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Secrets of the D14 – Chapter 5: Quiet Operation

post #1 of 21
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Secrets of the D14 – Chapter 5: Quiet Operation


Related:

Chapter 1: Solo 140mm Fans in the Center Position

Chapter 2: Fan Position

Chapter 3: In and Out Games

Chapter 4: Ultra-Quiet and Very Quiet Operation





I didn’t mean for this to be a big chapter. I thought I’d fully test the stock NF-P14 central fan on the NH-D14, and do some spot testing with two other 140mm fans. Well, I made some discoveries and ended up doing full testing on three 140mm fans, as well as a few other combinations.

Contents of this chapter:

5.1 Introduction

5.2 Setup

5.3 The Fans

5.4 Noctua NF-P14 in Center at 12 Volts

5.5 Scythe Kaze Maru 2 - 1200 rpm in Center

5.6 Thermalright TY-140 in Center

5.7 Other Explorations

5.8 Conclusions

5.9 Related Links

Edited by ehume - 11/5/11 at 7:20pm
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post #2 of 21
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5.1 Introduction

We have already explored Ultra-Quiet to Very Quiet Operations of the D14. For my purposes, the D14 operates Very Quietly when it makes noise that is equivalent to 20 - 25 dBA at 1 meter. Ultra-Quiet operation is below the equivalent of 20 dBA at one meter. Quiet operation, then, would be equivalent to 25 to 30 dBA at 1m. And in case you’re wondering, I’m calling 30 - 35 dB Moderate. Above that we get to Moderately Loud, Loud, Very Loud, etc. How you would describe a jet engine I will leave to your imagination.

The Noctua NH-D14 heatsink comes stock with a 140mm NF-P14 in the center position, between the front and the back fin stacks. In front is the NF-P12 intake, or “push” fan. The P14 acts both as a “pull” fan and as a push fan. The D14 normally operates quietly, at the equivalent of 26 dB when measured from the side. Measured at the face, in front of the P12, the sound pressure level is around 28.5 dB, which is a difference that is just enough to hear. I measure the sound from the side because of all the conformations I have tested and will be testing. From the side, the conformation makes less of a difference and we can concentrate on the differences in noise between fans.

I had intended to focus on Quiet operation with this set of tests. However, I discovered that two of my central fans operate mostly in the Very Quiet zone. So this set is a combination of Quiet and Very Quiet operation, with the occasional louder fan thrown in for contrast.

You might ask why I would bother to test various fans on a heatsink that already operates quietly, and cools ferociously as it does so. Well, variety is something we all enjoy. A lot of people want to try different combinations of fans on their heatsinks. When someone tests a bunch of combinations, you will get an idea of what to expect, and go from there in deciding what fans you might want to buy. And then there is the search for a quieter set of fans that cools as well or better than the stock set. Of course, this is quite a challenge: at 28.5 dB the D14 cools my test rig within a degree of the Megahalems with a San Ace 9G1212H101 at 40 dB. Yes, that’s 28.5 vs 40. That means the D14 was less than half as loud as the Megahalems at nearly equivalent cooling. That’s a pretty high standard. Can we beat it?

First, we will look at the P14 in the center position. We will put a variety of 120mm fans in front, so we have various push fans, and in some cases I will test with a pair of 120mm fans so we will have push-center-pull setups to test. After all, you want to know whether it is worth buying another fan, don’t you?

Next, we will look at a 1200 rpm Kaze Maru 2 (a.k.a. Slip Stream 140) in the center position. We will again test a variety of push fans, and some pull fans.

Finally we will look at the TY-140 in the center, testing mostly push fans. I had intended to mostly test the TY-140 with other PWM fans, but its performance was such that I felt it necessary to test it as a straight Voltage fan as well. Hence its inclusion here.

I did a few miscellaneous tests as well. I was able to find some fans with sickle blades just like Cooler Master’s “R4” so I could test this blade configuration at 1500, 2000 and 2500 rpm. I just couldn’t resist it, and this is about the best place to put the results.
Edited by ehume - 11/5/11 at 5:24pm
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post #3 of 21
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5.2 Setup

The test setup for the D14 is a motherboard sitting on a wooden box. In that box are a power supply unit, an optical disk drive and a solid state drive. Although it is pink because I made it out of a shelf I had lying around, it qualifies as a test bench. So what happens if you put your system in a case? It depends. Most users get less of a cooling performance from their heatsink. That means higher temps. But if you choose the right case (see item 8 in my sig for ideas) and you set it up properly you should get better cooling than I do on my bench.

