Dubious Marketing

Share your experiences about noisy computers and components, and vendors responses to your valid complaints.

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Dubious Marketing

Post by MikeC » Sun Apr 27, 2003 12:04 pm

This began as a reply about fans, and turned into a bit of a rant... But then I figured we really need a thread like this to promote truth in advertising in this sector. I think the header of this post is self-explanatory, but here's a couple of guidelines about suggesting candidates:

-- Product aimed at silent/quiet market
-- Misleading by virtue of name, promotion, packaging, etc.
-- Flaw(s) not easily evident before purchase makes it virtually useless

No lambasting of honest mistakes or products not quite right yet. We want to encourage the innovators, not beat them up, so please, no frivolous posts. Admin will keep an eye out and take action on such.

Anyway, here are my first votes; naturally you are welcome to comment / agree / disagree.

-------------------------------------

the Stealth is a bit noisier than the Panaflo

Vantec Stealth 120mm -- clickty clack is what I's say about them. Haven't heard the 120mm Panaflo L (or any 120mm Panaflo) but if they're anywhere close to the Stealth, I'd be really disappointed.

For the record, I think the Vantec "Stealth" line is one of the very worst offenders in the Lies in Advertising/Marketing sweepstakes. The whole Vantec "Stealth" line is mostly a misnomer there's hardly one product that lives up to its name. :evil: Their 80mm fan might be the only exception and it ain't that good either. It's the old branding & repetition trick: Say it is so repeatedly and people will believe. :? Too often, it works.

There I've said it finally and that feels great! :D

I've said it before: This market sector is ripe for hype because there are no mandatory standards for noise declarations in PC components. Look at the "w/noise killer" tags on all those noisy PSUs w/no noise specs, for example, and Enermax's continued (laughable) use of the word "whisper". :? It'll get worse before it gets better.

EDIT Jan 7/03: On reflection, the heading of this thread -- "Dubious Marketing" -- probably falls into the category of nonsensical repetition, much like smelly dung or windy tornado or corporate greed. Marketing by its very nature is always at least a bit dubious. :lol: :roll:
Last edited by MikeC on Wed Jan 07, 2004 12:47 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by MikeC » Fri May 02, 2003 3:20 pm

Given the title, I think it is not fair to mention any company in this thread unless it ireally is an accusation. glassjoe, I'm moving your post to a new thread.
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Post by glassjoe » Fri May 02, 2003 3:42 pm

That's fine. It felt a little borderline when I posted it. (But for the record, I did say that it was just an annoyance, and not a nomination.)

I just posted it to your thread since your topic is what got me to ask the question in the first place.

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Post by aristide1 » Fri May 02, 2003 8:58 pm

MikeC, is it possibly the Vantec Stealth and the Enermax whisper are indeed quiet, as compared to the rest of their own line? Is it possible everything else they make is much worse? Companies do that all time, truth from their point of view.

How about Vantec Stealth-ier?

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Post by MikeC » Fri May 02, 2003 9:07 pm

Even if that was true, I think no company can be unaware of their competitors. And if they are, well, they deserve a smack on the head to wake up, face the reality: their stuff is far from stealthy or whispery -- by almost any standard. Don't you think?
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Post by aristide1 » Fri May 02, 2003 9:22 pm

I strongly suspect a certain amount of "intentional ignorance", how's that for a phrase that's PC?

The may also be gambling on a scenario where somebody running a 6000 rpm screamer switches to one of their highly available units and thinks this is it. That person never bothers to find out the product is a half truth.

There's a lot of site selling their fans, confirming they are in fact quiet. That's not a good thing either.

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My vote for 'silent' fans

Post by dukla2000 » Sat May 03, 2003 2:01 am

Without naming names, there is at least 1 place that sells 80mm Panaflo L1As as 'Silent'. (And plenty of others that sell Panaflo or Papst under similar labels.)

As above, I think the problem is the typical imprecision of English: compared to a Delta EHE of course, in a 30dB(A) office background of course. But in my study at 3am like hell. (And compounded as Mike has written elsewhere by the exceptional discriminatory nature of human hearing.)

