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Old 01-02-2013, 11:10 AM   #1
TylerS
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Default Recommendations for AIO Radiator Fans

I am looking to replace the stock fans included with my Thermaltake Water 2.0 Performer. They are very quite but the noise profile is unpleasant to me (seems to have a high pitch tone, almost a very slight “squeal”).

There are a lot of fan reviews out there, but I can't find much that covers fan performance with a radiator.

First, what do I need to consider when looking for a radiator fan? I would assume that they need to have more pressure than a regular case fan. What are the stats I need to look for when reading reviews? I don’t really know that much about fan specs, aside from noise.

Second, any recommendations for 120mm fans for this purpose?

Bonus question (): I am thinking of putting in a 140mm case fan as well – looking for VERY quiet as it will really be “extra” cooling.

Thanks.

PS. I am very happy with the performance of the Thermaltake Water 2.0 Performer.

System: C2D e7500 @ 3.93 / GA-P35-DS4 (v.2.0) / 6GB PC 800 Patriot @ 895 / Asus 7870 (stock) / Corsair HX620 psu / Thermaltake Water 2.0 Performer
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Old 01-02-2013, 11:23 AM   #2
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http://www.anandtech.com/show/6177/c...h-corsairs-h80
http://www.anandtech.com/show/6391/1...t-2-fan-harder

Personally, I like Scythe fans. Relatively cheap and performs amazingly well. The AP-15s are highly regarded, I'm going with Ultra Kaze 38mm fans on my H70.
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Old 01-02-2013, 11:25 AM   #3
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Before swapping out the fan, you should make sure that it is the source of the noise. High pitch usually comes from high RPM, which would be anything but quiet. The pump is high RPM though.

To test this, go into BIOS so you can shut off the system right away. Then with it running and while listening to the noise that bothers you, unplug the fan you suspect.

If noise goes away, keep shopping for a fan.

If noise does not go away, it isn't the fan.
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Old 01-02-2013, 11:47 AM   #4
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Quote:
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Before swapping out the fan, you should make sure that it is the source of the noise. High pitch usually comes from high RPM, which would be anything but quiet. The pump is high RPM though.

Then with it running and while listening to the noise that bothers you, unplug the fan you suspect.
Good advice. I actually didn't think about the pump and that it could be the source. My gut says it isn't but better to test it and know for sure.

Is it safe to unplug a fan from a mobo while the power is on?! I guess you wouldn't recommend it if it wasn't but it makes me nervous.
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Old 01-02-2013, 11:50 AM   #5
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Most fans are just dumb coils and a tach. It should be safe to do as long as you don't short anything out while you're doing it.

I would recommend turning it off to do it though, just so you don't cross pins or anything.
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Old 01-02-2013, 01:13 PM   #6
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Scythe fans are about the best there are for radiators. They have higher static pressure which allows the air to get through the radiator and out the other end. The performance difference on radiators is actually strikingly large as many fans are not good at producing good pressure. The AR15 is what most people test, but any of the range is good for its fan speed. They also produce less noise per amount of air than the competition.

The only problem with the Gentle Typhoon is its price.
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Old 01-02-2013, 01:27 PM   #7
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Yeah, test the pump. You might be surprised. Lot's of Asetek pump issues lately. As for a deathly quite, high static pressure fan my recommendation might be a shock...the $7 Enermax Magma. Google all the stellar reviews for validation.
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Old 01-02-2013, 02:21 PM   #8
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The fan specs for this cooler are:

Dimension: 120 x 120 x 25mm
Speed: 1200~2000RPM
Noise Level: 27.36dBA(Max)
Rated Voltage: 12V
Rated Current: 0.5A
Max. Air Flow: 81.32CFM
Connector: 4 Pin

There are two of them in a push pull configuration.

Anyway, based on this and looking at the CFM ratings of some of the other recommended fans (per the provided Anandtech review links above) I wonder if I'll be taking a step back by switching fans. None seem to match the CFM rating on these fans.

This doesn't show any static pressure specs, so I can't comment there. I also looked on the Thermaltake website to see if I could figure out which of their fans this is, but it doesn't seem to match up with any.

I haven't had a chance ot test if the offending noise is from the pump or fans, but I still am doing my fan research now anyway.
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Old 01-02-2013, 02:24 PM   #9
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Ultra Kaze 38mm 3000 RPM fans. You'll need different bolts to mount the extra wide fans, but it should be a nice upgrade (don't know why they weren't on the reviews). I guess they're not exactly silent if they're at 3000 RPM.
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Old 01-02-2013, 02:38 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eureka View Post
Ultra Kaze 38mm 3000 RPM fans. I guess they're not exactly silent if they're at 3000 RPM.
Yeah, at 3000 RPM they would be too noisy for my taste. I should have mentioned that quiet is an important point. And the current fans are quiet - less noisy than the Scythe Ninga 2 with Scythe Slip Stream 120mm fan that I used to have - it's just the sound of them irritates a little.

I definately do not want to give up any significant cooling performance, but if I can get a fan that is similar in performance, just as quite, but with a "smoother" sound I would be very happy.
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Old 01-02-2013, 02:47 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TylerS View Post
Yeah, at 3000 RPM they would be too noisy for my taste. I should have mentioned that quiet is an important point. And the current fans are quiet - less noisy than the Scythe Ninga 2 with Scythe Slip Stream 120mm fan that I used to have - it's just the sound of them irritates a little.

I definately do not want to give up any significant cooling performance, but if I can get a fan that is similar in performance, just as quite, but with a "smoother" sound I would be very happy.
Well, for $7 I would be interested in trying out kleinkinstein's magmas. The SP120s are pricey but AT seems to be happy with them. At worst, try it and if it doesn't give you any results just resell it or return it.
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Old 01-02-2013, 10:53 PM   #12
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Yep!

