CustomPC's latest review of fans has totally confused me!

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dragontail
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CustomPC's latest review of fans has totally confused me!

Post by dragontail » Wed Jul 26, 2006 5:34 am

Okay guys, long time reader of the forums, by using the FAQs and search button lots of my queries have been solved 8) , but this one I cant.

Anyways, the latest issue of Custom PC magazine (available in the UK) had a huge review of fans (55 fans tested). Fans from Acoustifan, Akasa, Antec, Coolink, Enermax, Noiseblocker, Nexus, PAPST, Scythe, Sharkoon, SilenX, Thermaltake, Vantec (Tornado ftw lol), Xinruilian and Zalman were tested. The results were pretty suprising to me. Firstly, I'd like to say its that the testing methods used weren't bad or anything - the sound was measured by "a company that specialises in comparative testing of consumer electronic devices" which doesn't mean anything. However, I can tell you that they used a Bruel and Kjaer (spelt wrong as I can't be bothered finding the right symbols :P) 2260 sound level meter positioned 50cm away from the fan (if that helps). In terms of airflow, they timed the length of time to fill a black sack and worked it out from there.

Now, i know you guys recommend the 120mm Yate Loons, basically the nexus real silents, and the sythe S-flexes, but according to the review the Nexus 120mm was poor, pushing only 37CFM @ 32.1dBA (Avg room was at 20.1dBA). the scythe SFF21D was better, 30CFM at ~<21dBA, though its like twice the price of most of the rest of the fans. In fact, the "best" 120mm was in fact the Sharkoon Silent Eagle series, the 120mm one giving 38CFM @ ~<20.1dBA. Also bear in mind that this is all at stock 12V.

Now I'm kinda confused, as I was about to buy 3 120mm Nexuses to replace all the fans of my new (soon to be) E6600 build, but this has sorta made me hessitate. What do you guy's think of all this?

IsaacKuo
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Post by IsaacKuo » Wed Jul 26, 2006 6:25 am

I think that not a lot of us run any fans at 12v. Other than that, I have little experience to say anything about particular brands--I personally don't buy fans but rather harvest them.

The only "recommended" brand of fans I have are a couple 120mm Yate Loons pulled from some power supplies. I think they're medium speed models rather than the slow speed models prefered here. One of them has some annoying rattle; the other is pretty quiet but not as quiet as my best 80mm fans (some no-names off of el cheapo computer cases from NewEgg).

I get the impression that Yate Loons are liked here primarily because they're pretty quiet and also cheap--not because they were ever the quietest.

mb2
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Post by mb2 » Wed Jul 26, 2006 6:50 am

Welcome to SPCR! :)
the Sharkoon Silent Eagle looks interesting...
my suggestion; get one of each and tell us which is quietest :P

Bluefront
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Post by Bluefront » Wed Jul 26, 2006 7:00 am

Frankly that "how long it takes to fill a sack" method of measuring CFM is highly suspect. In fact if the results were within 20% of being accurate, I'd be surprised. And if this measurement is not 100% accurate, the results of the entire test are faulty. Just how can you accurately say "this sack is filled"?

FWIW....to compare CFM of different fans at the same voltage, a device that measures air pressure is more accurate. I made one using a sensitive scale, and a lever to hold a fan. Works good but is temperature and humidity sensitive, so I can only make judgments of one testing period.
I don't think you can beat a Yate Loon for noise, if that particular fan provides you sufficient airflow.

paulesko
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Post by paulesko » Wed Jul 26, 2006 7:42 am

all I can say is that I do have a scythe s-flex that spins at 800 rpm with 12v, and three nexus. And the diferences between both are so small that I wouldn´t spend even one minute more with it.

I mean, maybe (only maybe) scythe´s vents move a bit more air than nexus at the same noise level. How much? don´t know. I only know that with the scythe at 12v (800 rpm) in the hd tunnel of my p180 keeps the raptor at 38º while the nexus at 7v-6v raise raptor´s temperature up to 39º in the same conditions. And the noise level is more or less the same.

You also have to think that nexus at 12 are NOT silent, but scythe´s 800 rpm IS silent, so silent, that an idle raptor (150 gb) is much louder.

Sometimes when we are buying new things for our pcs we struggle (is that word right??) our mind to know what is THE BEST vent, the best case.... and most of those times the real diferences are so small that it´s not worth the headache and the time you spend on it.