CPU: Intel i7 860 running at a base clock (BCLK) of 182MHz and a multiplier of 22, for a rate of 4004MHz. That’s 4GHz. This chip runs very hot, and with a Vcore of 1.312 to 1.328v it challenges heatsinks without overwhelming them.

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD3P.

Memory: G.Skill classic Ripjaws 2000MHz DDR3 RAM running at 1456MHz. I run the RAM slower than spec because I don’t want it causing any breakdowns.

Storage: Kingston SSDNow V+100 64GB SSD.

Video Card: PowerColor AX3450 Radeon HD 3450. Fanless.

PSU: SeaSonic X750. Fan mostly doesn’t run, which is why I use this psu.

CPU Heatsink: Noctua NH-D14, with Gelid GC Extreme TIM.

Ambient Temperature
: TEMPer USB Thermometer, set 30cm in front of the intake fin stack. The thermometer software records a log which can be saved as a spreadsheet. A mean ambient temperature during each run is calculated and recorded to the nearest tenth of a degree centigrade.

CPU Temperature: OCCT 3.10 acts as a front end for Intel’s Linpack, which was written by their engineers to maximally stress their chips. OCCT also records a log that can be saved as a spreadsheet. Since Linpack tests the CPU in bursts, the hottest core temps are harvested and a mean CPU temperature is calculated. It is recorded to the nearest tenth of a degree centigrade. Temperature Over Ambient (TOA) is calculated by subtracting the mean Ambient temp from the mean Core0 temp.

Sound Pressure Level: Tenma (house brand for MCM) 72-942. This SPL Meter can measure SPL in the A and C scale. I recorded measurements in the A scale, notated as dBA. A decibel is notated in dB, but it is measured by various scales. So you will see the measurements here in dBA.

The 72-942 is supposed to be accurate to plus or minus 1.4dBA, but it is very consistent with itself above 30 dBA. SPL measurements are within 0.5 dBA of each other when the same fan is measured at different times, which is remarkable. So the relative noisiness of fans can be assessed.

One thing you must understand about the limits of this set of tests: it does not capture the full variability in the noise of the push and pull fans. You can only do that by measuring noise at the front and the back of the heatsink. But because of the various configurations I had to come up with a measuring point that compares fan noise, not configuration variations. So some of these fans will sound louder from the front than I can capture here in this testing.

Reliability: As an example of the self-checking I did, I will present the five test runs I did on the stock setup (P12>P14):

For each test run you will see the date, the ambient temp, the CPU0 temp, the TOA, the measured SPL and the SPL equivalent.

09/10/2011 1322 - 23.4c, 74.2c, 50.8c, SPL not measured
09/12/2011 2028 - 22.6c, 73.5c, 50.9c, 46 dBA, 26 dBA
09/16/2011 2102 - 22.2c, 73.5c, 51.3c, 46 dBA, 26 dBA
09/16/2011 2157 - 22.2c, 73.4c, 51.2c, 46 dBA, 26 dBA
10/07/2011 1749 - 20.9c, 71.5c, 50.6c, 46 dBA, 26 dBA

As you can see, the middle two runs were done back to back, since I was shocked that the TAO’s were so high; I was used to a TOA of 50.6c. The results were not driven by the ambient: the highest ambient brought back one of the lowest TOA’s. So I have to accept a variation of 0.7c in my TOA’s.

A range of 0.7c is not much in the scheme of things, but I have seen TOA’s measured weeks apart that came back exactly the same. Go figure. But the mean of the four TOA’s is 50.96c, so I’m going to report a single TOA of 51c. Where I have done multiple runs I will report the mean TOA and the closest SPL.
Edited by ehume - 11/27/11 at 4:35pm
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post #4 of 21
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5.3 The Fans:

All fans used in testing were connected directly to the PSU through Molex adapters. These adapters were taken from Scythe fans. They have separate RPM reporting lines that can be plugged into fan headers on the motherboard. The RPM of each fan was thus measured. Though it is not very accurate, it is good to about plus/minus 3%, which is good enough.

