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Cooling Best silent case fans for a HTPC?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Impatience, 24 Apr 2014.

  1. Impatience

    Impatience Active Member

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    I'm looking for a case fan that's silent (or able to be modded to run on lower voltage?) for a HTPC build.. I'm not bothered about colouring as I could always tape and spray if needed, but silence is the key! :thumb: Can be any size (200mm or less) as the case top panel will be designed around it. The case'll be made of MDF mostly, and since it'll be an AM1 platform.. Well it doesn't need to be the best for airflow etc! :hehe: Oh and my budget is under £15, so no ridiculously expensive stuff (unless it's drastically better than the competition? I get those urges at times haha :duh: )

    Oh, and if you know where they're sold.. A link/ saying the site's name would be appreciated too! :clap: Go!
     
  2. Jim

    Jim Ineptimodder

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    If you get something decent, there's not a massive difference.

    SPCR did some big tests of 120mm fans a while back, and the Scythe fans did very well (think they were S-Flex, IIRC, but could have been Kama Flows). I've bought a few of those, and used molex -> 5V adapters to drop the speed on them. Virtually silent.

    The Noctua fans seem to be very well considered, but they're rarely cheap.

    When it comes to it, rpm and noise are proportionate, so if the fan's well made and you can drop the speed, then job done. Fans like the Scythe ones can be bought at high RPM or slow RPM, so you've got the choice of buying the 5V adapter and a fast fan, or a slow RPM straight up. Generally, for me, it comes down to availability of the fans from the retailer.
     
  3. Impatience

    Impatience Active Member

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    Thanks for your advice! :thumb: I just get so lost in all these "patented technologies" and "30% better than standard fans" statements that I dont know what's what anymore! What doesn't help is that most sales sites dont have the same data for all the fans! :wallbash:
    (Some dont do RPM, some only have the CFM(?), some dont have the noise etc)

    Wouldn't a 5v adapter damage the fan if it's not designed to come with one? (Sorry for total noobishness here!)
     
  4. MSHunter

    MSHunter Well-Known Member

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    quietpc.com na-ds-120-pwm got 2 of these on my H80 and now I have to stick my hand behind my pc to check if the are on. Can barely hear them on 100% profile with my ear next to my pc. (sig)
     
  5. Impatience

    Impatience Active Member

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    Awesome! Would it work as just a case fan? (I've learnt that some fans are only good for radiators?) Apart from that, I think we're onto a winner! :clap:
     
  6. MSHunter

    MSHunter Well-Known Member

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    yeah works for both, I would suggest the PWM version is you have a header free on the main board.
     
  7. doyll

    doyll Member

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    Not true. All fans that work well on radiators will work well for case intakes too. The difference is radiator fans will work with resistance nearly as well as they will without resistance.
    Airflow / CFM spec is how much air the fan will move in free space... no obstructions or resistance.
    Static pressure / mm H2O is how hard fans will push before the quit moving air... push water up the tube. Static pressure =s push when air stops.
    A fan rated 80cfm & 0.8mm H2O will move less air on a cooler / radiator than a fan rated 50cfm & 3mm H20 because of resistance of radiator.. or cooler.. or intake with grill and filter.. or exhaust with restrictive grill.
    The 80cfm / 0.8mm H2O stops moving air when it reaches 0.8mm H2O resistance, but 50cfm / 3mm H2O fan will still be flowing 35-40cfm at 0.8 resistance. :thumb:
     
  8. Impatience

    Impatience Active Member

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    I stand corrected! Thanks for explaining that for me doyll! :thumb:
     
  9. doyll

    doyll Member

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  10. d_stilgar

    d_stilgar Old School Modder

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    I've used Scythe fans in the past, whatever ones they rate as "silent," and have been really happy with them. Many of them have been so quiet I can't hear them even when I'm only a few inches away. However, I've had to re-oil the fans often and I've had a few of them die on me, which really is no good.
     
  11. Corky42

    Corky42 Where's walle?

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    Yea not enough list the pressure. Although I'm not sure it would help much as the dBa figures they list tend to be highly inaccurate.
     
  12. Jim

    Jim Ineptimodder

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    I would focus on RPM. CFM and noise could be measured in any manner and aren't comparable unless one review site is taking a consistent approach - at least RPM is reliable.

    And no, it shouldn't. I guess you would damage them if you tried to put too much power through it, but that's not a likely scenario. SPCR used to test all of their fans at different voltages to see how low a voltage was needed to make them silent, IIRC. You can actually buy little variable resistors that go between molexes and fans (or a full blown fan controller) so that you can adjust the speed on the fly - and they're doing exactly the same thing.

    You can get 4-pin PWM fans, which can be controlled by the motherboard and the like and dynamically change their speeds - much like CPU fans - but your average 3-pin fan has its speed controlled by the amount of power you supply to it.
     
    Last edited: 25 Apr 2014
  13. doyll

    doyll Member

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    I've been using PWM fans for case fans in all my builds.

