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H115i Pro with Noctua NF A14 2000 - Fan speed inconsistent


mputtr
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Hi,

Just joined in to ask a few questions. I spent the past few days googling about upgrading my H115i Pro RGB but I can't seem to find a solution.

I just recently changed out the stock fans to the Noctua NF A14 2000RPM IPPC fans and I've noticed that when I set the fans on a custom curve, it doesn't follow it in any way shape or form.

I have tried switching sensor between the H115i Pro Temp to the i9 9900K package to see if it makes any difference and it doesn't seem to matter.

 

my current curve is set as:

20-25C @ 35%

26-32C @ 60%

35C @ 75%

38C @ 85%

40C @ 100%

 

as I am typing this, the temperature shown is at 27.6C and the fan is going from 1400 RPM to 1900 RPM back and forth while the temp is still sitting at ~27C.

I'm not sure what is going on but I feel like I have zero control of the actual fans and whatever curve I set for it, be it a custom curve that I set or Extreme or Balanced or Quiet, it ignores all the settings.

 

I even did a test and put 1 fan on my custom curve and 1 on Quiet and there is literally no difference in how the fan is runnign at all. They are essentially in sync, give or take 20rpm.

 

I'm using the latest version of iCue (v 3.27.68) and I also verified that the firmware for the h115i pro rbg is v1.04 (which seems to be the latest version)

 

Am I misunderstanding how iCue is supposed to work?

 

I've attached a screenshot of an example.

This screenshot is based off the i9 9900K package sensor:

The temp is currently showing 34C, which means it should be running just under 75% (~1500rpm), but as you can see, both fans are currently running at 1860+rpm.

2020-04-19.thumb.png.48ea028d9997a29e974cbf666b4c72cb.png

 

This screenshot is based off the H115i Pro Temp sensor

The temp is at 34C but fan speed is oddly enough running at ~950rpm when it's supposed to be in the 1500rpm range.

600263641_2020-04-19(1).thumb.png.0e84ae44ddb5aab1c404463187c7e08d.png

Edited by mputtr
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Unfortunately you are likely seeing a PWM signal incompatibility. This had been common with the 3000 rpm version. I used the 2000 PWM A14i on a Pro for quite a while without issue, but this has been popping up more often lately. My A14 industrial are first issue from several years back. I don’t know if the fan motor has changed or the controller in the Pro.

 

Verify there is no control by assigning both fixed RPM or fixed % speeds. Try a few and see if it follows. You can move the fans to the MB headers and see if there is a viable control option in the BIOS. A thermal probe on the exhaust side the of the radiator will make an effective substitution for coolant temperature. Many newer motherboards have this 2 prong T sensor hidden somewhere.

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Unfortunately you are likely seeing a PWM signal incompatibility. This had been common with the 3000 rpm version. I used the 2000 PWM A14i on a Pro for quite a while without issue, but this has been popping up more often lately. My A14 industrial are first issue from several years back. I don’t know if the fan motor has changed or the controller in the Pro.

 

Verify there is no control by assigning both fixed RPM or fixed % speeds. Try a few and see if it follows. You can move the fans to the MB headers and see if there is a viable control option in the BIOS. A thermal probe on the exhaust side the of the radiator will make an effective substitution for coolant temperature. Many newer motherboards have this 2 prong T sensor hidden somewhere.

 

Ah yeah, I actually originally bought the 3000rpm version and that one was waaay worse. it was either 0rpm or full blast.

I did some searching and read that the 3000rpm version was supposed to be the only fan that was incompatible and that others have used the 2000rpm version with no problems.

 

I just did a full blast test and it does ramp up around 1800-1920rpm (but never 2000rpm or close to it)

I also tried changing it to fix RPM of 500 and it runs about 300-490rpm.

 

I wanted to get a high static pressure fan to replace the current ML ones and I though the A14 2000 would have been best. What other fan would work with the cooler properly?

