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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [09.10.02]
Manufactured by: Cooler Master
Est. Street Price: $15
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Just a quick "Check This Out"

I have never had the urge to write a review on a simple 80mm case fan.  For the most part, they are all the same.  However I came across a product in preparation for a future article, and I just had to write about it; this new unit from Cooler Master has a few tricks of its sleeve...

Cooler Master specializes in retail cooling products.  Everything from case fans to CPU coolers can be found in a Cooler Master retail package.  I don't know of many Brick & Mortar stores that specialize in retail products of this type, but I have seen some Cooler Master products at my local computer shop, and the packaging does look cool.

As far as specs go, here's what we have:

  • Size: 80x80x25mm
  • Air Flow: 32.11 CFM
  • Voltage: 12V
  • Bearing Type: Rifle bearing (patented)
  • Input Current: 0.15A
  • Rotation Speed: 2500 RPM
  • Acoustical Noise: 25 dB(A)
  • Input Power: 1.80W
  • Life Expectancy: 50,000 Hours, continuous

Update: I found out directly from Cooler Master that the rated air flow of this fan is 32.11 CFM (specific enough for ya? ;))

Inside the cool retail box, you'll find everything you need to get going right away.  If you don't have a spare 3-pin Molex outlet available on your motherboard, use the included 3-to-4 pin adapter.  The screws that it comes with are great for quick-installations.  This thing is meant to be installed in a case window, and I wouldn't want to mess around with nuts and bolts in that kind of an application.  These screws make for a solid installation, with no chance of vibration.

Unlike most PC fans, which use sleeve or ball-type bearings, the TLF-R82, in its quest for the quietest operation possible, uses rifle bearings (the back of the box states that this method is patented).

Rifle bearings offer a number of advantages over ball bearings and sleeve bearings.

Both ball and rifle bearings in case fan applications have a life expectancy of about 50,000 continuous hours.  Sleeve bearings are in the 20-30,000 hour range.

Of course you know that the one big disadvantage of ball bearings is that they are inherently noisier than sleeve bearings.  What the use of rifle bearings offers is the life span of ball bearings and the silent operation of sleeve bearings.  As more people opt for silent, yet cool PC's, rifle bearings should become more and more common.  rifle bearings are also less costly than ball bearings, but I don't know if the savings will ever pass on to the end user.

Now THIS is what you want to see on the side of your case! Needless to say, the fan looks spectacular when turned on.  The TLF-R82 has LED's built right into the fan itself, and no extra cables are used.

I'm sure you've seen some of the nasty "red and green" or other combinations of LED fans around, but you have to agree that most of those look pretty tacky.  Blue LEDs are quite a bit more expensive than red or green, and I think the quality shows in the end.

One problem I came across was using a variable speed control with the fan.  I tried both a Thermaltake Hardcano and a Zalman speed controller, and at lower speeds, the LEDs did not light up.  That means that to get full use out of this thing, you'll have to run it at full speed.  This shouldn't be a problem for most, since full speed is a mere 2500 RPM, making for just about a 25 dB acoustic noise rating.

I have this fan on my Thermaltake Xaser II case window (reviewed here) and it looks great.  Now I just need a blue interior light to really set things off!

  • It looks AWESOME
  • All blue LEDs make for a high-end, tasteful appearance
  • Rifle bearings = silence and long lifespan

  • It looks AWESOME
  • All blue LEDs make for a high-end, tasteful appearance
  • Rifle bearings = silence and long lifespan