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RichBa5tard 3rd June 2002 23:49

INFO: Fan guide
The ultimate Fan Guide.

I was supposed to write an article about which fan is best suited for each piece of HW, but I lost all my measured data due to a hard-drive failure, so I can't back it up with figures. So, here are my experiences with air cooling:

Low Budget:
Non OC: Volcano 7(*) + papst NGM (26dBa) (NGML suffice for XP1600+ or lower)
OC: Volcano 7+
High Budget:
Non OC: Alpha 8045(**) + papst NGML (19dBa)
OC: SLK800 + papst NG (32dBa) or standard delta 4000rpm (+40dBa). The standard delta will cool a little bit better (it was 1C lower in my test), but it makes *much* more noise than the papst NG.

(*)A note on the standard fan suplied with the v7: they're crap. Why? For OC'ers they don't cool enough, and for non-OC'ers who want a silent system they make too much noise. When replacing the fan on a v7, *always* replace it with a papst. Delta fans don't work well on a volcano 7.

(**)The Thermalright AX7 would be a cheaper and equally performing HS as the SLK800, but it's hard to get here in Belgium so I couldn't test it.

A note on enermax fans: they're pretty, their speed is manually adjustable and they're cheap. Nice, but the only thing that matters: the actual cooling, is bad. If you turn it to the lowest setting so it makes as much noise as, let's say, a papst NGML (19dBa): you'll almost fry your cpu. My XP1700+ went to 60C with an enermax on that speed. If turn it to highest setting it cools pretty good, but not by far as good as an equally loud delta or not even as a much quieter papst NH.

Non OC:
Low budget: The standard intel cooler...
High budget: For those who find the standard cooler to loud, an alpha 8942 + papst NGML is even more quiet, but very expensive.

Low budget: volcano7+
High budget: Alpha pal8942/Swiftech MCX462-U + papst NG or delta 4000rpm

Replace the standard fan with an papst NGL (12dBa !). Unhearable and cools the unit just enough. I haven't tried this on +350Watt PSU's, it could be it's unefficient cooling for a 500W power supply. Please let me know if you have experience with this.

Note on temp regulated PSU's (e.g. Enermax): at normal use, the fan only gets ~6V, which cause the papst NGL to cool insufficiently. You got two choices:
- replace the fan with a papst NGML. Doesn't make any noise at 6V and cools sufficiently.
- replace the fan with a papst NGL and hook it up to the 12V line instead of fan connector in PSU. This way it will always turn at max speed.
I did the first: works like a charm.

Passive cooling is enough, just slap on a big heatsink like this, and you'll have quiet, cheap and sufficient cooling. I applied this heatsink on my kt266a based mobo (kr7a) and even with a oc'ed FSB overclocked it's 100% stable. The heatsink gets warm at 133Mz FSB, and hot (~60C stressed) at 166Mhz FSB, but that's ok for a chipset. If you're planning to run continuously >166FSB you might need active cooling.

Low budget: enermax speed-adjustable fans
High budget: papst NGML. If you don't care about noise, you can replace it with a higher performance papst (NGM or even NG), but the NGML is the best choice for most of us. If you got a rheobus, go with the NGM.

Zalman has some excellent passive vidcardcoolers.
You'll need the two mounting holes next to the GPU to install it, but for most cards (except the R8500) this shouldn't be a problem.
If you have a GF1 DDR/GF2 MX/ GF4 MX/R7500: use the zalman HP50
If you own a GF4 Ti4xxx/ R9500/9700 or GF3: get the zalman HP80.

They're huge, but they cool you vidcard sufficiently without making any noise. I'd be a good idea to have some casecooling though, otherwise your vidcard may still overheat.

If you're into overclocking, place a fan nearby and you'll get even better results than with a loud crystal orb.

If you have any comments on this, feel free to mail me
Credits by

jASjE 7th July 2002 16:22

Here's a table with a list of silent fans and their options/speed/...

(Tx to

RichBa5tard 7th January 2003 20:14

updated jan 2003

jmke 7th January 2003 20:20


Originally posted by RichBa5tard
updated jan 2003
:super: work!

jmke 5th January 2004 11:59

new Update? :)

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