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Old 11-13-2019, 10:10 AM
Bloodyvikings Bloodyvikings is offline
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Default Corsair ML120 - clicking noise @ low RPM

Hi, I recently purchased 7x Corsair ML120 fans and they make this obnoxious clicking sound as soon as they run at less than 1300RPM. They are connected via a Corsair Commander Pro fan hub but I have tested with 3 other hubs and even ran them connected directly to each of the fan headers on my motherboard. They sound horrible to me.

I have tested dozens of different brands in my computer, including EK-Furious Vardar EVO 120 BB and Be Quiet! Silent Wings 2 where only the latter actually kept what they promised and were silent on low RPM. Unfortunately Be Quiet's fans don't move enough air through my rads so I'm forced to go with the Corsair ones.

I've uploaded an audio file on Soundcloud here: https://soundcloud.com/user-459393561/corsairml120laud -- that humming noise does not exist in my computer, it is my cellphone's mic that makes it sound like that.

Is it normal for them to click like that at lower RPMs? I've read that if they get insufficient voltage they make clicking noises, but according to iCUE (https://i.imgur.com/M3tccoC.png) the Commander Pro gets 12v which is exactly what the fans need to work properly.
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Old 11-13-2019, 11:01 AM
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Make sure that they are set to 4-pin in the settings for the Commander Pro. This ensures that it will be in PWM mode rather than relying on Auto. That 12V only says what the CoPro is getting - not necessarily what the fans are being provided. If, for some reason, the auto detect "thinks" that they are 3-pin DC fans, it will regulate voltage. So let's just eliminate that as a possibility.
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Old 11-13-2019, 12:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DevBiker View Post
Make sure that they are set to 4-pin in the settings for the Commander Pro. This ensures that it will be in PWM mode rather than relying on Auto. That 12V only says what the CoPro is getting - not necessarily what the fans are being provided. If, for some reason, the auto detect "thinks" that they are 3-pin DC fans, it will regulate voltage. So let's just eliminate that as a possibility.
Wait what? How do I set it to 4-pin? Where? I had no idea you could do that.

EDIT
Nvm, I checked and it is 4-pin in the settings.
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Old 11-13-2019, 12:56 PM
c-attack c-attack is offline
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I don't hear any clicking in that sound file at all. I do hear a lot of lower frequency harmonics. The magnetic levitation bearing does have some of that noise to a degree, but it is typically evident when running very low speeds (400-600) in a very quiet room. At 1300 rpm, there should be enough blade/air noise that you can't heat anything else.

I think the next step would be to unbolt one of them and see if the characteristics are present when in your hand or on the desk vs mounted and in numbers. You probably need to isolate whether this is a small noise being repeated 7 times or if there is a case/mount issue contributing to the overall tone. I hear a lot of what seems like case resonance in the clip, but it can be very hard to tell on the other end of a sound byte.
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Old 11-13-2019, 03:07 PM
Bloodyvikings Bloodyvikings is offline
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Originally Posted by c-attack View Post
I don't hear any clicking in that sound file at all. I do hear a lot of lower frequency harmonics. The magnetic levitation bearing does have some of that noise to a degree, but it is typically evident when running very low speeds (400-600) in a very quiet room. At 1300 rpm, there should be enough blade/air noise that you can't heat anything else.

I think the next step would be to unbolt one of them and see if the characteristics are present when in your hand or on the desk vs mounted and in numbers. You probably need to isolate whether this is a small noise being repeated 7 times or if there is a case/mount issue contributing to the overall tone. I hear a lot of what seems like case resonance in the clip, but it can be very hard to tell on the other end of a sound byte.
I think I heard the same noise from the fans when they were outside of the case, but I will remove one later today just to double check.

But I suppose that's what the fans really sounds like and those who think they're quiet live in a more noisy environment. My apartment is really well isolated from the outside. I am the kind of person who thinks that the low frequency sound of a modern TV is super annoying, so I was hoping that these fans wouldn't make any sound at all other than the sound of moving air.

FYI, I've heard the same kind of sound from every fan I've used besides the ones from Be Quiet. They make some kind of sound at lower RPM but not the same as these and every other brand I've used. Even Noctuas annoy me.
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Old 11-13-2019, 08:19 PM
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You may not like the ML then. I would not classify them as a "silent fan". There aren't many of those. Where they really shine is in the middle RPM range on a radiator or other resistance. They have a working noise lower than most other comparable fans. However, the nature of the bearing (electrical suspension) is going to produce a sound, like when you run a current through anything. It's not what I would recommend to the ultra quiet crowd. It is a very good replacement for most standard radiator or case fans when you intend to go with a little speed. I can run ML140s up to 1100 before it is as noisy as a pair of Noctua at 900.

Unfortunately, I have another word of caution as well. The PWM variations of both the Vardar and BeQuiet SW2/SW3 fans have issues on the Commander Pro. There is something about the signal that is not compatible and the you usually loose control at some point. This is only for the PWM version and the DC 3 pin models work just fine. I have a shelf full of SW2 and SW3 fans in DC and PWM. I would not characterize them as a face full of air, but they do work and are about as quiet as it gets. In the 120mm size, I am not so fussy on SW2 vs SW3. In the 140mm size, there is a definite difference.
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