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Antec P183 not as silent as expected?

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July 5, 2010 11:22:38 PM


I have recently bought and assembled a new system, which included the case Antec P183. One of my goals for the build was to have a quiet computer.

However the overall sound level is a bit higher than I expected, and I did suspect the CPU or GPU fans at first, but after doing some testing with stoping the fans with my fingers and listen to the changes I noticed that most of the noice seems to come from the top fan. In the chassi there is two builtin 120mm fans, one at the back and one at the top. The backend fan does not seem to produce the same amount of sound, but I am not really sure.

The PSU and CPU fans are virtual noiceless and the GPU fan is just a little higher.
If I stop four fans (cpu, gpu and both case) manualy the whole system is very very silent, but when releasing the top one the noice goes up. Both case fans are set to low speed.

However, since Antec really pushes for this case to be very quiet it seems a bit strange to me that it sounds so much.

Is there anything I can do or is there anything that could be wrongly setup by me while assembling the build?
a c 139 ) Power supply
July 5, 2010 11:48:34 PM

Hello ricno;

Good to hear you're up and running.
I don't think there is much chance you've set up your case in error.

What speed are those Antec Tri-cool (tri speed) case fans set on? I'm assuming your switched the fans to low settings and they're still louder than you desire?
Maybe try moving the top fan into one of the optional case fan positions like upper front chamber.

Do you have a temp (and fan) monitoring utility program? If not, look @ HWMonitor
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a b ) Power supply
July 6, 2010 12:30:50 AM

For the moment I would simply disable the top fan. Generally speaking, fans that comes with the case are generally mediocre. You are better off searching on your own for a replacement 120mm fan.

You have plenty of options depending on the amount of money you want to spend. I generally use Yate Loon fan with a 7v limiter. They are relatively cheap at about $6 each and pretty quiet at 7v. More expensive options are Scythe low noise fans (they sell loud ones too), Nexus (basically hand picked Yate Loons), and Noctua.

Here is a handful of quiet fan examples from www.EndPCNoise.com. I don't necessarily recommend you buy from them, I'm sure you can Google for slightly cheaper prices.

http://www.endpcnoise.com/cgi-bin/e/std/category=Quiet_...
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July 6, 2010 7:33:47 AM

WR2 said:
Hello ricno;

Good to hear you're up and running.


Hello WR2, and thank you again for your help before.


WR2 said:

What speed are those Antec Tri-cool (tri speed) case fans set on? I'm assuming your switched the fans to low settings and they're still louder than you desire?


Yes, they are set to low speed both of them. If using medium or high it is like a real vacuum cleaner. :) 

In general I am very pleased with the case. It looks very good and everything inside it was very professional and well thought out. It is just the noice that surprises me somewhat, as it should be a quiet one. I think it actually sounds more than my old computer, a few years cheap old HP Pavilion a6412.sc.

WR2 said:

Do you have a temp (and fan) monitoring utility program? If not, look @ HWMonitor


I have looked at Speedfan and HWMonitor, but from what I can tell the P183 case fans are not directly connected to the motherboard and can not be controlled or monitored from there?

Here is a screen dump from hwmonitor, does it look as expected?

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July 6, 2010 8:38:42 AM

P183 fans are Antec Tri-Cools with the speed switches mounted so you can adjust them from the rear of the case. They are purely PSU connected, with no connection to a motherboard so you won't be able to monitor them.

I run.. erm... 8 in total I think of these cases here at work and a couple at home. The top / rear fans are usually silent when on low speed settings - are you sure you've set them both to low? If not check the dust filters on the front of the case as when they are clogged you will frequently hear the GPU / CPU fans running much faster as they are choked for airflow.

HTH!

:) 
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July 6, 2010 9:41:21 AM

Hello everyone,
I've got the same feeling as Ricno , my new P183 case is making more sound than expected. I also think that the main reason for this is the top fan on the case.

I've been thinking about if there is an easy way to reduce the speed of the top fan (lower speed than the low setting which I'm currently using). Would it be possible to use a resistance somehow? Has anyone tried that or have some thoughts about doing that?

Currently I've no heat problem so I think that a reduced top fan speed should work fine for my case and hopefully reduce the noise level.

