Sunday, 28 August 2011

Nox Knik High Technology Silent Fan

So, a fair few months ago I upgraded my 120mm case fans in my Cosmos 1000 case to a set of four silent fans, here's my fitting and review information.

Don't worry about the dog bed, he wasn't in the room at the time, the moment he saw me getting the PC out he was off to the sofa downstairs.

My first step was to actually get my case out from under my desk, this is the best PC case I've ever had (and I've had a lot of them) I was an early adopter of the Cosmos 1000, when the case was around £220 and it was money well spent then, they're about £100 now a days.  The case comes with four 120mm fans, one at the base drawing air in through two grill covered shafts, one pulling air horizontally out of the rear at CPU level and two in the top taking air directly up and out.

The fans which come with the unit are not overly loud themselves, so long as you have them connected to the motherboard and it regulates their power to ensure low RPM.  Remember, the higher the RPM then the louder they get.

When the Cosmos housed my Intel Core 2 Quad based machine the fans hardly had to work at all, however, this year's upgrade was to an Intel Core i7 950.  This alone instantly rose the case ambient temperature from 35 degrees idle to 42 degrees idle, adding the SLi array of graphics cards, adding the Corsair Triple channel RAM cooler only went one step towards adding more ambient heat.  And soon the sock case fans could be heard.

Now, let me preface the rest of this information with this statement: I was looking at minimising the case fan noise as a first step towards silent running my system. The RAM Cooler and CPU coolers are not considered in my quieting process.  However, at the start of this journey, the case fans (all four of them) far exceeded the noise level of the other cooling fans, even in idle.

Yes the black box to the upper right is my PS2... Yes, mine runs Linux, ain't that schweet.
So, here are the three fans I'm starting off with.  I'm going from four case fans to three, this is because I have gotten hold of a couple of smoke tracer pens (they let of smoke for wind tunnel experiments) and I've decided that the two top fans actually don't cause a straight chimney effect, between the two is a near static vortex of hot air.  With the Triple channel RAM and cooling fins being stationed right below this static vortex, meaning an overheat spot.

Removing one of the upper case fans resulted in the air flow over the RAM flowing out and into the pressure differential of the rear and one remaining upper fan.  Always check whether you need a case fan like this... one less fan means less noise, and better performance.

So now we've gotten an idea of what we need in the case, lets just take a close up look at the new fans.

They look just like regular fans... they little baggy contains the rubber retaining clips... these rubber clips are better than using screws, they dampen vibration from the unit whilst in operation and alone make a decent reduction in case noise levels.

The power cord is around 500mm in length, but they do vary between the fans I received, being approximately able to wrap around the fan itself they are I presume meant to be four sides of 120mm (480mm) but they have a little tolerance.

The cable is nylon shielded and very manoeuvrable, making it look nice in a modded case situation, but also discrete.  The nylon surround also helps reduce vibration sound, if the cable were to sit against a case wall and vibrate in the flow of air, the rattle would be deadened by the shielding.

Now, lets take a look at the rubber fittings, they seem very bendy and stretchable, they are meant to be pushed (by hand) through the case screw holes, then into the fan, where you then pull the long end to stretch the rubber thin, slipping the fan over, and release... voila the fan is held in place and is dampened.

However, with the sharp metal of the cosmos lining I did find that the rubber domes were susceptible to simply coming off in ones hand.

However, I soon had all the fans fitted, and was ready for a test run.

This is a shot from below of the one remaining top venting fan (notes the absent sister to the left) the small fan you can see in the lower left of the frame is the top most of the corsair RAM cooler fans, the static vortex of air sat to the left of the  120mm case fan and above the RAM cooler fan, a little negative heat spot right there against the case side.


Oh my word, it worked, the machine on the whole is so much quieter, now on booting the fans come on full speed (a boot time precaution) but as the BIOS completes its POST the fans quieten down immensely, it really is like they go silent.

The case fans now contribute next to none of the sound from my machine.  An excellent purchase.

And so far they have performed 6 months hard work with no interference, no hindrance and no problems.

If you have to sit and listen to the hum of your computer all day, and you know most of that noise is the case fan (or many Dell built computers do not have dedicated CPU cooling, they make do with case fans drawing external air past heat sinks & spreaders) you may do very well to invest the few pounds one of these babies cost.

There are more expensive, technological, coated bladed fans out there, but if you're looking for a fan which looks just like a fan should (black plastic and boring) then these are the babies for you.

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