A note about some fan notations: occasionally you will see notations like “SWiF2 1201.800” and “SWiF2 120P.800.” This means that I have taken fans - in this case, the 1200 rpm SWiF2 1201 and the PWM SWiF2 120P - and used a fan controller to downvolt them so they can emulate slower fans. It sure beats buying fans in sets of two when you don’t really need two.

120mm fans


AeroCool Shark 12cm
-- A sixteen-bladed fan with “fluid dynamic” bearings (FDB), it is supposed to run at 1500 rpm at 12 Volts. The fan comes with a 7v adapter and is supposed to run at 800 rpm using it. There is no clicking when it is undervolted. Quiet under 1000 rpm, it makes a lot of air noise at full speed. Oh yes: the fan comes with nice tight black sleeving. Quite elegant.

Akasa Apache -- Since this is a PWM fan, it doesn’t really belong here. But I included it. It has nine blades and “hydrodynamic” bearings -- in other words, FDB. It is designed to reach 1300 rpm. I included it to have an Akasa fan.

Arctic Cooling F12 PWM -- Another PWM fan, it is my only 120mm Arctic Cooling fan fit for a heatsink, so I included it. It is a nine-bladed FDB fan rated up to 1350 rpm. Very fine wires.

Cooler Master Blade Master -- yet another PWM fan, and one that sees wide use. Hence its inclusion here. Seven-bladed, “long life sleeve” bearing, rated up to 2000 rpm. This is the stock fan on the CM Hyper 212+. It did very well in my Megahalems testing (see item 1 in my sig).

Cooler Master SickleFlow R4 -- Supposedly this is model R4-L2R-20AC-GP, but you won’t find that anywhere on the label. These fans are very popular. Nine highly curved blades with rounded tips, rated to 2000 rpm.

Cooler Master SickleFlow 2500 -- model Y720DCD-25T1-GP, mine were made in 2007. I call them Sickleflow 2500 because they have the same nine-bladed highly-curved rounded-tip blades as the R4 sickleflow, but they are rated to 2500 rpm. Along with the Masscool BLD-12025V’s (see below) the three “sickleflow” fans give us a spread of rpm’s to test. Ball bearings.

Coolink SwiF2 1201 -- This is a “hydro dynamic” bearing fan rated at 1200 rpm. I also have a PWM model rated higher, the SwiF2 120P. Between the two fans I can test a single SwiF2 1201, emulate a pair of them, and emulate one or a pair of SWiF2 800’s, all of which use the same eleven-bladed disk.

Enermax Cluster -- Actually, this is an Enermax Cluster frame and motor with an Enermax Everest nine-bladed disk. Thanks to the Enermax “Twister” bearing that allows one to pull a blade disk off a fan, the blade disks can be swapped. I had a Cluster frame with a damaged blade disk, so I moved an Everest blade disk over to the Cluster frame. Works great. All have nine blades. The Cluster is rated to 1200 rpm. And yes, it is a PWM fan, but I wanted to see how a slightly slower Magma would behave. White LED’s with tight white sleeving, it’s a pretty thing.

Enermax Magma -- A red-orange non-PWM fan rated to 1500, it shares the nine “Batwing” blades and “Twister” bearing of the Cluster and the Everest. So I can test a single Magma, and downvolting it I can emulate a pair of Clusters.

Gelid Silent 12 -- A much-recommended seven-bladed fan with Fluid Dynamic bearings, it is rated at 1000 rpm.

Generic 0.25A -- A sleeve bearing fan that cost me $2.00 US on sale, it is sold as a “Bulk” fan. I use this to keep all the expensive units in perspective. No specs, but the label says it pulls 0.25 Amps and it runs around 1500 rpm.

Masscool FD12025B1L3/4 -- Another inexpensive fan, this is a seven-bladed ball bearing fan rated at 1500 rpm and 0.13 Amps.

Masscool BLD-12025V -- a 1500 rpm rated sickleflow fan with ball bearings. It has the same nine-bladed highly-curved rounded-tip blades as the Cooler Master sickleflows. Blue LED’s and a smoky brown translucent frame give this fan a subdued look.

Nexus Real Silent case fan D12SL-12 -- a Yate Loon-built fan made better than the fans that carry YL’s own brand. These are the favorite fans of the Silent PC Review (SPCR). Seven blades, rated for 1000 rpm. No clicking. To emulate a pair of these I downvolted a Yate Loon D12SL-12, which is rated at 1350 rpm, to act as a pull fan.

