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PWM Fan Advice - looking for a good noise/airflow balance & cable management advice

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I'm planning on revamping my airflow system as its getting a little messy my priorities are like so:

1. Efficiency
2. Looks
3. Noise levels


My main focus for this project is my rad. I currently have an XSPC EX240 Rad mounted on the inside of my case at the top, this has two XSPC 1650rpm 120mm Fans in push config. I then have two extra Cooler Master(i forget the model) fans which i got free with my now redundant T800 CPU Fan - these are hella noisy compared to the xspc fans so im looking to replace these with something.

Thats where you guys come in, i'm looking for experiences and recommendations for fans to replace these noisy corsairs. I've been looking at these:

http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=FG-005-CS&groupid=701&catid=2331&subcat=4

Is there much noise difference between the Quiet and Performance models? i mean, is it really worth sacrificing the performance for a few less dB?

Could you guys recommend something similar? I think if i can find a decent enough fan i'd probably end up replacing all my fans to be the same make/model - which leads me to my 2nd question.


Fan Control:

My cable management resembles a plate of spaghetti - but ive managed to hide it all at the rear of my case (slim panel between my motherboard mount and the back case panel. This works but i'd really like to tidy all this up and feed everything into a bay fan controller.

I'd be looking at a 5 or 6 channel 5.25" controller (this means it will control 6 fans independently right?) - with this in mind, is it possible to run 2 fans on 1 channel? for example my two rad push fans on one channel and the two pull fans on another channel?

Heres some i've been looking at:

http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=BB-001-NX&groupid=701&catid=2331&subcat=189

http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=BB-000-NX&groupid=701&catid=2331&subcat=189


And finally, cables:

If im understanding the concept of a fan controller correctly, it will take power directly from the PSU, then feed that to each channel ? So this would mean i wont have to power each individual fan from my PSU, i just power the Controller which then channels power to each fan from the back of the controller panel? (sorry this seems like a really noob question i just want to get it clear for myself lol)

If this is the case i will need some PWM fan extenders - i've looked around and found that some claim to "reduce fan noise" but i don't understand how this be possible with just a cable?



Sorry for all the (noob) questions, like i said tho, just want to be sure before i go ahead on my next steps biggrin.gif


Thanks in advance
Edited by Pendaz - 4/15/14 at 6:43am
post #2 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pendaz View Post

If im understanding the concept of a fan controller correctly, it will take power directly from the cpu PSU, then feed that to each channel ? So this would mean i wont have to power each individual fan from my PSU, i just power the Controller which then channels power to each fan from the back of the controller panel? Yes

...some claim to "reduce fan noise" but i don't understand how this be possible with just a cable?

The PWM extenders allow reduced fan noise in the sense that they allow you to change fans from ubcontrolled to controlled.
The cable itself doesn't do anything other than allowing you to connect your fan(s) to a PWM port.

Also, the fan controllers you linked are not PWM controllers and neither are the Corsair fans you linked PWM fans.

PWN fans/controlers have 4 wires.
Voltage control fans/controllers have 3 wires
Uncontrolled fans have 2 wires. But you can use 3 wire voltage controllers, you just won't get any readout of speed, as that's what's carried in the third (yelloe) wire.

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post #3 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pendaz View Post

I'm planning on revamping my airflow system as its getting a little messy my priorities are like so:

1. Efficiency
2. Looks
3. Noise levels


My main focus for this project is my rad. I currently have an XSPC EX240 Rad mounted on the inside of my case at the top, this has two XSPC 1650rpm 120mm Fans in push config. I then have two extra Cooler Master(i forget the model) fans which i got free with my now redundant T800 CPU Fan - these are hella noisy compared to the xspc fans so im looking to replace these with something.

Thats where you guys come in, i'm looking for experiences and recommendations for fans to replace these noisy corsairs. I've been looking at these:

http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=FG-005-CS&groupid=701&catid=2331&subcat=4

Is there much noise difference between the Quiet and Performance models? i mean, is it really worth sacrificing the performance for a few less dB?

There is a siginificant difference between the Quiet and Performance models! I am currently running primarily SP120's in my Workstation rig (both quiet and performance editions) Quiet for chassis fans, and 2x performance on the AIO rad I have in there. The quiet fans can be run wide open... they are noticeable, but ok. The performance fans are LOUD at full RPM, and I only run them wide open when needed (they do move a lot of air through the rad., great fans! (EDIT... they do not seal against the rad well, due to the frame design, but if you use a foam gasket, they do seal... and work much more efficiently. The frame design looks good, but sucks for rad use unless you can get a good seal)

Fan recommendations? Lots of people like the Corsairs... you will also get recommendations for AP-15s, Gelids, Noiseblockers, etc... any high quality fan that will do what you want. Looks are such a personal thing it is hard to go there. Noise levels are easy to compare... but are still somewhat subjective.

some reviews:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/6177/choosing-the-best-120mm-radiator-fan-testing-eight-fans-with-corsairs-h80/3

http://www.anandtech.com/show/6391/120mm-radiator-fan-roundup-part-2-fan-harder

http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/coolers/display/120mm-fan-roundup-1.html

http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/coolers/display/120mm-fan-roundup-2.html

If you have the option of running some 140mm fans, you can get more airflow at less DB:

http://www.silentpcreview.com/article1345-page7.html

http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/coolers/display/140mm-fan-roundup.html
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pendaz View Post

Could you guys recommend something similar? I think if i can find a decent enough fan i'd probably end up replacing all my fans to be the same make/model - which leads me to my 2nd question.