    Now Phanteks has released their PWM controlled PSU powered variable voltage fan hub meaning we can use it for PWM control of 3-pin variable voltage fans or PWM use PWM splitter / hub with PSU power for PWM fans. :D

    Controlling case fans with PWM signal from motherboard CPU fan header and GPU fan header.

    There are some limitations:
    • Obviously motherboard and GPU must have PWM
    • If fans are PWM use PWM splitters linked below.
    • If fans are variable voltage use Phanteks PWM fan hub linked below.
    • Motherboard can only support 8-9 fans (PWM signal strength gets too weak)
    • No idea how many fans GPU can support.

    Setting up motherboard PWM control of PWM case fans:
    • Use a PWM splitter with molex/sata connector. Gelid and Swiftech are my preferred.
    • http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=17923
    • http://www.swiftech.com/8-waypwmsplitter.aspx
    • OR
    • Use a Phanteks PWM controlled wit molex/sata connector 3-pin variable voltage fan hub.
    • http://phanteks.com/PH-PWHUB.html
    • Plug PWM splitter to motherboard CPU fan header and PSU
    • Use CPU cooler fan as "master" fan. This is the fan that sends rpm signal to motherboard PWM header.
    • Additional CPU cooler fans and case fans will ramp u and down with CPU fan.
    • Can use a second PWM splitter on 3-way & 4-way PWM splitter.
    • Setup fan speed curve with motherboard bios or software. Gigabyte has EasyTune 6 and Asus has SmartFan. I set minimum at 30% fan @ 30c and maximum at 100% @ 65c. Than watch temps and see if you want more or less rpm to keep temperature and noise where you want them. My sig rig idles 24-29c @ 700rpm; 100% all cores is 42-48c :950-1050rpm.

    Setting up GPU PWM control of case fans:
    • Obviously GPU fans need to be PWM. Because the GPU PWM header/plug is smaller than normal PWM we need a Mini 4-Pin GPU (Female) to Mini 4-Pin GPU (Male) / 4-Pin Fan (Male) Cable Splitter Adapter is needed-. The blue wire going to normal PWM socket needs to be removed from mini PWM plug. (You can use this wire to monitor rpm on case fan by connecting it to a normal 3pin fan plug in the rpm position.) Plug a PWM splitter / hub or Phanteks PWM controlled hub into the normal PWM socket and PSU for case fans.
    • http://www.moddiy.com/products/Mini...)-{47}-4%2dPin-Fan-(Male)-Cable-Splitter.html
    • Case fans hooked onto this splitter will ramp up and down with GPU fans.
    • Use GPU software or Bios to setup fan speed curve

    Phanteks PWM controlled fan hub
    http://phanteks.com/PH-PWHUB.html
     
    Last edited: 9 Aug 2014
  14. Corky42

    Corky42 Where's walle?

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    Not wanting to disagree, but i see you mention SPCR.
    I have always considered their testing of fans to be pretty good, no ?
     
  15. doyll

    doyll Member

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    RPM can be easily lowered and does not mean fan has good airflow or is quiet. :confused: Seems kinda like focusing on fan size because it's reliable. :D

    Typically fans are quiet to about 1000-1200rpm, but that's not always true either.
     
  16. Jim

    Jim Ineptimodder

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    I knew when I was writing out that post that I hadn't phrased it particularly well.

    Agreed. My point was that I would only trust CFM/dB ratings if they're been done by one site. So SPCR saying this fan is 18dB, and this fan is 19dB, that's great - directly comparable. One manufacturer claiming 18dB and another claiming 19dB isn't comparable, so my point is you need to be careful about CFM/dB ratings.

    My point was that if you're going to look at manufacturer specifications, and pick a fan based on that, then the only piece of data that's going to be helpful when considering noise is the RPM. CFM and dB don't tell you anything, much like the stated contrast ratio of a monitor. It bears little resemblance to real life.

    Assuming you've already picked a good model of fan, i.e. one that's been well reviewed by, say, SPCR, then the RPM should be the main consideration.

    Obviously, I agree that picking a fan "because it has a low RPM and will therefore be quiet" would be insane.
     
  17. doyll

    doyll Member

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    Obviously :D

    To me it's equally insane to pick a fan without using a known good fan review source. I prefer on that tests fans on a cooler or radiator to seen how well they can more air to cool as well has their noise levels while doing it.

    People like
    http://martinsliquidlab.org/?s=airflow+and+pressure

    http://www.hardware.fr/articles/886-26/recapitulatif-db-a-vs-cfm.html

    http://www.hardware.fr/articles/874-35/recapitulatif-db-a-vs-cfm.html

    http://www.hardwaremax.net/reviews/kuehler/488-test-thermalright-archon-sb-e.html?showall=0&start=6

    and use a few fans of known quality like AP-15, TY-140, NH-A14 to compare other fans against.
     

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