Cooling Fans Reviews

NZXT F120 RGB case fan Review – decent performance, but with proprietary RGB connector

Fan measurement chamber and claim

And since there is currently no source that offers realistic and usable data, even in comparison, we invested a lot of time and money and simply developed our own fan measuring station with the advice of a cooling unit manufacturer and then calibrated it. Our colleague Pascal Mouchel has done a great job here and the result, the “Sarcophagus I” model, is now quite respectable. The heavy and solid body made of thick MDF boards is screwed, glued and soundproofed. How it all works and what we can and cannot measure in the end, you will learn in this article.

In the meantime, most of it has materialized really nicely, also with a lot of good feedback from the community and technical assistance from some industry partners. Of course, what we can measure from now on only meets semi-professional requirements, even though all measuring instruments have been calibrated in an elaborate and cost-intensive way. But that’s enough for all areas of PC self-construction and conversion. Of course, we are not a standardization company or the TÜV, but we try to measure everything as accurately as possible, which still remains within reasonably affordable limits.

 

Measuring chamber with sound level control (measurement takes place separately)

 

A greatly simplified version with a long tube instead of the chamber would have been much cheaper, but it is so inaccurate due to its design that the values can only be considered a rough estimate with many errors. The pressure drop is immense and a serious sound level measurement is simply impossible due to the resonant body thus created. Values below approx. 30 CFM can hardly be evaluated meaningfully and are no longer particularly close to reality.

Tests as case fans and on radiators

Currently, there is always the question of what characteristics a 120 or 140 mm fan really has. Not every model is suitable for all radiator thicknesses, and some supposed powerhouses lose so much pressure on radiators that they can hardly be called suitable. The information on volume flow (“throughput”) and static pressure in the data sheets does not help if something works well on a slim radiator and fails completely on a 45 mm radiator.

In the picture we can see the middle partition between the two chambers, which supports the fan and also the radiator. Decoupling is, of course, a top priority, and we thankfully had expert help in calculating the volume for the chambers. Each of the chambers is also expediently lined with nubby foam and designed in terms of material technology so that there are hardly any disturbing influences.

The “honeycomb” behind the fan was recommended to us by Black Noise and the cooling manufacturer. This means that all coolers are equally well integrated, because each has a different exit angle and this is exactly what can be compensated for. However, due to the honeycomb, there is no tear-off edge and the airflow is directed directly to the outlet.

Radiators and fans are decoupled and screwed tight with their own clamping device. In the picture you can see very nicely the improvised clamp with thick washers and insulation material as a base. The control is done by an Aquaero purchased by us from Aqua Computer, so we can control and test the fans both by voltage (DC) or by PWM. Both are needed, because many fans, as some people don’t know, can’t be brought to the lower and upper limits of the speed range with pure voltage regulation and also show other anomalies, about which we will write something at the appropriate place.

Volume flow

We measure the volume flow at the outlet of the second chamber, where the air is blown out. This range is covered relatively accurately by comparative measurement in the measurement setup of the refrigeration partner, so that our testo 410i now delivers quite reliable results to the electronic measurement data acquisition, which match the reference data of the professional measurement quite well. What is important here is not the price of the equipment, but rather the appropriate positioning and accurate calibration with series of comparative measurements.

Static pressure

The measurement of the static pressure is carried out as usual as a differential pressure measurement. For this purpose, the special “bowl” is clamped so that it closes airtight. Here, too, of course, measurements were taken with borrowed, professional equipment and time-consuming calibrations were performed. For this measurement, we also use the 510i, a device we purchased ourselves from testo, and also collect the data wirelessly. Since many try to copy in the meantime, the angles in the 3D graphics and also in the following two photos are of course not quite correct, because without knowledge of the exact dimensions of the funnel, a copy is virtually pointless and it also only works really quite accurately within a quite small tolerance range. We also made comparative measurement series for this once again. In practice, the whole thing looks like the two pictures below.

The installation is trouble-free and the pressure receptacle now also closes perfectly thanks to a special seal. The rest is just a matter of calibration, which we also did once again. It is unlikely to be much more accurate with semi-professional methods. However, especially in printing, errors are quickly possible, which above all are not immediately recognizable. Even if the deviations are small, we will still measure all previous fans again and prepare them for the database.

 

 

Noise emission

Measuring the noise level is a bit tricky, but works quite well in the evening hours at the measurement location. We chose dBA or dBC because values below one sone can hardly be reliably measured with still affordable and calibrated equipment and the software conversions of various software programs tend to confuse and become inaccurate in this low range. Then rather dBA, especially since most people can do something with it. The measuring distance is 50 cm from the center axis of the fan inlet.

We take two approaches to these measurements. For quick and plausibility tests, we use a Voltcraft SL 451, which we have calibrated according to ISO and whose microphone we have placed decoupled from the body. The data acquisition takes place outside the measuring chamber. The Voltcraft SL 451 was kindly and uncomplicatedly made available to us by Conrad Elektronik. It is also the only component that has not been acquired by ourselves. All other measuring instruments including accessories and electronics were purchased by us or provided from private stocks.

