Fractal Design's New Fans Promise Silence On A Budget

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RCguitarist

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Cougar has had noctua beat in both price and performance for an eternity. Noctua products are overpriced for what they are. And pwm isnt needed anymore. Every decent motherboard comes with fan control software for all of the chassis fans and cpu fan. With 4 fans able to be set using custom fan speed graphs, pwm just isn't needed any more.
 
Just what the market needs, more cheapy low quality under performing fans. Huge disappointment and way to cheapen their brand they've been working so hard at establishing. Granted they're inexpensive, but 40k hrs mtbf? Rifle bearings? 56cfm at nearly 22db? Sad.

Likely yet another fan that will fail miserably when tasked with being mounted horizontally which is a major downfall for many fans. With so many top mounted exhaust designed cases with and without top mounted radiators, the choice for a functional fan in that position is very slim.

I'm not against 'affordable' fans but isn't the market already full of no names along with tons of low end lepas, enermax, tt, cm's, rosewill, apevia, masscool and on and on? Nothing new or innovative, or even reliable. Aerocool's ds, phanteks and cougars are all decent - until you mount them as bottom intake or top exhaust, then they all wobble, click, rattle and vibrate.

The thing with even a good company releasing a cheapy product is it drags down their reputation. Even if they stopped with these and never did it again, I bet in conversation years down the road it will pop up 'oh, remember those junk fans xyz company put out?'. Not good.
 

ajac09

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trying to silence my pc connected to the TV.. wonder if I should just invest in a silent case. dont care about the size just the sound though I think its the power supply making all the noise time for a silent one lol
 
Is it a small case like a mini atx or htpc or is it a regular desktop mid/full tower? If it's a regular desktop and you have room for additional fans, just pick up some decent quality fans and either use a fan controller or voltage reducer adapters to slightly undervolt them. Provided they produce decent airflow, more fans can move the same or more air at much lower speeds than fewer fans at higher speeds (which cause excessive noise). If you can, definitely try to isolate the noisier fan(s) as it only takes one to spoil the bunch.

Another good way to pick out a fan, check out several you're interested in on youtube so you can listen to them running. It won't give you exact sound in terms of volume in decibels since the vids may differ in mic sensitivity or your pc volume can be turned up/down. What it will do is hopefully at least give you an idea of the tonality or pitch of the fan(s). Decibels, even if all printed specs were 100% accurate which they aren't, only measures sound pressure. What it doesn't measure is pitch or tone which also affect the way you perceive a sound. A lower pitched 'hum' at 22dba may 'seem' quieter than a higher pitched 'whine' at 20dba. Each person is slightly different in what noises irritate them, but sound quality is as important as 'loudness'.
 

larkspur

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The advantage of PWM vs voltage regulated(VR) is that PWM fans have a greater range of rpm (in the fan's lower rpm). You can't(shouldn't anyway) run a VR fan below its starting voltage. The starting voltage varies with computer fan designs but is usually either 5v or 7v. This limits how slowly a VR fan can spin. To put it simply - PWM fans can spin much more slowly than VR fans without risk of burning up the motor. When you want a quiet system while idling, a few hundred RPM slower can make a big difference - particularly if you have a lot of fans. PWM is very much needed if you want to optimize your computer's acoustic footprint while under low load or idling.
 

alextheblue

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These fans are quiet anyways. We won't need PWM here...
Cougar has had noctua beat in both price and performance for an eternity. Noctua products are overpriced for what they are. And pwm isnt needed anymore.
Read Larkspur's post. PWM is a better, more robust (and fine-grained) means of varying fan speed. There's no comparison. You can have a PWM fan that (compared to an equivalent competing 3-pin fan) is quieter at idle and more powerful at full tilt. Also, if it's not a personal machine I don't want to rely on extra software for fan control. For example if I build a machine for someone else, I'd rather the BIOS handles it, so they can't accidentally screw up the fan profiles down the road (uninstall/disable the software, reinstall or upgrade OS, etc).

Cougar fans are great for the money. I've used quite a few - just got one off Newegg for a desktop I fixed up for my nephew. I would agree that they offer a better bang for your buck and are excellent for less-expensive builds. Cougar also offers PWM models, too. They're not quite as premium as the Noctua units but they're close.
 
