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Thread: Fan Mini-Review: High Speed Battle Ensues (cover your ears)

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    Fan Mini-Review: High Speed Battle Ensues (cover your ears)

    Everyone loves the biggest and baddest. Fans are no exception. Impracticality aside, they do the job (move air) the best and people are at least interested in the top end.

    This isn't quite that level....there are no 250CFM dragsters here, but each fan is more-than-a-tick over 100CFM--double the previous mini-review's highest. It's also my first test of the much anticipated Ultra Kaze series.

    The Fans

    In this roundup I've tested 4 fans

    Fan 1) Delta WFB1212HE (2520RPM)
    Fan 2) Scythe Ultra Kaze 3000 (3000RPM)
    Fan 3) Panaflo U1C (2750RPM)
    Fan 4) Sanyo Denki San Ace 109R1212H1011 (2600RPM)

    Why these fans?
    All are either rated or presumed to move over 100CFM and are the same form-factor (120x120x38mm). They're all considered 'radiator' fans and are basically at the upper noise threshold of what people can tolerate multiple of.

    The Delta is...not that well known. Or at least I see almost no one use it or talk about it. It's a double ball bearing fan at a good price ($12 where I bought it). Like other Deltas, it's very well built. Like every other Delta, I trust the CFM rating implicitly.

    The Ultra Kaze 3000 (from now on referred to as "UK3") makes me want to just go "ugh" with how much attention it's received. No other comparable fan has gotten attention like it, but it being the first high-speed 'radiator fan' from an enthusiast company does have its advantages I guess. It's a sleeve bearing fan, a good price ($9ish), and the fastest spinner by the ratings. It has roughly the same CFM/RPM as the Delta, so I have no reason to doubt its CFM rating--though the Slip Streams have me questioning Scythe recently.

    The Panaflo U1C is a veteran. It's as solidly built as the Delta, it's known for moving air, it's known for unwavering performance over the years, it's know for great radiator performance, it's known for everything that's needed to be considered great in this category. It's the only fan that's going to be in all three of my roundups--even if it didn't win either roundup. Like Deltas, I trust NMB-MAT's CFM ratings implicitly.

    The San Ace 109R1212H1011 is the king of Roundup 2. To many of the old timer watercoolers, it was the king well before that. Like the Panaflo, this fan has been around the block in terms of service. It's known for moving air, it's known for superlative build quality, it's known for unwavering performance....but unlike every other fan in this mini-roundup, it's also known for being quiet. One other thing it's known for? How hard it is to find.

    Results time

    Open Air Performance



    There's pretty clearly a winner here. No surprise really after Roundup 2. Anyway, time for further commentary

    1) The Delta wouldn't run at 5V. It would stop at 5.2V and start up at like 5.6V. So the bottom result is 6V. It also had this stammering click below 9ishV. It wasn't too annoying to be frank...nothing out of the 'norm' for this grouping of fans anyway.

    2) San Ace didn't click. It made super-slight chattering at low volts, but good luck hearing it in a case or from any distance. Like almost all the other fans in the whole roundup (S-Flex D and Minebea 1600 are the only exceptions), this was a new, untested sample so I expected it to perform worse, thinking maybe the last San Ace was a gem. It performed better compared to the U1C. I don't even know what else to say about this fan, it's that good. At the ~42dBA point, it gets nearly 20CFM more than any other fan in this test. That's like 25% more airflow than the competition.

    3) UK3 does well. It, like the Delta and U1C, had its own variation of clicking below ~8V (it was, admittedly, the most annoy of the three at low voltage), but it performed better than those two aside from that. Didn't quite get to the 133CFM it was rated for (topped out at a hair over 112CFM), making me think it's Open Air RPM is lower than its rating.

    4) U1C...does its thing. It's never been the champ but it's as solid as any other fan. In this case, it was basically the loser, but in good company. Noise and airflow kind of die out at and below 6V--more-so the airflow though.

    5) The Delta tested at 107.8CFM, it's rated at 107.7CFM. The U1C tested at 114.1CFM, it's rated at 114.7CFM. Did I mention I trust these guys ratings? (for the record, the San Ace is rated at 102CFM and, again, tested above its rating at 111.6CFM....UK3 is in point 3)


    Radiator Performance
    Things get interesting--again.