Between the nexus, the scyhte and the tricool (thin one) I´d say that the best is the scythe, then nexus and then tricool fan. But believe me, there are not really big diferences, specially betwen scythe and nexus. both of them will satisfy you for sure.

s2

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Post by NeilBlanchard » Wed Jul 26, 2006 8:42 am

Greetings,

Yes, the "black bag" method of measuring CFM is highly suspect to me, as well. (Does the color of the bag really matter? :roll: ) The main reason it is probably inaccurate, is backpressure.

So, low RPM fans like the Nexus (which also has wider spaces between the frame and the ends of the blades (for purposes of lower noise) -- will suffer from poor response to back pressure. It will also make it noisier!

Did they say if they measured the sound level while inflating the "black bag"?

MasterWerk
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Post by MasterWerk » Wed Jul 26, 2006 9:22 am

I think it's all very subjective. I tend to get obsessive about stuff like this (which why finding a site about silent computing was very bad for me :wink: ) and have a very good ear and even I have a hard time hearing difference in sound levels from most of the fans.

I just put a ninja in my rig and i'm stressing about what the right fan is. I doubt there'll be much difference for me between the nexus i've got and the scythe i'm eying. It gets a bit rediculous.

I think the best thing is figure out how much air you need moved and go from there (i.e. cfm in vs cfm out). then you have something measurable to decide on.

mb2
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Post by mb2 » Wed Jul 26, 2006 9:44 am

i'm sure they wouldn't have tested the sound whilst connecting it to a bag..
and isn't CFM data from manufacturers fairly reliable anyway? i'd imagine it would be much easier to measure objectively (and consistantly) than noise..
also, the Sharkoon Silent Eagle has a 1000rpm version.. so is low speed too like the nexus.

Sooty
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Post by Sooty » Wed Jul 26, 2006 10:07 am

mb2 wrote:and isn't CFM data from manufacturers fairly reliable anyway?
No :roll:
Bluefront wrote:Frankly that "how long it takes to fill a sack" method of measuring CFM is highly suspect. In fact if the results were within 20% of being accurate, I'd be surprised. And if this measurement is not 100% accurate, the results of the entire test are faulty. Just how can you accurately say "this sack is filled"?
Exactly what I was wondering too :?

CPC's test procedure:
Image

55 fans is a lot, and CPC isn’t specifically into silencing, so I guess that’s why they didn’t bother under-volting the fixed speed fans, but they did test the variable speed fans at various speeds, and a few fixed fans that don't need under-volting, so still an interesting read.

Despite not having much time to post this, I was going to include a list of the fans with all the relevant test data, but a/ I haven’t had time to understand/verify their ‘CFM per dBA’ chart, and b/ I’ve just noticed an anomaly in their stats... Can anyone who has this issue, explain why the Zalman ZM-F3 scored 86% for 36cfm, yet the Nexus scored only 69% for 40cfm?

Anyway, I may or may not get time to sort the stats out, but just to say the Nexus fans did badly. 120 – too noisy, 92 – poor cfm, 80 – average performance.
Last edited by Sooty on Sat Jul 29, 2006 12:01 pm, edited 3 times in total.

IsaacKuo
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Post by IsaacKuo » Wed Jul 26, 2006 10:19 am

Here's how I'd measure airflow:

Start with a large box, with the tested fan as an exhaust and a "standard" fan for intake. This box also has a U tube with water in it as a pressure sensor. The box has a large door.

Step 1: Calibrate the pressure sensor. With both fans off and the door open, mark where the waterline is. This sets a "zero point" where internal pressure exactly equals external pressure.

Step 2: Calibrate the fan's "open air" rpms. With the door open, set the fan to the desired test voltage and measure the rpms.

Step 3: Match the airflow. With the door closed, adjust the "standard" fan voltage until zero pressure is acheived and confirm that the test fan is running at the same rpms as in open air (if zero pressure and rpms can't be matched at the same time, then there's something inherently wrong with this test rig). The tested exhaust fan is thus experiencing the exact same conditions as if it were running in open air. The intake fan is blowing air in at the exact rate required to duplicate open air conditions.

Step 4: Take the measurement. Measure the rpms on the intake fan, and use that as the "standardized" airflow rate measurement.

Sooty
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Post by Sooty » Wed Jul 26, 2006 10:31 am

..or do what Madshrimps do: Use the fan as an exhaust case fan and see how effectively it cools a passive Scythe Ninja. You don't end up with a cfm / airflow stat, but it's a very effective comparative test between fans.
Last edited by Sooty on Wed Jul 26, 2006 10:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

EndoSteel
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Post by EndoSteel » Wed Jul 26, 2006 10:32 am

IMO, a fan test that doesn't include static pressure measurement is practically worthless. Put the subjects in a PSU, for example, and the results will be completely different.

