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Re-Printed From SLCentral

Enermax Manual Adjust Fans
Author: Mike Kitchenman
Date Posted: December 26th, 2001
URL: http://www.slcentral.com/reviews/hardware/cooling/enermax/mafans

Introduction

Ahh, yes, fans. The single most important, and most annoying, part of keeping your case cool. If you look at most pre-made cool cases they keep the case cooler than stock setups by adding more fans to the mix. However this is a double-edged sword here. By adding more fans, you add more noise, and if you add quiet fans, well, they won't move enough air to make a difference. So what's a geek to do?

For a very long time Enermax has been one of the most trusted names in power supplies. This is because of their quality construction and the use of 2 very quiet, but effective, fans in their better supplies. Recently they've branched farther into the fan world by selling different models, from standard fans to temperature sensitive and everywhere in between. Their latest set has a really sweet idea built into the heart of them, speed adjustment. They built a speed control rotary switch onto a cord coming from the fan, so you have a choice of speed settings to run it at. This is a really cool idea for cooling aficionados, but how well does it work? Well, lets find out, shall we?

Construction And Design

They're fans and they come in a little box, right? Right...and wrong. They could have boxed a bare fan such as this and gotten away with it easily, but Enermax is cooler than that here. Packed with the fan are all the trimmings you could possibly need. They include a gold plated fan grill pre-installed on the fan using fan screws, so it is removable and changeable. Then sitting underneath the fan is a little baggie of extra pieces, such as 4 fan screws for installation and a 3 to 4 pin adapter. These parts would have normally cost almost 5$ from normal sites, and they're included standard. How cool is that?

Now lets see what sets these fans apart from the rest, that is, if there is anything that sets them apart from the rest. The first thing you'll notice is that these fans will seriously stand out in a crowd. They've got a bright, bright purple casing on them, which is so far from the everyday drab black coloring of most fans. The other color trick they pull is actually standard for Enermax equipment, and that is clear fan blades. They always do this in their fans. Why exactly, I couldn't tell you, but it does look pretty cool. These features are all about the style points that Enermax is renown for. Now as far

as functionality is concerned, Enermax has also included some cool stuff here. Built onto the fan is a second cable that has a small rotary switch on the end that controls the fan speed analog style. This means that with the turn of a knob you can adjust the speed of the blades, which is very cool. Then next to that is the power cord, which on all 3 models here is a 3-pin motherboard connector. The most powerful fan out of the lot is the 120mm, which only draws 3.6W of power, which is well within tolerances of the motherboard specs for almost everyone.

Design: 2/2

Installation

The installation of a case fan isn't exactly difficult. 4 screw holes and 4 screws are about all that there is to it. However, there are usually other things involved here, such as fan grilles and fan filters. Well, as I mentioned earlier, the fan grilles are already included, so that's taken care of, and as for the filter, while they don't have any included with the fan, I don't have any in my case either, so its not a huge thing (in my book anyways.)

Install: 3/3

Performance

This is the hard part of this was testing the fans themselves. I have no equipment to test decibel ratings of fans like these, I've shopped for them, but I don't have the 200$ for a meter that will measure this. The same goes for a CFM rating here, there is equipment I could use for it, but I can't afford it.

I do, however, have a LOT more fans in my possession than anyone should have. This means I can compare fans head to head for noise and airflow and the like. Here's the candidates:

120mm

Panaflo H1A (from CaseETC.com)
Panaflo L1A (from CaseETC.com)
Enermax MA 120 (from So-TrickComputers.com)

92mm

Panaflo L1A (from CaseETC.com)
Enermax MA 92 (from So-TrickComputers.com)

80mm

Thermaltake 8025A (from So-TrickComputers.com)
Delta 80x80x38mm (from 3DCool.com)
Enermax MA 80 (from So-TrickComputers.com)

Results

120mm

Enermax MA 120mm

High Setting: Definitely less powerful than the Panaflo 120MM H1A, it doesn't keep up with the air from the big boy there, however it was also notably quieter at its full speed. On the other end, it is both faster and louder than the 120mm L1A fan.

Med/Low settings: Definitely quieter than the H1A, but less powerful. Still, it moved enough air to make it worthwhile to use.

Panaflo 120L1A

It produced the airflow of the Enermax when it was at about the 2/3 or 3/4 mark of the speed dial, while making the noise of about the 60% mark. This means it was more efficient in moving the air than the Enermax, however, at high settings, the Enermax blew it away. (Oi vey. Someone stop the puns.)

Panaflo 120H1A

It definitely moved more air than the Enermax did, but not by that huge a margin. So for airflow, I'd say they were well within maybe 10 cfm of each other or so. However, it was also a bit easier to listen to, compared to the Enermax. It had a lower pitched hum, whereas the Enermax had a higher pitch whine.

92mm

Enermax MA 92mm

High Setting: Definitely louder than the other settings as well as the Panaflo 92mm fan, however it also moved considerably more air than the others did as well.

Med Setting: Noise was similar to the L1A, however the airflow seemed to be a bit beneath that the Panaflo put out.

Low Setting: Definitely quieter than the others, nearly silent, actually. However the airflow was quite low. While low, I'd have to say it was a pretty decent flow for the noise it produced.

Panaflo 92L1A

It produced the airflow of the Enermax when it was at about the 2/3 or 3/4 mark of the speed dial, while making the noise of about the 50% mark. This means it was more efficient in moving the air than the Enermax, however, at high settings, the Enermax blew it away. (Oi vey. Someone stop the puns.)

80mm

Enermax MA 80mm

High Setting: It moved about as much air as the Thermaltake did, however, it was also notably louder. (Not loud by my standards, but louder than the Thermaltake was.) Then when compared to the Delta, well, it was a lot less powerful, but it was also a lot quieter.

Med and Low settings: Obviously less air and quieter than at the high settings. Very plausible settings for use in a case under the right conditions.

Thermaltake 8025A

About as powerful as the Enermax on the high setting, but it only produced as much noise as the Enermax did when it was at about 80% speed.

Delta 80x80x38mm

As big, fast, and as powerful as they come. (Not to mention as noisy as they come, too.) This beast literally blew away the competition in both airflow and noise levels. It was the only one of the fans here I'd call "loud" by my own standards. (Meaning, I don't mind the hum of a Delta 60mm 36cfm model.)

Performance: 3.5/5

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Adjustable speed
  • Awesome design
  • Includes full mounting hardware
  • Gold fan grilles
  • They just look sweet
  • All fans (even the 120mm) can be hooked to a motherboard header

Cons

  • Not the best noise/cfm ratio
  • Not everyone likes a purple fan

Conclusion

Well, I'd say these fans are a very nice introduction to the cooling world. While there are fans at every step that CAN beat them in air/noise ratio, there are no other fans out there that can beat them at customizability. Changing the speed only took a matter of 2 or 3 seconds per fan, meaning that someone can pop the side panel and in less than 30 seconds change the speed of their fans all across the board here. So, if you're like me and have a cooler room, you can keep the fans a bit quieter, but when you haul the tower off to a much warmer LAN setting you can get everything running as cool by kicking them up a notch or two. These are absolutely awesome fans to have.

SLRating: 8.5/10

>> Installation/Test

Re-Printed From SLCentral