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The 2000 rpm A14i and F12i have always worked and that is my concern. I just had 3 NF-F12 2000 on my Commander for several weeks and they worked as expected.

 

The A14 is no better than the ML140 at like speeds. If you are not running 1500 rpm+, you won’t lose anything by staying with it. If you do use the higher speeds, my normal pick would be the ML140 Pro (black). It is slightly quieter in the middle speeds and has a slight edge in airflow through a radiator. However, the supply of these has dried up and I don’t think you can find them. Since the Vardar and BeQuiet high speed also have the PWM issue, that really takes a bite out of the 2000 rpm class. Can you be more specific about your needs and the speed you actually want to run?

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The 2000 rpm A14i and F12i have always worked and that is my concern. I just had 3 NF-F12 2000 on my Commander for several weeks and they worked as expected.

 

The A14 is no better than the ML140 at like speeds. If you are not running 1500 rpm+, you won’t lose anything by staying with it. If you do use the higher speeds, my normal pick would be the ML140 Pro (black). It is slightly quieter in the middle speeds and has a slight edge in airflow through a radiator. However, the supply of these has dried up and I don’t think you can find them. Since the Vardar and BeQuiet high speed also have the PWM issue, that really takes a bite out of the 2000 rpm class. Can you be more specific about your needs and the speed you actually want to run?

 

I went for the A14 because I am constantly folding stuff to help out w/ the COVID 19 research and realize that my cpu temps are hitting 85-91C constantly. I was hoping that going to a more powerful fan would help lower the temps but it's weird that the fan speed control is completely inconsistent.

right now the pump temp is 37.5C, which means it should be running close to 85% speed, but instead, i'm watching it run at 1100rpm which is barely over 50%.

 

I'm not sure why this is such an issue at all. Is this a problem w/ the h115i pro's firmware or is it an issue specifically with Noctua fans?

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I don't know the origin of the problem. The Corsair controllers work with the vast majority of PWM fans. Then there are three European based manufacturers whose fans act quirky. Obviously there is some difference in the PWM signal or how it is interpreted, but I am not qualified to discern where the fault lies or to make a circuit to fix it. It does suggest there is some wiggle room in the standard or at least a regional interpretation of it. The A14 industrial does not work. The Chromax version does. I have large quantities from all three manufacturers and they are popular choices in the performance fan market, so this really does limit choices. For what you are doing, you are in the small group that can benefit from higher speeds.

 

I am just going to list options I can think of:

 

I subsequently got the H115i Pro out of the closet and set it up on the side to run tests. Previous statements annotated below.

 

1) Move the A14i to the motherboard for control. A $5 10K thermistor probe with the sensor end on the exhaust side of the radiator will mimic coolant temp. You should have a 2 pin temp probe socket on that board. It's usually below the chipset in the front lower section. Or since you are folding all the time and not running normal low-middle-high transient loads, you can use CPU temp from the BIOS without the fans giving you the roller coaster ride.

 

1b) My A14i 2000 rpm PWM did not respond to the curve just like yours, but did respond to Fixed RPM. This creates another usage option specifically for your circumstances. High fixed speeds for folding. Low to moderate fixed speed for other uses. This can be done as fan profiles or entire software profile shifts tied to a mouse or KB button if either is Corsair. It will respond to 100% PWM signal, as I found out when initiating it and it blew both fans clear off the table. Since it responds to fixed RPM and not PWM % further suggests it is PWM incompatibility vs something else. The Pro and Platinum series coolers use PWM % as their standard curve control. The Commander Pro uses RPM as its control. I suspect this is why I did not encounter issues over the past two years or so.

 

2) See if you can find ML120 Pro (black ) or ML140 "twin pack" in your market. Another option is the replacement fans from Corsair for the H115i Platinum. Those are RGB versions of the 2000 rpm Pro, but I don't really want to push you that direction. There are also some heavier duty industrial models out there, but I can't vouch for most of them since they are not a common fan. Blacknoise makes some plain black industrial versions that should work. Their other offerings (Multi-frame and eLoop) I have used for years (and just verified now).