2nd article, last page. Read, choose, buy. Done.
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Old 01-03-2013, 09:48 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eureka View Post
Well, for $7 I would be interested in trying out kleinkinstein's magmas. The SP120s are pricey but AT seems to be happy with them. At worst, try it and if it doesn't give you any results just resell
it or return it.
I agree -- I'd love to try the Magma. Though I have a feeling it will have lower performance than the stock fans. Unfortunately I have an issue with availability for most of these options: I live in Kingston, Ontario and there is only one “good” computer store in town (but it is top notch for Canadian choices: Canada Computers). I have a hard time paying NewEgg $9 to ship anything worth less than $50 and the Canadian store sells it for $12. This makes it a $21 fan - BAH!

I’m on a quest now though, so I thought I would share what I have found so far:

First, per the reviews I’ve seen, this cooler is not as “whisper quite” as I have perceived. It appears to be about 46 bBA at idle and 53/54 dBA at load. (source 1, source 2) Neither of these specifically measures the pump but it is mentioned that there was negligible noise from the pump. This has been my experience as well.

Also, I do have some headroom with thermals. They are low enough that I could safely allow temps to creep up a little.

This should in theory give me more leeway on fan selection – in theory SP120 High Performance is quieter than the stock fans on the Performer. They are also available at the local store I mentioned – so no shipping costs!

I think I would love to try out the Noctua NF-F12 too, but cost and availability will rule it out I think (not available at my local store and $27 + $10 shipping and out of stack at NewEgg).

Does anyone have any comments about the noise profile of the Corsair SP120 High Performance?
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Old 01-03-2013, 09:53 AM   #14
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Firstly, one thing to check is if you can just control the fan speeds. If you can control the speeds then you shouldn't worry about noise, it should never be loud until you start gaming, after which everything else is loud.

My H70 uses a direct passthrough for the fan power (the H70 itself has no fan control). My motherboard has voltage control for the CPU fan, so that means I can set my profile (for 3 pin fans) to be at 30% power at 45°C, but 100% power at 60°C. For most usage, my CPU doesn't exceed 40°C, so the fans don't even spin. As soon as I start gaming, the fans start revving up.

Anyway, I did just get my 3000 RPM Ultra Kazes installed last night. Let's just say quiet isn't the name of the game. But at least for me, they're off during most use.
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Old 01-03-2013, 02:57 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eureka View Post
Firstly, one thing to check is if you can just control the fan speeds.
Would this be a bios setting? This sounds like something I might try.

FYI - I just purchased the SP120's today. I'm not a 100% sold that I will keep them, but I will put my impressions up if/when I do.
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Old 01-03-2013, 03:08 PM   #16
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Quote:
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Would this be a bios setting? This sounds like something I might try.

FYI - I just purchased the SP120's today. I'm not a 100% sold that I will keep them, but I will put my impressions up if/when I do.
Yes and no. It depends on your motherboard.

On mine, (Gigabyte GA-Z77X-D3H), I can set in the BIOS to have sys_fan1 and cpu_fan output a variable voltage instead of pwm. I can then change the ramp speed.

Also on mine, Gigabyte has their ET6 software which lets me change the actual ramp profile. I can drag it so that it doesn't start spinning the fans until after 45 °C on the CPU. After that, I do a rapid rise to full speed.

Now, I know at least some AsRock boards will do voltage control. I don't know about any other boards, or any other manufacturers. Look in your manual or search for your motherboard to find out.
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Old 01-03-2013, 10:15 PM   #17
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Quote:
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Is it safe to unplug a fan from a mobo while the power is on?!
Yes, it is safe. Now, your CPU temperature will start going up, but one good thing with liquid cooling is that the temperature rises slower than with air cooling. You should have plenty of time to shut down before the CPU gets appreciably warmer.
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Old 01-04-2013, 08:08 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TylerS View Post
FYI - I just purchased the SP120's today.
IIRC, they are 3 pin fans, so you won't be able to use the mobo's normal PWM automatic fan speed control for the CPU. Might start looking at the mobo's owners manual to see if you can do something w/ 3 pin fans like Eureka mentioned, or maybe a 3rd party controller.
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Old 01-04-2013, 09:03 AM   #19
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It is indeed the stock fans for the Water 2.0 that have the high tone that is bothering me. I did the "unplug" test and it is definately gone with the fans off.

As an aside, the pump is very quiet - I couldn't hear it at all. Even with the case wide open and my head pratically stuck right in next to it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TylerS View Post
FYI - I just purchased the SP120's today. I'm not a 100% sold that I will keep them, but I will put my impressions up if/when I do.
I have plugged in one SP120; not installed, but just ran it loose to hear it. It is definately louder than the stock fans but I wouldn't say it is "noisy". The sound profile is very smooth with a low tone. More pleasant to my ears for sure. I would have preferred quieter but I will trade a bit louder for a smooth sound any day.

Also noticably more air movement and pressure than the stock fans.

I'll be installing/testing them over the weekend. I'll try to get some temp reading before and after to post up here.

Thanks everyone so far for all the help.
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Old 01-04-2013, 09:07 AM   #20
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Quote:
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IIRC, they are 3 pin fans, so you won't be able to use the mobo's normal PWM automatic fan speed control for the CPU. Might start looking at the mobo's owners manual to see if you can do something w/ 3 pin fans like Eureka mentioned, or maybe a 3rd party controller.
It appears the GA-P35-DS4 does have bios fan control. Looks like I’ll play with that tonight too.

There is an included low-voltage adapter and I will likely test that for cooling efficiency vs. noise, but that kind of defeats the purpose of these fans.

Last edited by TylerS; 01-04-2013 at 10:45 AM. Reason: Update.
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