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Old 03-31-2013, 12:39 PM
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Default SP120L PWM Fan Noise

Background

I have been using a Corsair H100 since November 2012 and was satisfied with its performance. When the H100i was released, I liked the looks of it, and I wanted the Corsair Link features, so I knew that I was going to have to get it at some point. I waited for the reviews and for the bugs to be worked out, and once the fans/firmware issued seemed to be worked out, I purchased one and installed it.

Installation and Initial Impressions of the H100i

http://forum.corsair.com/v3/showthread.php?t=116354
My new H100i came with the most current firmware (1.05) and the revised SP120L PWM (4-pin) fans. After installing the unit and the fans (in a push configuration), I was surprised at the noise coming from the fans. I was running the unit on the "Quiet Mode" at approximately 900-1000 RPM, but there was what I would describe as a "grrrrrr" sound coming from the fans. This didn't seem like it was normal, because I thought I had read that the new SP120L fans were supposed to be a little more quiet than the Corsair H100 fans. So I began to do some comparisons. Here is what I came up with.

Fan Testing

SP120L PWM Fans

http://s24.photobucket.com/user/sabo...oise1.mp4.html
http://s24.photobucket.com/user/sabo...oise2.mp4.html

H100 Fans

http://s24.photobucket.com/user/sabo...ns1-1.mp4.html
http://s24.photobucket.com/user/sabo...fans2.mp4.html
http://s24.photobucket.com/user/sabo...fans3.mp4.html
http://s24.photobucket.com/user/sabo...fans4.mp4.html

I thought that there may have been something wrong with my SP120L fans, so I requested another set from Corsair. James from Corsair was very helpful on the phone, and sent me another set of SP120L PWM fans. I installed those, but they sounded the same as the original set of SP120L fans.

Fans Not Mounted on Radiator

I then did a comparison of the fans when they were not mounted on the radiator.
http://s24.photobucket.com/user/sabo...fcase.mp4.html
http://s24.photobucket.com/user/sabo...case2.mp4.html

It seemed as though the SP120L PWM fans have a vibration in them, and that may be the source of the noise.

I did some research and decided to spend $50 for some Noctua NF-F12 fans. I installed them and was amazed at how quiet they were.

Noctua NF-F12 Fans

http://s24.photobucket.com/user/sabo...afans.mp4.html

My hope is that this thread will be a resource for those that are concerned about the noise coming from their SP120L PWM fans.

Last edited by AlphaBravo; 04-10-2013 at 03:26 PM.
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  #2  
Old 03-31-2013, 12:53 PM
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weaker fans will produce less noise,keep an eye on your max load temps but if the computer is only used on moderate loads,all should be ok
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Old 03-31-2013, 04:02 PM
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How did you have your fans mounted? I experienced this issue with 2 sets of fans as well when i had them mounted in push exhaust on the top of my case. Anytime I tried using the fans to push/pull air upwards I get a grinding noise, seems like an imbalance in the fan design itself. Switching to intake quieted them down for the most part.
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Old 03-31-2013, 04:15 PM
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Evidently the bearings don't like the weight added to the force. It's all in one direction with the fans pointed up. With them pointed down, the force partially balances against the weight and the bearings like it better.
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Old 03-31-2013, 04:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zephead99 View Post
How did you have your fans mounted? I experienced this issue with 2 sets of fans as well when i had them mounted in push exhaust on the top of my case. Anytime I tried using the fans to push/pull air upwards I get a grinding noise, seems like an imbalance in the fan design itself. Switching to intake quieted them down for the most part.
I had them mounted below the radiator, pushing air up through the radiator and out of the top of the case.
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Old 03-31-2013, 04:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Speed View Post
Evidently the bearings don't like the weight added to the force. It's all in one direction with the fans pointed up. With them pointed down, the force partially balances against the weight and the bearings like it better.
There was also a vibration when they were standing vertically on my computer stand.
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Old 03-31-2013, 04:36 PM
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This is exactly what I had discovered with these fans. Unless they were mounted horizontally in the intake position they would make the 'grrr' noise. One fan was particularly bad but all 4 that I tested produced the same sounds unless they were flat and blowing air downwards.
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Old 03-31-2013, 05:49 PM
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Wow. Do these CoolIT guys test anything before releasing it? I mean, when you release a fix, it had darn well better work.

