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Fans

Alphacool has worked with Blacknoise and has provided a 1200 RPM rated version of their Noiseblocker eLoop fans. The retail eLoops come in a black frame, white rotor color scheme whereas this customer version has a translucent purple rotor to go with Alphacool’s black/blue color scheme. Perhaps translucent or solid blue was not working out? These are closest to the B12-2 rated at 1300 RPM.

Another change is with the accessories provided. The retail eLoops come with a luxury of accessories in terms of dampened screw based mounting, further rubber mounting options on top of the rubber pads on the fan corners and fan extension cables in multiple lengths to attach to a smaller fan cable that terminates at the edge of the fan itself. Not so much here, as we only have a set of 4 self tapping screws to work with. That being said, all you need really are the M3 threaded screws provided with the radiator and nothing more so I am ok with it. The corners still have the soft rubber pads, and the frame itself has a soft rubber finish as well. The open corners aside, on each side of the frame is some information- be it arrows to show the direction of airflow through the fan and rotor rotation, or the OEM information.

The eLoops have generally had a very small motor hub at ~1.37″ and the same case remains here. The fans use a sealed bearing that promises long life operation with no issues in operation irrespective of fan orientation. They are also low power consumption fans rated at 0.85 W each, and a single 1 A fan header can easily power all 3 of the provided fans. This is a voltage controlled fan so there are going to be more options for fan headers on motherboards or dedicated fan controllers alike, although Alphacool has not provided a splitter cable to connect all three fans together which I think is a mistake. The fan cables are 14″ long each, and are sleeved in a heatshrink style application. The cable terminates in a black 3-pin connector.

Performance Testing

Testing methodology

Testing was done with the fans mounted one at a time on a single Swiftech MCR120QP radiator, with the fan controlled using a dedicated fan controller (Aquacomputer Aquaero 6 XT) in power (voltage control) mode. The controller also enabled RPM readout. Linear airflow was measured using an Extech 45158 Thermo-Anemometer 6″ away from the fan such that it measured the airflow in feet per minute through the radiator. Fan noise was measured in an anechoic chamber of size 5′ x 8′ with ambient noise level ~19 dBA and a sound probe held 6″ away to measure the sound volume in dBA accordingly. The fans were individually tested and the results below are averaged with a standard deviation calculated.

Results

The Alphacool NB-eLoops hit an average of 1144 RPM at 12 V and went all the way down to 188 RPM at 3.6 V before shutting down, and re-started at an average of 3.9 V. Sample to sample variation was low which is nice to see, and the RPM response curve is good too.

In terms of noise and performance, let’s see how it stacked up against other 120 mm fans rated in the 801-1200 RPM range:

Not bad at all. In fact, note that the radiator used here has a slightly higher restriction to air flow compared to the Alphacool UT60 (but only just) and if anything, these fans will perform relatively even better on the UT60 360. There is a slight decrease in airflow/noise compared to the retail NB-eLoops as well but not enough to bother switching fans. If anything, there is no real practical difference in RPM to performance with fans below 1000 RPM or so anyway so unless you want an aesthetic change or want PWM fans, stick with what you bought. They are good enough.


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