IsaacKuo
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Post by IsaacKuo » Wed Jul 26, 2006 10:43 am

I don't care for the Madshrimps philosophy of putting components inside "real life environments" because it introduces so many unnecessary variables. I'd rather minimize the variables to maximize repeatability.

Aris
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Post by Aris » Wed Jul 26, 2006 12:42 pm

one major thing i see missing, sound quality of the fans.

I have many 80mm panaflo L1A fans that are "technically" the same sound level, but the quality of the sound makes or breaks then as far as which one is the most quiet.

Frequency of sound is much more important than the amount of sound. If its in a frequency range that is going to be covered up by ambient noise sources in the room/computer, then who cares how loud it is?

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Post by Steve_Y » Wed Jul 26, 2006 3:31 pm

It was surprising to see the Nexus fans do so badly considering how popular they are. Personally I've been quite happy with the 92mm Nexus fans I've been using, they definitely seem to move more air than the 80mm version, which makes me a bit dubious about CPC's CFM testing.

Those 120mm Sharkoon Silent Eagle fans aren't too expensive so I'll probably be picking one up soon, it'll be interesting to see how it compares with Nexus fans when tested by my ears.

dragontail
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Post by dragontail » Thu Jul 27, 2006 12:51 am

Thanks for the replies guys! Keep it up :)
Bluefront wrote:Frankly that "how long it takes to fill a sack" method of measuring CFM is highly suspect. In fact if the results were within 20% of being accurate, I'd be surprised. And if this measurement is not 100% accurate, the results of the entire test are faulty. Just how can you accurately say "this sack is filled"?

FWIW....to compare CFM of different fans at the same voltage, a device that measures air pressure is more accurate. I made one using a sensitive scale, and a lever to hold a fan. Works good but is temperature and humidity sensitive, so I can only make judgments of one testing period.
I don't think you can beat a Yate Loon for noise, if that particular fan provides you sufficient airflow.
NeilBlanchard wrote:Greetings,

Yes, the "black bag" method of measuring CFM is highly suspect to me, as well. (Does the color of the bag really matter? ) The main reason it is probably inaccurate, is backpressure.

So, low RPM fans like the Nexus (which also has wider spaces between the frame and the ends of the blades (for purposes of lower noise) -- will suffer from poor response to back pressure. It will also make it noisier!

Did they say if they measured the sound level while inflating the "black bag"?
Yup, spot on. CPC admitted that (see that big scan from Sooty). But noise levels you can't argue with. And the Nexus was fairly loud.
Sooty wrote:mb2 wrote:
and isn't CFM data from manufacturers fairly reliable anyway?
No

Bluefront wrote:
Frankly that "how long it takes to fill a sack" method of measuring CFM is highly suspect. In fact if the results were within 20% of being accurate, I'd be surprised. And if this measurement is not 100% accurate, the results of the entire test are faulty. Just how can you accurately say "this sack is filled"?
Exactly what I was wondering too

CPC's test procedure:


55 fans is a lot, and CPC isn’t specifically into silencing, so I guess that’s why they didn’t bother under-volting the fixed speed fans, but they did test the variable speed fans at various speeds, and a few fixed fans that don't need under-volting, so still an interesting read.

Despite not having much time to post this, I was going to include a list of the fans with all the relevant test data, but a/ I haven’t had time to understand/verify their ‘CFM per dBA’ chart, and b/ I’ve just noticed an anomaly in their stats... Can anyone who has this issue, explain why the Zalman ZM-F3 scored 86% for 36cfm, yet the Nexus scored only 69% for 40cfm?

Anyway, I may or may not get time to sort the stats out, but just to say the Nexus fans did badly. 120 – too noisy, 92 – poor cfm, 80 – average performance. Fans doing very well (cfm per dB) were all the Zalman ZM-F’s, all the AcoustiFan DustProofs (rebadged ADDA’s, right?) and Sharkoon Silent Eagles (80/2000 & 120/1000, but not 80/1000 – poor cfm).
Hey, it's good to see a fellow CPC reader about =). Also thanks for posting the scan, saved me a lot of typing lol. And about the stats, I'd been wondering that as well, but I generally don't follow it - I'd rather read the actual review and performance of the fans.
Aris wrote:one major thing i see missing, sound quality of the fans.

I have many 80mm panaflo L1A fans that are "technically" the same sound level, but the quality of the sound makes or breaks then as far as which one is the most quiet.

