new Arctic Fan 12 6th and last.

Rubber fan mounts were used for all fans. When I "set up" the test bed this morning, it became obvious that the test bed was too noisy and was obscuring the 'fan under test' noise. So I put a 3-diode "2V drop" wire in series with the PSU fan to lower its RPM, and I had to install Scythe anti-vibration HDD mounts on my #2 HDD, which had been hard bolted to a 5.25" external slot.

I turned the test bed - my #2 computer - around so the rear of the chassis was at the front edge of the table. This way, I could listen to the exhaust fan noise with my ear 2 to 3 inches from the fan.

I assumed that at the same RPM (1028.57), the air "whoosh" would be the same, and did not listen for the whoosh. I was looking for any other noise besides that, especially any mechanical noise of any kind. All I found (on 4 of the fans) was motor hum and very low-level sleeve bearing noise, a higher pitch. The motor hum was not annoying on any of the fans, and the low-level bearing noise was so low-level that it would be impossible to hear a foot away.

The test bed, while quietened, was not totally quiet. To make sure that I was hearing fan noise, I ran the fan voltage down to 6.6V and up to 11V, noting the change in the noise level. Any noise that didn't change wasn't the fan under test. I did this slowly, seeing if the nature of the fan noise changed over that voltage range. It never did, on any fan.

Let me say this again: at no time did I hear any bad or unpleasant noises from any fan.

The Arctic Fan 12 is a higher RPM device. I'll be reporting its RPM range separately in the Fans & Controller forum. To get to 1028.57RPM, I had to place a 3-diode "2V drop" wire in series with it. I believe this fan is best used where there's a need for a lot of cooling. It comes with metal screws that at first glance look exactly like the ubiquitous ones, but aren't. They're shorter and squared off. Don't lose the provided 4 screws if you get this fan. The fan has its own built-in rubber isolation mounts, and does have the tach (RPM) signal.

If what you're interested in is operating in the general neighborhood of 1000RPM, there's a clear winner in this group of 6 fans: the GW has the lowest noise and almost the lowest price. I've already received seven of them, and the low noise is consistent (no variance) in that batch.

On the other hand, if you already have any of the fans other than the Arctic Fan 12, you have no particular need to change. In a real-world chassis, with the covers on and the fan at the rear of the desk/table a meter away, all of these are quiet fans and the HDD(s), being closer, will likely be at least as loud.

Author:  frankgehry [ Tue Feb 28, 2006 3:14 pm ]
Post subject: 

Why would you assume that the air woosh would be the same for the six fans at the same rpm? That's a convenient, but incorrect assumption. Why is this fan review different or better than the other six fan reveiw? Please read Rules for Posting User Reviews.

Author:  Felger Carbon [ Tue Feb 28, 2006 4:11 pm ]
Post subject: 

frankgehry wrote:
Why is this fan review different or better than the other six fan reveiw?

It's different because the noise was compared solely at the same RPM for each fan, while the basic comparison of the earlier review was at 12V, constant voltage.

It's different because the fans were mounted on the chassis, not hand-held.

It's different because different fans (in part) are involved.

I've made no claim that the new review is better than the old review. It's merely different. :wink:

Author:  Tyrven [ Tue Feb 28, 2006 4:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Six fans tested for noise as chassis exhaust fans at 102

Felger Carbon wrote:
The GW has the lowest noise and almost the lowest price. I've already received seven of them, and the low noise is consistent (no variance) in that batch.


So you're the one I should blame for CoolerGuys being sold out of these ;-). (Either for your lion's share or for encouraging people like me to buy them for ourselves).

You don't happen to have a Nexus you can toss in for good measure do you? $25 for the SilenX is a bit beyond my threshold for a fan, but I'd rather pay $15 for the Nexus than wait a month for the GlobalWins to restock.

Author:  JVM [ Tue Feb 28, 2006 4:40 pm ]
Post subject: 

Personally, I think any fan review/comparison should include the Nexus fan.

I don't mean to rain on your parade, but the Nexus fan is considered by many to be quietest and is perhaps the standard by which to judge others. So, after reading your review, we can all wonder how the Nexus would compare to the fans in your test, and that is cruel :wink:

Don't know about others here, but I am surprised to see the new Scythe S-Flex not doing better than 5th. Perhaps the "D" version would be an interesting addition to any fan review, along with the Nexus.