Guess my clicking 120s on my H100i and 2 H80i's are actually a Good Thing (tm).
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Old 03-31-2013, 06:46 PM
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of course their tested but to test under every possible software/hardware configuration is when it becomes impossible to do.
also 3rd party monitoring programs have been known to conflict
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Old 03-31-2013, 07:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wytnyt View Post
of course their tested but to test under every possible software/hardware configuration is when it becomes impossible to do.
We're talking about mounting position of fans and the noise generated in a darn standard position that should be basic to check.

Quote:
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also 3rd party monitoring programs have been known to conflict
I know. Mentioned it many times.
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Old 05-25-2013, 09:41 AM
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I wanted to update this thread my my latest testing/findings.

After using the Noctua NF-F12s and being very satisfied with them, my curiosity got the better of me. Corsair ended up releasing a PWM version of the SP120 High Performance Edition fans, and I just had to see what they sounded like, so I ordered a pair and installed them on my H100i.

Results

1) They look fantastic mounted to the H100i. I have the white rings on them, and I really like the way they look.

2) When controlling them with the Corsair Link Cooling Node, I can only get just over 2000 RPM out of them (they are rated for 2350 RPM). That is not a major problem for me. Other than that issue, they are fully controllable with the Cooling Node.

3) They do not exhibit any of the "grrrrring" sound that the SP120L fans have. I would say that they are as quiet as the Noctua NF-F12 fans up to about 1500 RPM. Above 1500 RPM, the additional noise that is introduced is just the sound of a lot of air moving through them.

Nocuta NF-F12 and the Corsair SP120 High Performance Edition PWM
(fans are at low RPM, I believe around 700 to 800 RPM)

Noctua NF-F12
http://s24.photobucket.com/user/sabo...NFF12.mp4.html

Corsair SP120 High Performance PWM
http://s24.photobucket.com/user/sabo...20PWM.mp4.html
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Old 05-25-2013, 01:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlphaBravo View Post
I wanted to update this thread my my latest testing/findings.

After using the Noctua NF-F12s and being very satisfied with them, my curiosity got the better of me. Corsair ended up releasing a PWM version of the SP120 High Performance Edition fans, and I just had to see what they sounded like, so I ordered a pair and installed them on my H100i.

Results

1) They look fantastic mounted to the H100i. I have the white rings on them, and I really like the way they look.

2) When controlling them with the Corsair Link Cooling Node, I can only get just over 2000 RPM out of them (they are rated for 2350 RPM). That is not a major problem for me. Other than that issue, they are fully controllable with the Cooling Node.

3) They do not exhibit any of the "grrrrring" sound that the SP120L fans have. I would say that they are as quiet as the Noctua NF-F12 fans up to about 1500 RPM. Above 1500 RPM, the additional noise that is introduced is just the sound of a lot of air moving through them.

Nocuta NF-F12 and the Corsair SP120 High Performance Edition PWM
(fans are at low RPM, I believe around 700 to 800 RPM)

Noctua NF-F12
http://s24.photobucket.com/user/sabo...NFF12.mp4.html

Corsair SP120 High Performance PWM
http://s24.photobucket.com/user/sabo...20PWM.mp4.html
The new PWM fans do sound much better.
I usually hear the 'grrrrr' sound around 1200 RPM. How do the fans sound at around 1200 RPM?
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Old 05-25-2013, 02:07 PM
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Quote:
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The new PWM fans do sound much better.
I usually hear the 'grrrrr' sound around 1200 RPM. How do the fans sound at around 1200 RPM?
They sound great at 1200 RPM. No issues.
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Old 05-25-2013, 02:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlphaBravo View Post
They sound great at 1200 RPM. No issues.
Great to hear there is some sort of resolution for the fan issue

Last edited by BundD; 05-25-2013 at 03:00 PM.
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Old 02-04-2014, 05:19 AM
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I have just bought the H105 and I have the same problem. The two included SP120L fans make quite a lot of noise. If I set PWM to manual and turn the slope all the way down, it´s borderline bearable. But if the rpm gets over 1200 they start making a lot of noise.

Kinda strange for a set of fans that should be able to run at 2700rpm?
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