Frequency of sound is much more important than the amount of sound. If its in a frequency range that is going to be covered up by ambient noise sources in the room/computer, then who cares how loud it is?
I think they mentioned the quality of the sound briefly in the test, and I would imagine it would have impacted the scores, but as I have said I take note of what the review says not the final score.

jaganath
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Post by jaganath » Thu Jul 27, 2006 12:59 am

But noise levels you can't argue with. And the Nexus was fairly loud.
What's puzzling about this "review" is that it simply doesn't jibe with the actual real experiences of SPCR users; I have a Nexus 120mm, and it is darn near inaudible at anything under 12V. So on the one hand you have literally thousands of testimonials and official SPCR reviews which put the Nexus as top dog quiet fan (although recently its crown may have been stolen by the Globalwin NCB, Yate Loons and some others in the price/performance stakes), and on the other hand you have this one dissenting voice from a site that is not even particularly interested in noise. So you have to look at this result as an outlier, rather than the middle section of the bell curve.

dragontail
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Post by dragontail » Thu Jul 27, 2006 1:05 am

jaganath wrote:
But noise levels you can't argue with. And the Nexus was fairly loud.
What's puzzling about this "review" is that it simply doesn't jibe with the actual real experiences of SPCR users; I have a Nexus 120mm, and it is darn near inaudible at anything under 12V. So on the one hand you have literally thousands of testimonials and official SPCR reviews which put the Nexus as top dog quiet fan (although recently its crown may have been stolen by the Globalwin NCB, Yate Loons and some others in the price/performance stakes), and on the other hand you have this one dissenting voice from a site that is not even particularly interested in noise. So you have to look at this result as an outlier, rather than the middle section of the bell curve.
You're right. I trust you guys completely when it comes to noise, but I'm a careful guy, and am just double checking. But CPC did get the fans properly soundchecked with proper equipment, and that confuses me :S

Thing is, I also know the Nexuses/scythes handle admirably undervolted, and I don't know how the Sharkoons. I've already bought a couple of Fanmate2s, so I guess if it ends up loud, I'll just undervolt...

Has anyone got a Nexus thats actually loud?

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Post by Sooty » Sat Jul 29, 2006 11:58 am

I mentioned previously of one anomaly I’d noticed with CPC’s percentage scoring system – I haven’t time to waste checking that further, so I’ve left all that out. All you need is what I’ve complied on a spreadsheet and posted below – hopefully there aren’t any CPC ‘anomalies’ within those numbers. I could of photocopied their ‘cfm per dBA’ graphs, but I can’t waste time trying to figure the maths they’ve used on that either. Eg: Sharkoon Silent Eagle 1000 120mm = 38cfm @ below 20.1dBA – if you divide cfm by dBA (not that 20.1 is the true dBA figue for that fan) you get 1.89, which is what appears CPC has marked it up as on that graph. However, then apply the same maths to the Sharkoon Silent Eagle 2000 80mm: 26cfm divided by 21.5dBA = 1.209, but on their graph it’s 3.5. Go figue....

Image

Image

^ They really should of given the Noiseblocker BlackSilent X2 and Zalman ZM-F1 (80mm) at least an ‘Approved’ award - far more deserving than the one they gave to the Akasa Amber 92mm v

Image

Image

amjedm
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Post by amjedm » Sat Jul 29, 2006 2:47 pm

Like most here I don't agree with the results but I have a Silent Eagle 120mm 1000rpm and I am impressed with it.

I bought a Nexus off ebay but it's past it's best - can't run horizontally (makes noises) and at 12v vertically it's slightly louder than the Sharkoon fan.

I also bought a 80mm Silent Eagle 1000rpm off ebay and it is very quiet.

Sooty
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Post by Sooty » Mon Jul 31, 2006 11:47 am

Another shootout where Sharkoon and Noiseblocker XL1 came top. Didn’t include the Nexus though.

No I wouldn’t dismiss the Nexus on just one bad review. I guess they ended up with a duffer, which is rare for Nexus. What’s more of a mystery is how they got 3 duffers (80/92/120) because each version is made by at least two or three entirely different supplies for Nexus. Definitely keep the Nexus at the top of your short-list, and maybe try the Sharkoon and/or Noiseblocker, if you can afford to satisfy your curiosity.

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Post by amjedm » Mon Jul 31, 2006 11:44 pm

Sooty wrote:No I wouldn’t dismiss the Nexus on just one bad review. I guess they ended up with a duffer, which is rare for Nexus. What’s more of a mystery is how they got 3 duffers (80/92/120) because each version is made by at least two or three entirely different supplies for Nexus. Definitely keep the Nexus at the top of your short-list, and maybe try the Sharkoon and/or Noiseblocker, if you can afford to satisfy your curiosity.
Maybe they bought some used ones from ebay like I did :)

dragontail
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Post by dragontail » Wed Aug 02, 2006 1:27 am

Sooty wrote:Another shootout where Sharkoon and Noiseblocker XL1 came top. Didn’t include the Nexus though.

