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TT Smart Fan 2 (A1357)

It seems to me that fans are the Rodney Dangerfield of computer parts. "They don't get no respect". Up until lately, they probably didn't deserve any, either. All that, though, is starting to change. The fan we are looking at today is the ThermalTake Smart Fan 2 (A1357). It's not a secret I didn't have much use for the original ThermalTake Smart Fan mainly because of problems with the thermal sensor. It was interesting to me only as a curiosity. This time around, though, I think ThermalTake may be on to something, lets see.

Packaging

The Smart Fan 2 packaging is very sparse. You have a small, windowed box just large enough to hold the fan and accessories. The only two things I find noteworthy here are the somewhat odd pumpkin orange fan color--clearly visible through the pane--and the always interesting item specifications.

Smart Fan Front     Smart Fan Back

Specifications:

-Fan Dimension: 80x80x25mm
-Rated Voltage: 12VDC
-Started Voltage: 6 VDC
-Rated Current: 0.20AMP ~ 0.70AMP
-Power Input: 2.4W ~ 8.4W
-Fan Speed: 1300 rpm +/- 10% at 20 Degrees C
-4800 rpm +/- 10% at 55 Degrees C
-Max. Air Flow: 20.55 CFM at 1300 rpm
-75.7 CFM at 4800 rpm
-Air Pressure: 1.45mm H2O at 1300 rpm
-8.43mm H2O at 4800 rpm
-Noise: 17 dBA at 1300 rpm
-48 dBA at 4800 rpm
-Bearing Type: Two Ball bearing
-Lift Time: 50,000 Hours
-Connector: 3 Pin

Smart Fan Display

The Smart Fan 2 is officially sold and labeled as a case fan. While it can obviously be used in this manner, I find that its three methods of fan control make it equally suitable for use as a CPU HSF fan. This is the role I am going to focus on. Does the Smart Fan 2 have the performance it takes to compete with the more specialized HSF cooling fans? We'll see.

The fan grill included with the Smart Fan 2 is itself fairly impressive. While it has a few rough edges on the emblem, and generally isn't as nice as the premium laser-cut fan grills, it is much nicer than the more common wire, fan grill variety. And don't get me started on all the manufacturers who don't even bother to include any grill at all, or this short review will turn into a multi-page rant.

Smart Fan 2

Modes Of Operation

Function One

If you are a hardcore overclocker or performance enthusiast who has the Smart Fan 2 employed as a HSF, this is probably the method you will use. Although rated by Thermal Take at 75 cfm, I would guess this is probably slightly generous. That being said, this fan whomped my trusty Sanyo/Denki Model: 109P0812A201 53 cfm fan by 3 C, when paired with a SLK-800. What I found most amazing is that it also matched the Sanyo/Denki sound level at 60 db, as measured 3 inches from the outside of the case.

If I wasn't reviewing this fan for the site, I would have stopped right there and not even tested mode 2 and 3. I was so happy with the performance and sound level. It is MUCH quieter than a Delta. That being said I have heard many people say that a Smart Fan 2 running wide open is still too noisy for their tastes, that's why I included the db measurement.

Function Two

This mode uses a thermistor to control fan operation. The interesting portion of this mode is that the temp probe is not connected directly to the fan (like the original Smart Fan), but is at the end of a roughly 12 inch separate wire, this wire ought to reach mostly wherever on the board you wish to place it.

Function Three

If you are unusually sensitive to fan noise, or just a control nut, this setting may appeal to you. It allows you to manually adjust the fan speed control through a small rheostat. You can change the fan RPM from 1300 to 4800 RPM by turning the knob on the variable resistor. One word of advice here: If you plan to use this mode, be prepared initially to pay close attention to your CPU temperatures through MBM 5.2 or some other similar program. I can't imagine that any of today's CPUs could be adequately cooled with the fan running at 1300 RPM. You could probably get away with 3000 RPM though with a good HSF running in an non-overclocked system.

Conclusion:

This time around ThermalTake has a real winner on its hands. With the Smart Fan 2, the Smart Fan technology is finally starting to live up to its initial billing. For 12.95 I can't really beef about the price either it's cheaper than most other fans that don't even include a fan guard. The few issues I do have with the Smart Fan 2 are minor ones. First as I mentioned earlier the fan color is simply horrible. Second is the questionable cfm rating. If you are a case modder you also might purchase the Smart Fan 2 (A1357) with the (A1556) which is a clear plastic LED fan cover. This will also save you from the ugly fan color. If they make a Smart Fan 3 I would like to see them kick up the cfm ratings some more, and also produce a 92mm version.

I would like to thank Crazy PC for providing us with the ThermalTake Smart Fan 2. I am proud to have them as a sponsor.

Pros:

  • Wide variety of control functions
  • Custom fan grill
  • Good HSF performance

Cons:

  • Awful color choice
  • Questionable cfm rating

 Crazy PC

Added: November 14th 2002
Reviewer: JimAdkins
Score: 9  
Related Link: Thermaltake USA
Hits: 4521
Language: english

  

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