Project Absinthe – Part V

Build Log:

I picked up the order from my local FedEx office, which included:

  • 2 x Swiftech 90-degree single rotary fittings
  • 10-pack Primochill Rigid Revolver compression fittings
  • 2 x Koolance bulkhead tank fittings
  • 3 x 140mm Bitfenix Spectre Pro fans

Okay that’s not entirely correct.

They sent me dual-rotary fittings instead of single-rotary fittings. This isn’t the first time Performance-PCs as gotten an order wrong, but the fact it’s happened with two of my last three orders is a little worrisome – the order of the last three they didn’t get wrong was a power supply cable for the RM1000 that I had overnighted. Everything else about the order was correct, though. The last mix-up was over a fan cable splitter.

The sad thing about this discrepancy isn’t necessarily that it happened, again, but that there are three people who take care of packing up shipments. One person packs it with two other people signing off on having inspected it. For this big of a discrepancy to get by three people is worrying, to say the least.

I sent an e-mail to them after noticing the discrepancy. They’ll issue a shipping label for returning the wrong fittings, which will be put on the box they’re using to send the correct fittings.

It’s a good thing I’m not trying to do a build for a paying client, and that there’s still plenty of time before I plan to actually build out the system again as I still need to pinpoint the rest of what I’m going to order – I know what the bulk of the next order will be, but I’m unsure if I’ll need anything beyond that. And even despite the recent difficulties, I still recommend going with them as they have the lowest prices on most everything I’ve ordered and I haven’t had any issues with them until recently.

Rigging for silent running

First order of business after contacting Performance-PCs about the order was to open and plug up one of the Spectre Pro fans for a quick sound test – and to make sure they’re not DOA.

The SP120 sounded like a buzzing insect. It was loud, and combined with several other SP120s, it sounded like a swarm or beehive at full blast. The Spectre Pro fans are a significant improvement over the SP120, but not too much of an improvement over the AF140L fans that come with the 750D. Recall from a prior iteration that the fans only had a slightly lower noise pressure rating to the AF140 – 24 dB/A for the AF140 compared to slightly under 23 dB/A for the Spectre Pro 140mm.

I installed the fans into the case, two in the front and one in the back. For the rear fan I used the same brass screws I had already purchased – there’s a slight overhang on the screws but it’s a pretty solid mount nonetheless. For installing the front fans, I needed to pull the power cable clear of the fan.

You see how the power cable is tucked under the rim of the fan? To mount these as front intake fans in the 750D (and likely the other cases in the Obsidian series), you just need to slide the power cable back through that opening and it’ll be able to slide through this opening in the front panel.

You won’t be able to mount the fan unless you do that.

With the fans installed, I got a spare power supply and got power to them. You could feel the air coming from them, but they weren’t making a sound. My wife actually had to ask if I had them running. Add the Spectre Pro 120mm fans to the mix and this machine will barely make a sound. As I’ve mentioned before, the pump is barely audible when it’s running. These fans also disappear behind the filters.

The fan controller, however, is able to put a bit more power through these fans, so they’re definitely noticeable when the controller is cranked up to max. Having the controller dialed at their rated 1200RPM, about the same level when they’re running off the power supply directly, makes them barely audible. The fan controller can get them up near 1400 RPM where they do become a little noisy but still nowhere near the SP120s.

Unfortunately one of the fans seems to not want to start up when initial voltage is applied to it. I have to tap the blades to get them spinning. And at least I discovered the problem now, long before I’m trying to build out a loop, so it’s not a huge deal. Performance-PCs tends to be quick on their RMA process – it’s already been filed and approved. I just need to print the shipping label (this return is on my own dime) and get it in the mail.