Nexus Basic (D12SL-12)
The next fan definitely won’t leave you unfazed. So, if you have been looking briefly through fans descriptions and only checking the test results up until this moment, I strongly urge you to take your time and read about the Basic fan from Nexus, because it is absolutely worth every minute of your time.
So, the fan comes in pretty common package – a small clear plastic box. There is a woman’s head on both sides of it that either suggests that we should all keep quite or symbolizes an extremely quiet device inside:
Among the really useful data available on the box there are fan rotation speed, airflow and noise. There is nothing else there. The fan is bundled only with a three-pin → PATA adapter. The latest fan revisions also include silicone mounting spindles. All fans are made in China. Nexus Basic comes with a 3-year warranty.
At first glance there seem to be no obvious distinguishing features, unique traits or innovative technologies. Nexus Basic is available in two color schemes: solid orange color or black frame with a white fan. We got the second modification:
Nevertheless, the manufacturer claims that Nexus Basic is the “world’s quietest fan”. Don’t think that this fan works at some 200 RPM speed. It is quite normal for a 120 mm fan and equals 1000 RPM. So, what makes the manufacturer make such ambitious claims? Let’s try figuring this out.
The official company web-site offers all the details about their solutions including acoustic tests results and photographs. Moreover, Nexus stresses for those who check out their web-site that many fan makers out there do not bother to perform adequate acoustic tests in specially equipped anechoic test chambers, but simply extrapolate the old test results onto their new solutions with similar specifications. Self-promotion and competition aside, I have to admit that this does in fact make sense. You may also have been surprised before when a 2000 RPM solution was claimed to have a noise level of only 16 dBA. Of course, these numbers are unrealistic and shouldn’t be taken seriously.
But let’s get back to our reviewed fan. It measures 120x120x25 mm and weighs 123 g. Each fan has 7 blades and a 40 mm rotor. Note that Nexus Basic has one of the smallest rotors of all 120 mm fans. Only Enermax fans have a rotor of the same diameter of 40 mm, and the smallest rotor belongs to Scythe Slip Stream fans – 36 mm, and SilenX iXtrema Pro IXP-74-09/11 – 33 mm. moreover, the rotor sits on four supporting rods, three of which are round and only 3.5 mm in diameter:
So, we see the Nexus engineers intended to maximize the effective sweep area of the fan blades and minimize the airflow resistance. The fan blades are quite classical in design, aggressively angled, with a 2.5 mm gap between the blade tip and the inside of the fan frame:
They are very similar to the blades of GELID Silent fans, but are more curved. There are no notches, winglets or dimples of any kind. At 1000 RPM the fan should create 36.87 CFM airflow – it is the closest declared parameter to what we obtained during our test session. The noise in this case shouldn’t exceed 18 dBA.
It is interesting that there is barely any info on the official site about the bearing employed in this fan. The only thing we managed to find out is the type of the bearing used – common sleeve bearing. We don’t even know its MTBF. Looks like Nexus didn’t think this information was important and deserved special attention, although they should, because case fans are replaced several times less frequently than CPUs or graphics cards.
The startup fan voltage according to the specifications is 7 V, while the actual one is 6.5–13.8 V.
It is really interesting that the UL number on the packaging belongs to Yate Loon Company that does in fact have a D12SL-12 model in their product range. Yate Loon fans are not very well-known among users, they are most often seen in mainstream power supply units, but have pretty good reputation. Besides, Yate Loon products are also quite inexpensive: 120 mm fan from this maker usually costs about $3-$4, although they usually retail faster and noisier D12SH-12 models).
Maximum fan power consumption shouldn’t exceed 3.6 W at 0.3 A of current. I would also like to add that Nexus Basic MSRP is set at $15.
Finally, here are our test results:
If anyone asked me to name the best fan from the prospective of subjective acoustic comfort (without the noise meter readings taken into account), I would undoubtedly choose Nexus Basic. It works unbelievably quietly (I am not using the term “Noiselessly” because I will be inevitably bashed by some maniacs of absolute quiet :) ). Look at the straight line of the noise level: you won’t hear this fan at all up until 840 RPM. After that you can hear the airflow created by the fan, but not the fan itself. By the way, the airflow is pretty significant, even though it is a little lower than by the leading solutions of our today’s test session. Good job, Nexus! Very modest power consumption, but the startup voltage of 6.9 V could have been lower.