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 Post subject: TekGems Fan Review *Updated 8/7/05*
PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2005 12:47 pm 
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Fans Reviewed
* Orange Yate Loon, model D12SL-12
* Clear blue LED, Yate Loon model D12SM-12
* Clear blue LED, unknown brand/model

Testing Equipment
    * CEM model DT-805 sound level meter (SLM). Measuring range: 30dB to 130dB @ 31.5Hz – 8KHz. Resolution: 0.1dB. Accuracy: +- 1.5dB under reference conditions. Calibration: Electrical calibration with the internal oscillator (1KHz sine wave). Standard applied: IEC651 type 2, ANSI S1.4 type 2. Microphone: ½ inch electret condenser microphone.
    Purpose: To measure SPL level of each fan under varying ranges and conditions.
    Image

    * Digital multimeter, unknown brand/model.
    Purpose: To measure actual voltage supplied to fan via Fanmate.
    Image

    * Zalman Fanmate 2. Voltage range: 5V to 11V.
    Purpose: To vary voltage and RPM of each fan for testing.
    Image

    * Empty aluminum mid-tower case with 120mm blow hole (top side).

    Purpose: To test vibration resonance caused by each fan when hard-mounted.
    Image

    * Soft foam pad, 12mm thick.
    Purpose: Used for open-air, vibration-less testing. Since a major source of fan noise is attributed to vibration, placing the fan on a vibration-free surface allows easier analysis of bearing/motor noise.
    Image

    * Intel Celeron-based testing computer.
    This computer consists of: Passively-cooled Intel Celeron 300A, 64MB SDRAM DIMM, Intel 440BX chipset-based motherboard, Antec 300W power supply (cooling fan disabled during testing).
    Purpose: This PC’s fan header is used along with the Zalman Fanmate to power the fans during testing.[i]
    Image


Testing Methodology

SPL Measurement
All measuring is done with SLM at 1ft. behind the fan intake.

Un-mounted Test
    1. The fan is placed on foam and started with 5V.
    2. Listener stands 1 ft. from fan at ear-level and notes bearing/motor noise.
    3a. If the fan is inaudible, listener increases voltage until the fan is audible and records that figure.
    3b. If the fan is audible, listener walks backwards from fan until fan is inaudible and records that figure.

Mounted Test
    1. The fan is hard-mounted to an aluminum case and started with 5V.
    2. Listener stands 1ft. and notes fan vibration/resonance.
    3a. If the fan is inaudible, listener increases voltage until the fan is audible and records that figure.
    3b If the fan is audible, listener walks backwards from fan until fan is inaudible and records that figure.

Test Conditions
The ambient noise level recorded by our SLM was between 32 and 33 dB.

Orange Yate Loon D12SL-12
Image

Mfr. Specifications
1350 RPM @ 12V, 47 CFM, 28dB

[i]Notes

This is the same fan used by Nexus, except with a higher top-end (1350 vs. 1000 RPM). It exhibits the least amount of vibration, rotated on any axis. Motor and bearing noise is also the lowest of the group, at all speeds. Airflow is very smooth.


Un-mounted Test

Motor and bearing noise is minimal: the best of the group. It was nearly inaudible at 5V/1ft. At 24 inches (2 ft.) I was unable to distinguish it from the ambient noise. A second listener was unable to hear it at 12 inches (1 ft.) until voltage was raised to 5.3V. The SLM measured less than 33dB between 5 and 6.3V. It is nearly inaudible at 12 inches until 7V is applied.

Mounted Test

Very low vibration translates into minimal case resonance. A very low hum was detectable until I moved 27 inches away from the fan. The SLM measured less than 33dB between 5 and 6.3V, the same as the un-mounted test.

Clear Blue LED Yate Loon D12SM-12
Image

Mfr. Specifications
1650 RPM @ 12V, 70.5 CFM, 33dB

Notes

This is the medium speed Yate Loon fan. It looks nearly identical to the low-speed model (D12SL-12) except the plastic frame is different. Motor and bearing noise is slightly higher than the low-speed model. Vibration, however, is significantly higher at all speeds and on any axis. I think the different plastic frame is to blame. It feels harder than the orange frame, and transmits more vibration from the motor. I would be very curious to compare this to another D12SM-12 with a standard frame. Airflow is very smooth.


Un-mounted Test

Motor and bearing noise is minimal, only slightly higher than the D12SL-12, and of the same quality. At 30 inches/5V I was unable to distinguish it from the ambient noise. The dominant noise was air turbulence. A second listener was unable to hear it at 16 inches. The dominant noise under this range was motor/bearing noise. The SLM measured 34.8dB with 5V applied.

Mounted Test

Significant vibration translated to moderate case resonance. A low hum was detectable beyond 96 inches – as far back as I could move away from the fan. The case clearly amplifies the sound of this fan. Users seeking silence are advised to soft-mount this fan with a rubber gasket or elastomer grommets. The SLM measured 35dB with 5V applied.