In addition to looking at pwm vs dc fans, bearing types etc each fan has their own characteristics of sound or other quirks. I'd agree, the cougars do seem great but a lot of people have issues running them as top exhaust with noise and clicking. So depending on mount location, a cougar may be less expensive and just as good as another fan, or even better. In other mounting positions, despite being a great fan in almost every other instance cougars may not be ideal. Facing this currently and would have opted for cougars if they didn't have so many issues as top exhaust/bottom intake which is what I happen to be looking for.
 

mikat

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This is actually really exciting to me. Upping the CFM while keeping noise low is great to hear. When I build a new computer, I make sure to have good quiet fans. Last time I bought some Nexus and Fractal Design. They didn't cost too much and worked like a charm. I have some good quiet Papst and Panaflo fans still kicking around too. I wouldn't shell out for Noctua stuff. A noisy computer is an annoyance that I don't put up with. Thankfully it's a lot easier now than it was years ago.
 
That's what I thought too, originally I discounted noctua for their high prices. Then once I started looking around, the corsair af140's (with hydro bearing, not the led sleeve bearing varieties) the cheapest price I could find right now is $24+. I can get a noctua 140mm redux for $19-20 that's quieter and puts out more air. Rifle/sleeve bearing aren't usually the best options for certain fan orientations and it will be interesting also to see if these fans produce their box ratings. Many don't. Having to spend around $18-20 a fan isn't the happiest thought but I don't want to listen to whining and humming vibrations or have to replace my fans once a year.

I'm no noctua fanboy either, always hated the color and have never liked their price. Never owned one so far but at least the redux colors are tolerable for me (personal preference nothing to do with performance) and looking the most promising for certain mounting locations. Not everyone needs to run a fan horizontally but when you do, pickings get slim. I even considered cougars because they're a bit cheaper but their horizontal mount performance is hit and miss. If I can avoid that for $2-3, I'm all for it. It's difficult when so many cases have provided options for top and bottom mounted fans in addition to traditional front and rear and the vast majority of fans are designed for 50% of those mounting options. It would be great if fan companies would take that into consideration and work to make their products more versatile rather than saturating an already full segment of low cost budget bearing fans.

The current fractal fans suffer from the same as a ton of others, ticking, vibration etc. These cheaper ones will likely be the same or worse. A lot of fractal's own cases offer top exhaust locations for which their own fans are unsuitable. You'd think they'd make a product that works with their own lineup.
 

mikat

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Well I have a Fractal Design 140mm in my computer somewhere. I have a horizontal top exhaust fan, but not sure if I have it there or a Nexus (at work now). Whatever it is, I haven't had any trouble with it. All the fans are nice and quiet. The loudest thing is the video card. When Nexus fans are as good as they are, and your case comes with some wasted fans you might be taking out, it's hard to spend much more than $10 on a fan.

 
I think I'd looked at nexus and nanoxia both. I know I looked at fractal's along with phanteks (since both match my case) and horizontal running issues with the fractal's are almost all that come up when searching 'fractal design 140mm fan horizontal'. Maybe you got lucky if using a fractal fan for top exhaust. Nexus don't have a lot of offerings in 140mm and most that I found under 24db move around 30-40cfm. Not as much airflow, which is why I skipped the antec true quiet's as well. They're extremely quiet but only move around 20-25cfm or so.

I'm totally with you, I hate spending $20 for a fan that fits in the palm of my hand. Large room fans barely cost that lol. I just hate to have to keep messing with products trying to get a good one if it's hit or miss. I'd rather not buy new fans every year or every 6mo or have to rma them and hassle with shipping back and forth 3-4 times to get a decent one. It might be different if I needed 5-6 fans, but only needing a couple, an extra $20 for 2 fans isn't going to kill me if it means hassle free performance. I've already got a 120mm fdb s-flex rear exhaust driving me nuts, it's as loud as my vid card full out. It's also around 6yrs old though too so can't complain but it's gotten so noisy it's time to go. Hated to see scythe availability and prices jump so much since they closed up shop in the u.s., they were decent.
 

Snookslayer

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Cooler Master Jetflo makes decent fans with LED bling... and lemons too. One of the two I bought recently was a loud lemon. Returned it to Cooler Master and got a good one returned, but my relatively expensive $17.00 fan got a little more expensive.

Hopefully for them it was a fluke, but I won't buy no mo and won't recommend em.
 
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