    1) Okay, so the San Ace wins...no surprise. But hot damn if the U1C didn't close the gap at higher volts. From a raw airflow point of view, the San Ace loses the most (ranging smoothly from 20.3% loss at 12V to 26.8% loss at 5V)...it did in Roundup 2 and I can't really explain it, maybe RPM decreases slighly. S-Flex E and YL D12SL-12 loss less (as a percentage)--I don't want to say the San Ace isn't a 'radiator fan' considering it still wins objectively and subjectively, but it doesn't act the same way the other fans in this grouping do. More on how the U1C almost caught up later.

    2) The Delta acts...'meh.' Weak showing from it on a radiator--noise increased and airflow loss was mid-pack. Clicking was still there. CFM loss ranged between smoothly between 19% and 22%.

    3) The UK3 shows its Scythe heritage--it, like the Slip Stream, gets even louder on a radiator. It also had the lowest CFM loss--sort of. Its CFM loss was sporadic to say the least, ranging between 13% and 21% but not smoothly (every other fan had lowest loss at 12V and most at 5/6V...UK3 just fluctuated, lowest was at 12V, 2nd lowest at 8V, highest at 7V...ugh). That said, both CFM/dBA graphs are 'smooth,' so I feel RPM at a specific voltages aren't scaling smoothly.

    4) The U1C, again, has very little CFM loss, ranging smoothly from 15.5% at 12V to 19% at 7V (5/6V were worse, but the fan clearly fell out of its comfort zone at those voltages, even in open air). How it caught up was it got quieter on a radiator. I have no idea how, but it definitely sounds a lot smoother and 'calmer' on a radiator than it did in Open Air and the dBA meter agreed with me. That said, subjectively, it's not that close to the San Ace. The San Ace is almost serene (at least compared to those in this group) and much less intrusive than the U1C--anybody who has both knows this.


    Further Commentary For the Oliver Twists
    The way I see it in this grouping....there's the San Ace and then the other three. The noise they make is incomparable--the only reason the San Ace is even in this group is because it moves the same amount of air as them. I don't know how it does it, but I wish more fans did. That said, it's impossible to find, going for nearly $30 a pop when shipped, and they're fragile (I've broken 3...anything touching a spinning blade will break it off). It's in a class of their own, like a Tiger Woods of fans.

    What I want to address are the other three. They're ugly. That's the name of the game with these kind of fans. They're in their prime at high speeds. Buying them to run at low volts seems...illogical to me. A 5V, they move a little less air than a D12SL-12 or S-Flex E or P12 at 12V but make more noise and worse, more extraneous noise. Yes, a top-end is nice to have, but even then, with the way most people over-radiator things here, that's maybe a ~1C difference over a much nicer sounding 1900-2200RPM fan (with an even quieter and better sounding toned-down setting).

    I also want to specifically address the UK3. There's nothing special about it. It doesn't move more air than the competition and the radiator noise performance makes it very suspect. The sleeve bearing is a liability as well (what's worse is that due to the high amount of 'normal' noise, you won't hear it deteriorate). It's a great price and widely available, which should help sales, but as to the quality and performance of the fan...I'm not impressed. The next mini-review will have the more practical 2000RPM UK2 that hopefully will impress. At this point though, the Ultra Kazes, like the Slip Streams, have been over-sensationalized (it's not a bad fan, but it's not as great as people say--if for no other reason than it doesn't move nearly the amount of air it's rated at).

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    Ancillary graphs.





    Again, no explanation....just there for those that want them. (though for the first graph...the San Ace is ~1:1 for reference)

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    Thanks VAPOR! You ROCK! I was waiting for this one! Very Appreciative!

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    nice review
    I bought some UK3. I don't find it bad for the price. San ace are very hard to find and expensive (if we find it). When I monitore the UK3, they grind between 1/2 and 3/4 of their full speed
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    so based on what you said about ultra kaze fans, an undervolted UK3 will be louder than a stock UK2 if both have the same rmp? and a side question, would same rmp imply same cfm in the ultra kaze series?
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    Quote Originally Posted by WhiteFireDragon View Post
    so based on what you said about ultra kaze fans, an undervolted UK3 will be louder than a stock UK2 if both have the same rmp? and a side question, would same rmp imply same cfm in the ultra kaze series?
    I don't know...the difference shouldn't be huge if they're built similarly. The various Panaflos overlap each other and they range from like 1700RPM to 2750RPM...just each one progressively undervolts slightly easier/better. Other than that, there's no precedent since most 'series' of fans are lower RPM and don't have a high-RPM variant that has the typical high-RPM problems with undervolting and just general noise making

    Same design means that at the same RPM there should be the same airflow and air-moving-noise. (the motor contributes to the noise of the UK3 though). What's more, because of the predictable linear scaling of airflow, if the UK3 is really running at 3000RPM in the Open Air test and the UK2 really runs at 2000RPM, I predict ~75CFM for the UK2.