We are surrounded by this garbage 'reduced fat', 'washes whiter' etc. I suspect 'whisper' is the one that could be actionable under UK law, cause given the right audio lab it can be compared scientifically to a whisper. The rest fall under caveat emptor :evil:

Nevertheless we should keep the thread going to help all us "emptor's" to "caveat"!
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Post by Mr_Smartepants » Sat May 03, 2003 3:54 am

It's my opinion that when comparing 90% of the available case fans in the world, the Vantec Stealth and the Enermax 'whisper' fans are quiet. Having said that, those two fans are NOT quiet enough for the active members of this forum. They are meant for the masses to swap these fans with the generic pieces of cr*p that case makers persist on installing by default just to save a few cents. By comparison, the Stealth and Whisper fans are far quieter.

Does that make them bad? Absolutely not! Those fans just don't meet our criteria for quietness. But for the other 90% of the population, they're just fine. They're relatively inexpensive, widely available, and easy for the uninitiated to install.
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Post by aristide1 » Sat May 03, 2003 6:42 am

Given the fact that noise measurments aren't standardized in anyway, and the companies have more money than we do, we need to be careful as to not libel them. These days to interfere with income from a product, even if you are right, results in a lawsuit. You can say Product A doesn't perform well against Product b in our tests, but even then you can't say Product A sucks.

One advantage some companies will have is with weighted noise measurements. A-weighted noise measurement basically ignore low frequency noise, so if most of the fans noise is rumble it will spec quite well, even if overall it's so-so. Unfortunately A-weighted noise specs are very accepted everywhere.

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Post by MikeC » Sat May 03, 2003 9:22 am

The point about Vantec fans is probably somewhat true, they are quieter than most fans. But I disagree about the Enermax and Vantec PSUs -- they are only quiet for a few minutes before the fans ramp up to become noisy.

I guess this thread is about our value judgements, about widely accepted general understanding of words like stealth and whisper. The word stealth actually does not have a clear noise-meaning, which kind of takes Vantec off the hook... (But it sure annoys me!) The word whisper, however has a pretty clear meaning: almost evey noise definition of the word pegs it as being 30 dBA tops; it is often described as 20 dBA.

1. The Vantec 3-fan PSUs are nowhere close to stealthy quiet. The internal physical impedance to airflow and the 3 fans all spinning constantly puts the overall noise level even at default to ~30 dBA. That is NOT stealthy. Yes, stealth is a subjective term; it is marketing. To me it is misleading marketing.

2. The Vantec 92mm and 120mm fans buzz/click so badly that mounted normally in a case, the noise level has to be 30 dBA or higher, with all the resonance amplification in the case.

3. I have yet to hear a single Enermax "whisper" PSU that is whisper quiet. They all appear to ramp the fan speed up to the point where the noise level is well over 30 dBA.

The whole point of this thread is really simple: To identify products that really don't deserve to be supported or purchased by people who are looking to quiet PCs. It is subjective, I agree.

I will see if I can come up with a header that is more precise...
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Post by johnc » Mon May 05, 2003 10:30 am

"Dubious Marketing" is a very interesting topic.

There are methods for putting this discussion on solid ground, but they require quantification of a variety of factors that are subjective/elusive.

It goes without saying that decaffeinated coffee contains caffeine.

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Post by MikeC » Mon May 05, 2003 11:18 am

ok, call it shaky ground, john ;) i don't know that it is worth time to quantify these subjective things, just as I don't think it is worth time to spend on doing good reviews of bad products. this is why i started this thread -- as a kind of quick heads up, worst offenders column. the core membership have a pretty good handle on who they are, i just would like to try and keep the whole 'quiet' concept from being turned into a meaningless hype word.
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Post by pingu666 » Tue May 06, 2003 11:28 am

there are some akasa hsf that are whisper/quiet with over 30db rating :S and other makes :\
my enermax was quiet, when it wasnt pushed... same with antec
ive nearly given up on fans all together :)
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Post by Zhentar » Sun May 11, 2003 7:54 pm

The problem is of course its all relative...

Zalman released a new PSU thats supposed to be quiet... they rank 20 dbA as noiseless, and 25 dbA as silent... the review on overclockers.com called it silent and he couldn't hear it when he first turned it on....

A review for the AX-7 compared it to several heat sinks. The reviewer aborted one of the tests with the Alpha PALrandom numbers because it was reaching high temps- 38° C.

A review I just saw for a case said a 120mm blow hole was pretty much essential to deal with heat in a modern system.