Nidec Gentle Typhoons, packaged with accessories and sold by Scythe -- models tested include the 800 rpm AP-12, the 1150 rpm AP-13, the 1450 rpm AP-14 and the 1850 rpm AP-15. These have nine highly-swept blades with shallow pitch and ball bearings. They differ from one another only in their target rpm. They produce no clicking, but at some rpm’s they produce wolf notes, which are an interaction between the blades, the airflow and the frames. IMO these are among the very best fans you can buy. Their shallow pitch means they don’t move as much air as other fans for their rpm, but they are better able to move air against resistance, and do so quietly. Because they are sold to industry, when you get specs from the Nidec site they are accurate.

Noctua NF-P12 -- Rated at 1300 rpm, these nine-bladed fans have an SSO bearing, which like the “hydro dynamic” and “fluid dynamic” bearing amounts to a fancy sleeve bearing that is sealed to prevent fluid leakage. It must work, since Noctua guarantees these fans for six years. The P12’s are the stock push fans for the D14. With a P14 in the center, they form the stock setup.

NZXT case fan -- This is the blue LED fan that came with my Beta Evo case. It is a nine-bladed rifle bearing fan that I like. It is rated at 1300 rpm. Model No. FN 120RB.

Panaflo medium -- This seven-bladed fan is 38mm thick. These days it is a NMB-MAT FBA12G12M1BX, with a “hydro wave” bearing, rated at 2100 rpm. The Panaflos are pretty good fans. They are sold to industry, mostly, so their specs are pretty accurate. A range of fan speeds is available.

Rosewill RFA-120-BL -- a seven-bladed sleeve bearing fan. Rosewill, the house brand for Newegg, sells these with nice tight black sleeving. These are rated at 2000 rpm. The BL means blue LED’s.

Rosewill RFX-120-BL -- a seven-bladed sleeve bearing fan with the Rosewill sleeving. Also rated at 2000 rpm. The BL means -- can you guess? -- blue LED’s.

San Ace 9G1212M101 -- Made by Sanyo Denki, these are fairly expensive fans. Their faster brothers, the 9G1212H101 and 9G1212H1011, are widely considered to be the best fans for heatsinks and radiators, as were their predecessors, the 109R1212H101 and 109R1212H1011. They are 38mm thick, have seven blades and ball bearings. The 9G1212M101 is rated to 1950 rpm.

Because they are almost entirely sold to industrial customers San Ace specs are accurate. In these tests I used a 9G1212H101 downvolted to match the 9G1212M101’s slower speed so I could emulate a pair of them, since I only have one 9G1212M101.

San Ace 9S1212L401 and 9S1212P4M011 -- These 25mm thick fans are part of Sanyo Denki’s Silent series. Like all San Ace fans, they have seven blades and ball bearings. The 9S1212L401’s are rated at 1500 rpm. The 9S1212M401, 9S1212P4M01 and 9S1212P4M011 (the latter two are PWM) are rated at 1850 rpm. The entire range from L to M to F to H are the same fan set to run at different speeds. Because they are sold to industrial customers the specs for these fans are accurate (the fans in this series are the ones used in Seasonic PSU’s, for example). I have pairs of each model of these fans, so no emulation was necessary.

Scythe S-Flex -- These are no longer made, but some are still sold. More importantly, they are clones of the Thermalright FDB fans, which are still being made and sold. I tested the SFF21E (1200 rpm), the SFF21F (1600 rpm) and the SFF21G (1900 rpm). To emulate a pair of the SFF21E and the SFF21F, I downvolted faster S-Flexes. These fans have seven blades, and if you haven’t guessed already, they have “fluid dynamic” bearings.

Scythe Slip Stream -- These range from 500 rpm to 1900 rpm, but I tested the 800 rpm SY1225SL12L, 1200 rpm SY1225SL12M, 1600 rpm SY1225SL12H and the 1900 rpm SY1225SL12SH. Like other sets of fans, they are the same fan set to different speed points. They have nine rather steeply pitched blades, so they can move relatively more air than other fans; but supposedly they are not good for radiators. Yet Scythe uses PWM versions of these in their Mugen 2 and Yaysa heatsinks. They have sleeve bearings, so before you put them in service, lubricate them (see item 3 in my sig) and re-lubricate them periodically, as you would do your car. Again, I have pairs of each model of these fans, so no emulation was necessary.