No I wouldn’t dismiss the Nexus on just one bad review. I guess they ended up with a duffer, which is rare for Nexus. What’s more of a mystery is how they got 3 duffers (80/92/120) because each version is made by at least two or three entirely different supplies for Nexus. Definitely keep the Nexus at the top of your short-list, and maybe try the Sharkoon and/or Noiseblocker, if you can afford to satisfy your curiosity.
Yeah, good call. I think its the Nexus ftw.

Thanks guys for the input, and also sooty for typing all that stuff up.

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Post by MikeC » Mon Sep 18, 2006 2:21 pm

dragontail wrote:
jaganath wrote:
But noise levels you can't argue with. And the Nexus was fairly loud.
What's puzzling about this "review" is that it simply doesn't jibe with the actual real experiences of SPCR users; I have a Nexus 120mm, and it is darn near inaudible at anything under 12V. So on the one hand you have literally thousands of testimonials and official SPCR reviews which put the Nexus as top dog quiet fan (although recently its crown may have been stolen by the Globalwin NCB, Yate Loons and some others in the price/performance stakes), and on the other hand you have this one dissenting voice from a site that is not even particularly interested in noise. So you have to look at this result as an outlier, rather than the middle section of the bell curve.
You're right. I trust you guys completely when it comes to noise, but I'm a careful guy, and am just double checking. But CPC did get the fans properly soundchecked with proper equipment, and that confuses me :S

Thing is, I also know the Nexuses/scythes handle admirably undervolted, and I don't know how the Sharkoons. I've already bought a couple of Fanmate2s, so I guess if it ends up loud, I'll just undervolt...

Has anyone got a Nexus thats actually loud?
This review is a perfect example of how poorly single number metrics -- whether SPL dBA or sound power bels -- correlate with human perception of sounds. This is why every SPCR review states that our narrative description about the product's noise is the most important part of the review, not the measured SPL.

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Post by v3n » Wed Sep 20, 2006 9:03 am

Ive got the Magazine and read the article which I thought was good but I do like hearing the noise signature which SPCR reviews provide.

Bought the recommened Silent Eagle 1000 120mm via Ebay for my HTPC's rear fan as I fancy'd testing it to see if it was better than the Nexus 120mm's which Ive been very impressed with and highly recommend

Sooty
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Post by Sooty » Wed Sep 20, 2006 12:27 pm

v3n wrote:Bought the recommened Silent Eagle 1000 120mm via Ebay for my HTPC's rear fan as I fancy'd testing it to see if it was better than the Nexus 120mm's which Ive been very impressed with and highly recommend
So you've not yet tested the Silent Eagle?

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Post by amjedm » Wed Sep 20, 2006 1:37 pm

v3n wrote:Ive got the Magazine and read the article which I thought was good but I do like hearing the noise signature which SPCR reviews provide.

Bought the recommened Silent Eagle 1000 120mm via Ebay for my HTPC's rear fan as I fancy'd testing it to see if it was better than the Nexus 120mm's which Ive been very impressed with and highly recommend
Was that an auction of from a shop? If shop, pls can you let me know which one.

I have one and would like another. Scan.co.uk are not expecting stock until 29th Sept. This is the latest date (alreadly slipped a couple of times).

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Post by JayJay » Sun Oct 29, 2006 3:49 am

id like to bump this thread if anyone has bought the Sharkoon Silent Eagle 1000 120mm and can really confirm the results?

or have anything else to bring to this thread.

thank you

amjedm
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Post by amjedm » Sun Oct 29, 2006 10:51 am

JayJay wrote:id like to bump this thread if anyone has bought the Sharkoon Silent Eagle 1000 120mm and can really confirm the results?

or have anything else to bring to this thread.

thank you
First Sharkoon Silent Eagle 1000 120mm I bought was excellent IMO. Using it to cool a Sharkoon (rebranded Noisetaker 480) PSU in the bottom chamber of P180. Have removed fans from the PSU (copied Devonavar's idea).

Second one I bought had some noise (bearing?) when in the vertical position. If fan was tilted backwards slightly the noise disappeared.

Whilst waiting for the replacement for the above fan, I left it in the cupboard (laid it horizontally) and this seems to have sorted most of the noise issue (or the replacement fan makes more noise and psychologically I think this fan is now ok). This fan is now on the back of the P180.

The replacement for the second fan makes even more noise whilst in the vertical position.


In answer to your question, the fans are good if the noise issue can be sorted. QC may need to be improved?

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