Thanks!
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July 6, 2010 10:14:00 AM


Hej Svensson!

svensson78 said:

I've got the same feeling as Ricno , my new P183 case is making more sound than expected. I also think that the main reason for this is the top fan on the case.


Interesting that you have the same experience. Sound level are quite subjective and it is somewhat hard for me to know what level should be expected and what is "high" and "low", so from that is good to know that your new P183 is behaving the same.

Have you tried to temporarly stop the top fan with your finger to see if is the one making the most noice?
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July 6, 2010 10:26:23 AM

Hej!

ricno said:


Have you tried to temporarly stop the top fan with your finger to see if is the one making the most noice?


Not yet, but I'll try that as soon as I can (which is later tonight).
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July 6, 2010 10:59:10 AM

jaguarskx said:
For the moment I would simply disable the top fan.


I shall do some heat tests to check the temperatures at idle and full speed with the top fan running, and then without it and see how much it does help. If it is not much difference perhaps the most easy way is to disable it.

jaguarskx said:

Generally speaking, fans that comes with the case are generally mediocre.


That the fans is generally mediocre, does that also apply to cases like the P183 which is labeled as a somewhat high end case with a quiet profile?

jaguarskx said:
You are better off searching on your own for a replacement 120mm fan.
You have plenty of options depending on the amount of money you want to spend.


If a fan only costs about 5-10$ then money would not be an issue. What would be the best, Nexus or Noctua?

From your link I found some Nexus here and Noctua here. The latter does seems a bit more expensive, some of them close to $20. However, if they are good then I can pay for it.

The main question is just if they would be able to attach to the P183? It should be possible to replace the builtin fans?


kyzar said:
The top / rear fans are usually silent when on low speed settings - are you sure you've set them both to low? If not check the dust filters on the front of the case as when they are clogged you will frequently hear the GPU / CPU fans running much faster as they are choked for airflow.


Yes, they are set to low speed. At the two higher settings the noice level really goes up. As for the dust filters I think it is not likely since everything is brand new and the whole computer has not been running more than a few hours.

But your P183's at home and work, you experience them as silent? I wonder if I have got a bad one?


svensson78 said:

Not yet, but I'll try that as soon as I can (which is later tonight).


Where did you buy your case? Perhaps we got from the same noicy batch. ;) 

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July 6, 2010 11:29:32 AM

Hi, I just built a new system last week using an Antec P183. I replaced both built in fans with a Arctic Cooling F12 TC (back) and Noctua NF-S12B FLX (Top), both of which are quieter than the supplier Antec fans. They were very easy to replace.

Noise levels can be compared here: http://www.quietpc.com/gb-en-gbp/products/120mmfans.

These fans in my case are also fan controlled and run on lower than max voltage which makes them even quieter. Even on full speed they are quieter (23dba) than the Antec low setting of 25dba.

Overall I think this is a great case. Try some new fans.
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July 6, 2010 11:57:28 AM

gilpin said:
Hi, I just built a new system last week using an Antec P183. I replaced both built in fans with a Arctic Cooling F12 TC (back) and Noctua NF-S12B FLX (Top), both of which are quieter than the supplier Antec fans. They were very easy to replace.


Hi gilpin, thank you for good information! Nice that it was easy to replace.

You have chosen two different fans with a different price level. How did you reason about this?


gilpin said:

Noise levels can be compared here: http://www.quietpc.com/gb-en-gbp/products/120mmfans.


Do you know if the noice level listed is for the maximum speed that is also listed? What is a suitable speed for a P183? (If I should go for one with a lower max RMP).

If price would not matter, which fan would you choose with the lowest dBA and enough RPM?
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a c 139 ) Power supply
July 6, 2010 12:23:12 PM

ricno said:
I shall do some heat tests to check the temperatures at idle and full speed with the top fan running, and then without it and see how much it does help. If it is not much difference perhaps the most easy way is to disable it.
It's a good plan and the right way to go about testing.

The HWMonitor report looks like it should. The only unusual result AUXTIN 86C is probably just a 'null value' from no input. On my system it's reporting -8C. I was hoping the case FAN RPMs would be reported but that's not happening with the P183.