Scythe Ultra Kaze -- Sleeve bearing, seven-bladed 38mm thick fans, these are pretty sturdy fellows. I tested 1000 rpm and 2000 rpm versions (UK1K and UK2K, respectively), and emulated pairs of them by downvolting faster fans, especially the UK3K (I even approximated a pair of Yate Loon D1SL-12D’s, which are 1350 rpm 38mm thick fans; see below for more on this). Very important: be sure you pre-lubricate these fans (see item 3 in my sig). My UK1K was running in the low 900’s and putting out very little air until I peeled back the label and put oil in its well. The rpm jumped to the mid- to high 1000’s, and the air output was palpable. Lubricate that fan!

Silverstone FN121 -- a nine-bladed rifle bearing fan rated at 1200 rpm. I bought this because Vapor praised it in his review on another forum.

Thermalright FDB-1300 -- a clone of the S-Flex, a seven-bladed fan with fluid dynamic bearings rated for 1300 rpm. I emulated a pair of these by downvolting an S-Flex.

XSPC-1200 and XSPC-1650 -- Nathan at Koolertek wanted to know how these perform, so he sent me one of each. He wrote, “I just think it'd be good to get some tests done on these so people can get honest data on what they might be buying.” This is the very first time I have read any vendor saying anything like that (I knew there was a reason I like dealing with Koolertek). Usually they just put on their sites stuff the brand seller gives them and don’t look too closely.

The XSPC fans have black shrink tubing that runs from the hub to outside the fan frame, where tight black sleeving takes over. It is finished at the distal end with more black shrink tubing that butts up against the black plugs. BTW -- black plugs are more expensive than white plugs.

These seven-bladed fans are rated at 1200 rpm and 1650 rpm. They feel too substantial to have sleeve bearings, but they do: I peeled back the label of the 1650, popped off its stopper and topped up its reservoir. Although the XSPC doesn’t say what bearings the fans have, Nathan told me they were sleeve bearings. He was right. So we’ll see how they do.

Yate Loon D12SL-12 -- A seven-bladed sleeve bearing 1350 rpm fan that clicks when it is downvolted. Thankfully the clicking is not terribly loud. To emulate a pair of these I downvolted a D12SH-12. Note that you can get LED versions of these fans, but they can have a different blade shape. Blades that are curved and have more or less parallel leading and trailing edges seem to make a couple dB less noise than blades where the leading edge has a pronounced forward curve and the trailing edge is nearly straight.

Yate Loon D12SH-12 -- A seven-bladed sleeve bearing fan that is rated at 2200 rpm. There are reviewers who consider this to be the best fan they use. They will use it to compare heatsinks, rads, etc. Be careful when you buy them that you get the kind that come directly from Yate Loon. Fans of varying grades of material come labeled the same.

Yate Loon D12SL-12D -- I don’t actually have these, but they intrigued me. The pdf line drawing I have seen makes it look just like an Ultra Kaze, but John at JAB-Tech says the build quality is not comparable. So I can’t say I emulated a pair of these with Ultra Kaze’s. I was only able to approximate them. But I wanted to do that because the rated rpm puts them in what I believe will be a sweet spot for 38mm fans. So now you know why I ran Ultra Kaze’s at 1350 rpm. Of course, you could take a pair of Ultra Kaze fans and downvolt them to the mid-1000’s. Probably do a fine job. Unfortunately my pair of UK3K’s ran in the low 1200’s at 5 Volts, so el cheapo downvolting won’t do. You’d need a fan controller.

Zalman ZM-F3 -- seven-bladed sleeve bearing fans that come with their own soft “rubber screws” of the best variety and 7-Volt adapters. They are rated at 1800 rpm at 12v, 900 rpm at 7v.

140mm fans

All three of these fans have screw holes that allow them to be installed in place of 120mm fans:

Noctua NF-P14 -- The stock center fans of the NH-D14, these nine-bladed “SSO” bearing fans are rated at 1200 rpm.

Scythe Kaze Maru 2 (a.k.a. Slip Stream 140) 1200 rpm -- Model No. SM1425SL12M, these nine-bladed sleeve bearing fans are rated at 1200 rpm.

