Noiseblocker NB-eLoop B12-2 and B12-3 Review

Discussion in 'Cases & Cooling' started by lehtv, Oct 31, 2012.

  1. lehtv

    lehtv Lifer

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    These are the B12-2 1300RPM and B12-3 1900RPM 120mm high end case fans. I bought four of the B12-2 first, returned them and replaced with four of the B12-3, read on for details. For manufacturer specs, see here.

    Noiseblocker NB-eLoop B12-2 Review

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Initial impressions

    The packaging comes with rubber inserts which absorb vibrations as well as separate the blades slightly from the mesh or filter next to it. Should come in handy. The cord is modular, a short and a long cord is supplied and they can be combined for an extra long cable. Very nice addition for case cable management. And I just love how it looks - white on black when installed in my Fractal R3, just like the stock fans.

    The B12-2 is much quieter than the 1000RPM Fractal Design stock fan. Virtually silent in comparison, testing on an open air bench (just my mobo on a piece of cardboard). It is also noticeably quieter than Silverstone AP121 1500RPM.

    Attaching the fan to my new Bitfenix Hydra Pro controller, I don't hear any difference between the highest and lowest settings until I put my ear right next to the fan. I can confirm that the difference in airflow is significant.

    To my disappointment, however, the fan doesn't actually run at 1300 RPM. BIOS reports about 1100-1150RPM, and HWMonitor agrees. I may have to return these for the 1900 RPM versions which I can then downvolt to 5V for quiet computing and run at full speed for heavier overclocking, we'll see once I test the fans in my case.

    CPU temperatures

    [​IMG]

    Heatsink: Scythe Mugen 2 on open air bench
    Comparison fan: Scythe Slipstream PWM @ 1350RPM
    CPU: i7 920 @ 3.36GHz @ 1.2V.
    Stress test: 10 minutes of Prime95 blend

    Max. core temperatures:

    Slipstream - 66, 64, 63, 64
    NB-eLoop – 70, 69, 68, 68

    This is not a very good result. But we have to bear in mind that it spins 200RPM slower as reported by HWMonitor. Some of the temperature increase, if not most, is explained by this. However, the important part is that the Slipstream fan is clearly audible. Any silence freak would be quite annoyed by the 1350RPM Slipstream, even when muffled by the side panel of a silent case. With the Noiseblocker, the cooler is almost inaudible at about 50cm away from the test bench. It makes slightly more noise than without the heatsink next to it but I can't call it anything else than near-silent.

    Noise levels in Fractal Design Define R3

    The point here is to see how much the filters and meshes affect noise levels, if at all.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Front panel intake. The fan becomes audible at distance but still very smooth and quiet. Having the door open or closed doesn't seem to make any difference. The rubber inserts really help here – without them, the blades would be almost touching the filter.

    Rear panel exhaust. Same as above, really. It's still super quiet but not inaudible. The tone of the noise increases somewhat due to the mesh, much like with the intake filter.

    Conclusion

    These are superb fans, high quality all around. While I haven't tested many fans and have never even touched a Scythe Gentle Typhoon, I'm confident that these are some of the best case fans in the market, if not the best.

    The price tag (18.50 eur here, $27 at FrozenCPU) is completely justified since these are also backed by 6 year warranty. Well worth it for anyone who is interested in quiet computing and doesn't want to compromise airflow too much. However, if you've got a fan controller or like to adjust fan speeds in the BIOS, I would initially recommend the 1900RPM version. I'm going to swap all my Noiseblockers for those, and will update this thread once I get them. At the lowest setting in my controller, the 1900RPM fan should run at just under 1000RPM, slower than the already near-silent 1300RPM fan.

    There are also 140mm and a 180mm versions coming. The 140mm model should be a godsend for people with the Fractal Design Define R4.

    Thanks for reading!
     
    #1 lehtv, Oct 31, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2012
  2. lehtv

    lehtv Lifer

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    NB-eLoop B12-3 1900RPM Review

    As promised, I've got four of the 1900RPM versions on hand for testing. Exciting.

    Impressions

    Two of the packages have incomplete screw sets – they're missing some of the rubber decouplers. It doesn't really matter since I'll be using one of the coolers for my CPU anyway. So let's get on with it.