Our own acquisitions also include a calibrated measurement microphone with XLR connector and low-noise USB interface. The measurements are taken in the evening and night hours in rural areas, so that one can already be quite satisfied with a basic level of below 26 dB(A). Since everything will be above this anyway during the measurement setup with a distance of 50 cm, this should therefore not be a problem.

We also took the feedback from the community and evaluated the frequency band for each measurement, so you not only get the SPL values (sound pressure) in dB(A), but also a nice frequency analysis that helps to describe the sound character perfectly. Bearing or motor noise, vibrations or the tearing noise on the rotor – everything becomes mercilessly visible with it.

We won’t go into certain details and solutions in this article, because there is still some foreign know-how in this setup and some things would probably be too far for the normal consumer. If you are interested in this and would like to build something like this, you are of course welcome to contact us. This also applies to all those who would like to contribute suggestions and tips, because we are still at the very beginning and can also still correct or expand.

New metrics and graphics

Apart from the fact that we now also record the minimum and maximum values for the flowing currents and the power consumption, we have fulfilled two further wishes of the readers and extended the measurement series in this respect. In order to be able to really objectively assess the fans, we first graduated the resulting volume flow and measured the sound pressure level in many individual steps. The result for a fan then looks like this compared to the reference fan:

We can see that the increase in the sound pressure level of our test fan is not as balanced compared to the reference, but the level is still lower at a comparable volume flow. In addition, the fan tested and compared here also delivers a significantly higher volume flow due to a 50% higher maximum speed, which is ultimately bought with a similar sound pressure level as the reference fan, but whose performance is significantly lower.

And because we just wrote about the speeds, there are also new comparative graphics for this, at the express request of the reader, by showing which speeds are necessary to achieve a certain volume flow. In practice, we can now also see where the dip in the upper graph comes from in terms of volume, because there is a speed range (rather a smaller window) where the fan does not perform so perfectly and spins higher to reach the desired CFM than a more even rise in the curve would have led us to expect.

 

What we measure and what the result looks like can be seen on the next page using a selected fan as an example, which is anything but our reference. That’s exactly what we are still looking for 🙂

Test setup  
Housing / measuring chamber Two-chamber measurement setup with sound insulation, fully air-conditioned room
Volume flow and flow velocity testo 410i (calibrated)
Differential pressure measurement testo 510i (calibrated)
Sound level measurement Measuring microphone Class 2 and USB interface, Smaart 7, Voltcraft SL 451 (Conrad, permanent rental, calibrated),
Speed control and fan control Aqua Computer Aquaero 6 Pro
Commissioning March/April 2021

 

Kommentar

Lade neue Kommentare

G
Guest

Danke für den Test @Pascal Mouchel und @Igor Wallossek
Aber nicht nur der Preis, sondern auch die angesprochene "Etablierung" der Software disqualifiziert den Lüfter, und das wahrscheinlich nicht nur für mich. Die Performance mag ja gut sein, das ist aber bei allen Arctic-Lüftern, die ich bisher verbaut habe (25-mm und auch die Slim-Variante), genauso der Fall. Und die sind dann doch deutlich erschwinglicher, da hat keiner mehr als 10 € gekostet.
Solange es also Arctics gibt, sehe ich für diese Art von Lüfter wenig Chancen. Und da ich zudem vorwiegend auf RGB verzichten kann, da geschlossene Gehäuse, würde ich für den Preis eher zu Noctua greifen. Die verbauen wenigsten die weitaus hochwertigeren Lager für diesen Preis.

Antwort 2 Likes

RX480

Urgestein

1,885 Kommentare 874 Likes

Supi, das Ihr auch den Minimalverbrauch gemessen habt.
... da gibts ja ganz schöne Märchen bei Schätzungen für die Grakas, weshalb dann Manche auf Ihrem sinnlosen Fanstopp beharren

Antwort 2 Likes

D
Deridex

Urgestein

2,220 Kommentare 855 Likes

Habt ihr eventuell n Bild vom RGB Stecker + die Abmessungen? Eventuell lässt sich in Erfahrung bringen, was da eventuell passt.

Antwort Gefällt mir

Pascal TM-Custom

Urgestein

1,122 Kommentare 1,361 Likes

der ist komplett eigen Designt da wird nichts passen aber es gibt wohl jemanden der so Adapter macht wie das dann am schluss Funktioniert ist Fraglich

Antwort 1 Like

D
Deridex

Urgestein

2,220 Kommentare 855 Likes

Maße wäre noch was. Z.B der Pitch.

Edit: Bei genaueren Hinsehen sieht mir das stark nach der XH-Serie von JST aus.

Antwort Gefällt mir

F
Furda

Urgestein

663 Kommentare 372 Likes

Gibt es einen Artikel, der die Frequenzanalyse/-spektrum erklärt?