Thermalright TY-140 -- Seven-bladed PWM fans with “Enhanced Hyper-Flow Bearings” rated up to 1300 rpm.
Edited by ehume - 11/7/11 at 4:03pm
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post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 
5.4 Noctua NF-P14 in Center at 12 Volts

This is the main event: the stock center fan flanked by a series of push and pull fans. The data will be presented in three large charts: one arranged by manufacturer and model names, one by TOA (temperature over ambient, or cooling power), and one by SPL (sound pressure level, or noise).

Before you start looking at the charts I will bring this to your attention: a P14 all by itself makes the equivalent of 26.5 dBA of noise when measured from the side. By placing some fans in push, you can measure a drop in noise, down to 25 dBA in some cases. If you are standing in front of the heatsink you can hear a definite drop and a change in quality of the noise when a fan is mounted on the front of the forward finstack. The same is true to a lesser degree when you put a pull fan on the back. You get more of a change when you turn those fans on. So, you have already learned one of the secrets of the D14 and you haven’t even looked at the data yet.


Cooling_and_SPL_Results_for_NH-D14_P14_arranged_by_push_fan_Name.png
Cooling and SPL Results for NH-D14 + P14 arranged by push fan Name

Cooling_and_SPL_Results_for_NH-D14_P14_arr_by_Temp_Over_Ambient.png
Cooling and SPL Results for NH-D14 + P14 arranged by Temperature Over Ambient

Cooling_and_SPL_Results_for_NH-D14_P14_arr_by_SPL.png
Cooling and SPL Results for NH-D14 + P14 arranged by Sound Pressure Level


Did I give you indigestion? Is there more data here than you can absorb? I hope so, because it took a lot of test runs to assemble that data. So let’s get cracking and extract some information.

First of all, it is clear that adding a pull fan gets you anywhere from a half a degree better cooling to somewhat more than a degree. You can see where I added a P12 pull fan to a setup that had a different push fan, or where I kept the P12 push fan and added another fan in the pull position. This was to see if there was a way to get a lot more cooling by adding just one fan -- the cheap approach. It turns out that you can get another degree or so doing that. It’s not much for the cost of a fan. So, adding a third fan is pretty much an ineffective way to get a lot more cooling, you only get a bit more. About the only benefit I can see in adding a third fan to the D14 is if you have an open spot at the back of your case instead of a rear grill and exhaust fan. In such a case, your pull fan acts as a case exhaust fan. See item 2 in my sig to see how very well that can work. It’s amazing.

Next, it looks as though you must have fans that all move about the same amount of air. Look carefully at the Scythe SS 1900 results. The SS-1900 is not really in this league of quiet fans. Note that an SS-1900 + P14 + SS-1900 cools exactly the same as having SS-1900’s in push and pull with nothing in the center position; and those two SS-1900’s cool about as well when they are in push + center. The P14 added nothing to that setup.

Third, it is clear that you really do get better cooling with two rather than one fan. The solo P14 result sticks out like the proverbial sore thumb.

Fourth - Those 1200 rpm Slip Streams do a fine job for such cheap fans. OTOH, an even Cheaper Masscool fan kept up with them in cooling and made no more noise than the SS-1200. Mind you, this is a fan that can be used in any position because it has

ball bearings. A pair of the Masscool sickleflows did as well, and quietly. And they are cheap. Yet none of these fans decisively beat the stock setup.

Fifth - A pair 1600 rpm Slip Streams get you down under 48c TOA. In fact, it comes in as fourth best in cooling. Impressive for a cheap fan.

Sixth - the Panaflo Medium gives us a taste for what a good 38mm fan might do.

Finally - lucky seventh - it is clear that the main winner here is the D14. You put almost any reasonable fan on it and it cools very well indeed.

Beyond -- lucky eighth, if you’re from east Asia -- draw your own conclusions. There’s certainly enough to think about.
Edited by ehume - 11/5/11 at 5:49pm
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post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 
5.5 Scythe Kaze Maru 2 - 1200 rpm in Center

This fan grew on me. I ended up doing a lot more testing on it than I thought I would do. It kept up with the P14, but operated across the Very Quiet and Quiet noise ranges, quieter than the P14. It’s a sleeve bearing fan, so you should lubricate it before you put it into service and re-lubricate it every few months, but it’s a nice fan.