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    Vapor, could you give us the "best rad fan" at "x"db graph?
    - What is the best at 20db, 30db and 40db (or low, mid and hi)?
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    Quote Originally Posted by leo_bsb View Post
    Vapor, could you give us the "best rad fan" at "x"db graph?
    - What is the best at 20db, 30db and 40db (or low, mid and hi)?
    I'll be able to answer that 21 fans from now

    Right now...San Ace H1011 and PTS YL D12SL-12 are holding down fort. Link to the ~50CFM fans is in the first post if you want a shortcut. In the ~50CFM mini-review, the San Ace H1011 @ 5V is a single data point edging out the D12SL-12.

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    Awesome work!

    The only reason I picked the Kazes for my radiator testing was because they were the highest strength fan for such low cost and I was purposely looking to have near extremes on each end of the rad tests.

    Although I probably inadvertantly have made people think they are quality fans, which they are not.

    I'm still waiting for yate to make a 38mm variety, there is obviously a pressure advantage with the extra thickness and they could probably make a 1350RPM 38mm variety that would outperform the D12SL12 on a radiator.

    I'd like to try out a 2000RPM kaze myself, I think I'll pick one up to play with and see if it undervolts any better.

    Great work as always, the radiator cfm vs db graphs are perfect performance measure.

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    Thanks Martin...means a lot to hear that from you.

    Your use of UK3 for your radiator works great for me....it can definitely move air through a radiator with ease. Definitely shows what a radiator can do when you give it some gusto

    I think it's really just a matter of "Scythe has a 3000RPM fan that's rated at 133CFM. 133CFM is a lot of air and Scythe makes some great fans, therefore it must be super-awesome." When in reality, it's just another fan with flaws that every other fan in this category has: high full-speed noise, poor undervolting, and other extra noises. Plus that new, weird, Scythe thing where noise increases on a radiator.

    The price does it make very attractive--I think it might be a great 'benching' fan where quiet and long-term use is not a concern. It's readily available everywhere, it moves a lot of air, it's inexpensive, and moves a lot of air even through a radiator.

    I'd also love to see a 38mm variety of a Yate Loon...I don't know if they have anything of the sort or any plans for it though.

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    I've been using panaflos for a couple of years now and feel they perform the best out of the 38mm fans I've tested. I would like to try the San Ace H1011, but where can I find them?
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    Thanks Vapor!
    Any comments on San Ace H1011 undervolting?
    The dream fan is something that you can keep low to daily use and crank it up when you need. The San Ace H1011 goes to 90CFM that is really good, if it can keep it quiet as a YL D12SL-12 when needed it should be a winner.
    I bought the YL D12 high speed trying to achieve that.
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    Wow! The second one is on!

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    Yeah. $30 per San Ace right now, and that's just bare wire. And there are so few of them left.

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    hmm IanY buy the whole lot of it...

    another nice mini review from Vapor, San Ace 1011 still the clear choice, if we can find em that is...

    next up Medium speed fans?

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    does poor undervolting mean that the minimum voltage required for the fan to even start spinning is still relatively high? so does this translate to UK3 having a higher minimum rpm than UK2 or does the same series of fan have the same minimum rpm?
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    Quote Originally Posted by WhiteFireDragon View Post
    does poor undervolting mean that the minimum voltage required for the fan to even start spinning is still relatively high? so does this translate to UK3 having a higher minimum rpm than UK2 or does the same series of fan have the same minimum rpm?
    At least what I relate "Poor Undervolting" to is the wierd clicking or other noises that are not smooth and silent when you undervolt (Not apparent at full voltage).

    I had some 86cfm Panaflos I tried to undervolt to about D12SL12 levels, but the darn clicking drove me nuts and I had to pull them out. The UK3s also have a bit of noise undervolting, but the UK1 that I have is nice and smooth at 1K, so the thought is perhaps the UK2 will be better at running in the 1500 rpm range than the UK3.