I found these values reported for the Tri-cool fans:
RPM: 1200 / 1600 / 2000 RPM
Air Flow: 39 / 56 / 79 CFM
Noise Level: 25 / 28 / 30 dBA

Some options:
Moving the top fan (nosiest location) further inside the case might help by using the bulk of the case and it's soundproofing to reduce fan noise.
Operating without the top fan. Your temp testing program should let you know how effective that option is.

Fan replacement options. Your temp testing should let you know if you need a variable PWM fan or if a single speed low noise fan will work.
PWM (pulse width modulation) variable speed fans. Plug in to and controlled by the motherboard (settings in BIOS), they're slow and quiet at idle and can speed up to more more air during heavy workload periods.
Example: GELID Solutions FN-PX12-15 RPM: 750-1500 CFM: ~58 dBA: 12-25

Single speed quiet fan example: Scythe S-FLEX SFF21D RPM: 800 CFM: 33.5 dBA: 8.7

Just for reference and comparisons:
Antec P183 review @ SilentPCReview
Puget Serenity i7 PC System (using Antec P183) review @ SilentPCReview A low-noise system (i7-860) using Antec P183 with custom modifications: extra acoustic damping and replacement case fans using Scythe S-FLEX fans.
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July 6, 2010 1:54:19 PM

ricno said:
Hi gilpin, thank you for good information! Nice that it was easy to replace.

You have chosen two different fans with a different price level. How did you reason about this?


My CPU Heatsink fan points to the back of the case and I have Q9650 overclocked to 3.6Ghz and it generates a lot of heat whilst playing games. So I needed a fan at the back that has 50-60 CFM to get rid of the hot air, but I did not want the fan to run at top speed all the time for noise reasons, hence why I went for an arctic cooling temp controlled fan. It increases speed as the case temp rises, so when the CPU is idle the fan is nearly inaudible. A great fan for a great price.

As for the top fan I found that in my situation little heat comes out of the top due to my HSF position so I just went for a quiet fan that I run at 50% using a fan controller to keep it quiet. Noctua fans are expensive but are very quiet.


Do you know if the noice level listed is for the maximum speed that is also listed? What is a suitable speed for a P183? (If I should go for one with a lower max RMP).

If price would not matter, which fan would you choose with the lowest dBA and enough RPM?


Download the P183 manual for further details (strange that they don't include it in the box), see http://www.antec.com/pdf/manuals/P183%20Manual_EN.pdf

This manual has all the fan noise levels in it and a better install guide than comes in the box.

As for what fan, it depends what you want it to do. If you want to run max speed all the time and be quiet I would choose a fan with the right CFM / dBa mix, such as a Noctua or Scythe fan. CFM is more important then speed. If you want it to increase with temp automatically (because you do not have a fancy fan controller) then go for an Arctic Cooling TC fan. You may need to experiment and, as I have had to do a few times is sell a fan that did not work for me, but hey that is what eBay is for!

I also have a Noctua fan at the front for air intake. Sadly I could not position this on the inside of case on the upper drive case because my graphics card is too big, but even at the front of the case it is quiet.

Also I found this article helpful, though it does relate to a P182:
http://www.silentpcreview.com/article827-page1.html

You may even be able to cover the top hole if it is not needed for cooling.

I also have used acustic foam within my p183.
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a b ) Power supply
July 6, 2010 4:45:57 PM

Use after market silent CPU cooler. There's a lot available in the market with low noise fan. Speed control is also available.

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July 6, 2010 10:25:06 PM

WR2 said:
It's a good plan and the right way to go about testing.


I have done some different tests now using the Prime95 application.

Here is the results:

1. With top fan running at idle ----- 2. Without top fan running idle



And with running with the "torture test" in Prime95 for one hour.

3. With the top fan in place ---- 4. Without the top fan and with full speed at CPU




From what I can tell from this the temperatures are all a few Celcius degrees higher when the top fan is turned off, but no real big difference.
Perhaps I will disable the top one and buy a really silent one for the back.


WR2 said:

The HWMonitor report looks like it should. The only unusual result AUXTIN 86C is probably just a 'null value' from no input.


I noticed that before and did some asking around. The general opinion was that it was a bug or misread and nothing to worry about.