Clear Blue LED Unknown Fan
Image

Mfr. Specifications
N/A

Notes

It appears that this fan may share some components with the Yate Loon fans. The fan blades have a more curved edge than our Yate Loon samples, but the blade is similar to a Nexus fan I have (re-branded Yate Loon D12SL-12). Additionally, other sources report Yate Loon fans with these curved-edge blades. The frame has some similarities with our Yate Loon fans – most notably the dimples near the mounting holes. The motor appears to be sleeve bearing, which all our Yate Loon fans use. My guess is that this fan and similar Yate Loon fans are sourced from the same factory, but with different specifications. Alternatively, they could be assembled in different factories, but sharing some parts (fan blades, frame, etc.).

Despite the similarities with the Yate Loon fans, motor and bearing noise was significantly higher. I attempted lubricating the fan bearing, but results were the same. Vibration is moderate on-axis, and high off-axis, with the fan tilted at 45 degrees. Airflow delivery, while abundant, is not smooth, and varies depending which way the fan is turned. Though our SLM measured only a small difference in noise between the D12SM-12 and this fan, the quality of the noise was worse. It is the noisiest fan of the group.


Un-mounted Test

Motor and bearing noise is significantly higher than the Yate Loon fans. I was unable to distinguish it from ambient noise at 78 inches with 5V applied. The dominant noise is turbulence and motor/bearing hum. A second listener was unable to hear it at 48 inches with 5V applied. The dominant noise is turbulence and motor/bearing hum. The SLM measured 34.8dB with 5V applied, tying with the D12SM-12. Noise quality was inferior, however.

Mounted Test

Unsurprisingly, high motor/bearing noise and vibration was amplified by the aluminum case by an order of magnitude. The fan was loud beyond 96 inches – as far back as I could move away from the fan. Users seeking silence should look elsewhere. The SLM measured 35.5dB with 5V applied, only slightly higher than the D12SM-12. Noise quality was inferior, however.

Conclusion

Of the 3 fans tested, the orange Yate Loon D12SL-12 was the best. It exhibited the least motor/bearing noise and vibration. When soft-mounted, this fan is nearly inaudible at less than 7V. When hard-mounted, vibration amplifies the sound, but not by much: at less than 6V it is nearly inaudible. For quiet PC enthusiasts, this is a great fan.

The runner up was the clear-blue LED Yate Loon D12SM-12. It’s a high-quality fan with a higher top-end than the D12SL-12 (1650 vs. 1350 RPM). If you need more airflow, then this is a better choice, but the price you pay is more noise. Quiet PC enthusiasts are advised to soft-mount this fan, due significant vibration transmitted through the hard plastic frame.
Placing last in our round-up is the clear-blue LED unknown make/model fan. Although it’s sleeve bearing and appears to be similar in design to the Yate Loon models, it’s of lesser quality. On the good side, it provides about the same airflow as the D12SM-12, but it vibrates more and the motor/bearing noise is unacceptable by our standards.

Image

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Last edited by GHz on Sun Aug 07, 2005 7:42 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2005 1:36 pm 
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Nice review.

Looking at those pictures and then looking at my own Yate Loons, I realised that they're making the same fans with two different kind of blades. The last clear fan is a Yate Loon also, the blade shape matches my D12SL-12 Yate Loons. My D12SM-12 however is similar to the one you have.

Odd... Wonder if they just changed it somewhere down the line, or if they make two different blade sets, what's the reason?

EDIT: Here's the link to frankgehry's fan review, including two Yate Loons. His D12SL-12 also has different blades than yours.

http://forums.silentpcreview.com/viewtopic.php?t=20005

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2005 1:44 pm 
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Aleski: Are you sure the last fan looks the same as yours? The fan blade design between my Nexus D12SL-12, Yate Loon D12SL-12, and Yate Loon D12SM-12 are identical. The unidentified fan's blades have are more curved. I find it hard to believe it's a Yate Loon since it's noise characteristics and design are so different from all the other models I have. If there is any similarity between your Yate Loon and this unidentified fan, maybe they are sourced from the same factory but with slightly different specs. Would you mind posting a picture of your fan? Now I'm curious ;)

EDIT: Wow, I just looked at frank's pics. You're right, they look the same as the unidentified fan's blades. I'm betting that it's a same-factory, different spec thing. I wish I had one of those fans with the different blades to compare. If it sounds anything like the unidentified fan I have, then it would be way too loud by SPCR standards!

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Last edited by GHz on Wed Jul 27, 2005 1:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2005 1:48 pm 
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Hi,

if you compare the clear fan and your D12SL-12 you can see the frame looks similar, atleast judging from the side showing in the picture. My Nexus fans have the "more curved" blades also.

Also, see my edit in my first post and check the pictures in that fan review. My Loonies are in the basement currently, I'll try to dig them out and take a few photos. But the difference is there, when I got the fans I was comparing them and noticed that my D12SM-12 blades were different from my Nexus and D12SL-12. Also one other UK member also reported this to me in a PM.