    Noise-wise, the 1900RPM fan is actually clearly audible now, perhaps loud to some. This is just about the noise level I'm prepared to accept for a more heavily overclocked rig at load, although in everyday use I'm going to downvolt the fans.

    According to HWMonitor, the fan runs at 1700-1750RPM. I'm wondering if maybe my motherboard isn't giving it enough juice. However, connected directly to the PSU, the tone of the noise sounds the same.

    Here are audio recordings at 12V, 7V and 5V which you can compare to the B12-2 recordings in post #7.

    B12-3 12V .wav
    B12-3 7V .wav
    B12-3 5V .wav

    The B12-3 at 7V is comparable to B12-2 at 12V, and at 5V it is not quite as quiet as the B12-2 at 7V.

    CPU temperatures

    I'm going to first test the stock Scythe fan again just for consistency, then test the B12 at full speed. Setup same as in the B12-2 review.

    Max. core temperatures °C
    Scythe 1350RPM: 65, 65, 64, 63
    B12-3 1700RPM: 65, 65, 65, 63

    Pretty much identical results. RPM-wise, it's clearly not the best heatsink/radiator cooler. Scythe's fan seems to have better pressure and perhaps better CFM / RPM. But in terms of noise, I find the B12-3 just slightly quieter. It could be the same noise level, could be slightly higher – it's so close it's hard to judge. But the tone of the noise is lower, which is good.

    I'll post final testing and writeup with a fully assembled PC tomorrow.
     
    #2 lehtv, Oct 31, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2012
  3. DSF

    DSF Diamond Member

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    Interested to hear about the 1900 RPM version. As with most quality fans, I wish they were a little less expensive.
     
  4. kleinkinstein

    kleinkinstein Senior member

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    Good stuff! Thanks. I've been looking at the NB's...trying to decide if they are a perfect blend of the Enermax Magma for moving air and Cougar Vortex for silence. They are $22 at Xiode.
     
  5. fuzzymath10

    fuzzymath10 Senior member

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    Interesting - I've been looking at these as an alternative to Noctua fans, which I currently use with decent success.

    1-how well do they undervolt? Any buzzing or clicking? I'm extremely picky and some of my Noctuas click when I put my ear up to them almost like the blades are hitting something (which they aren't). Other fans just sound like air.

    2-how is the pressure? Some of my fans work well only as exhaust with little obstruction. Against a narrow-spacing fin heatsink or a very tight exhaust grille (with 1-2mm holes rather than honeycomb), I feel very little air until I swap in a fan like a Scythe GT.

    Would appreciate your comments!
     
  6. dma0991

    dma0991 Platinum Member

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    Maybe I'll get them one day, the fastest speed they have and compare them to my Noiseblocker XLPs.
     
  7. lehtv

    lehtv Lifer

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    1. Recorded fan bearing noise

    Using a voltage adapter cable, I tested the B12-2 at 12V, 7V and 5V. The fan was upright on the table and not attached to anything. I used the Sennheiser PC350 headset microphone at about two centimeters distance from the bearing on the intake side. The microphone was at full volume with boost enabled. The boost is necessary but produces some background noise which you will hear clearly in the 7V and 5V recordings. Concentrate on the low-tone noise, that's the fan.

    B12-2 12V .wav
    B12-2 7V .wav
    B12-2 5V .wav

    I can't hear any clicking or rattling noise myself and that should be apparent from the .wavs as well.

    2. Pressure

    Well, this is difficult to test subjectively. Without obstructions, CFM feels like what you'd expect from a 1000-1200RPM fan, and the air moves in a relatively tight cone but not as tight as the AP121.

    When installed behind the Fractal Design front filter pushing air through the filter, I can immediately feel a reduction in airflow. The filter is very dense but thin. Subjectively, it feels the CFM is cut in half. Air on the intake side of the fan is more turbulent as a result. I get pretty much same result with the Fractal Design 1350RPM fan.

    Officially, the fan's pressure is 1.042 mmH20.

    I will receive the 1900RPM fans tomorrow.
     
    #7 lehtv, Nov 1, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2012
  8. Piano Man

    Piano Man Diamond Member

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    Great stuff. Thanks for the post. Let us know if you get the 1900 RPMs.
     
  9. MoInSTL

    MoInSTL Senior member

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    You've been busy! Looking forward to more results with the 1900 fans running under volt.
     