Weiss nicht so ganz, wie die Bilder zu lesen sind. Wie z.B. der tieffrequente Peak auf Seite 6 ganz unten, ist das der grüne Bereich im Spektograph oder wie? Danke

Antwort Gefällt mir

Pascal TM-Custom

Urgestein

1,122 Kommentare 1,361 Likes

da wird alles erklärt

Antwort 1 Like

GamePat96

Mitglied

29 Kommentare 6 Likes

Echt schade mit dem sCAM zwang, ansonsten scheinen die Lüfter ja echt gut zu sein. Aber anders kenne ich NZXT leider gar nicht mehr, irgendeine Extrawurst gibts bei denen immer...
Naja onto the next one würde ich sagen :)

Trotzdem wieder ein stabiler Test von euch. Es ist immer eine Freude die Lüftertest zu lesen, auch wenn ich mich gerne mal an den kleinsten Unterschieden aufhänge, und nicht entscheiden kann welcher denn nun besser passen würde haha

Antwort 1 Like

D
Deridex

Urgestein

2,220 Kommentare 855 Likes

@Igor Wallossek
Kannst du mal bitte nachsehen, ob die JST XH-Serie mit den Steckern für das RGB Zeug kompatibel ist?
Edit: Tippfehler

Antwort Gefällt mir

Igor Wallossek

1

10,408 Kommentare 19,387 Likes

View image at the forums

Geht grad nicht 😉

Antwort 3 Likes

a
aclogic

Veteran

124 Kommentare 54 Likes

Irgendwie scheint da sich ein Fehler eingeschlichen zu haben oder wie kann es sein das der NZXT F120 bei dem 60mm Radiator einen höhren Volumenstrom bei 1000rpm als beim 45mm Radiator erreicht?

45mm 1000rpm: 22,1m³/h
60mm 1000rpm: 31,8m³/h

Antwort Gefällt mir

Igor Wallossek

1

10,408 Kommentare 19,387 Likes

Weil er mit dem 45 nicht klar kommt

Antwort Gefällt mir

Tronado

Urgestein

3,873 Kommentare 2,038 Likes

Falls nicht schon berichtet, kleiner Textfehler auf der Lautstärke-Seite "Nur im offenen Betrieb ist der Sharkoon Silent Storm 120 mm bei 1000 U/min etwas lauter,"

Antwort Gefällt mir

Pascal TM-Custom

Urgestein

1,122 Kommentare 1,361 Likes

Das liegt an denn Radiatoren an sich Slim oder 45er Netzradiatoren haben eine dichtere Netzt Struktur bedeutet die Finnen Anordnung ist Dichter die 60er Radiatoren haben kein so dichtes Netz dürfen sie auch nicht haben da ansonsten kein normaler Lüfter da Durchblasen kann.

Wir hatten schon paar Lüfter in der Box die mit slim und 45er Radiatoren gar nicht klar kamen aber auf 60er Radiator wieder sehr gut gearbeitet haben.

Antwort 2 Likes

a
aclogic

Veteran

124 Kommentare 54 Likes

Danke, für die Erklärung. Sieht trotzdem merkwürdig aus, bei vollen Drehzahl und 500 rpm liegen die Werte in dem Bereich, wo man sie erwartet hätte im Verhältnis zu den anderen Werten, aber beim 1000 rpm geht dem Lüfter bei dem 45er Radi die Pusste aus. Der Lüfter ist dann wohl mal wieder ein Beispiel dafür, daß man eine komplette Messreihe über den ganzen Drehzahlbereich und nicht bloss 3 Punkte( oder nur 2 wenn der Lüfter nicht bis 500 rpm runter kommt) machen sollte. ;)

Gibt es auch mal wieder Test mit 140 mm Lüftern?

Antwort Gefällt mir

Pascal TM-Custom

Urgestein

1,122 Kommentare 1,361 Likes

Naja wir können auch nur 3 Messpunkte machen wegen der Vergleichbarkeit. Wenn wir das noch zusätzlich die Messung machen wie am Schluss über das ganze Drehzahlband mit Radiatoren wird das ganze schon extrem sportlich.

Leider ist so ein Lüfter nicht in einem Tag abgearbeitet.

Mal für die Allgemeinheit jeder Lüfter wird vor Messung erst mal 24/48h eingelaufen da hängt der bei mir am Aquaero und dreht erst mal seine Runden danach geht es an die Messungen und jede Messung wird erst nochmal Kalibriert das alle Werte auch immer stimmen selbst die Wetterlage spielt eine Rolle glaubt man nicht ist aber wirklich so.
Dann beginnt die Messung und am Späten Abend gegen 23/24 Uhr kommen die dBa aufnahmen weil auch hier auf dem Land ist es leider nicht sehr ruhig.
Die Messungen über das ganze Drehzahlband ist echt Aufwändig und dann will der Artikel ja auch noch geschrieben werden :D von daher ist es einfach viel zu tun.

Ich denke mal wir können schon sehr stolz sein auf unsere Messungen nicht umsonst werden wir von Hersteller auch angeschrieben für Prototypen Tests und zur Überprüfung ob das auch so stimmt was der OEM da so schickt. Ich hab bis Dato noch keinen so Aufwändigen Test gesehen wie der von uns :)

Daher müssen wir einfach bissel abwägen was ist Sinnvoll und Zeitlich machbar und auf was müssen wir verzichten.

Und ja ich mach die Tage paar 140er Lüfter wie Sharkoon und denn neuen F140RGB

Antwort 2 Likes

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Danke für die Spende



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