I'm guessing the non-curved is a newer design? :?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2005 2:08 pm 
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OK, there are definitely 2 fan blades used by Yate Loon. I just took a pic of my Zalman 7700CU with a Nexus D12SL-12 on it... the fan blades are curvy. Very interesting. The Nexus is also quieter than the D12SL-12 that I have... so at least we know the blades alone don't indicate a noisier/lower-quality fan.

Image
Image

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Last edited by GHz on Wed Jul 27, 2005 2:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2005 2:08 pm 
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G,

I like your review, however, I do see some specs that are out of line.

The D12SM-12 @ 70.5 cfm is somewhat dubious. I realize that this number is from the yate loon web site, but if you look at the chieftec/yate loon on www.ichbinleise.com, 55 cfm is claimed. The same rebranded yate loon at www.mcubed-tech.com is also rated at 55 cfm. Delta only claims 57 cfm for it's triple blade low speed at 1950 rpm.

At the low end the nexus 120 at 1000 rpm claims 36 cfm. That number could also be checked with an spcr value. Assuming that the relationship between rpm and cfm is for the most part linear, the D12SL-12 would have 48 cfm (36*1.35) and the D12SM-12 (1.65*36) would have 59cfm based on the nexus spec. (unless the nexus has a less efficient blade design as is the case with the nexus 92). The D12SM-12 may have spcr numbers as well as part of the seasonic s12 430 review.

Also, what brand is the clear fan? I don't think it makes sense to test one of the quietest fans against an unknown.

Maybe specs from other web sites should be noted.

Thanks for the review and I hope you test some more for us as this topic is always of interest. - FG

Maybe I should check some of the specs I've posted.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2005 2:16 pm 
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Frank, all specifications that I list are mfr. claims, which of course are always dubious ;) I'm going to try and save up enough to buy a thermal anemometer so I can measure CFM on my own. Maybe in the meantime I should edit the "specifications" to "mfr. specifications" ?

I wish I could tell you what make/model the unidentified clear blue fan is, but there are no distinguishing marks on it, and my supplier (TekGems) has no idea either. I guess I should also update my review to mention that it's possible that Yate Loon may use the same fan blades in some of their models as the clear blue fan.

In any case, thanks for looking guys. I'll try to find some more 120mm fans to review and keep everyone's suggestions in mind when updating/adding to my review.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2005 3:03 pm 
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G,

It probably would be a good idea to note manufacturers specs or other sources. An anemometer would be nice to have. - FG

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2005 6:27 pm 
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Hey guys,

I apologize for the off-site linking. I'm going to reformat it within the next day or so and post it. In the meantime, I've updated the review with new pictures, information, and a graph. Let me know what you think.

Thanks!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2005 7:06 pm 
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GHz, that is one of the best reviews I've ever read with one small, critical distinction. What exactly is the point of the review of the unlabeled fan?

A small correction should be made:
You wrote:
Un-mounted Test

Motor and bearing noise is minimal, only slightly higher than the D12SM-12
Shouldn't that be D12SL-12, your baseline standard?

When you have the chance, by all means, please update your original post (or start a new thread and I'll kill this one) with all the information on your site. I'd rather that the information was hosted on the SPCR server.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2005 7:34 pm 
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Thanks, I fixed the misprint. I should have time to reformat the review for SPCR tommorow. The unidentified fan was included out of curiosity, it looked like it *could* be a quiet fan... I guess not ;)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2005 8:44 pm 
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> What exactly is the point of the review of the unlabeled fan?

Hi, I asked Ghz do a review because I don't have equipment nor the expertise like you guys on what makes a quality fan. This was the shipment I ordered from China that was supposed to be the Yate Loons, but this I what I received instead. So, the comparison was a means to find out if these other fans were on-par with the Orange and Clear Blue. Clearly, the unknown fans are inferior in terms of noise level. Hmmm, not sure what I will do with them now...


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2005 12:02 am 
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This is an 80mm yate loon from a fortron psu. The hub looks like the clear one above. I guess it could be a yate loon. If you have another one you could test it to see if its any better. This one has ball bearings. - FG

Image


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2005 12:34 am 
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Those clear fans look kind of like this fan from that company that apparantly shares a factory with yate loon, and makes fans that look like D12SLs


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2005 9:28 am 
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I can see this turning into a same kind of endless debate as with the Panaflos (China VS Japan).

"My round shaped blade Yate Loons are much better than the newer Yate Loons" :twisted:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2005 2:31 pm 
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Nah, I already mentioned that I have a D12SL-12 with the rounded blades, but it's actually quieter than the Yate Loon model I have. I'm sticking to my original hypothesis that the fans come from the same factory but are spec'ed differently (even if they share a part or two).

I'm surprised noone has commented on my highly advanced test rig :P

EDIT: Oops, I forgot to update my post with the test rig info. Fixed.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2005 10:41 pm 
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Any chance of getting a shot of the clear fan's label?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2005 9:02 pm 
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Quote:
Any chance of getting a shot of the clear fan's label?


Hi, the center other side of the fan is a solid silver label with no markings on them.


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