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Radiator Fans Question - replacing some old fans

Discussion in 'Watercooling' started by alexkyriak, 3 May 2021.

  1. alexkyriak

    Associate

    Joined: 8 Jan 2011

    Posts: 40

    Location: London, UK

    Hi all,

    I have a 5 year old watercool / waterlooped PC. It's time to upgrade and clean out the system. Am going from a watercooled CPU and 2x GPU loop (2x980gtx SLI), to a CPU and single GPU loop (3080). CPU and GPU will remain water cooled on the same loop.

    I currently run a 360 front radiator, and two 240 radiators, one top and one bottom.

    I'd like to replace the fans on the 360 radiator, which are currently 5x EKB Varder Furious 3000rpm. These are a bit too loud, as a) I can't ramp their RPM down too low, they have a minimum RPM which is still quite high (apologies can't remember the min RPM) and b) given that two of the five are on the inside face of the radiator, they're being blown onto by the three outside fans, which I suspect is contributing to some of the perceptible fan noise.

    So, the question: can anyone recommend decent fans to replace the Varder Furious on the 360 radiator? I dont' necessarily need 3000rpm maximum RPM, I suspect about 2400 or would be a sufficient maximum, but I'd like them to have a very good low RPM for when the system is idling. I'd consider dropping the two inside fans of this 360 radiator, if these are overkill -which I suspect they are - and particularly if it is true that fans being blown onto are not as acoustically efficient.

    All this consider also that - I think - the 3080 will contribute less heat than the 2x 980gtx GPUs in SLI. I don't need RGB lights or any fancy effects, just some decent fans with a good RPM range, with relatively low acoustics.

    I never run the CPU overclocked in a big way (i4790k at 4.7ghz is my 'daily' clock and I never change it) and don't OC the GPUs.

    Any advice much appreciated :)
     
    Last edited: 3 May 2021
  2. Hewligan

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    Joined: 3 May 2021

    Posts: 17

    I use Arctic P12 PWM PST fans on my radiators. 5 pack costs about £28. You can daisy chain them to leave just a single cable. They are quiet. Love them!
     
  3. ttaskmaster

    Capodecina

    Joined: 11 Sep 2013

    Posts: 10,799

    Ja, Vardars are ******* loud!!

    Noctua are still the best fans for balancing performance and noise.
    Arctic are almost as good, but measurably cheaper.

    However, I found the better fans to be Corsair's ML120 Pro (non-RGB versions)... and they'll do 2400rpm, with 200rpm as a minimum. The non-Pro ones are cheaper and almost as good, with 400rpm minimums.
    The various RGB versions are alright, but performance has been lowered on those, for some reason.

    I would ask why you only have five fans on a 360 rad, though?
    Presumably you're running them in Push-Pull, so if your 360 rad is 45mm or thicker, you'd want all six in order to get the benefit?
     
  4. alexkyriak

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    Joined: 8 Jan 2011

    Posts: 40

    Location: London, UK

    Many thanks guys. Yes I should’ve mention the 5 fans, it was simply that internally I couldn’t fit the 3rd fan due to space. This will be rectified in the revised build so will revert to 6 if I keep push/pull. Currently the third fan would have clashed with my current reservoir. I’m also planning to change to a more vertical reservoir, and actually the new ‘flat’ types look quite interesting.
     
  5. alexkyriak

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    Joined: 8 Jan 2011

    Posts: 40

    Location: London, UK

    Given that the revised system will be only one CPU and one GPU being water cooled (from a CPU and dual GPU), was thinking to reduce the push pull on the 360 rad and just go to push. This working in conjunction with the two 240rads. The 360 rad would be using 3 fans something like suggested above. Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: 4 May 2021
  6. d_brennen

    Capodecina

    Joined: 30 Jan 2009

    Posts: 16,311

    Location: Aquilonem Londinensi

    I have 2 ML120 RGB fans and they are by far the most annoying sounding fans I've ever had. No doubt they shift air, but I wouldn't call them quiet at anything more than 1000RPM. Wonder if the non-RGB fans are different?
     
  7. ttaskmaster

    Capodecina

    Joined: 11 Sep 2013

    Posts: 10,799

    As with all fans, it depends on your choice of radiator.
    Vardar fans sound much louder on low FPI rads compared to high FPI ones, whereas my non-RGB non-Pro ones on low FPI 45mm Alphacool Xflows are as silent as any fan gets.... I have 10 in Push-Pull across a 240 and 360, with an 11th as the rear exhaust. This last one is actually the noisiest.

    No fan is ever completely silent, of course and most make a fair bit of noise the further past 1000rpm that you go. Mine are pretty good up to 1800, after which headphones start to become necessary.
     
  8. Joxeon

    Soldato

    Joined: 15 Oct 2019

    Posts: 5,072

    Location: Uk

    You might want to think about doing a CPU upgrade with the 3080 else the 4790k will hold you back a bit especially with nvidias driver overhead.
     
  9. Drumroll

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 5 Mar 2017

    Posts: 1,356

    Location: Cambridge

    Depends on radiator and how close the fan is to any grill/filter on it's back. I say that because without any obstruction the P12 here was much quieter than the Pure Wings, same RPM.
    Once I add anything near the back of the fan (filter or grill/mesh), the Pure Wings was much quieter.
    With the 3080 I would recommend the radiator right after the GPU (don't need to be one between each component, gains are minimum, serious) or after CPU/GPU to be exhaust, them use the other 2 as intake to optimize and drop the coolant temperature as low as possible.
    Even if that first (exhaust) rad gets slightly warmer air to work with, it would manage to exhaust far from the other components most of the heat.
    Tried in the past many setups, all intake, all exhaust, intake before exhaust. You don't want all the heat back in the case. Just check how hot the air leave the first radiator, then you tell me if makes sense.
     
