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Old June 13, 2010, 03:52 AM
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Question Dual Heatsink Fans -- Opinions?

Okay, I'm looking at using a Prolimatech Megahalems as my CPU cooler, and I think I want to run dual fans. The motherboards I'm looking at all have PWM connections for CPU fans (and I figure with a PWM splitter I can run both fans off the one header, unless I'm gravely mistaken as to the power requirements). The suggested fan specs I find on the web say that Prolimatech recommends a 120mm x 120mm x 25mm fan that runs either between 800-1200 rpm for a combination of quietness and performance, or 1600 rpm plus for straight cooling, hang the noise. I know that a fan used on a cooler or a rad needs decent static pressure, but finding decent specs in that regard to do a comparison isn't easy -- different companies use different measurements, and I'm sure a few fudge the numbers just to make things that extra bit more difficult.

So after flailing around a bit, I have three fans in mind (but suggest others if they're better than these!):

Cooler Master R4 Blue LED: I don't trust their stated specs, but everyone seems to think they're decent (though I've found a couple reviews that state they're pretty noisy, but maybe that's just when they're ramped up to 2000 rpm -- any fan probably would be at that point). They don't support PWM, but they do have LED light (what can I say, it appeals to my inner five-year-old who loves shiny things, and I'm sort of working a black/blue theme into my build). Also, pretty easy on the price tag, and easy to find, but they use sleeve bearings (which I'm given to understand don't like being horizontal rather than vertical, and my build will have them "lying" flat as opposed to vertical).

Scythe Gentle Typhoon 1450 rpm: It seems pretty unanimous that these have great static pressure, push good amounts of air, and aren't horrifically loud. Again, no PWM, and no LED either (that's pretty unimportant, actually, but like I said, inner five-year-old...), but they seem to have very good performance. Also pretty decent availability, if a little more expensive. They use two-ball bearings, so they ought to be okay with being horizontal (but don't ball bearings make more noise...?).

Gelid Wing 12 LED: Apparently these fans are supposed to be just quiet as all get out and push okay amounts of air, but I'm not sure about the static pressure -- can't seem to find any measurements that use units that I see everywhere else (and again, not sure if the manufacturer is playing with the numbers a bit). They use "nanoflux" bearings, which I think is just Gelid's in-house name for magnetic bearings, but either way they're supposed to be very quiet and impervious to orientation -- they're even supposed to work underwater, although why one would want to do that is a good question. Also, they support PWM, and then there's the pretty LED light (unimportant, but oh so shiny...). But I don't know about the static pressure issue. Plus, they're expensive, and damnably difficult to find in stock, certainly anywhere in Canada, which probably means I'll have to brave cross-border shipping from a U.S. company if I want them.

Thoughts? Suggestions of other fans?

(I should say that my preferences here are good static pressure, decent airflow, and PWM if I can get it, so I can let the motherboard figure out when to ramp up the speed; performance should be good with the Megahalems, but I don't want it to sound like a Harrier jump jet taking off. Fancy bearings and LEDs are just bonuses.)

Last edited by Arcnor; June 13, 2010 at 04:00 AM.
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Old June 13, 2010, 05:43 AM
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If you mean the new wing 12 PL. then yes they are very decent fans. ALMOST as good as a Scythe G. Gelid sent one along with their Tranquillo, so me being me....tested it.
Gelid Tranquillo CPU Cooler Review

The CM R4s are also beasts (they would be my first choice actually). They do get loud at full speed but meh most 2ks fans ARE loud. Its all relative and at 2k they are well mannered...for a 2k fan. ;)
At lower speed they are VERY well mannered. I have one running in my case undervolted to about 1300rpm (front intake) and its not as noisy as my NF-P14-FLX exhaust fan.

PWM is over-rated. Its just another way to control the speed of your fan. Nothing more nothing less. I wouldnt make it a "deal breaker" condition as long as your mobo supports both PWM and voltage control. Some mobos dont. So YMMV on that one and yeah PWM is much better then hard setting a fans speed via resistors. :)
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Old June 13, 2010, 06:55 AM
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You can control you fans manually with this: NCIX.com - Buy GELID Solutions 3-PIN Fan Speed Controller 5-12V - GELID-FAN-SPEED-CONTROL In Canada.
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Old June 13, 2010, 09:01 AM
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Hmm, well, one of the reasons I got interested in PWM was that it'd take the fan speed decision out of my hands -- I have no idea how to undervolt anything, and I probably don't want the fans going full blast all the time. That's what made me wary of the R4s (that and the sleeve bearing bit); they may be well-mannered at slower speeds, but unless I can figure out how to make sure they don't get out of hand, it could get a little noisy. Cool, but noisy. I'll just have to take another look at the specs for the motherboards I'm looking at and try to figure out which fan headers have speed control and which don't.