WR2 said:

I found these values reported for the Tri-cool fans:
RPM: 1200 / 1600 / 2000 RPM
Air Flow: 39 / 56 / 79 CFM
Noise Level: 25 / 28 / 30 dBA


Since my settings is LOW then the values being used at the moment is: RPM 1200, Airflow 39, Noice 25 dBA.

If I could find a fan to replace the back one that match the numbers above, but with lower noice level it would be very nice. I am still not sure if a fan with fixed speed or a motherboard controlled one would suit me best.

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July 6, 2010 11:36:12 PM

gilpin said:

As for what fan, it depends what you want it to do. If you want to run max speed all the time and be quiet I would choose a fan with the right CFM / dBa mix, such as a Noctua or Scythe fan. CFM is more important then speed. If you want it to increase with temp automatically (because you do not have a fancy fan controller) then go for an Arctic Cooling TC fan.


For the moment I belive that a motherboard controlled fan would be good, but I do not know which one.

If you, or anyone else, should choose anyone of those - which should you get? It should perhaps be around 35-40 CFM and lowest possible dBA, price least important.

Two local sites (in swedish, but should hopefuly be enough understandable).

Fans at site Dustinhome

Fans at site Komplett



gilpin said:

You may even be able to cover the top hole if it is not needed for cooling.


I have done a very rough experiement and covered it with a book after disabling the top fan, but there seems to be no real sound difference. Do you think it could lower the noice if done better?
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a c 139 ) Power supply
July 7, 2010 12:02:17 AM

After looking at the results of your testing it seems to me you get by with just a single exhaust fan.
Here is a constant speed Scythe S-FLEX SFF21D RPM:800 CFM:33.5 dBA:8.7

I noticed your AUXTIN is changing values. That says to me it's reading something. My own Auxtin (or TMPIN2 in my BIOS) is constantly stuck on minus 8C.
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July 7, 2010 12:16:32 AM

WR2 said:
After looking at the results of your testing it seems to me you get by with just a single exhaust fan.
Here is a constant speed Scythe S-FLEX SFF21D RPM:800 CFM:33.5 dBA:8.7

I noticed your AUXTIN is changing values. That says to me it's reading something. My own Auxtin (or TMPIN2 in my BIOS) is constantly stuck on minus 8C.


Thanks for your fan suggestion. I will look at it tomorrow (now a bit late of 02.10 AM here!) Unfortunaly not californian time, was that not your location? :) 

As for the AUXTIN I have also noticed that it changes. Strangely, it is lower when running the stress test and higher at idle... ?
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Best solution

a c 139 ) Power supply
July 7, 2010 12:31:43 AM

I've been on something like Euro time lately with the World Cup and Tour de France underway. It's a bit tough on us West Coast types.

Here is a PWM fan that looks pretty good. Akasa Apache 120mm Fläkt 189kr
RPM: 600 -1300 CFM: 57 @ max dBA: 6.9 -16.05 You never know for sure if the dBA rating are accurate or 'marketing'. But in this case there is a pretty good review to back up those numbers: Akasa 120mm Apache Fan

You think you'd be able to look up the AUXTIN details in your motherboard manual but it's not listed there.
And Google plus Asus forum searches not helping much either:
Asus forum search AUXTIN Google search example
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a c 139 ) Power supply
July 7, 2010 1:11:39 AM

Noctua NF-S12B FLX 120mm 265kr
This is an interesting case fan. It's variable single speed. They do that by adding an inline resistor to vary voltage to the fan.
600 RPM 29 CFM 6.2 dBA
900 RPM 44 CFM 10.6 dBA
1200 RPM 59 CFM 18.1 dBA
Noctua NF-S12B FLX webpage
You can't vary the speed without opening the case and changing out resistors but once you get the right CFM/Noise combo set up you shouldnt need to change things. But you have the option to vary the fan performance if you make future hardware changes that cause the system to run hotter or run the system in a warmer location.
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July 7, 2010 9:59:10 AM


Thanks for your many helpful responses.

WR2 said:

You think you'd be able to look up the AUXTIN details in your motherboard manual but it's not listed there.


I have checked the manual also but there is no information about the AUX readings there. (I did buy the P7P55D-E LX board.)