  10. lehtv

    lehtv Lifer

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    UPDATE: B12-3 1900RPM review in post #2

    Final build testing


    Let's put all the components back in the case and install the fans. I'm putting two B12-3 in the front, one in the rear, one on the CPU and block all other openings apart from the rear-top 140mm slot which simply has a filter on it. All fans are attached to the Bitfenix Hydra Pro fan controller. So that's four fans plus an inaudible PSU (Seasonic X-660) and a practically inaudibly idling graphics card (Sapphire 7950 Vapor-X).

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    It turns out that the B12-3 didn't work well as an exhaust, at least not in this particular case in this particular rear slot. There is a high pitched whine when air passes through, especially when fully downvolted. The result was the same with two different fans, so I think we can rule out any bearing issues. The noise disappears when testing out in the open so I don't think the fan controller is the culprit either. This whine was bad enough that I had to switch to the stock Fractal Design fan which works fine there, but it moves a bit less air.

    The intake fans and the CPU fan don't complain, they're working beautifully. All in all the PC is very quiet at the lowest speed. The effects of the filters and meshes combined with the number of fans has the result that unlike a single fan operating in the open air, this setup isn't near-inaudible. It's just quiet. If you want the whole setup to be as near to inaudible as possible without cooling everything passively, get the B12-2 1300RPM and downvolt it or go straight for the B12-1 800RPM and run it at 12V.

    At full speed, the PC is definitely noisy, similar to a low-speed hairdryer. But hey, we're talking three 1700RPM fans here and one 1300RPM Fractal fan. The full speed spetting is, for me, viable only during gaming sessions where there is always enough noise through the headphones to drown out the fans. Just some background noise does the trick.

    At anywhere between minimum speed and full speed, the fans tend to develop some buzzing noise characteristics. I believe this is due to the the Bitfenix fan controller – I had no such problems when using the 7V voltage adapter cable. With some effort, I can adjust the controller slider and find a sweet spot where most of the buzzing disappears, but it's different for different fans. It's either minimum speed or full speed for me. Either silence or thunder.

    Finally, temperature comparisons with all fans at full speed and door open, versus minimum speed and door closed:

    Max. CPU temperatures
    10 minutes of Prime 95 blend (i7 920 @ 3.36GHz)
    Code:
                    Core 1    Core 2    Core 3    Core 4
    Minimum speed    80        82        77        79
    Maximum speed    66        66        64        65
    CPU fan maxed    73        74        71        72
    The minimum speed temps are decent enough. Running the CPU fan at full speed with the case door closed and other fans on results in temperatures halfway between the minimum and maximum speed settings, but at a noise level much closer to the minimum speed setting. But even that's not really needed at these clocks.

    Max. graphics card temperatures
    10 minutes of Heaven 3.0 (7950 3GB Vapor-X @ stock)
    Code:
                    GPU        VRM1    VRM2    GPU fan speed
    Minimum speed    60        80        63        51.00%
    Maximum speed    56        71        56        47.00%
    The min speed temperatures are more than fine, there's plenty of room for lowering GPU fan speed. 40-45% should be doable. At maximum speed, an overclocked card can be cooled effectively.

    Conclusion

    I'm definitely happy with this purchase. The setup does what I set out to achieve – quiet operation with good temperatures in a system with little to no overclocking, but the ability to double the airflow for cooling an overclocked system at load. And all that with a positive pressure. It's unfortunate that I couldn't use the B12-3 in the rear fan slot, that fan will go to my brother's mini-ITX rig instead.

    Thanks for reading!
     
    #10 lehtv, Nov 3, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2012
  11. badrex

    badrex Junior Member

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    I have done the same thing in my R4 but i did think that getting the best "push" and then go down in volts was the way to do it... The fans are GREAT pushers "Noiseblocker NB-eLoop B12-4" *2 units placed in the front makes the case the biggest hair dryer I have seen yet... But the down part is that with the dustcover It is noisy, I am going on for 5v (lowest in the case) but it still makes more noise than the standard setup.

    I am thinking of sending the 2 fans back for an refund, not that they are broken but they are not that silent that the tests are saying, I dont say that they are messing with the tests but that they make more noise than my orginal fans are not ok.