The problem is it all depends on your frame of reference.

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Post by seishino » Mon May 12, 2003 7:53 am

Without driving into the territory of Libel, I was deeply disappointed in the volume of noise from tip-driven fans. It was true they lacked quite a bit of the air-turbulance noise of similar fans, but they also vibrated like a rave toy due to having the weight distributed along the edge, causing much deeper, louder noise.

Still, many products claim to be "silent", yet are so painfully obviously not that no consumer could be fooled (high-end graphics cards come to mind)... kind of like saying "cigarettes don't cause cancer" and expecting anyone to believe you.
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Post by jhh » Mon May 12, 2003 5:52 pm

Maybe I'm confusing definitions but to me the "silent" means no noise (ie 0dBA), with quiet meaning little noise. Maybe this is a misconception but I think it's one the industry sees and takes advantage of.

As for villans, well I was foolish enough to buy a Thermaltake "silent" psu (it's long since been ebayed!) - now that WAS loud, clearly audiable over a stock athlon fan!
jh

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Post by edcrane » Mon May 12, 2003 6:44 pm

I'll add that the antec true power psu's that claim to be the new standard in silence, are far louder than my hd's, cpu and exhaust fans combined. At least they're not called "the silent psu", but really, when you're at compusa contemplating power supplies, the big pics of ears subtitled "super low noise" are rather deceptive.

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Post by LushMD » Wed May 14, 2003 3:15 pm

I agree with MikeC that the Enermax Whisper PSUs are quite loud. I was unfortunate enough to purchase one of these beasts, which I am presently replacing (perhaps I'll sell the enermax on eBay?). As regards the Vantec Stealth fans, although they are quiter than some other case fans, they are certainly not worth the money (especially considering that one can acquire the significantly quieter Panaflo L1As for less). What may be more troubling than certain companies exaggerating the quiet aspects of their products is the fact that many review sites (of course not SPCR, :lol:) support and verify these claims (ostensibly, the intent of these sites is to debunk such assertions). Consider that, prior to building my previous system (and before learning of SPCR), I did extensive research and read innumerable reviews extolling the virtues of the enermax whisper PSUs and vantec stealth fans (prompting me to purchase these products). Thus, the poor quality of such reviews may be more reprehensible than corporate self-promotion.

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add this one to the list

Post by NapalmDeath » Fri May 30, 2003 11:24 am

PC Power & Cooling "Silencer" fans...
They are quiet, because they barely move ANY air.

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Re: add this one to the list

Post by MikeC » Fri May 30, 2003 11:49 am

NapalmDeath wrote:PC Power & Cooling "Silencer" fans...
They are quiet, because they barely move ANY air.
They are very quiet (similar to Panaflo) and may move a bit less air than the Panaflo, but their claim to silence is reasonable, IMO.
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Post by NapalmDeath » Fri May 30, 2003 12:06 pm

80mm Silencer
27 CFM
1600 RPM
20dB(A)
12VDC

80mm Panaflo L1A
24 CFM
1900 RPM
21dB(A)
12VDC

The magic fan with 18.75% less RPM but 12.5% more CFM !
Next they will unveil their plan for cold fusion.

EDIT* yes they fall into the quieter fan category. I challenge their CFM value.
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Post by aphonos » Fri May 30, 2003 12:18 pm

NapalmDeath wrote:80mm Silencer
27 CFM
1600 RPM
20dB(A)
12VDC

80mm Panaflo L1A
24 CFM
1900 RPM
21dB(A)
12VDC

The magic fan with 18.75% less RPM but 12.5% more CFM !
Next they will unveil their plan for cold fusion.

EDIT* yes they fall into the quieter fan category. I challenge their CFM value.
MikeC also challenged this fans CFM on the Recommended Fans table....
Recommended Fans wrote:Very similar to Mechatronics. No way 27 CFM. Dec 24/02
I'm not sure that we can add all the over-statements by fan manufacturers about CFM to this thread....too many fans to list :) But 1600 RPM at 12V will likely mean a quiet fan when undervolted--provided undervolting does not produce clicking or other mechanical noise. If it weren't a reasonable option, it probably would not have made the recommended list.

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oh yeah!

Post by NapalmDeath » Fri May 30, 2003 12:50 pm

If false advertising doesn't qualify for "Dubious Marketing", then what would?

