SilenX 80mm Case Fans Review

Admin - 2007-03-19 12:54:16 in Cooling
Category: Cooling
Reviewed by: Admin   
Reviewed on: February 10, 2004
SilenX
SilenX
Price: $11.95
Introduction
The trend with PC cooling has changed a lot in the last year. Not long ago people thought to get good cooling you need loud fans with monstrous CFM ratings. With a new evolution of very efficient heat sinks, that�s no longer the case - you can have your cooling and overclock too. The silent PC trend is among us now and keeps getting stronger with companies like SilenX. They offer a one-stop shop for all your silent and low noise parts including heat sinks, PSU�s, hard drive coolers, and case fans. Today we will be taking a close look at their 80mm case fans, which are rated at an astounding 14 dBA.




Specifications
Dimension: 80 x 80 x 25mm
Input: 12V/1.2W
Speed: 1400/2400 RPM
Air Flow: 18/28 CFM
Noise Level: 11.8/14.4 dBA



Features
  • Fan Swept Forward Fan Blade Design
  • Smoother, Thinner Fan Blades
  • Highly Efficient Hypro Bearings
  • Temperature Controlled Fan Speed Fan
  • Vibration Isolation Mounts



  • In-Depth Look


    SilenX graciously sent five of their 80mm fans for review. As you can see from the picture above, SilenX packages their fans in a plastic bag. No need for fancy retail box art with marketing hype - the fans are the selling point. Each package contains one 80mm fan, one 3-to-4 pin Molex connector, gold screws, and silicon vibration isolation mounts. In-Depth Look



    The fan looks like your standard black 80mm case fan, but with substantial differences. These include Hypro bearings, shaped thinner fan blades, and temperature controlled fan speed. All these features help to aid in the fans maximum 14.4dBA.

    Hypro bearings are a modified sleeve bearing; sleeve bearings are notorious for short-life span due to their small lubricant storage and great surface area of contact. Traditional sleeve bearings have an O-ring and washer that are always in contact with the fan shaft. Hypro bearings however, are missing the O-ring and washer; the fan shaft spins freely in a container of lubricant while the magnetic field keeps the fan shaft centered in place. This gives you the long life span of ball bearing fan with the reduction in vibration and lower RPM sleeve bearings offer.



    The fans come wired with a 3-pin connector; I would have liked to have seen a 4 pin Molex connector standard with the option for a 4-to-3 pin converter, or the option to order either a 4 pin or 3 pin connector. Also attached to the fan is a thermistor to control fan speed as heat inside the case increases. This is a great feature for people without a fan controller.

    SilenX also included vibration isolation mounts -basically silicon plugs. This is a great feature to have as it even further helps to reduce overall noise and vibration. SilenX sells the isolation mounts separately in packs of twenty if fan vibration is a problem with your PC.



    Installation



    I only had one spot that I could use the vibration isolation mounts on the side panel of my Chieftec case. Installing them could not have been any easier, and the fact you don�t need a screwdriver is a nice touch. I would have liked to use the rubber mounts for the other four fans, but my case has plastic fan attachment brackets for intake and exhaust.

    Testing
    In the quest to reduce noise in our PC most people start at the single loudest source of noise - the heat sink and fan unit. After replacing that old school high RPM screamer often leads to finding other parts in your case that can help to aid in silencing the beast. I recently received a low noise cooler, and I was aware of a big difference overall, but I felt the need to reduce my PC noise even more.

    So, let�s replace my Antec LED 80 mm case fans with the SilenX 80mm fans. The biggest difference between the 2 fans is the rated noise levels of each fan. The Antec is rated at 30 dBA while the SilenX fans have a rating of between 11.8/14.4 dBA depending on fan RPM. That�s a mighty big difference, and a BIG earful of noise that you won�t have to deal with. (Fun Fact: According to the decibel scale, though they differ by only ~15 decibels, the Antec fan is really about 32 times the actual auditory level higher then the SilenX fan!)

    I was expecting my system temperatures and possibly even my CPU temperatures to rise slightly because we�ve come to expect silence is a bit of a giveaway for performance. To my surprise, temperatures on both the system and CPU didn�t change one bit. Under normal use, the fans stayed around 1700RPM while the system was idling, after 24 hours of Prime95 the fans had only increased to 1900RPM. SilenX states that the thermistor responds to temperatures from 20-100°C with the last speed increase happening around 50-60°C. Holding a lighter to the thermistor finally kicked it into high gear running at a max of 2320RPM using the Winbond hardware monitor.



    Conclusion
    Without a doubt these are the best fans I have ever had the pleasure of using. The overall reduction in noise was unbelievable, and the best part of it all is the temperatures never increased. SilenX really did their homework designing a low noise case fan. These fans will be right at home in an HTPC or any case where noise reduction is needed. If your case happens to use different size fans SilenX has you covered with sizes from 60mm to 120mm with the same 14.4 dBA or lower.

    Be aware though - some fans found on eBay and from some resellers may be counterfeit and don�t have a true 14.4 dBA noise output. For a list of approved resellers check out the SilenX site.

    Pros

    Cons