    The test next to my noctua (NF-P12) fans tells the true story, they make more noise regardless of if the are mounted or hand hold the are still making more noise!

    I did not have any trouble with temperature in the case duo to my be "quiet blackrock 2 PRO" so this was a step back instead of an more silent case than befor I did go up instead... wrong turn there.

    But in the nother hand, if you have friends over to have an look at the case you can make them go WOW due to the pressure this fans do on 12volts...It´s epic high and the rest of my fans are not near the wind this produse!!!

    Think twise befor doing this buy/ Dennis.
     
  12. badrex

    badrex Junior Member

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    #12 badrex, Feb 4, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2013
  13. lehtv

    lehtv Lifer

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    I'm not at all surprised the B12-4 is too loud for you. It's a 2400 RPM fan. The ones I have are nominally 1900 RPM at max, they are very quiet at 5V despite the fan filters.

    After months of using them, I rarely if ever run them at above 5V... Even my CPU stays very cool at 4.2GHz with the B12-3 at 5V. In retrospect I should've gone with the B12-2 (1300 RPM). They would be even better suited for quiet computing.

    In an R4 case I'd rather have only 140mm fans, to be honest.
     
    #13 lehtv, Feb 4, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2013
  14. badrex

    badrex Junior Member

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    I have 3 levels of fanpower 5v-7v-12v, they are bought for the lowest of speeds and getting as much air tru the case as possible.
    It didn´t work out and the selling company have nicely understod the problem...they swap my B12-4 for B12-2 and evan trows in rubber to match the case evan better.

    Id also prefer 140mm fans...but as you know they have no 140mm fans...

    I will be happy after the change to B12-2 Im sure/^_^
     
    #14 badrex, Feb 8, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2013
  15. Bipedal Humanoid

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    Do you have a recommendation which model would work best for an Antec Kuhler 920 Radiator in a push/ pull config? I'm thinking of going with a pair of B12-P's. Since the fans are PWM regulated they should be pretty much silent unless I start stressing the CPU and oc'ing, right?
     
  16. lehtv

    lehtv Lifer

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    They aren't exceptional for heatsinks / rads, unfortunately. The original Scythe fan that came with Mugen 2 performs the same at much lower RPM, although at a similar noise level. You should get similar results with these while paying much less.
     
  17. Bipedal Humanoid

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    Thanks for your reply. You just saved me from making a $60 mistake! For now I might just stick with a pair of Corsair SP120's since I have a side window and I'd need to sleeve the Slip Stream's first.
     
  18. biostud

    biostud Lifer

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    my CPU is 77-85C @ max load

    CPU cooler: Thermalright Ultra-120 + Noctua fan NF12 (can't remember specific model)
    case 2x Corsair AF 120 Quiet Edition

    When I game the noisiest part is my videocard, when just browsing I think it's my PSU fan.
     
    #18 biostud, Feb 12, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2013
  19. lehtv

    lehtv Lifer

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    @ biostud

    There's a mistake in your post, it says Thermalright AF-120. Do you mean HR-02, or?
     
  20. biostud

    biostud Lifer

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    I think it's the Ultra, based on pictures.
     
  21. Bipedal Humanoid

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    Just curious as to why you say the NB's don't perform well on radiators. Isn't high static pressure important for high density radiators? The Scythe's have much less static pressure than the NB's.
     
  22. lehtv

    lehtv Lifer

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    As you can see from the results earlier in this thread, B12-3, advertised as 1900RPM but sensor says 1750RPM, performs the same as the the original Scythe slipstream (1300 RPM). Granted, the noise level of the B12-3 is quite low for such a high RPM, but the extra cost is still not justified.

    Of course, saying it's not great on radiators/heatsinks is a generalisation but I think a reasonable one.
     
    #22 lehtv, Feb 22, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2013
  23. Face2Face

    Face2Face Diamond Member

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    Just wanted to say nice review and you have a very sweet looking rig there :)
     
  24. lehtv

    lehtv Lifer

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    Thanks :)
     
  25. Magic Carpet

    Magic Carpet Diamond Member

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    In my personal experience, these fans are not good in non-standard orientations and/or when close (0-10MM) to obstacles (e.g. fan filter). They drone a bit. Noctua is better in this respect.
     
    #25 Magic Carpet, Mar 4, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2013
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