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Reviewed by: Trevor Flynn [02.28.03]
Edited by: Carl Nelson

Manufactured by: Zalman
MSRP: $10
Est. Street Price: ~ $6-7

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Shhhh.....Baby is Sleeping.

When someone mentions air-cooling, what is the first thing that comes to mind?  A giant slab of copper with jet like fan strapped on top perhaps for some people, while others think of a pelican like set of thinly stretched fins, placed, once again, on top of that slab of copper.  However, anyone who is serious about air-cooling solutions knows that good case airflow is absolutely necessary.

Why is it then that case fans are more often than not left as an afterthought?  My guess would be that aside from the dimensions, most case fans are relatively the same. 

So, along comes Zalman With their focus on noise prevention giving us something to consider when selecting those all important case fans with their new "silent" offering.

 

What It Is

Out of the packaging the Zalman fan looks exactly like every other 80mm case fan on the market with one small exception.

Included is a small pass through adapter that is to be used when the fan is to be operating in "silent" mode.  Basically all the adapter is made up of is a basic three pin pass through cable with a simple resistor on the power line. 

This resistor cuts the voltage running to the fan from the regular 12v to 5.5v.  Less power equals slower rotation equals less noise. What we are of course interested in is whether or not the loss in air flow will result in a large increase in system temperature.  To do this I've tested the Zalman fan in both normal and noiseless modes against my trusty old Sunon 80x80x25mm case fan.

  Voltage Amp. Fan Speed Air Flow Noise Level
Zalman ZM1 "Silent" 5.5V 0.12A 1700 RPM 20.6 CFM 20 dB
Zalman ZM1 "Normal" 12V 0.25A 3000 RPM 36.5 CFM 34.2 dB
Sunon KD1208PTB2 12V 0.18A 2900 RPM 39 CFM 32 dB

Perhaps the first thing you'll notice is that the Sunon fan pushes more air with less noise, typically indicative of a higher quality fan.  What type of effect will this have on our results?  Let's see!

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