Posts Tagged ‘Loon’

Same as my round 6 testing and methods with the exception of using a Hardware Labs 140mm SR1 radiator. Seems as though we’re getting more and more 140mm radiator options, so it would be nice to get a feel on how a fan performs on one from a noise perspective. This thread is devoted toward more real world like testing of fans physically mounted to the HWlabs SR1 radiator.

Special thanks to the many generous sponsors:

Here is the list of fans, sponsors and results currently complete. I plan to do these 140mm fans as well as a few of the top performing 120mm fans on an adapter for 120mm options.

First theĀ APPLES TO APPLES COMPARISON

and theĀ APPLES TO ORANGES COMPARISON
The 120mm fans are tested on a BGears slim profile 120>140 adapter. Soo…the 120’s will be getting a small shroud benefit from being further from the radiator fins. In order to see how much if any this diffence means, I’m going to retest my top 140 fans with a shroud and include them in the below chart.
The below chart is sort of a mix, not all tested equally, so take that into account when reviewing:

CONCLUSION
140mm fans only: It’s pretty tight with most of the results within the 3dbA or lower “Barely Perceptible” limit. There are however some fairly notable sound quality issues, particularly with the 7 blade fans at higher speeds including the yates. For low speed, I would tend to favor the Thermalright X-Silent, for high speeds, the Aerocool Shark.

120mm fans on an adapter: This is a bit apples to oranges with the adapter, but it’s fairly surprising just how close 120mm fans perform to 140mm fans on a CFM per dbA ratio perspective. The 140mm fans do have some CFM per RPM advantage and seem to produce a slightly lower frequency tone, but their noise levels were pretty much the same. This makes some of the stronger performing 120mm fans a very viable option on 140mm radiators. I had really hoped the 140mm fans would be a huge benefit over 120s, but I’m just not finding that. There is a good sized advantage to the larger 140mm radiator and reduced restriction, but the gain is in the radiator frontal area, not the 140mm fan itself.

I have a few more 140’s coming but that’s what I think so far…
Cheers!
Martin


This thread will serve as my updated 120mm radiator based fan testing work in progress. While fan specs are helpful, like pumps they represent how the fan performs in an artificial open air and unmounted condition without any restriction, mounting vibrations, or undervolting effects. In addition there are many different mathematical methods in which noise levels are calculated (Removal of ambient noise) and measured making the task of comparing fans based on specs alone for a radiator application a best guess. In addition, those testing conditions do not include vibration created noises that exist once a fan is mounted to a radiator. Many fans also exhibit motor ticks or harmonics at some voltage levels other than 12V when using a fan controller. That brings me to the purpose of this test, to test in a more real world like radiator scenario without any adjustments to noise levels and record it for your own review.

This round will focus in testing and comparing 120mm fans on a Swiftech MCR120 radiator using a voltage based fan controller to evaluate a more real world radiator condition on a constant test platform.

First off, a HUGE thanks to the following sponsors. It’s been amazing how much support I have received in this so far..a real tribute to the community we have here:

This includes the parts/fans and the sponsors who have donated for this cause as well as some tabular results:
Click to enlarge:

I’ll start creating a new post for each new fan including the pictures and the data tables then link them back up in this main post.

MASTER NOISE vs CFM CHART

I’ll update this from time to time. Per my reading, it normally takes about 3dbA for most people to perceive a change in noise level…that’s about the spread of “Most” of the fans here. But if we’re splitting hairs…here is the chart for your viewing pleasure…

Just note this is NOISE LEVEL only. I think this is only half the picture, noise quality is what you get by listening which points out the things like motor tics, and other less that smooth sounds.

ALL FANS ALL LEVELS

NOISE LEVEL BAR CHARTS dbA @ X CFM

NOISE QUALITY (MOTOR TICKS/RESONANCE/SMOOTHNESS)
And last but not least, my completely subjective rating on noise quality. I suggest you listen to the videos to sort this out yourself, I think everyone will have a slightly different opinion on this, but this is what I came up with as a place to start. Noise quality has nothing to do with noise level. I made up my own scoring system by listening for motor type noises and resonance issues. If a fan sounded like very smooth air, it would get high marks. I also marked against resonance issues. If the fan had specific voltage ranges where it resonated, I marked it down. I rated quality in 3 steps and resonance in one field, and averaged them out. I wish there was some sort of scientific way to do this, but this was the best I could do. Again, I suggest rating this with the videos for yourself.

Generally anything with a 7 or better is really good and pretty tight. I just had a slight preference toward fans with slightly lower pitch and or smoother air noises.

Many fans below that were also very good in some areas, but may have had a small motor tick or resonance issue during the test. Resonance is one of those tricky things that may be specific to one test bed. I can only rate what was tested though, it would be impossible to see how the fan behaves in all situations. I’m also typically only testing one sample, and it’s very possible the one fan I test was flawed or less that perfect.

Bottom line, there is no replacement for trying out a fan yourself. Before you go buying 20 fans of the same type, I suggest trying out at least one sample for yourself and see how you like it.