80mm 14dBA Thermistor Fan Review
A noisy computer can be very annoying. Overclockers and modders want cool for their boxes but find the solution of lots of fans results in loud noise. And even if you have not gone to extremes with fans, over time you can become aware of how noisy your PC is. This is when you try to solve the problem with quiet solutions. While we have looked at liquid cooling in the past (link here), today we will look at a more conventional approach of using quiet fans. We run the SilenX 80mm 14dBA Thermistor fan through its paces here @ ModSynergy.
Looks like a regular fan by nature
The 80mm Thermistor fan from SilenX features a Hydro-Bearing mechanism that is better constructed than ball-bearing fans. These fans are regular black fans with seven blades and are powered by a 3-pin connection. They come with a 3-pin to 4-pin MOLEX connector as well. The fans also come with rubber grommets to reduce vibration and metal mounting screws. You have a complete package here.
I want to make clear that this review is both an objective and a subjective review. While things like temperature changes can be objectively measured, whether or not a particular noise level is irritating is a subjective decision. So our testing will consist of two scenarios. First, using our Athlon XP test system, we will use a Thermistor an exhaust fan, replacing the Panaflo fan (link here) we had in there already, and checking the temperature difference. The second test is running four of these fans in our Athlon 64 test system replacing the four Akasa LED case fans (review link?) we originally had in the case to check on the noise level.
On the Athlon XP test system, I replaced the Panaflo exhaust fan with one of the SilenX 80mm 14dBA Thermistor fan. Right off the bat; I could hear a difference – there was a noticeable reduction in sound and case vibration, a result of the rubber grommets. The temperature measurements remained pretty much same with only a slight increase of 1 degree.
To check noise, I replaced the four Akasa LED case fans with four of the SilenX 80mm Thermistor fans. The Asaka fans were loud and distracting. After starting up the computer for the first time with the SilenX fans, I had to check if it was really on! Gone was the loud buzzing. In fact, the only sound I could hear was the whisper of the Thermaltake Aquarius III unit (link here).
Temperatures were stable and I did not notice an upward direction of previous temperatures. A key component is the ability of the fans to adjust automatically to the temperature inside the case. Each fan has a thermostat so they operate independently. This is to say that they operate at different RPM speeds for different areas of your case. The speeds range from an airflow of 18CFM @ 11.8dbA to the maximum achieved 28CFM @14.4dBA. This is a good feature for fans scattered around a case – no need to have all of them full on if they are not needed – and supplies a bit of safety. If a thermostat fails, it doesn’t affect all the fans, just the one it is connected to. These fans are very quiet and actually pull a nice amount of cool air when the thermistor notices the sensors getting hot.
Below are the audio clips that I have taken from before and after installation of the fans on the Athlon 64 test system. You may have to turn your volume up to differentiate the difference, but they are there. The recording was done a bit far from the PC and not done directly close to it.
Installed on Athlon 64 test system
I have to say that I am a believer of these fans. The SilenX 80mm 14dBA Thermistor fans are a great way to decrease noise from your PC and remove what can be an irritating distraction. The performance is there and they are nice and quiet. The only drawbacks to these fans are their cost and their lack of LEDs may make them less attractive to some case modders. However, if you are looking for a good way to decrease noise coming from your PC, the SilenX 80mm 14dBA Thermistor fans are a good way to start.
Pros and Cons
Quiet! I can hear clearly now.