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    then can all medium and high speed fans get sub 1000rpm when undervolted or is there some kind of minimum rmp for each fan series?
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    thanx for the review vapor!
    personally i bought 6 ultra kaze 3k some time ago to do some testing (on hold due to vacation and dead gpu atm )
    altough they push so much air, i cant stand the ticking noise..
    for my build i am planning to replace them with s-flex f fans...OR i might use both of them (turn off the kazes for silence and turn them on for gaming...doubt i will do this but its an option)
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    Quote Originally Posted by leo_bsb View Post
    Thanks Vapor!
    Any comments on San Ace H1011 undervolting?
    The dream fan is something that you can keep low to daily use and crank it up when you need. The San Ace H1011 goes to 90CFM that is really good, if it can keep it quiet as a YL D12SL-12 when needed it should be a winner.
    I bought the YL D12 high speed trying to achieve that.
    This has been addressed numerous times...my ~50CFM review a few days ago even had enough commentary/results to answer that.

    Roundup 2 talked about it a lot too...there's a reason these fans are impossible to find now

    Quote Originally Posted by xtclocker View Post
    Wow! The second one is on!
    This was more like 3.2

    Quote Originally Posted by septim View Post
    hmm IanY buy the whole lot of it...

    another nice mini review from Vapor, San Ace 1011 still the clear choice, if we can find em that is...

    next up Medium speed fans?
    Medium-high. Like 1850RPM - 2500RPM. I think I might keep the 1400RPM - 1800RPM range saved for last and let the suspense build

    Quote Originally Posted by Martinm210 View Post
    At least what I relate "Poor Undervolting" to is the wierd clicking or other noises that are not smooth and silent when you undervolt (Not apparent at full voltage).
    This is exactly what I mean by poor undervolting--when you undervolt it, it's performance is poor (whether naturally or via annoying noises).
    Quote Originally Posted by WhiteFireDragon View Post
    then can all medium and high speed fans get sub 1000rpm when undervolted or is there some kind of minimum rmp for each fan series?
    Running at or below 1000RPM shouldn't be an issue for most fans that start at ~<2000RPM. Doesn't mean it'll perform well though--just saying it'll run

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    I'm not sure I like the undervolting process. As shown, fans seem to work best at their natural 12V settings. I wish I could flick a switch and turn on the thirty 45 dB Sunons when needed (haha.. just kididng).

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    Quote Originally Posted by IanY View Post
    I'm not sure I like the undervolting process. As shown, fans seem to work best at their natural 12V settings. I wish I could flick a switch and turn on the thirty 45 dB Sunons when needed (haha.. just kididng).
    Well, this category is particularly bad, that's for sure

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    Quote Originally Posted by Martinm210 View Post
    Awesome work!

    The only reason I picked the Kazes for my radiator testing was because they were the highest strength fan for such low cost and I was purposely looking to have near extremes on each end of the rad tests.

    Although I probably inadvertantly have made people think they are quality fans, which they are not.

    I'm still waiting for yate to make a 38mm variety
    , there is obviously a pressure advantage with the extra thickness and they could probably make a 1350RPM 38mm variety that would outperform the D12SL12 on a radiator.

    I'd like to try out a 2000RPM kaze myself, I think I'll pick one up to play with and see if it undervolts any better.

    Great work as always, the radiator cfm vs db graphs are perfect performance measure.
    You may get your wish soon. I'll give you and vapor a pm when we get some if we can.

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    Oh?

    EDIT: D12SM-12D, 120x120x38, 2300RPM, 96.0CFM, 43dBA looks to be the slowest of the 38mm thick variety.

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    Quote Originally Posted by silverphoenix View Post
    You may get your wish soon. I'll give you and vapor a pm when we get some if we can.
    Really? Wow!!! that would be awesome.

    Ahh...I see now...
    http://www.yateloon.com/style/conten...=8511&id=38838


    MODEL SIZE (mm) VOLT (V) SPEED (RPM) AIR FLOW (CFM) NOISE (dB)
    D12SM-12D 120x120x38 12 2300 96.0 43
    D12BM-12D 120x120x38 12 2300 96.0 43
    D12SH-12D 120x120x38 12 3000 101.0 47
    D12BH-12D 120x120x38 12 3000 101.0 47
    Hopefully the medium undervolts nicely, althought I was think more along the lines of a slow speed variety.
    Last edited by Martinm210; 07-05-2008 at 11:44 AM.

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