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 Post subject: Acoustiproducts Acoustifans: Review, Images & a Mod
PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2004 10:22 pm 
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This is a completely informal review of these fantastic fans.

Okay my Acoustifans from Acoustiproducts, which I purchased from QuietPC USA arrived last week and I have installed them, and have been living with them for a week before coming here to post on them.

I will update this thread as well as my web site with pictures of the changes I have made using these fans, first chance I get to shoot pictures and type it all up.

But to outline here what I've done, and how it's working out:

I ordered two full sets of Acoustifans. Two 80mm, two 92mm and two 120mm, and used them on both Sigma One and Alpha Three (I did a major overhaul on my power rig, Alpha Two, and as such have redesignated it to Alpha Three; I haven't mentioned it too much here at SilentPCreview just because it's not really silent).

For Alpha Three, I replaced the Sonata's 120mm exhaust fan with a 120mm Acoustifan, and replaced the Intel HSF with a Thermalright SP-94 and a 92mm Acoustifan unit. The exhaust fan is now attached to a 3.5" drive bay four-channel rheobus and mounted to a Zalman fan bracket to cool the overclocked video card; details on the modified card can be seen at my site, here, if you're interested in seeing it; the HSF in the card is also attached to the rheobus, and yes, I need to update the site because it still says Alpha Two. The thermal diode for both Acoustifans is tucked under the CPU HS.

For Sigma One, I replaced the 120mm fan in the PSU with a 120mm Acoustifan, by cutting the wires to the stock fan close to the fan, since it's soldered to the PSU board, then stripped about a half inch, folded them back, slightly twisted, and then pushed the bare leads into the power connected on the fans; perfect fit! The thermal diode for the fan was placed tightly against the heatsink in the PSU. Closed up the PSU and remounted it, then I replaced the 80mm exhaust fan that came with the case with a 80mm and placed its thermal diode right on top of the SP-94 that's in this system; I tried putting a 92mm Acoustifan on the SP-94 but its proximity to the PSU fan caused a wind turbulence sound, so I decided to skip on the fan for the CPU HS (so it's still got no fan on it) and then I went the extra distance and removed the fan grill on the PSU entirely.

As for my experience so far, I'll just put it this way:
As soon as I get off my lazy bum, I'll take a picture of how close my head is to my computer when I sleep at night, and let me just say this much; I hear virtual dead silence in my room when I sleep at nights, and Sigma-One is on 24/7.

In terms of absolute subjectivity, I will say this about the fans:
Without using the resistors that are included, the 80mm and 92mm models are the quietest fans I have ever used yet, in terms of motor noise (have not used Papst or Panaflow, but TheModfathers have compared these to Papst and found these favorable) and most definitely lacking the nasty motor noise of this 92mm Vantec Stealth unit I have sitting around unwanted. The 120mm model exhibits some slight, mid-low frequency whir noise at full speed, but it seems to mellow out after break-in.
When the inline resistors are used, the 80mm and 92mm fans are truly silent in terms of motor noise. They still move some air, and if you put your ear uncomfortably close to the fans' blades, you will still hear a small amount of air resistance noise; perhaps my only complaint with these fans is the design of the blades, which do move (admittedly, a useful amount) of air, and so can be audible, from within 6" (I may be asking too much for total dead silence at any distance, and nobody I ever seen sits within a foot of their rig anyway). The 120mm, when using the inline resistor, loses its motor noise entirely as well, and only makes turbulence noise, but it is moving enough air to keep my Fortron unit satisfied, in terms of cooling.
None of the fans exhibit any noticeable production of vibration from slight imbalance; the included silicone bushings, which are actually very much one-time use (try uninstalling the fan and the poor things are busted) are not really necessary, due to lack of vibration anyway. I'm using Antec and Vantec silicone fan frames along with silicone washer dampened screws to mount the fans in the PSU and to the case.
The 120mm unit in Alpha Three is mounted to the case using the Sonata's included silicone push-pins, which, imho, aren't as good a solution as full silicone fan frames, because they don't dampen as well, and they are only single-use (uninstalling the fan ruins them, just like the little silicone fan bushings that come with the Acoustifans).

Stay tuned for promised updates, including pics of the updated system with new fans, and even some open-PSU shots for your viewing pleasure.

