Posts Tagged ‘Typhoon’

In the continued pursuit of the ultimate radiator fan, I bring you round #10.  This round was brought to you buy “cpachris” from overclock.net.  He sponsored 5 never tested before fans including the new Bitfenix Spectra Pro Black, Noctua NF-F12 PWM, Silenx Effizio, Noise Blocker M12-S2, and Phobya Naon-G12.  I put these up to the test against the previous undefeated Gentle Typhoon AP-15.  While many fans are good in case fan applications, few seem to rival the low noise output of the GTs once mounted to a radiator.  Unfortunately the GTs are not perfect either, they are a rather boring grey/black color scheme, they do have some resonance issues at specific RPMs, and they are often out of stock and suspect to overpricing due to their high demand and inadequate production.

With that, let’s bring it!

TEST CONDITION NOTES

For the test rig, I’ve built an exhaust collection chamber that’s basically a long piece of 8″ PVC with insulation, a bunch of flow spreader tubes, and an MCR120 radiator mounted to the face of it.  The anemometer hot wire sensor is then mounted to the back of this to measure air speed through a smaller port.  The chamber’s purpose is to collect the fan exhaust, straighten it out, and provide a consistent means to measure it in a fixed spot without creating additional noise.

I am using an Extech Hotwire anemometer that is set to zero at the start of the round left alone the duration of the test.  For control and check, I test the first fan again after all other testing to be sure the hotwire didn’t go out of calibration.  I have found in the past that it can happen, so this extra test is to ensure data is good relative to the fans tested in this round only.  It’s a good meter, but I still don’t trust it without doing the checks.  It is however a hotwire meter which more importantly doesn’t have a vane probe to warm up or create noise.  The only drawback is dust and temperature changes can cause calibration issues. For noise level I am using a basic noise meter measure A-weighted dbA.  The radiator is a Swiftech MCR120 as shown below:

The video is via Canon T2i and audio via Zoom H1.  Not shown in the photo, but I place the Zoom on a tripod in line with the fan at a 12″ distance and the zoom has a foam wind protection sock on it.  The lens used this round was the kit 18-55 as opposed to the Tokina shown below, but you get the idea good HD video and good HD stereo audio are at the heart of the tools.

I combine the video and audio in Sony Vegas 9, add the text notes, and export to an 8MB/sec wmv before uploading to youtube.  During this combining effort, I set the T2i audio to mute and turn on the Zoom H1 audio. I use a double finger snap to create a wavform mark so I can line the two up.  Then I trim the whole thing to start/end of the test done.

Alright, enough of the testing setup, let’s get to the results

Summary

Here is a summary of what the video meters produced.  Sorry about the lack of RPM data on the Silenx, but something was odd with the Hz readings, so I pulled the data off.  The Gentle Typhoon AP-15 results are still the strongest of the bunch in terms of CFM per dBA, however I would as usual encourage you to evaluate the noise characteristics in addition to noise level for a more complete picture.  I have received messages by some readers indicating that they can’t stand the noise type of the GTs and I would agree that they do produce a different type of noise that may or may not be what you are willing to put up with.  The GT’s also do have a habit of resonating as specific RPMs as can be seen by the bump in the noise chart below. The GTs just have a special fan blade that seems to bury nearly all air type noises into the radiator which is good, but it also tends to have a little bit of bearing whine and the motor noise is present perhaps a bit more than other fans.  I think the noise quality of some of the other fans is superior, but the GT-15 remains dominant in noise level.

The noiseblocker actually has good noise ber RPM, but isn’t pushing as much air per RPM.  The Noctua has a very good CFM/RPM similar to the GT15 leaving some of the others as much as 200RPM behind. Regarding looks, I liked the noiseblocker, Phobya, and Bitfenix better than either the Noctua or GT.  As far as build quality goes, the GT probably gets my vote as it has a larger hub with metal bearing casing and dual ball bearing construction. The Noctua probably provides the most accessories giving you several resistor options to reduce fan speeds if you didn’t have a fan controller. Finally, there is PWM control which is only provided by the Noctua in this bunch.  You could however control the others via software tools like a Sunbeam Rheosmart without much extra cost. So there you have it, another round of 120mm fans and the GT-15 is still king of noise level, however there are other factors to consider that may sway you toward other options.

A special thanks goes out to “cpachris” from OCN for sponsoring these fans and my many supporters for sponsoring the tools, equipment, and website.

Cheers!

Martin

As part of my radiator testing, I did purchase several sets of fans to experiment with.  Since the Gentle Typhoon AP-15 did so well in a noise/cfm ratio in previous testing I had been curious how the higher speed GTs work in comparison.  The AP-29 differs from the AP-15 in that it only has 7 blades as opposed to 9 and it also has a special and unique stiffening ring.  I tried to make contact with Scythe about possibly sponsoring fans but my request was ignored and I could never make any sort of actual contact.  The Titans are just something I found perusing SVC one day and had to have a set and also picked them for my radiator testing since they were cheap, in stock, and had a good RPM range.