Fan Control:

My cable management resembles a plate of spaghetti - but ive managed to hide it all at the rear of my case (slim panel between my motherboard mount and the back case panel. This works but i'd really like to tidy all this up and feed everything into a bay fan controller.

I'd be looking at a 5 or 6 channel 5.25" controller (this means it will control 6 fans independently right?) - with this in mind, is it possible to run 2 fans on 1 channel? for example my two rad push fans on one channel and the two pull fans on another channel?

You can run as many fans off of each channel as the control has wattage for. Some fan controllers run 12 watts per channel, some run 50 watts per channel. Most fans average around 1 to 2 watts running, but need 3 to 5 watts for startup to get them spinning.

I have a controller that does 50 watts per channel (Lamptron FC9) and have run up to eight fans per channel with it... and it would handle more easily. (looks like Lamptron changed names.. now it is 1ST PC CORP)

the NZXT Sentry lineup (both of the ones you listed) shows 10 watts per channel.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pendaz View Post

And finally, cables:

If im understanding the concept of a fan controller correctly, it will take power directly from the cpu, then feed that to each channel ? So this would mean i wont have to power each individual fan from my PSU, i just power the Controller which then channels power to each fan from the back of the controller panel? (sorry this seems like a really noob question i just want to get it clear for myself lol)

If this is the case i will need some PWM fan extenders - i've looked around and found that some claim to "reduce fan noise" but i don't understand how this be possible with just a cable?

Sorry for all the (noob) questions, like i said tho, just want to be sure before i go ahead on my next steps biggrin.gif


Thanks in advance

Most controllers are powered directly from the PSU, via either Molex 4-pin or SATA power connectors. Some controllers have a PWM cable that will attach to the motherboard and either read tach,or passthrough PWM signal... but depending on the strength of that signal, may not work with multiple fans.

There are also very few fan controllers that actually work well with PWM... most still undervolt rather than using PWM signal. Read your reviews and specs carefully! Keep in mind also... real PWM requires 4 pins... not three. Try to see what kind of connector is on back of the controller.... many state PWM compatibility just because you can mount a 4-pin plug on a 3-pin connector.

like so:



The cables that reduce fan noise, have a resistor in them that cuts the voltage going to the fan... usually to around 7 volts. That is how they work.

Hope that helps... and ask more questions as needed
Edited by cgipson1 - 4/15/14 at 7:35am
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post #4 of 9
If you are changing all case fans to PWM you don't need a fan controller. You can use the PWM signal from CPU fan header to control them and 12v power from PSU. This allows the CPU fan speed to be used by the case fans connected to same signal. Can also do this using GPU PWM signal. First link in my sig explains how it's done..
post #5 of 9
You may not need a fan controller.

Have you tried running the XSPC fans at 5v or 7v? When you did this what was the temperatures on the CPU.

I am assuming this is for your sig rig (the one with a 4770k), if the temperatures are under 80°C on full load I would not bother with getting a fan controller.

Corsair fans look good but they are not too great on radiators, especially the airflow ones.
post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by mam72 View Post


Corsair fans look good but they are not too great on radiators, especially the airflow ones.

I agree with this... that frame design is not efficient for rads, strictly for looks. I used this to mount them http://www.frozencpu.com/products/12588/ex-rad-218/Phobya_Shroud_and_Decoupling_Gasket_120mm_7mm_thickness.html?tl=g47c111s200 and get a good seal that way.... and it also moves the fans out a little bit to reduce the dead area under the fan center. Makes a huge difference in the airflow through the rad.
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post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by doyll View Post

If you are changing all case fans to PWM you don't need a fan controller. You can use the PWM signal from CPU fan header to control them and 12v power from PSU. This allows the CPU fan speed to be used by the case fans connected to same signal. Can also do this using GPU PWM signal. First link in my sig explains how it's done..

No sorry maybe my first post was misleading, I plan to get rid of all pwm fans and replace with a controller system. I currently have 2 pwm - the two noisy ones I hope to replace with more efficient, yet quieter fans via a controller
post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pendaz View Post

No sorry maybe my first post was misleading, I plan to get rid of all pwm fans and replace with a controller system. I currently have 2 pwm - the two noisy ones I hope to replace with more efficient, yet quieter fans via a controller
That's the understatement of the century.
Quote:
PWM Fan Advice - looking for a good noise/airflow balance & cable management advice
Is pretty plainly stated. tongue.gif
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by doyll View Post

That's the understatement of the century.
Is pretty plainly stated. tongue.gif

Lol Derp, I just noticed that, it should read pwm replacement... Sorry

/facepalm
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