Thanks for reading such a long winded shpiel. :wink:

-Ed

PS I am now considering a SilentDrive enclosure for the Seagate ST340014A that's inside Sigma One, only because if I put my ear against the front of Sigma One, I can sort of hear the drive; I think I've reached the point of obsession with the possibility of absolute dead silent. Also, if I slide myself under my desk, and stick my head within a foot of the system from behind, I do hear some wind noise, as well as the hard drive (the noise has to come out from somewhere, if not the front, then the back) so I'm also considering purchasing Acoustipack Deluxe V2 by Acoustiproducts from QuietPC USA to deal with that issue.


Last edited by Edward Ng on Thu Feb 05, 2004 6:57 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2004 12:20 am 
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The acoustipack won't help your noise escaping from the back of the pc. I know - my case is lined with acoustic dampening material of higher quality than acousti products'.

I would recommend against getting a silentdrive unless you're running raid 1 or you backup extremely regularly. 3dgameman's video review of the silentdrive shows that hdd temp goes up 8-9 degrees C which is simply unacceptable and asking for data failure.

I'm interested in the acoustifans - however they have to be much better than their competitors to justify their price premium. i.e. the 80mm has to be quieter and/or move more air than the Panaflo 80L, and likewise the 120mm has to compete with the papst 4412fgl which I think most of us would agree are the current reigning champions when it comes to silence. Not sure about 92mm fans.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2004 12:53 pm 
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Thanks edwardng for posting this very useful information, and for your pending updates as well. After reading this, I now plan to try these new Acoustifans out too! :)

P.S. - Another warning about using the SilentDrive and your 7200.7 Seagate drive: As you no doubt know, many 7200rpm drives get too hot in the SilentDrive (it's really much more compatible with 5400rpm drives). However, the 7200.7 drive does after all have a max temp spec of 60C, and thus it might be just fine in there... would you please post if you try it and have success with 7200.7 + SilentDrive? Thanks man...

8)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2004 6:53 pm 
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Hey, are you still using the Vantec Iceberq 4 for your radeon? How quiet is that? Does it have that annoying whine that radeons have?

~EO


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2004 9:17 am 
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Yes, the Vantec Iceberq 4 does make a mid-high frequency whine at full speed; I have it hooked up to my rheobus. At full speed it is audible, but at 3/4 speed the whine's frequency drops to about mid-low frequency and it is harder to hear it over everything else (the other fans and the five hard drives that are in the machine, a Seagate Cheetah 15K.3 and four Maxtor Diamond MAX Plus 9 6Y060L0 in RAID) and at lowest voltage (about 5 volts on my rheobus) the thing cannot be heard, but I have to downclock closer to stock speed. The Swiftech MCX159 northbridge cooler has a rather noisy 40mm fan as well; I felt the heatsink itself was enough, especially with the 120mm fan blowing over it (that is mounted on a Zalman fan bracket; it cools the memory of my video card as well as the northbridge), so I took the fan off the cooler entirely.

-Ed


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2004 12:15 pm 
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So for a stock Radeon 9500 Pro, you think a iceberg at 5v would be fine?

~EO


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2004 5:25 pm 
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I do believe it would be fine, yes. I have heard mention from a couple people that there were cases where the metal frame around the core on the VPU packaging would have to be removed using a fine edge because it doesn't allow the Iceberq full contact to the VPU; I have not checked for this problem on my setup, but I recall when installing the Iceberq, seeing that the VPU was clearly making sufficient contact, by looking at the contact point and how the thermal interface material was shifting from pressure. Perhaps I have a later production Iceberq 4 and they had earlier ones.

-Ed

PS BTW for a stock running 9500, I'd say the Zalman ZM80C-HP is the best solution, if U can make it fit and it's not too heavy.


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 Post subject: Updated: Here are the promised pictures and PSU mod details
PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2004 4:40 pm 
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My full web site with full gallery of images can be seen here, but I'll post up some of the photos on the forums just for ease of access. I do recommend, however, to visit the site itself. All info on the site regarding this particular project is under the Sigma One link.

Overall rearside system view, with modded PSU and AcoustiFan for exhaust:
Image
The exhaust fan is mounted using an 80mm Antec Noisekiller isolation frame as well as the fan-included ear grommets.

Rearside close-up of modded PSU:
Image
Looking carefully, the AcousiFan's clear blades are visible through the low-air-impedance rear panel of the power supply.

