View Full Version : Review: Akasa Apache 120mm system fans

6th April 2012, 14:19
My test/download server is housed in a Thermaltake Tsunami Dream case that still had the original Thermaltake fans installed. Great case (all aluminium) that originally housed my main PC before I upgraded.

I recently moved my office into a different room and my wife was now moaning about the noise this system was making (through the floor in the living room below). The original front (intake) and rear (exhault) 120mm fans in the case were connected directly to the PSU (12V molex) so they were always spinning at full speed and had no control to slow them down when the system temps were lower.

Existing Thermaltake TT1225 Thunderblade Fans.
The case's original Thermaltake fans had quite a high noise rating of 32dB(A) when I looked them up, which was a lot higher than I wanted, but in some reviews they measured them as high as 40dB(A) at 12V, which is pretty loud!

Here is the test review showing a video of the fan running with the dB reading. http://www.madshrimps.be/articles/article/936/30x-120mm-Fans-Roundup-Tested-on-WC-Radiator/26#axzz1rGKB4fY7

Looking for replacements
After a lot of research I narrowed the replacement fans down to a few makes with noise levels below 20dB. Akasa Apache, Noctua and Sharkoon. I then decided I really needed fans with PWM function.

Only one Sharkoon fan has PWM and it didn't get brilliant reviews, so that was dismissed. I really liked the Noctua fans, but expensive for what they were, and some people were saying they were not as quiet as Noctua were making out.

So in the end I went for the Akasa Apache black edition fans.

Replacement Akasa Apache Black fans.
The Akasa Apache fans are a standard 120mm size so will fit most cases. They have a unique S-Flow blade system, said to shift 30% more airflow, and have IP54 moisture and dust protection, which Akasa hype as being military standard (and I disregard as marketing speak), but does mean the bearings should last a lot longer than cheaper fans.

The fans also have 9 blades, rather than the usual 7, so can move more air at lower speeds.

The old Thermaltake fan span at around 2000-2400RPM, which goes some way to explaining their noise. The Apache fans spin at a maximum of 1400RPM, so much slower, and if being controlled via PWM can idle around 700RPM.

Now for the best bit. These fans have a noise level of between 6.9dB (600RPM) and 16dB (1300RPM) so they are really quiet.

These fans also come with anti vibration rubber fan peg mounts which you use instead of screws to mount them in the case. Great if you have problems with the fans causing case vibration. I didn't so haven't used them, but they could be good to use to ensure vibration is at a minimum.

Controlling the new fans.
I wanted to control the 2 new fans via PWM on the motherboard. However the Asus 1156 motherboard I'm using in this system only has 2 PWM controlled fan headers (CPU fan and System fan). The others are just standard 3 pin headers. So to control both from the System fan header I purchased the inexpensive Akasa PWM splitter (smart fan cable). This allows up to 3 PWM fans to be connected to the same PWM header and for them all to be controlled by it.

After swapping the fans over, connecting up the Akasa smart fan cable, booting into the bios and switching on the Asus smart fan control for the system header, and rebooting I was up and running. System noise was instantly a lot quieter. To the point where I could only just hear the fans over the HDDs. Very pleased.

Highly recommended.

Don't expect completely silent fans because that will never happen. Any customer review that states a fan is completely silent is lying. The fact the fan has to spin and move air will always make some noise, but these fans as some of the quietest I've encountered and are great if you want to build a quiet system, or want to reduce the noise an existing one is making.

Being black also keeps them fairly hidden when spinning, compared to some others that are bright yellow or red. My old rear case fan was however a blue LED fan which I liked, as it lit the inside of the case and allowed me to check everything was working ok through the clear case side. So I'm now added a couple of blue strip lights inside the case, top and bottom to light it up (another review for those coming soon).

Will add some pictures later.