I connected the fan straight to a power supply using the 3-pin to Molex adapter so that I had minimal background noise and could closely examine the noise levels from the Xthermal. I used a multi meter to determine what the starting voltage of the fan was.
Since XSR isn’t quite at the stage where it can provide each reviewer with the thousands of pounds needed for a decibel meter anywhere near the 22db it’s rated at, I’ll have to put my trusty human ear to use – a great product by the way.
The starting voltage of the BTF120PRO is 7v. This is slightly odd as most fans start at 12v. However, most enthusiasts wanting to run a silent system will certainly lower their fans to 7v or below before doing anything, so it’s quite nice to see that Xthermal have saved us a job in doing this. At its starting voltage I was immediately impressed by its noise level, but when getting up close to the fan – Van Gogh style – a bit of turbulence was noticeable. This is probably because of the pointier blades. Aside from this, when a couple of feet away from the fan. It couldn’t be heard, at all. Without a doubt this is the quietest fan I’ve experienced so far.
If used with the 9dB/A adapter – which effectively further lowers the voltage – there’s a good chance this fan will be completely silent. As without it, it was inaudible. One reason I suspect its low noise output is because of the bearings used inside the fan. PXB sleeve bearings are not common in ordinary fans, and the difference is very noticeable.
As well as performing silently, the BTF120PRO also looks pretty good whilst in usage. The glow from the LED’s isn’t as strong as most and gives it more of a subtle but classy look which will have a wider appeal than the standard over-bright blue LEDs that adorn many of today’s products.
When comparing the airflow with a Noctua P12, the P12 seemed to pump out much more air at the same voltage. This is a bit unfortunate and is probably down to the design of the blades.
The Xthermal BTF120PRO retails at £10.50. This is a little cheaper than competitor fans which offer similar performance.