Rearside close-up of the exhaust fan:
Image

Side view of the system with the side panel on:
Image
The heatsink of the CPU, which has no fan attached, is visible through the side panel duct that is included with this case. Cold air is pulled in through the duct due to negative internal case pressure induced by the exhaust fan and PSU fan, and having the front intake of the case sealed off.

Side view of the system with the side panel off:
Image
The very same shot as above, but with the ducted panel removed; lots to see here. The CD sleeve used to seal the front intake is clearly visible, as is the Thermalright SP-94 used to cool the processor, and the rear exhaust fan is visible, revealing the path taken by the cold air that comes in from the duct. Also noticeable is that the video card, Gigabit ethernet adapter and northbridge are also passively cooled items. The blue device mounted in the lower half-height drive bay is the hard drive, a Seagate ST340014A, mounted via a Zalman ZM-2HC1 passive heatpipe cooler with grounded rubber isolation mounts. The exhaust fan receives its power filtered through a resistor to reduce speed to silent levels, and the white wire coming from it is the thermal diode, which is mounted on top of the SP-94.

Here's the sealed PSU from below:
Image
The clear blades of the AcoustiFan cannot be more obvious; nor is the fact that the grill-guard has been removed. I did this to eliminate air impedance entirely; it can also be seen that wiring inside the PSU has been moved out of the way of airflow as much as possible.

An angled clamshell view of the open PSU:
Image
Here is a picture of the PSU wide open from below. The label on the fan reveals it for what it is. Visible, also, is that the white thermal diode wire wraps around the larger heatsink in the center, and how all the internal wiring was pushed over to the right side to prevent interference with air flow and fan blades.

Close-up of fan hook-up:
Image
This super close-up shows the 3-pin hookup from the fan-included resistor, circled in red, and where the wires from the PSU connect to the resistor, circled in yellow. The stock fan was hardwired, so I snipped the wires as close to the original fan's motor as possible to give myself plenty to work with. Then I stripped about 3/5" of sleeving off the little wires, folded back half of the bare lead, twisted 3 times, and inserted the bare leads directly into the 3-pin connector, for a snug fit; it looks clean and neat, and is tight as a button!

Close-up of inline resistor:
Image
And circled in red in this close-up shot is the resistor that comes with all AcoustiFans. It is mounted to the side, clear of spinning blades and moving air.

Close-up of internal heatsink with thermal diode wiring:
Image
In this massive close-up, the red arrow indicates approximately where the diode is located beneath the heatsink it is wrapped to. The obvious white wire is that of the diode.

Fuzzy shot of the actual diode:
Image
This, admittedly, out of focus close-up shot is an attempt to show you the diode itself, mounted underneath the heatsink; I circled it in red to make it more distinctly noticeable.

System exhaust from interior:
Image
Finally here is a shot of the exhaust fan from the interior, with the side panel removed. Visible is the Antec NoiseKiller isolation frame, which, honestly, does little now that I'm using a virtually zero-vibration fan (it sure helped with the stock case fan though). The fan's diode wire can be clearly seen running its way on up to the top of the SP-94.


I hope that this update is as informative as I think it is. If anyone has any questions at all about the system, the fans, my web site or myself, do feel free to reply to this thread, e-mail me at [email protected], or best of all, talk to me using AIM. My screenname is SoySalsaPicante.

-Ed

EDIT: Images cropped and/or reduced in size.


Last edited by Edward Ng on Mon Feb 16, 2004 12:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2004 7:07 am 
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I'd suggest cutting out the fan grill on your case fan. You'll get less noise and more airflow. Can't beat that!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2004 11:06 am 
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What's the best tool for that, and how clean will it be after I'm done? Would it involve sanding down the rough edges? I'd hate to have to be sanding; that'd involve removing everything from the system to keep metal dust off components.

-Ed


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2004 11:35 am 
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Thanks for the information on Acoustifan, Ed.

For cutting out the grills, I'd recommend either tin snips (look for crisspy's sticky on how to use them) or a nibbler. Both are fairly inexpensive ($8 to $15) and is faster and not as messy as a Dremel.

I'm not sure if Ralf had to file down the edges after he nibbled it off. He lined it with something like this. Ralf mentioned in one of his (many) posts that it's also available from McMcaster-Carr, but I don't have the part number with me right now.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2004 12:13 pm 
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I have a bunch of "chrome" rubber-like automotive door mold that I could prolly cover up the jagged edges with, but I wonder if it's a little too thick and might impede with the fan or its blades; I'll take a closer look at the geometry when I get a chance. Thanx for the info though; I'll definitely be makign a trip to Home Depot as soon as this coming snow storm blows over.

