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Thermalright TR-FDB

Users have been complaining quite often that although the coolers for CPUs and graphics accelerators manufactured by Thermalright, Inc. have always been pretty good, they are expensive and do not come bundled with any fans. And what do you think has happened? Thermalright cut the Gordian knot and launched their own 120 mm fan production line (or bought the already existing line, it doesn’t really matter). Now you can buy four Thermalright branded fans of the same model, but with different rotation speeds.

These fans are shipped in cardboard boxes with a small cut-out window in the front of the box that reveals the sticker on the fan spindle. These boxes are so small that it is really tricky to get the fans out, because they sit there very tightly.

However, the boxes are covered with all sorts of info: anything you might want to know about the fans inside (except the benchmark results, of course) is there. The fans do not have any accessories with them – just the fan and the box. Thermalright TR-FDB fans are made in China and come with 3-year warranty.

Thermalright fans look very plain, just like their packaging: black frame and flack fan blades with a little sticker in the middle:

The fan measures 120x120x25 mm and weighs 156 g. Each fan has 7 blades and a rotor with 48 mm diameter. The supporting rods holding the fan and the motor are oval-shaped and pretty thin (minimal diameter is only 4 mm). The only exception is the rod with a hollow groove for the cable inside it:

 

The gap between the tip of the fan blade and the inside of the frame is less than 1.5 mm. The blades are relatively thick and wide and look somewhat like shovel heads:

According to the specifications, Thermalright TR-FDB fans work at 1000, 1300, 1600 and 2000 RPM (±10 %). They should create airflow of 38.9 (just like Nexus Basic), 50, 63.7 and 80.5 CFM. Fans static pressure is not mentioned and the level of noise is declared not to exceed 15.8, 24.1, 28 and 38 dBA.

Thermalright TR-FDB fans are built on the same type of bearings as Scythe S-FLEX. They are called FDB (Fluid Dynamic Bearing). This suggests that they should be pretty quiet. At the same time, the bearings in Thermalright fans should last only 60,000 hours, which is 2.5 times less than the bearings by S-FLEX can do. On the other hand, these bearings will serve you well for over 7 years, which in my opinion is more than enough.

The power consumption of all four fan models is the same – they require 10.8-13.2 V voltage, 0.13 A current and 1.56 W of power. However, according to the information on the rotor stickers, this current value is only valid for two junior models with 1000 and 1300 RPM rotation speeds:

 

 

If we calculate the power consumption for two top fan models, it will make about 2.4 W for 1600 RPM solution and 4.44 W for 2000 RPM solution. The startup voltage for these fans is declared at 7 V. Their recommended retail price is between $11-$15 depending on the model.

Now let’s check out the results:

First of all, I have to say that Thermalright TR-FDB fans turned out different levels of noise and overall unstable solutions. For example, 1300 and 1600 RPM models working at the same speed sounded almost equally (1300 RPM one was a little quieter), while the 1000 RPM model was slightly louder. As for the 2000 RPM model, it was the noisiest of all Thermalright solutions because its bearing produced a distinct crackling sound. Note that none of the other Thermalright fans suffered from crackling of any kind. And when we increased the fan rotation speed, the noise levels changed abruptly, which indicated instability (true for the top models only). Nevertheless, this didn’t prevent Thermalright TR-FDB fans from becoming ones of the best in airflow despite modest exterior and simplistic-looking blades. In addition, these fans consume very little power and start at 3.6 V, except the 1000 RPM model that has a startup voltage of 8.1 V.

 
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