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Cooler Master BladeMaster 120 (R4-BMBS-20PK-R0)

Next go as many as three 120mm fans from Cooler Master. The first of them is called BladeMaster 120 (R4-BMBS-20PK-R0). This fan is sealed into a transparent blister wrap with a paper insert.

 

The paper is quite informative, telling you the specs as well as key features of the product. Included with the BladeMaster 120 are four vibration-absorbing rubber pieces and four self-tipping screws.

The fan is manufactured in China, costs $12, and has a 1-year-long warranty. It is employed in the inexpensive Hyper 212 Plus cooler.

The Cooler Master BladeMaster 120 has originally shaped blades that resemble those of the Akasa Viper. But there are seven blades here, so they are larger than the nine blades of the Viper.

 

On the other hand, Cooler Master doesn’t follow Akasa in claiming a 30% advantage in air flow. They only suggest that these blades ensure an optimal balance between air flow and noise. The impeller and electromotor are 114 and 47 millimeters in diameter, respectively. The spokes that the electromotor with impeller are attached to are curved opposite the direction of the impeller rotation. Three of them are 5 millimeters wide; the cable spoke is 10 millimeters wide. There is a holographic sticker with a Cooler Master logo on the electromotor. The manufacturer’s name is also pressed out on one of the impeller blades. Cooler Master seems to be afraid of forgeries. J

There are two smooth ribs on the interior of the fan frame. The gap between the ends of the impeller blades and the frame is about 2 millimeters.

The speed of the BladeMaster 120 is PWM-controlled within a range of 600 to 2000 RPM. The air flow varies from 21.2 to 76.8 CFM and the noise level from 13 to 32 dBA. The fan’s static pressure varies from 0.4 to 3.9 millimeters of water at that.

An informative sticker is attached to the fan:

The BladeMaster 120 runs on a sleeve bearing with a rated service life of 40,000 hours. The start-up voltage is not specified but was measured by me to be 5.3 volts. The peak power consumption is specified to be 4.32 watts but was only 2.36 watts during my tests. The 4-wire cable is 290 millimeters long. The fan weighs 155 grams.

The test results for this and the other two fans from Cooler Master are listed at the end of the description of the last of them.

Cooler Master Excalibur (R4-EXBB-20PK-R0)

The Excalibur is a rather new product from Cooler Master. It comes in a compact plastic package:

Besides the fan, the package contains two power adapters, four screws, and four long silicone pins.

The fan is manufactured in China and costs $16. Its warranty period is 1 year.

It’s hard to find any parallels between the legendary sword of King Arthur and the new fan from Cooler Master. Perhaps the blades of the impeller, with a distinct edge in the middle and a small tip at the end, do bear a remote likeness to the blade of a sword.

 

The 9-blade impeller and electromotor are 110 and 40 millimeters in diameter, respectively. Seven of the fan spokes are 3.5 millimeters wide; the cable spoke is 10 millimeters wide.

Besides the original shape of the impeller blades, the Excalibur features a perforated frame:

Cooler Master claims that this frame is going to provide more air to the impeller at low speeds. And at high speeds, it should lower the noise by reducing turbulence and vibrations. I can believe the first point but the second seems questionable to me. At a high rotation speed not only the air flow but also the static pressure of the fan will be reduced due to these holes in the frame. And static pressure is most important for cooling densely finned heatsinks of CPU coolers. The impeller can be taken off for cleaning, by the way.

The speed of the Cooler Master Excalibur is PWM-controlled within a range of 600 to 2000 RPM, just like that of the above-discussed BladeMaster 120. However, the air flow is specified to be somewhat higher at 26.4 to 85.6 CFM, the noise level varying from 13 to 30 dBA (lower than that of the BladeMaster 120). The peak static pressure of this model is lower compared to the previous model and equals 3.53 millimeters of water; the minimum static pressure is 0.75 millimeters of water.

The fan sticker tells you the model name, voltage, current, and the country of origin.

An improved ball bearing runs beneath the sticker. It is also called a barometric ball bearing. Here is how it works:

Its key design feature is that there are additional magnetic stabilizers that help this fan work quieter and longer than fans with ordinary ball bearings. The manufacturer specified a service life of 100,000 hours for it.

A very low start-up voltage can be singled out among the product specs. It is 3.3 volts. The peak power consumption of the Excalibur is 3.1 watts, which is not very low. The cable is 490 millimeters long. The fan has a weight of 129 grams.

You will see the Excalibur test results at the end of the next fan’s description.

Cooler Master SickleFlow 120 (R4-C2R-20AC-GP)

The SickleFlow 120 (R4-C2R-20AC-GP) is probably the most popular of the three Cooler Master models included into this review. It comes in a transparent plastic pack that protects it against any hazards and allows to see the fan without opening the package.

The accessories are limited to a PATA power adapter and four self-tipping screws.

The fan is manufactured in China and has a recommended price of $7. The warranty period is 1 year. This fan is employed in Cooler Master’s V8, V10, GeminII and other coolers as well as in system cases.

To me, the SickleFlow looks gorgeous. Its glossy black frame is a perfect match to the 9-blade impeller with sickle-shaped opaque blades.

 

The impeller and electromotor are 113 and 40 millimeters in diameter, respectively. Three of the fan spokes are 5 millimeters wide; the cable spoke is 12 millimeters wide.

There are two ribs on the interior of the frame. The gap between the impeller and the frame is about 3 millimeters.

This fan has a constant speed of 2000 RPM. Its air flow of 69.7 CFM is somewhat lower compared to the previous two fans from Cooler Master at the same speed. Its noise level is specified to be a highly implausible 19 dBA. The static pressure is 22.94 millimeters of water, which is lower than that of the BladeMaster and Excalibur.

The start-up voltage of this fan proved to be the lowest among the tested products at only 2.4 volts. Its power consumption is less than 2.9 watts, i.e. lower than the specified 4.2 watts. The sleeve bearing is rated for 40,000 hours of operation. The fan’s 3-wire cable is very short. It’s only 290 millimeters. There is a PATA power adapter in the box but it deprives the user of the monitoring and speed control features. The SickleFlow weighs 113 millimeters.

Now let’s see how the three fans from Cooler Master performed in my tests:

So, the new Excalibur model is the worst of the three in terms of the noise-to-airflow ratio. Although its graph goes higher than the graph of the BladeMaster, the Excalibur is somewhat more agreeable to the ear. The BladeMaster does ensure a stronger air flow, though.

It is the cheap and modest SickleFlow that is a sensation here as it is overall better than the Scythe Kama Flow 2! There is only one problem with it: the SickleFlow begins to drone at some speeds (that’s why its graph is not very smooth). To avoid that annoying sound, I had to increase or lower its voltage by 0.1 or 0.2 volts. Anyway, the SickleFlow is deservedly the best of the Cooler Master trio.

 
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