  10. Drumroll

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 5 Mar 2017

    Posts: 1,356

    Location: Cambridge

    3 x 360 here, but 3900x + 3090, all stock, true, but until summer, at 35-40% during gaming is more than adequate (5ish delta) and reasonably quiet. (Pure Wings 2 2000RPM).
     
  11. alexkyriak

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    Joined: 8 Jan 2011

    Posts: 40

    Location: London, UK

    Yeah, I’m teetering on the edge of ‘mild upgrade turns into expensive monster pc components upgrade’....!

    Thanks for that advice on the rads placement drumroll. Will look into that.

    TTaskmaster that sounds interesting re: fpi and fans. Can you provide any more detail on your setup? My rads are xspc
     
  12. Joxeon

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    Joined: 15 Oct 2019

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    Location: Uk

    If you want to keep costs down then the 11400F + B560 combo offers excellent value for money right now and can be picked up with 16gb of ram for just over 300 quid. If you sell your 4790K/mob/ram you could easily offset £200 of that.
     
  13. ttaskmaster

    Capodecina

    Joined: 11 Sep 2013

    Posts: 10,799

    Most rads over the 30mm thickness will see better performance with Push-Pull.
    So it depends what you have.

    The more Fins Per Inch (FPI) you have, the more surface area and the greater teh cooling capacity of the rad... BUT - The more FPI, the more 'stuff' there is to obstruct the airflow of teh cooling fans and the less efficient they will be. High static pressure fans can overcome some of that obstruction, but they are often noisy as all Hell as a result.
    Low FPI fans result in a smoother airflow, so the trick is to go low enough to get good cooling without going so low that teh lesser surface area affects performance.
    The trick then is to find fans that have a wide enough airflow spread (because it basically spins out the fan in a cone shape) to channel along the fins smoothly, but not so wide that the airflow bounces all along the fins... this slows the airflow down and in the worst cases can cause a compression stall that will end up breaking the fans.
    By comparison, the Vardar airflow is so narrowed as it hits the fins that it's like blowing air across the reed of a woodwind instrument.

    This isn't something normally covered in even comprehensive fan or rad reviews, so it's more a case of trying different fans out and seeing what works best for you.
    I have Alphacool NexXxos XT45 full copper X-Flow rads, which are 16fpi, in 240 front and 360 top configurations. They're filled with Corsair ML120 (non-Pro, non-RGB) fans in Push-Pull, and those run off a AquaComputer OCTO RGBpx fan hub as part of my Aquasuite setup.
     
  14. Drumroll

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 5 Mar 2017

    Posts: 1,356

    Location: Cambridge

    Not familiar with XSPC (used few over 8+ years ago).
    Some rads would perform better at low RPM, not just FPI, but rad design, and how restrictive the rad is. HWlabs are great rads, quite restrictive but perform incredible well at lower RPM compared to other rads.
    Push/Pull would be recommended on scenarios where:
    1) you need to extract the maximum performance of the radiator, and 2 fans would allow that (depending on how thick the rad is and FPI, because if the rad is thin or has low FPI, the gains, even at full blast would be minimum, if any;
    2) lower RPM, but not always 2 fans at 500RPM would be quieter than one at 700-800rpm. that would depend on the fan model and, again, the model/design of rad you're using.

    For rads thicker than 40mm and medium to high FPI, push/pull would help extract some performance, but not necessarily night and day. Adding another rad (of space is available) would, likely, return better results.
    For rads 60+mm, push/pull, even at lower RPM would be recommended. Could do without, but rad performance will be crippled, unless running fans at very high RPM.
    If you check EK's website they do some tests regarding push/pull.
    I didn't notice much gain on the PE (40mm), but for the XE (60mm) was well worth. The main benefit was allowing running the fans at lower RPM on the PE, avoiding the RPM "band" where some noticeable noise occurs (most fans would produce noise at some band, not necessarily at full speed, same as pumps).
     
  15. MikeTimbers

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    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

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    Location: New Eltham, London

    I get the quest for an efficient marriage of rads and fans but having been doing this for more years than I like to think about, the quest for efficiency is over-rated.

    Get more rad than you need, use fans that sound and look how you want. Any airflow over an excessive radiator will be "enough". If you're on the cusp of overheating, it's not your fans; it's because your rads aren't big enough.

    My main rig uses a set of the fans recommended by Jayztwocents as "There is no way these can really be this cheap...". Five 120mm ARGB fans for under £30 although the control of them is via one of those little remote controls. But once they're set to the effect I want, I never need to use the control again. In theory they could be connected to any ARGB motherboard.
     
  16. Drumroll

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 5 Mar 2017

    Posts: 1,356

    Location: Cambridge

    True. If a rad is required to perform at 100% to keep the coolant's temperature under control, more rad will be more efficient than any push/pull or better fans, unless the fans are so bad the rad isn't performing anywhere near it should.
    Also really tick rads are nice, can handle a lot of heat, but going to some good performance 30mm or 40/45mm the performance wouldn't be too far off.
    More rad area would allow lower RPM for fans, quieter, which (for me) is the main point of watercooling.