 

3) Use an intermediary. A small powered PWM hub might be able to act as a go between for the fan and H115i controller. The PWM lead from the hub connects to 1 fan connector from the cooler. Hub interacts with fan. Hopefully the Hub and H115i Pro can talk to each other. Obviously this is experimental and maybe only something to try if you have one lying around. This was a miss on my Silverstone PWM hub. Again, fixed RPM works. Switching to control curve leaves the fan hanging where it was at that moment. Probably a no go.

Edited by c-attack
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huh that's definitely interesting.

thank you for doing those tests!

So i think i'll have to look around for the ml140 pros.

kinda bummed and a bit frustrated since it's not like noctua are random unknown companies. wish corsair would figure out a solution for it. i can't be the only person who would really love to change out the fans.

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I don't know the origin of the problem. The Corsair controllers work with the vast majority of PWM fans. Then there are three European based manufacturers whose fans act quirky. Obviously there is some difference in the PWM signal or how it is interpreted, but I am not qualified to discern where the fault lies or to make a circuit to fix it. It does suggest there is some wiggle room in the standard or at least a regional interpretation of it. The A14 industrial does not work. The Chromax version does. I have large quantities from all three manufacturers and they are popular choices in the performance fan market, so this really does limit choices. For what you are doing, you are in the small group that can benefit from higher speeds.

 

I am just going to list options I can think of:

 

I subsequently got the H115i Pro out of the closet and set it up on the side to run tests. Previous statements annotated below.

 

1) Move the A14i to the motherboard for control. A $5 10K thermistor probe with the sensor end on the exhaust side of the radiator will mimic coolant temp. You should have a 2 pin temp probe socket on that board. It's usually below the chipset in the front lower section. Or since you are folding all the time and not running normal low-middle-high transient loads, you can use CPU temp from the BIOS without the fans giving you the roller coaster ride.

 

1b) My A14i 2000 rpm PWM did not respond to the curve just like yours, but did respond to Fixed RPM. This creates another usage option specifically for your circumstances. High fixed speeds for folding. Low to moderate fixed speed for other uses. This can be done as fan profiles or entire software profile shifts tied to a mouse or KB button if either is Corsair. It will respond to 100% PWM signal, as I found out when initiating it and it blew both fans clear off the table. Since it responds to fixed RPM and not PWM % further suggests it is PWM incompatibility vs something else. The Pro and Platinum series coolers use PWM % as their standard curve control. The Commander Pro uses RPM as its control. I suspect this is why I did not encounter issues over the past two years or so.

 

2) See if you can find ML120 Pro (black ) or ML140 "twin pack" in your market. Another option is the replacement fans from Corsair for the H115i Platinum. Those are RGB versions of the 2000 rpm Pro, but I don't really want to push you that direction. There are also some heavier duty industrial models out there, but I can't vouch for most of them since they are not a common fan. Blacknoise makes some plain black industrial versions that should work. Their other offerings (Multi-frame and eLoop) I have used for years (and just verified now).

 

3) Use an intermediary. A small powered PWM hub might be able to act as a go between for the fan and H115i controller. The PWM lead from the hub connects to 1 fan connector from the cooler. Hub interacts with fan. Hopefully the Hub and H115i Pro can talk to each other. Obviously this is experimental and maybe only something to try if you have one lying around. This was a miss on my Silverstone PWM hub. Again, fixed RPM works. Switching to control curve leaves the fan hanging where it was at that moment. Probably a no go.

 

Quick follow up:

I ended up just buying the commander pro. Got it off ebay for 40 bucks, open box. spent the past hour and a half redoing all the cables (because it suddenly looked terrible when I opened it up). Now it looks like it's running exactly as needed.

I'm still wondering if I should add argb fans to the case but then again i'm probably overthinking it. I'm just glad the fans are now running the proper curve that it is set to.

 

Thank you for your advice.

Edited by mputtr
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