-Ed


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2004 9:21 am 
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Hey, thanks for the review

I've been wondering about accoustifans or ages, and with the only review being modfathers i didnt know whether their review would be reliable (I dunno, might get paid for praising them).

A few questions tho before i shell out.

Which of the fans has the least wind turbulance noise?

You say that the 120m emits a low buzzing sound or something, is that quite loud, being in mind i'm going for a really quiet pc.

Which of the three sizes of fan do you prefer?

Are they so quiet that I could have them on full power and not really know, or is the wind turbulance too loud?

Thanks again, and i'd really appreciate any feedback before I buy. (coz they are REALLY expensive!

Ps. Oh, and do you really feel they are worth the high price tag? :?:

Schmitler :D


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:30 am 
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The least noisy model in terms of air turbulence is the AF80CT (80mm model).

The AF120CT's very minor buzz is only audible at a full 12 volts; drop it using the included resistor and the motor noise is dramatically reduced even further. Personally, the only noise I hear behind my own machine (where the "most" noise is) is the hard drive, and I have to crawl under the table and stick my head behind the computer to really hear the hard drive, and other than that, some extremely minor air turbulence noise. At times like 4:00am when there's no stree traffic at all outside, if I turn off my surround receiver, the hard drive is still just faintly audible from where I sit, but not the wind noise. I personally can't hear the AF120CT's motor noise at all because I used the inline resistor plus my Fortron PSU has its own automatic voltage control for the fan.

I personally prefer the AF92CT and AF120CT only because they still move a decent amount of air even when their voltage is cut down twice (with a resistor and then a fan controller, which is how I use them in my other system, Alpha Three). The AF80CT, on the other hand, does fine with its power reduced by a single stage. Double-cut its (the AF80CT's) voltage, and it does not act too useful anymore. Keep in mind that a secondary cut in voltage is always very minor; cut a fan down to 7 volts is like cutting out about 42% of its power, and cutting another 42%, assuming similar secondary cut off, reduces it down to approximately 4 volts, not 2.

Having them at, "full blast," the wind turbulence from the AF80CT is still very low. The AF92CT, which I only use in Alpha Three, is run at full power all the time, and I never can hear it over everything else in that system, which is why I don't have it hooked into the inline resistor or the fanbus; the AF80CT, if my memeory serves me correctly, is quieter than the AF92CT anyway. To get a better understanding of what's blocking out my chances of hearing my AF92CT in Alpha Three, the specifications on that machine right here. Keep in mind I can't hear the AF92CT even when the four fans hooked up to the fanbus are turned all the way down. The AF120CT's air noise will be noticeable at full power, but not so much the motor noise, unless you sit very close. That's just the nature of that beast (120mm model); it moves good amounts of air for such a low noise level.

You're welcome! 8)

Oh and personally, yes, I feel they're worth the loot. If you look at the price many sites charge for comparably quiet fans, like Panaflow or especially Papst, those are not much cheaper, yet they do not include as much stuff as these do. If you find value, as I do, in the included EAR grommets and inline voltage reduction, then these are most definately worth the money, particularly compared to the other fans of this quality and caliber. The fans themselves are also quiet hefty and well balanced; they are definitely the heaviest case fans I've ever held, personally, and their outstanding balance, as I said, pretty much rendered the Antec NoiseKiller kits I bought worthless. If you don't feel the need for the extra goodies, and can find Papst or Panaflow fans for significantly less money, then I suppose you have a tougher decision to make. While I'm quite sure that the Panaflows (assuming you choose the correct model), the Papst fans (again, better pick the right model) and these AcoustiFans are all at that extremely low noise level that it gets very tough to compare, keep in mind that all AcoustiFan models are quiet where it counts; the motor noise. Wind noise can be reduced using voltage reduction, but motor noise is either there or not, and only the AF120CT exhibits any motor noise, not to mention that that noise is gone at reduced voltage, and it was really only noticeable when the fan was brand new. Break it in and the motor noise goes away anyway.