Being without any sponsor, I’ll give myself a special thanks to MLL.org for sponsoring this test…:)  I ordered the GT AP-29s from an ebay seller as it seemed to be the cheapest price shipped I could find.  I also ordered the Titan’s from SVC myself since they were on sale for $10.99 and I was anxiously crossing my fingers I would find a good alternative to the GTs.

Gentle Typhoon AP-29

First thing to catch my attention is this fan comes only with 4 pin molex connectors, so you will need an adapter or to rewire it on your own if you need 3 pin.  The fan doesn’t come with much more than standard self tapping case screws.  It is built well though and heavy and more industrial in quality than your average 25mm fan.

Gentle Typhoon AP-15

For comparison purposes with the previous 1000-1800RPM winner, here is the AP15.  The king of CFM/RPM from my previous rounds.

Zalman ZM-F3

For comparison with a good but average noise level and more conventional 7 bladed fan, here is the Zalman ZM-F3.  It what I consider a good average noise level fan at a great price.  It also has a pretty good speed range so it’s a good one to compare with as well.

Titan Kukri

These are the fans I’m using for the radiator testing that were attempting to be low cost GTs.  They look nice and actually do better than the Zalman at slower speeds, but things fall apart quickly at the higher speed range.  The sample tested seemed to have some debris in the motor causing a bit of rubbing type noises from 1400-1800 and then a harmonic developed from 1800 up to 2300RPM.  The debris would probably work itself over time and the harmonic may or may not be specific to the radiator test rig, but that’s what I got in this run.

Charted results

The charts above include looking at a few variables independently.

Of primary value is the air flow vs noise level chart which is the most representative of radiator performance.  It’s not perfect nor as good as actual thermal based testing, but I find it good “quick” simulation that allows looking at the full spectrum of possible undervolting conditions very quickly.  It does however only represent noise “Level” and not “Quality”.

Chart 2 is just comparing RPM to noise and plots a similar response.  The GTs are very good about keeping noise “Level” down to a minimum when mounted to a radiator and much the same using RPM between the 15 and 29.

Chart 3 is taking a closer look at how much air they push per RPM.  This is where the GT 15s doing very well having a higher blade count without stiffening ring allows them to produce more air per RPM.  General most fans produce the same amount withing about a 200-400RPM window though.  Somewhat surprising though, the Titan despite it’s similar appearance doesn’t have the same flow/rpm advantage as the GT 15s.  There is quite a bit more gap between fan blade and frame and slightly different blade pitch as well as how the back of the blade curves more than the GTs.  The AP-29s do a bit better than average at slower speeds, but seem to loose all of that advantage from about 2000RPM on upwards which I suspect is mostly due to the stiffening ring causing turbulence.

Conclusion

The higher speed AP-29 does seem to follow in a similar trend (CFM per RPM) as the exceptionally low AP-15 did although I would say subjectively when listening to the videos side by side, the 15 is producing less motor noise and smoother in sound.  The stiffening ring does seem to eliminate the resonance spikes that are present as specific RPM levels of the AP-15, so that’s a good thing although the CFM per RPM level is not quite as good as the 15 which is also probably due to this same ring.  The range is a bit more limited on the lower end were 5V is basically starting at 1200RPM, but it makes up for that in it’s near 3000RPM maximum at 12V.

While it’s hard to find fault in the AP-29, I personally find noise levels beyond 2000RPM still to high for my taste despite the noise levels being significantly lower than your average fan and also find the noise quality of the GT15 better than the 29 at slower speeds so it is a bit of a compromise.  I think more people would be better off with the slower speed 15, but the AP-29 does extend the fan power range for those needing similar GT quality in a higher speed flavor.  As with pretty much all fans, you can’t have it all and extremely high speed fans generally struggle at slower speeds and the AP family is much the same there.  The AP-29s are exceptionally good at 1800-3000RPM, but  the AP-15s are still king of 1000-1800RPM levels.

The Titan Kukri’s do pretty well at slower speeds and they do have a more desirable white blade color, but they are not even in the same league regarding build quality as the gentle typhoons.   On my particular test rig with radiator, I also had high speed harmonics and other not so smooth motor type noises as RPMs increase beyond about 1400RPM and particularly beyond 1800RPM.  Not quite sure why but I suspect it’s the blades flexing since the plastic used is softer than that of the GTs and not as reinforced at the hub either.  Overall a great fan for the price when operated at slower speeds, but the Titans are not at all outperforming or coming close in performance to the GT-15 in terms of noise level or noise quality in the 1400-1800 range.  I would say they are better than average in the <1300-1400RPM level, but average to poor at higher speeds.

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.