:?:

They should be pulled from the recommended list, or measured for actual CFM and updated. I have a dusty box full of the damn things. If someone can measure CFM, I'll mail you one.
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Post by MikeC » Fri May 30, 2003 1:29 pm

NapalmDeath -- you'd probably have the same reaction to Panaflo Ls, SilenX and other quiet fans. I've substituted the silencer 80mm fans for the Panaflo 80Ls in the past without noticing any big change in noise or temps (tho it has been a while I admit). Your comment also begs the question: What fan did you substitute the Silencers with?
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Re: oh yeah!

Post by aphonos » Fri May 30, 2003 1:32 pm

NapalmDeath wrote:If false advertising doesn't qualify for "Dubious Marketing", then what would?

:?:

They should be pulled from the recommended list, or measured for actual CFM and updated. I have a dusty box full of the damn things. If someone can measure CFM, I'll mail you one.
It seems your beef with the PC Power & Cooling fans is that they misrepresent the CFM. If, in fact, they do not push 26CFM (a fact that would require testing to confirm) then you are correct...false advertising. And since you have now listed these fans in this thread, people should be amply warned.

But overstated CFM does not mean that the fans are not suitable for quiet operation and I believe it is largely the noise level of a fan that determines whether or not it makes its way onto the Recommended List (though I don't know MikeC's actual criteria, the Recommended Fans page states it is a, "...short list of fans known to be quiet"). And Mike does acknowledge the inflated CFM numbers in his recommendation, so caveat emptor.

Edit: Dang Mike, you beat me to the Submit button.

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how i used silencer fans

Post by NapalmDeath » Mon Jun 02, 2003 5:36 am

Since the Silencer pushed very little air, I ran them in a 2:1 setup.
To accomodate 2:1 fans I bought the Antex SX835 tower case.
(2) 80mm fans rear, (3) 80mm fans front. (3 yrs ago)

The air flow was still low. I replaced them with Vantec Stealth fans (bad!)
Got the air flow I wanted, but of course also the noise.

Found the Silent PC Review website, read up on better products to use, and completely rebuilt my system. (now I can't hear my PC from 5 feet away)

I have BBR (buyer burned rage) about the Silencer fan after buying (6) of them. :evil:

It slightly exceeds my BBR on the Nexus fan bus that buzzes loudly when you undervolt fans. :oops:


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Post by Daiz » Wed Jun 04, 2003 5:58 am

May i bring your attention to this web-page:

http://www.globalwin.com.tw/products/co ... index.html

the unit with model: CAK4-86 looks to have a delta/sunon/vantec 38x80mm fan sitting atop it and the specs say it is running at 4700RPM with a "noisy level" of "silent (31 +/-2db)!!!

are they measuring this in the next room??!!

I actually have one of the low speed 80x38mm deltas and one thing they are not is quiet or silent.
This is by far the worst case of bullshit marketing i have ever seen

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Post by Edwood » Thu Jul 24, 2003 3:32 pm

"Dubious Marketing" Haha, isn't that redundant? :D

Seriously, though. When it comes to fans, it really does boil down to personal preferences too. Some people are more sensitive to one type of sound to another. I, for instance, cannot stand the high pitch chatter that Panaflo L1A's get when mounted blowing sideways. But they are very quiet nonetheless.

To be fair, it's always "buyer beware" when it comes to products marketed mainly by their name. I think something marketed as "Whisper" quiet is pretty noisy, IMO. We all strive for DEAD quiet here.
When someone whispers, that's alot louder than even the loudest of the "whisper quiet" products.

Now when actual concrete numbers are listed, like Bels and dBL's. That's an entirely different matter. But much like 3D gaming benchmarks, test results can be skewed heavily. (cough, Apple, cough).

Seriously folks, many of us have silenced our PC's to the point of them not being measureable by cheaper sound level meters. It then falls into the realm of subjective measurements. Silencing PC's is as much Art as it is Science. I have personally spent a small fortune in buying different fans alone. And I have made my own dedicated fan power supplies to test them, and in some cases, use them outside of computer cases.

But that's where this site and forum comes in. Keep on buying new stuff and telling everyone about it. The more word of mouth spreads, the less "Dubious Marketing" will have an effect.

-Ed
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