From your links from ASUS and other it seems however that the AUX temperatures is some kind of misreport.

WR2 said:

Here is a PWM fan that looks pretty good. Akasa Apache 120mm 189kr
RPM: 600 -1300 CFM: 57 @ max dBA: 6.9 -16.05


From the review this one seems very good. Not that it matters much, but the one above is just black and looks better than the one in the review. :) 

Very silent and with good air flow it looks like a good choice. Hopefully just one back fan will be enough to cool the case enough and put down the overall noice some.

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July 7, 2010 10:08:43 AM

ricno said:

Where did you buy your case? Perhaps we got from the same noicy batch. ;) 


I bought it from Inet.

Anyway, yesterday I tested to stop the fans manually and I can confirm that the top fan on my p183 was responsible for most of the noise from my case.

I actually disconnected the top fan which resulted in a quiter computer. However, the temperature in the case increased a bit after this resulting in higher CPU adn GPU fan speeds which adds noise.

Therefore I've decided to buy two new case fans to replace the original ones.





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July 7, 2010 11:50:47 AM

svensson78 said:

Therefore I've decided to buy two new case fans to replace the original ones.


Have you decided model on your new fans?
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July 7, 2010 7:14:27 PM

I'd go for a couple of Scythe Gentle Typhoons the 1450s are usually a popular choice.
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July 8, 2010 11:28:55 AM

Thanks for the input!
I've not decided yet which fans I should go for so any input is welcome.

I've looked quickly at reviews of Scythe Gentle Typhoons fans and they seem to be positive and appears to be very good value for money.

However, has anyone tested the 1450 fan?
I'm not sure if I should go for the 1450 or 1150rpm version (or maybe 1150 as top fan and 1450 at the back of my P183 case ?).








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July 8, 2010 12:06:01 PM

svensson78 said:

I've not decided yet which fans I should go for so any input is welcome.


Have you looked at the Akasa Apaches mentioned above? They seems to be good and even if they are at 189 Kr it is not really not much money. (At least is that what I think after spending a lot on the whole computer...) :) 

I am also thinking about getting one or two new fans. When I had the top one disabled I noticed a slight increase of the CPU temperature, but my CPU fan seems to be very good and no noice was added. The GPU temperature and fan did not increase, at least not when just running non-graphic intensive stuff that I tried.

The GPU seems by the way to be a little noicy unfortunaly. I hope it will be okey anyway when lowering the case sounds with new fans.
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a c 139 ) Power supply
July 8, 2010 12:58:41 PM

Which video card did you end up getting?
Have you thought about changing the video card fan speed? With the right software you can make a fan profile to run slower than stock setting and then run faster if the GPU starts to heat up.
Look into MSI Afterburner
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a c 139 ) Power supply
July 8, 2010 1:06:26 PM

OK, just noticed in HWMonitor its a 5770. Did you get one of the full shroud versions?
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July 8, 2010 2:45:33 PM

WR2 said:
Which video card did you end up getting?


It is indeed a HD5770 as you noticed. I did some asking around at the GPU part of the forum and was recommended both 5750 and 5770. As I will not do much gaming on this build I was probably going to be more than okey with the 5750, but when buying I noticed a 5770 at the same price so I got that one.

Perhaps it was unwise if the 5770 is more fan intensive than the 5750. Is it reasonable that there would be a difference between those?

The GPU I bought is a XFX Radeon HD5770 XT 1GB. The product at the link looks the same, but there is a very small difference in the manufacturers ID. On the page it is HD-577X-ZNFC and mine is HD-577X-ZNEA. Do not know if that changes anything.

WR2 said:

Have you thought about changing the video card fan speed? With the right software you can make a fan profile to run slower than stock setting and then run faster if the GPU starts to heat up.
Look into MSI Afterburner


That seems interesting. I did some checking before with the Catalyst control panel, but could not find the possability to lower the fan rate. From what I have observed it is always at 35%, what ever that means. :) 

I will take a look at the MSI afterburner. Does it matter which graphic board brand you actually have? From a quick look at the link you supplied I belive it should work for both ATI and nVidea based cards, and hopefully to other manufacturers than MSI?
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a c 139 ) Power supply
July 9, 2010 4:20:37 AM

Depending on the make and model of 5750/5770 it looks like there could be as much as 5dBA idle difference between cards. It's not just a function of the 5750 or 5770 but a difference in how the MFGRs set up their hardware. I saw 5770s quieter than some 5750s.

