For testing, since we currently do not have a sensitive enough decibel-meter to make accurate noise measurements, we will present our subjective assessment of their operation.
One of the first things I like to do with a fan is give it a hand-powered spin. When doing this you may observe how smoothly the rotation feels, how well the bearing lubricates the fan, and the amount of "bump" that the fan undergoes as the wire coils pass the magnets in the motor. From these results, I can deduce a few things about the fan. If you feel very little vibration, that means the fan is well balanced, and will create minimal vibration noise. If you get a long spin time from one "push," this usually means that the bearings are smooth, will not create much extra vibration, and generally means it is smooth enough to allow for long lifetimes.
The Kama Flex fans did very well in these preliminary "hand tests." The fan felt perfectly smooth, and spun for a very long time after giving it a single push, nearly on par with the ultra-premium and high-priced Noctua NF-P12/14 Fans.
Next, using an extension, we connect the fan to the case an run the fan far enough away from the case so that the ambient noise doesn't interfere with assessment of the noise levels of the test fan.
These fans did impress! Holding the fan by hand, even at 1600RPM, little to no vibration was noticed, further providing evidence of their superior bearing, and minimal superficial noise creation. The noise levels also impressed based upon the amount of pressure these fans generate. The airflow is very pronounced, but only a firm "whisp" is heard from very near the fan. A case full of these would likely be quieter than one of my Antec Tri-Cool fans included with my Antec 900. Bringing it near my case, plugging it in and turning it on and off with a fan controller produced inaudible differences in comparison to the noise already generated by the other case fans, so, in essence, it is a "silent" addition. Even with two of them running together in a push-pull or side-by-side produces minimal noise levels above a delicate whisper.
Scythe's case fans have been an enthusiast favorite for a few years, and they've earned that recognition. The Kama Flex 135mm is no departure from their success, using proven blade designs, a superior bearing, and some Scythe-specific ingenuity, and they priced it less than many other ultra-performance fans. The closest thing to these fan I've tested are Noctua's high-end fans, but those are going to run you in the vicinity of $30 by the time you pay shipping and tax. These fans will run you closer to $20 based upon costs and shipping from several large retailers, so it's considerably cheaper than other premium fans, but are still rather spendy.
The super-smooth operation produces only minimal vibration, and the Fluid Dynamic Bearing will lead to incredible lifetimes, so that $20 will certainly go a long way for you, paying you back over time as you would likely go through 2-3 lower end fans in the time a Kama Flex would last. Keep in mind for those who are frantically clamoring for that ever-elusive ultra-silent PC, they offer the Kama Flex fans in 1200 and 800rpm fans, so those would be a perfect fit for you, still providing performance at bare minimum noise levels.
- Fluid Dynamic Bearing is buttery smooth and silent
- Good airflow and static pressure
- Extremely Quiet
- 140mm holes provide maximum compatibility
- A bit pricey, but long life times work against this being a downfall and help justify the cost
We would like to thank Scythe for providing these samples, and we are happy to express our satisfaction with this product by awarding it with the Teck Kings Crowned Products award for a product we would recommend!
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