Noctua fans use thin flanges so the fan adapters (do a web search for “Keyhole clips” for a close match) pop through. Flanges on other fans are too thick for this. To use any fan in the center position of the D14 you need to adapt it so the clips can hook it to the downstream finstack. To do this you select an 8mm or 9/32-inch drill -- maybe a 7mm drill will do, but it might be tight. Put the drill in your hand. Now, use the drill to enlarge the screw holes on the strut side of the fan. Do this just deep enough to allow the plastic keyhole rivets to pop through, and the back of the fan adapter is flush with the front of the fan. You will then be able to use the metal clips to mount the fan the same as a P14. See under section 5.9 -- Related Links -- for a link to the pictorial how-to.

So how did it do:

Cooling_and_SPL_Results_for_NH-D14_KM2-1200_arr_by_push_fan_Name.png
Cooling and SPL Results for NH-D14 + KM2-1200 arranged by push fan Name

Cooling_and_SPL_Results_for_NH-D14_KM2-1200_arr_by_TOA.png
Cooling and SPL Results for NH-D14 + KM2-1200 arranged by TOA

Cooling_and_SPL_Results_for_NH-D14_KM2-1200_arr_by_SPL.png
Cooling and SPL Results for NH-D14 + KM2-1200 arranged by SPL

We can see here that the center fan dictates what the minimum noise will be. When you compare these results with those from the P14 series, you see that the noise results are more spread out. They don’t really plateau -- there is just a gentle slope until you reach the single KM2-1200. BTW -- the SPL does not go down when a fan is added to the KM2-1200.

Oddly, the best balance of cooling and noise came with the combination of a P12 in front and an SS-1200 in back. The opposite -- an SS-1200 in push and a P12 in pull -- was a dB louder and a degree warmer, while two P12’s in push/pull did no better and two SS-1200’s in p/p was still not quite as good. But all of these results were within the margin of error of each other.

Here is where adding a pair of cheapish fans -- the KM2-1200 and the SS-1200 -- would improve on the stock results . . . by about 2c.

Overall, I’d say that while the results are interesting and fun, about the most you can say is that you can get results similar to the stock setup while running more quietly. See the KM2-1200 with a pair of SS-800’s in push/pull as an example.

Oh yes. Look at the “Arranged by SPL” chart. The second setup is the Nexus Real Silent. It’s running at the equivalent of 22 dB while cooling very close to the stock setup. This is why SPCR likes that fan.
Edited by ehume - 11/5/11 at 5:55pm
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post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 
5.6 Thermalright TY-140 in Center

OK. I’ll admit it. I was getting tired when I started this set. But with a few preliminary runs I knew I had to give this fan a real test range. So what I mostly did was test single fans in push position. Only two three-fan combos. It made for a shorter list.

The TY-140 is one of the three fans that x-bit labs liked in this review. I agree with them. More importantly, the TY-140 is a PWM fan, so you can control it with your motherboard. But how good is it on the D14? Well, let’s see:

Cooling_and_SPL_Results_for_NH-D14_TY-140_arr_by_push_fan_Name.png
Cooling and SPL Results for NH-D14 + KM2-1200 arranged by push fan Name

Cooling_and_SPL_Results_for_NH-D14_TY-140_arr_by_TOA.png
Cooling and SPL Results for NH-D14 + KM2-1200 arranged by TOA

Cooling_and_SPL_Results_for_NH-D14_TY-140_arr_by_SPL.png
Cooling and SPL Results for NH-D14 + KM2-1200 arranged by SPL

Again, this fan cooled as well as the P14. And it was even quieter than the KM2-1200. Running solo, the TY-140 was 8 dB quieter than the P14 running solo. That’s a lot. The fans tested here had this system running from the top of the Ultra Quiet zone to Very Quiet to Quiet operation.

Few surprises here. Mostly, the better the cooling, the more noise getting it. But the XSPC-1650 did pretty well, matching the Gentle Typhoon AP-15. As usual, a pair of SS-800’s delivered decent cooling very quietly indeed.

We will meet the TY-140 again, when we look at PWM fans.
Edited by ehume - 11/5/11 at 5:22pm
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post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 
5.7 Other Explorations

I decided to check out a few things. Like how do the various sickleflow fans compare with each other? You’ve already seen how they do when they’re combined with various 140mm fans. How about by themselves?

And then I asked, how would three of the same fan cool and sound if I put them in a row? For example, I have enough San Ace 9S1212L401’s and Gentle Typhoon AP-14’s to put three of each in a row. I have three S-Flexes. I could slow down two of them to emulate three S-Flex E’s. It would give you some idea of what to expect if I put three TR FDB-1300’s in a row. And I have enough Slip Streams to put up two of the 1200’s and emulate a third. Why not?