I know we had talked about the HIS 5750 IceQ+ and it's reputation for being a quieter card. And I expected the P183 case to perform a bit better than it seems to be doing and help mute the sound of a video card. It's 20/20 hindsight now but maybe a fanless 5750 would have been a good choice for you. PowerColor HD 5750 Go! Green

If the fan speed is already as low as 35% on idle you probably won't improve things greatly by lowering it more. But it's worth testing - just keep an eye out on the GPU temps.
MSI Afterburner should work your on XFX 5770 without a problem.
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July 9, 2010 12:45:31 PM

ricno said:
Have you looked at the Akasa Apaches mentioned above? They seems to be good and even if they are at 189 Kr it is not really not much money. (At least is that what I think after spending a lot on the whole computer...) :) 

I've looked at it but I think I prefer a single speed fan to a PWM one.
One reason is that the ones which I'm replacing are not PWM and another is that I'm not sure how good and if my motherboard support PWM (I've got a Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD3 motherboard).

Looking at the specs, the 1150 rpm Scythe Gentle Typhoons has more airflow than the original Tri-cool fan at low ( 63 compared with 39 CFM) , so I'll think I'll go for that option for both of my fans.
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July 9, 2010 12:55:50 PM

My misstake!
The CFM values in my post above should say:

Looking at the specs, the 1150 rpm Scythe Gentle Typhoons has about the same airflow as the original Tri-cool fan at low ( 37 compared with 39 CFM) , so I'll think I'll go for that option for both of my fans.
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a c 139 ) Power supply
July 9, 2010 1:34:26 PM

I found this note when I was checking some of the sound levels in video cards:
"it is generally accepted that a 10 dbA increase doubles the perceived sound level"
I think that would mean the Scythe Gentle Typhoon is about 50% quieter than the Antec Tri-Cool on it's lowest setting.
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July 9, 2010 4:01:42 PM

svensson78 said:
I've looked at it but I think I prefer a single speed fan to a PWM one.
One reason is that the ones which I'm replacing are not PWM and another is that I'm not sure how good and if my motherboard support PWM (I've got a Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD3 motherboard).


I ordered two Akasa Apache fans yesterday. I have good hope they will work at fine.

If comparing with the Antec Tri-cool fans at lowest settings:

RPM: 1200
Air Flow: 39
Noise Level: 25

Akasa Apache at MAX:

RPM: 1300
Air Flow: 57
Noise level: 16 dBA

So the Apache at the highest RPM is still much lower noise level than the Antec (and with better cooling.) I do also think I will be allright with a much lower RPM to still get a good cooling, but with a lower sound. The lowest RPM of the Akasa is 600 at only 7 dBA.

My motherboard is a ASUS P7P55D-E LX, which has two 4pins connectors at the board for chassis fans, and there is settings in the BIOS for enabling what ASUS calls Q-fan and several fan profiles like silent or standard.

I hope I will be able to pick them up tomorrow and try them out.
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July 13, 2010 8:11:01 AM


I got the fans yesterday and installed them. A small surprise was that my motherboard did not have two 4-pin case fan connectors, but one 3-pin and one 4-pin. I did connect both fans anyway, putting the top one on the 4-pin and the back one on the 3-pin. The reason was both that the top fan has been making most noise and that the length of the cables did this the only possible way.

The result is very good! The new fans are almost completly soundless and the overall noise from the computer is very greatly reduced.

The fan on the 3-pin connector seems in fact very silent too and not run at a high RPM even if not motherboard controlled.

The noice that remains now is from the graphic card fan and when using the MSI Afterburner and set the fan from 35% to 25% it also goes to such low sound level that is not a problem. I must only find out a way to autostart it with Windows now. At the moment I will have to to logon and accept the Win 7 UAC warning, then the sound goes down. Hopefully that will be able to fix also.

Svensson78, have you bought any fans yet?
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July 13, 2010 8:12:12 AM

Best answer selected by ricno.
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