Author:  Felger Carbon [ Tue Feb 28, 2006 5:03 pm ]
Post subject: 

JVM wrote:
I am surprised to see the new Scythe S-Flex not doing better than 5th. Perhaps the "D" version would be an interesting addition to any fan review, along with the Nexus.

I included the S-Flex "D" in my previous review of 6 fans. So you're batting .500, which is a very good average in any league! :wink:

I couldn't include the "D" in the current review because all comparisons are at 1028RPM and the "D" cannot hit that even going downhill with the wind at its back. :D

Author:  JVM [ Tue Feb 28, 2006 5:05 pm ]
Post subject: 

frankgehry wrote:
Why would you assume that the air woosh would be the same for the six fans at the same rpm? That's a convenient, but incorrect assumption. Why is this fan review different or better than the other six fan reveiw? Please read Rules for Posting User Reviews.


Good point! The specs show the S-Flex has more CFM at lower rpm than the GW at higher rpm:

SFF21E
120x120x25mm

1,200rpm

20.1dBA

49.0CFM

GW:

Model 1202512L
Dimension 120 x 120 x 25mm
Fan Speed 1300 RPM
Air Delivery 41.70 CFM

Author:  TomZ [ Tue Feb 28, 2006 5:21 pm ]
Post subject: 

Good review, but it really is hard to compare these six, since we don't know the CFMs at your operating conditions. We really would like to know noise vs. CFMs.

As a suggestion, maybe you could run them outside of your case under the same operating conditions? But then rank the six in terms of airflow? I think if you put two fans next to each other and run both, you can probably tell which is moving more air?

Just an idea.

Author:  Felger Carbon [ Tue Feb 28, 2006 5:45 pm ]
Post subject: 

TomZ wrote:
I think if you put two fans next to each other and run both, you can probably tell which is moving more air?

Alas, us Carbons were issued without built-in CFM meters. Unless the difference is on the zephyr/typhoon level, I cain't spot the diff. :oops:

Author:  frankgehry [ Tue Feb 28, 2006 6:15 pm ]
Post subject: 

It's not difficult to determine that a yate loon D90SM-12 puts out much more air than a nexus 92 at the same rpm by placing them side by side and putting your hand over the air flow. You can also make a rough estimate by just using the manufacture's cfm spec and multiplying by (test rpm)/(max rpm). Just note that you are using data from the manufacturer.

Author:  TomZ [ Tue Feb 28, 2006 7:02 pm ]
Post subject: 

I did some testing like this last month, and I could easily tell that the Yate-Loon 120mm moved more air than the Nexus 120mm, at the same sound level. I just ran them side by side on my desk and put my face in front of them.

For 6 fans, you might need to compare them 2 at a time, and then sort the results. Probably some of the pairs will seem to have the same airflow, and that is okay I think.

Anyway, I realize this would take some time, and I don't want to sign you up for more work, so I could understand if you don't think it is worth doing.

Author:  Felger Carbon [ Wed Mar 01, 2006 11:27 pm ]
Post subject: 

TomZ wrote:
I did some testing like this last month, and I could easily tell that the Yate-Loon 120mm moved more air than the Nexus 120mm, at the same sound level. I just ran them side by side on my desk and put my face in front of them.

Good! Would you mind writing up the full results of your testing and sharing them with us?

I realize this would take some time, and I don't want to sign you up for more work, so I could understand if you don't think it is worth doing. :D

Author:  TomZ [ Thu Mar 02, 2006 4:33 am ]
Post subject: 

Um, sure, I guess... :D

The Yate-Loon turns at a higher speed than the Nexus. I could not tell any difference in sound level. Listening very closely, ear 2 inches from the fan, they both have a slight hum. The pitch on the Nexus is a slightly lower frequency than the Yate-Loon, due to lower speed. The Nexus fan had a lower flow rate than the Yate-Loon.

My conclusion: between Yate-Loon, costing $6-7, versus Nexus, costing $15-20, the noise is the same, and you get more airflow from the Yate-Loon. I would always buy the Yate-Loon instead of the Nexus.

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