BitFenix Spectre Pro Fan ReviewWaco - June 6, 2012
Price: $12.99 to $22.99
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Today OCC is once again taking a look at products from the renowned BitFenix. BitFenix is well known for its innovative and attractive case designs; the last time we saw something from BitFenix was in the form of the Raider mid-tower gaming chassis. Today we're changing directions a bit and taking a look at a few BitFenix Spectre Pro and Spectre Pro LED case fans.
Since BitFenix's entire design focus is on state-of-the-art hardware it comes as no surprise that these fans are something out of the ordinary. These are follow-ups to the original BitFenix Spectre fans and are outfitted with quite a few more features. Between the dual frame construction, reinforced fan blades, and high pressure/airflow design they certainly sound like a good upgrade for your case. Let's dig into the packaging and find out just what we've got in store today!
Opening up the packing box I found a 230mm Spectre Pro LED fan, a 140mm Spectre Pro fan, and a 120mm Spectre Pro LED fan. Each is packaged quite similarly with the front of each box clearly showing the size, color, and type of fan. There won't be any surprise when you pull them out of the packaging. The sides of the packaging have very large text with the model names – there's no mixing up which ones have LEDs and which ones do not. The backside of each box has a list of features and specs, all of which are spelled out on the Features and Specifications page.
Now that we have the fans out of their boxes we can take a look at what they come riding along with! BitFenix has included standard case fan screws, rubber vibration-isolating mounting pegs, rubber washers to minimize vibration, and a 12 volt to 7-volt adapter to slow the fans down should you find them too loud at full speed. The two Spectre Pro LED fans have an additional accessory: an extension cable to allow toggling of the LEDs on and off with selected BitFenix cases and accessories. Do note that the 12 volt to 7-volt adapters are a bit of a "dangerous" addition if I may call them that. They use the 12 volt rail for the positive input power and your power supply's 5-volt rail as the "ground." Normally this won't cause any issues on a modern power supply as long as you have a decent load on the 5-volt rail. However, if you do not pull more power from the 5-volt rail than these fans back-feed into it, many power supplies will either behave erratically or shut down to protect themselves. I would have rather seen a resistor-based setup to slow the fans down instead of this somewhat non-specification "hack job." However, most people won't have any issues with this unless they're running an almost purely fan-based load on their PSU…and I'm pretty sure most of us like to at least run our computer off of our PSU as well.
Closer Look: 120mm BitFenix Spectre Pro LED
Pulling the 120mm BitFenix Spectre Pro LED out of its box reveals its dual frame construction. To be perfectly honest this construction feels slightly more flimsy than a single-piece frame but at the same time it looks absolutely amazing and shouldn't pose any issues once installed. The red frame outlined with smoked grey mounting points really highlight the overall construction and quality in this fan. There is a 2-pin plug hanging off of the fan that is jumpered out of the box; this is the 2-pin plug that allows the toggling of the red LEDs on the fan itself. The fan connector itself is a standard 3-pin plug with power, ground, and fan RPM output. Spinning the fan up with a spare PSU reveals its true colors: blood red lighting backed by a smoked grey frame. The lights aren't going to blind you but they do add a nice red tinge to anything near them. I'm a huge fan of red lighting with dark accents and I must say this fan looks awesome!
Closer Look: 140mm BitFenix Spectre Pro
The 140mm BitFenix Spectre Pro looks nearly identical to its smaller 120mm sibling except for the size and color. Gone are the smoked grey fan blades, red motor frame, and smoked grey outside frame. They are replaced with pure black plastic that is completely opaque. The same construction quality is seen with this version. The wiring is identical with the exception of the 2-pin LED plug; obviously this is not needed on a fan without LED lights on it.
Closer Look: 230mm BitFenix Spectre Pro LED
Unlike its two smaller brethren the 230mm BitFenix Spectre Pro LED has a massive two part frame that looks nothing like I've ever seen before on a case fan. The edges remind me of a chain-drive motorcycle or something straight off of a Gears of War chain saw gun. While it is quite different, I do like the way it looks with the red motor frame and smoked grey fan blades and frame. This fan is quite bulky, however, and I worry that it may not be all that easy to install in anything but BitFenix cases. This is a common issue with larger fans, but hopefully I can figure out a way to get it into my test case! The lighting on this fan is similar to its smaller 120mm bother – muted but very red.
All lined up together these fans look great together! It's time to move on and see how well they perform in various configurations in the Cooler Master HAF XM. This case was chosen because it should be able to hold the three fans we're looking at today in addition to all of its stock fans with very little effort.