I also have two Yate Loon D12SH-12’s. How would these compare with pairs of Ultra Kaze fans? And how would a pair of D12SH-12’s stack up against a pair of D12SH-12’s with a P14 in the middle?

And then there are those Ultra Kaze beasties. Since I have two UK3K’s, a UK2K and a UK1K I can emulate pairs of UK’s right up from 1000 rpm the 1350 to 2000 to 3000. So I did.

Let’s see how they did:

Cooling_and_SPL_Results_for_NH-D14_-_Misc_Setups.png
Cooling and SPL Results for NH-D14 - Misc Setups

The sickleflow results are fairly self-explanatory. The three-fans-in-a-row experiments netted me similar cooling with less noise most of the time.

A pair of Ultra Kaze fans running at 1350 rpm got me about the same cooling as the stock setup, but 3 dB quieter. So the mid-1000’s probably is a sweet spot for the UK’s on this heatsink.

Ponder the data. Any thoughts?
Edited by ehume - 11/5/11 at 5:59pm
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post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 
5.8 Conclusions

I’ll add to these conclusions as people tell me new things they have discovered by looking at the data. But let’s see what we’ve discovered so far:

The NH-D14 is an excellent heatsink. It can keep an overclocked CPU at reasonable temperatures, even when it is pushed to the limit.

Just about any fan running in the low to mid 1000’s (rpm) will keep my hot-running overclocked i7 860 down to TOA’s in the low 50’s or better.

The biggest variable is noise. The faster the fan, the better the cooling, the louder the noise.

Wavy fans blades just make noise. They don’t improve cooling.

The NH-D14 doesn’t put up so much resistance that it needs a high-static-pressure fan. A high cfm fan with relatively low static pressure will let it cool just fine.

Adding a second fan to the center fan makes a difference in cooling. And it might make the heatsink/fan combination quieter.

Adding a third fan makes a difference in cooling, but not a lot. And it adds noise as a rule.

Do you have some conclusions to add? Say so in the thread. Others will comment on your conclusions. If your conclusion(s) seem to hold up, I’ll post it/them here.
Edited by ehume - 11/5/11 at 6:58pm
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post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 
5.9 Related Links

Adapting non-Noctua fans for the D14

How to mount three fans on a D14

The Well Dressed Megahalems – comparing 65 fans
Edited by ehume - 11/5/11 at 7:07pm
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i7 860 Gigabyte GA P55M UD2 ZOTAC/NVidia GTX 650 Ti 2GB 4x4GB G.Skill Ripjaws DDR3-1333 CAS9 
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Samsung 1TB Spinpoint F3 7200.12 Plextor 24x DVD burner Cooler Master Hyper Z600R Win7 64-bit 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Dell E207WFP 20-inch flat panel Logitech Wireless 510 Seasonic X-650 fully modular 80+ Gold Lian Li PC-7FN 
MouseMouse PadAudio
Wireless Mouse WACOM Intuos 3 generic 
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secundus
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i7 4790k Gigabyte GA-Z97X Gaming-7 Intel HD4600 Crucial Ballistix Sport Very Low Profile 8GB Ki... 
Hard DriveCoolingOSMonitor
Samsung 840 EVO 500GB Prolimatech Megahalems Rev. C Windows 8.1 Home Premium 64-bit Acer K242HL 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Dell SK-8110 (PS/2) Seasonic X460 Fanless motherboard tray from CM ATCS 840 Logitech MX 1100 
Mouse PadAudio
Dell Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi MB3 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i7 860 Gigabyte GA P55M UD2 ZOTAC/NVidia GTX 650 Ti 2GB 4x4GB G.Skill Ripjaws DDR3-1333 CAS9 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
Samsung 1TB Spinpoint F3 7200.12 Plextor 24x DVD burner Cooler Master Hyper Z600R Win7 64-bit 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Dell E207WFP 20-inch flat panel Logitech Wireless 510 Seasonic X-650 fully modular 80+ Gold Lian Li PC-7FN 
MouseMouse PadAudio
Wireless Mouse WACOM Intuos 3 generic 
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Overclock.net › Forums › Cooling › Air Cooling › Secrets of the D14 – Chapter 5: Quiet Operation