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Old August 18, 2009, 12:05 AM
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Default Zalman ZM-F3 Semi-Review

I am going to take a whack at my very first review. I lack most tools you'd need for a fan review but I'll do my best


Introduction


The fan that we will be looking at today is a 120mm fan from Zalman. More specifically, the ZM-F3. This fan is an offering from Zalman that is supposed to be both quiet and able to push a lot of air at the same time.

Specifications

These are the specifications copied straight from Zalman, so as to not incorrectly type something.

Fan Information Fan Diameter: 120mm
Fan Speed: 1800 rpm -
Fan Type: Sleeve Bearing
General Information Brand Name: Zalman
Manufacturer: Zalman Tech Co., LTD
Manufacturer Part Number: ZM-F3
Product Name: ZM-F3 Case Cooling Fan
Product Type: Cooling Fan
Miscellaneous Additional Information: Fan Speed: Silent Mode: 900 RPM

Application/Usage: Case
Package Contents: ZM-F3 Case Cooling Fan
Noiseless Connector (RC56)
Silicon pins for installing ZM-F3 (SP1)
Physical Characteristics Dimensions: 2.5cm Height x 12cm Width x 12cm Length
Material: Plastic Fan
Weight: 164 g
Warranty Standard Warranty: 1 Year Limited

Packaging and Contents



The box that contains the ZM-F3 is a fairly small and simple box. The front of the box contains the Zalman logo as well as a small illustration to help with installation.



The back of the box also has the Zalman logo on it, as well as the model of the fan and some of it's specifications.




Inside the box we find a small plastic bag, as well as the fan itself. The small bag contains four rubber mounts, in place of standard screws. This is to help keep vibrations into the case down, thus reducing noise as well. There is also a 3 pin male to 3 pin female connector which has a resistor on the 12V cable, which reduces it to 7V. This is also an option to cut down on noise if silence is your goal.





The fan features a black on black colour scheme and seven total fins. The front shows a Zalman logo, while the back has some technical information on it. Its' only connection for power is a 3 pin molex, which is something to take note of if you plan on purchasing many of them.

Installation




Installation is relatively easy, but the rubber mounts can be a bit tricky for those new to it. As seen on the front of the fan's box, the grommet is first attatched to the case (illustrated by a fan grill above) in the smallest gap on the grommet. After that, the grommet is then slid through both the front and back screw holes of the fan and is then pulled on until it snaps into place. The corner of the fan will occupy the large gap on the grommet. Repeat 3 more times and you have a solid mount to your case. If you are wondering, it is also possible to have a fan grill mounted with the rubber mount, you just have to make sure to stretch it enough so that the small gap for your case is filled by both the case and the fan grill.

Acoustics (Barely)

The reason I put barely is because I lack the skills and equipent to properly test the sound of this fan. With that said however, I have attempted to take a recording of the fan in action. Below is the extremely unprofessional setup. The only recording I took was of the fans at max speed.




The microphone used is the one included with the SteelSeries Siberia Fullsized headset, and connects through the 3.5mm jack on the breakout cables of my Auzentech Forte. Recording was done in "Audio Creation Mode" under the Auzentech sound control panel.
The link to the recording is below, and is approzimately 15 seconds long. Keep in mind, this is also an accumulation of four fans running relatively close to the microphone, as well as six more identical ones on the front of the case, just over 18 inches away.
zSHARE - fan recording.mp3

Overall, with ten fans running in harmony, it is pretty quiet. This isn't going to be running in your perfectly silent HTPC, but should be more than bearable for anyone not looking for ultimate silence.
I did not get a recording of the fans running at 7V as my microhone is not sensitive enough to pick up enough noise to make it worthwhile. At 7V, I believe this fan could even pass for a semi-silent build, and has zero problems starting up at that voltage (using a Sunbeam Rheobus).

Setup and Testing
Computer Setup:
Mountain Mods U2-UFO Horizon
Q9400 overclocked to 3.6GHz
Gigabyte GA-DS4-X48 (North bridge under water)
Mushkin Redline 2x 2GB PC8000
HIS Radeon HD 4870x2

Western Digital Caviar Black 500GB
Xigmatek MC NRP-NC751
Auzentech Forte

Water cooling loop:
EK Supreme Acetal (MX-2 for thermal paste)
Switech MCW30 (MX-2 as well)
DDCPX-Pro Pump
Swiftech MCRES-MICRO REV2
Swiftech MCR220 radiator
BIX320 radiator
EK-FC4870x2 (IC7 on cores, MX-2 on memory)
Primochill UV Blue 1/2" ID Tubing
Distilled Water with Hydrx Additive


Load programs(15 minutes):
Four instances of Prime95, Large FFT
Furmark 1680x1050, Xtreme Burning Mode, MSAA 8x

Idle temperatures



Load temperatures



Discrepancies, Explanations and Overall Results

You will notice that my screenshots for idle/load only include one temperature for my video card. That temperature is of the hottest core (the other is usually 1 degree below).
You will also notice in the load screenshot that my current temperature is low as I exited out of everything before taking it. The max values are what my video card and CPU stayed at.
Overall, the results are a bit weird. In comparison, I used to run Antec Tricools in my computer. The CPU temperatures did not change at all, which I find odd as the CPU is right before the radiators. However, my GPU used to load at 39C, 4C hotter than now.

Conclusion

All I can really say is cheap, quiet and lots of air movement. The included rubber mounts and 7V adapter can make these fans pretty darn quiet. The rubber mounts are durable and can handle a lot of stretching. Even at full speed, these fans are only slightly loud. If you wear headphones and play some music, they are inaudible. Cables lengths seem to be average, nothing stellar, but long enough to reach your motherboard in most cases. Best of all, the fans can be found for under $7 each currently.
There is also a couple of negatives to this fan. They are sleeve bearing, which does not last as long as ball bearings or others would, and are not very good for horizontal use. The fins are a bit thin, but nothing too bad. Also, the cables are not sleeved, so they can be a bit ugly in your case once you start getting more of them. That leads to the next negative, the only connector is a 3 pin molex. If you plan on getting more than your motherboard supports, you better have a fan controller or a 3pin to 4 pin molex adapter.

Overall, this fan is a great cheap fan to slap into your case to get some more air flow in it. Would recommend it to anyone looking to spend a little, but get a lot out of their money.
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Old August 18, 2009, 09:26 AM
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Nice review. I have four of these in my PC now (three on the rad and one on the rear as intake). They are great fans and can be had for real cheap. I bought a bunch extras once I saw how great of a fan they are.
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Old November 15, 2009, 05:20 AM
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Honestly this in a very detailed review great job mate but trust me when
I say there's better fans out the cheaper and better then these
I work for a company that imports zalman and in most cases
original fans that come with your hardware is better then them
ipfan4eva no disrespect mate this is the best review I've seen in a long time.
Try the thermaltake range
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