As for plug-in fan controllers, yeah, I thought about that, but I'm weird about using every feature of a given device (hence wanting to use fan headers rather than just directly connecting to the PSU). I could probably get a front-panel fan controller rig (suggestions for good ones?) if it came to that, which would also appeal to me because it'd help fill up all those gaping empty 5.25" slots at the front of the case, though it'd once again put fan speed decisions in my hands, as well as where and how to place temperature probes, and I don't know that I'm ready to start mucking around with that (I see some people suggesting that a good place to put a temp probe is between the pins of a CPU before you secure it to the motherboard -- I have trouble believing that's a good idea).

The way I read the specs on the Gigabyte X58-UD5 motherboard I'm thinking of using, the CPU header has four pins (ground, 12V/speed control, sense, PWM speed control). The SYS_FAN_2 header also has four (ground, 12V/speed control, sense, and reserve, whatever that is). SYS_FAN_1, SYS_FAN_3, and PWR_FAN each have three (ground, 12V, and sense), and the NB_FAN has three too, but one's not connected (ground, 12V, and "NC"). So if I read this right, the motherboard can control the speed of the fans hooked up to the CPU and Fan 2 headers through voltage, and the CPU header using PWM, and can sense the speed of fans hooked to the Fan 1, Fan 3, and Power headers, while anything hooked to the NB header just goes without speed control or sensing. Is that about right? If that's the case, maybe I could use a cable splitter on the CPU fan header and use two R4s hooked to that spot, or something similar, and let the motherboard take care of it (it does adjust speeds on its own at the appropriate headers, doesn't it? Within reason?).

So yeah, if that's all true, maybe R4s are my best bet.
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Old June 13, 2010, 09:14 AM
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Not trying to thread jack here, but I also have the Meghalems and tried running it with dual fans. Just wondering if anybody else has had issues with the heatsink acting like a tuning fork or a whistle, because I get them when I run dual fans. Dual fans only gave me a minor temp decrease so I stopped running them.
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Old June 13, 2010, 10:32 PM
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While we are talking about heatsink fans, I have come up with three different ones and would like some opinions. I will be using the Zalman flex.

1. New silverstone AP121 fans. Allegedly designed for heatsinks and restricted air intakes. Anyone know anything about these or are they too new? Also, while the static pressure is good 35 CFM seems low for a 1500 RPM unit.

2. The Enermax UCAP12-S Apollish Silver LED fan. I am going to be getting a Silverstone FT02 and I think that a Silver LED fan would look awesome in a black case. Anyone have any experience with this fan? If I wanted to do push/pull how do I connect two fans? Does one go on the CPU header and the other on a different fan header or is there a different way?

3. Trusty ol' Noctua NFP12's. Again, same question as before about connecting two heatsink fans.
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Old June 14, 2010, 12:11 PM
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R4 is pretty good for bang/buck at around $5 price matched. If you need to lower fan speed, just use the molex adapters and set them to 7V. There's a good article at SPCR showing how to repin them for 5V/7V. I find that most fans at 7V have a pretty good mix of airflow and low noise although it does depend on the stock fan speed.
If you want to go all out for fans, the Scythe S-Flex series(except the 800rpm model) or Noctua's are expensive but they're some of the best fans out there with low noise and good airflow with decent static pressure.
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Old June 14, 2010, 07:18 PM
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It's a good article at SilentPC... but I think that the actual process is somewhat beyond me. Remember, I'm really new at this, and messing around with fan voltages and wires (not to mention the dread words soldering iron in the article...) is probably a recipe for disaster, at least the first time out. Really, all I want is a method of allowing the motherboard to make up its own mind as to required fan speeds. I figure the three-pin connectors marked for voltage control plus Speedfan ought to do it, unless I'm gravely mistaken; either that or some little rheostat-type controls or a fan controller, but I'd prefer something that I can set and forget, that can adjust itself. Still not sure I want fans that can ramp up to 2000 RPM though -- I'm not planning on overclocking right away, and even if I do decide to try it later on, it'll be a very mild overclock just to figure out how it's done.
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Old June 14, 2010, 07:33 PM
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IF you havent already purchased the cooler....dont waste your money. If you dont plan on overclokcing (or just doing mild OC'ing) you will be much better served with a HDT cooler. At low heat levels, like stock speeds, they will be just as good if not better then the "big boys". Pick up a Cooler Master Hyper 212+ and enjoy. Best 20 sum odd bucks you can spend. It even comes with a kick ass rifle bearing fan (or at least DID, though they were incorrectly labeled as sleeved). It will simply serve your needs better. YMMV
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Old June 14, 2010, 10:43 PM
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Well, now that you mention it, I'm not quite sure how I settled on the Megahalems for cooling; I'm certainly looking for a cooler with some style, and I originally liked the Zerotherm Nirvana 120. Not sure why I flip-flopped on that one -- maybe I saw a marginal review of the Nirvana, and if I recall, the mounting system for 1366 motherboards involves plastic push-pins, which I'm not sure about (I know the review here didn't mention them, but every variation of the Nirvana I can find for sale needs an additional 1366 bracket bought separately that uses push-pins). Thoughts?

Last edited by Arcnor; June 14, 2010 at 11:32 PM.
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