My main reason for choosing AcoustiFans in the first place is because of the included goodies, but more importantly, I wasn't going to deal with screwing up and ordering the wrong model Panaflow. As for the Papst fans, I felt their cost was even higher than the AcoustiFans, and finding the Papst fans for purchase was incredibly hard; I could hardly find any American dealers that carry Papst. Add it all up, and to me, AcoustiFans made most sense.

-Ed

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2004 12:41 pm 
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Thanks Ed.

Another review here:
http://www.atruereview.com/acousti/index.php


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2004 1:28 pm 
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Thanks for your earler response. I am definately going to get a few of them. One last question though.

What connection do the fans come with. Do they plug into you motherboard via a four pin connector or a three pin connector?

Thank again.


Schmitler


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2004 3:47 pm 
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Connection is 3-pin, like the mainboard headers, rather than 4-pin molex.

-Ed

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 Post subject: *BUMP!*
PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2004 6:57 pm 
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*BUMP!*

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 Post subject: Re: *BUMP!*
PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2004 8:39 am 
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edwardng wrote:
*BUMP!*

Why?


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2004 9:19 am 
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I love these fans; just wish they'd get more coverage. :?

-Ed

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2004 3:40 pm 
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what psu is that? i love psu's with 120mm fans, its such a smart idea i dont know why more manufacturers do it

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2004 5:31 pm 
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Fortron-Source FSP300-60PN.

-Ed

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 Post subject: Another review...
PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2004 11:34 am 
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Found the link to this Mad Shrimps review over at [H].
They compare the Papst Multifan 3312 to AcoustiProducts' AF92CT.

Just appending this to the rest of the thread; maybe we can keep this as an unofficial AcoustiFan thread or something.

-Ed

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2004 6:26 am 
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im using an acoustifan 92mm i dont use the 12 -> 6,5v. but it seems to be running at the same speed all the time,, no matter where i stick the temp sensor.. even if i set it on top of my zalman HP-80C heatsink that gets pretty warm...

anybody who have had problems like this before??


the reason im not using the resistor is that i wanted to put in on a Sunbeam rheostat (i havnt connected it to this yet though)


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2004 6:35 am 
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Have you tried testing by mounting the fan to one of the fan headers on your motherboard and using monitoring software to check that the speed does not change? Sometimes if you just try to judge by yourself, it's hard to tell the difference between, "kind of slow," "sort of slower" and "somewhat less slow." Being that these fans spin so quietly and slowly, it gets hard to tell that they do indeed change speed, but the AcoustiFans I have do vary, even with the resistor in place.

-Ed

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2004 6:40 am 
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it is mounted to the CPU fan in the motherboard atm, but my Asus probe cant detect fans that run slower than 1600rpm, some times it gets up to 1650 - 1680, but i cant seem to get it higher than that.. the probe is still placed between graphics card and the ZM-80C wich definately is the hottest place, VERY hot...


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2004 6:45 am 
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and as soon as i remove the temp probe, the asus probe monitor simply flatlines, so im guessing the speed goes below the 1600..


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2004 8:01 am 
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oh well iwe tried many things now, i cant get it over 1720 rpm.. i cant get it near the 2000 as it should..

so iwe just bought a new papst fan to try adn play with.. too bad i really liked the design of these fans..

hmm while reading can someone tell me how this is done:

Quote:
If the fan is forced to run at high speed (by shorting the thermistor probe wires, or by soldering the contacts on the fan PCB), then it may be necessary to use a manual fan speed controller to reduce the RPM slightly to safeguard the fan motor from burn-out.


quote from Acousti FAQ


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2004 8:18 am 
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Check out the Acousti site, there's loads of reviews up now. Personally, I cannot wait for mine to arrive.

Edwardng, are you sure the resistor drops the voltage to 6.5V? Its just one of the afore mentioned reviews, PimpRig, says it drops it down to 8.5V? I thought it was a typo, but:

Image
???

Thanks mate


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2004 9:03 am 
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SPCR Reviewer

Joined: Thu Dec 11, 2003 9:53 pm
Posts: 2696
Location: Scarsdale, NY
I honestly don't know precisely what voltage the resistor drops the fans to; I simply know that it drops it enough for my own use! :lol:

I am using a fan controller in conjunction with the AF120CT in Alpha Three (instead of the resistor), but I haven't taken the time to compare the lowest speed on that rheobus to the resistor.

Wish I could help ya' on that one; I do know for a fact that my fans spin slower with the resistor, for sure, just how much, I don't know.

-Ed

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