Enermax 120 mm APS Fan Review

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In July, 2013, Enermax announced that they had updated their fans with new three-position “APS” switches, which allow a user to select one of three peak speeds. This, in essence, allows you to buy three fans in one. Today we will be looking at three of these fans: the T.B. Vegas Quad, the Cluster Advance, and the Everest Advance. Are these truly advanced fans? Are we really looking at nine fans masquerading as three? Let’s see.

 

Enermax fan-pan 1000

I must admit from the outset that I am using an Enermax fan. I once bought a collection of returned merchandise – all fans – that included an undamaged Everest and a Cluster that would not spin. The blade assembly of the latter was badly contorted. Given that these are Enermax fans with Twister bearings, I popped the blades off the two fans and put the Everest’s blade assembly on the Cluster motor. Guess what? It worked perfectly! I now had a PWM fan during a time when PWM fans were not as common as now, and the blades are a lovely translucent white. I named it my FrankenFan, and now it is one of the fans on my rig. The lesson? The Enermax Twister bearings really do work as advertised, and incidentally allow you to swap blade assemblies. Every Enermax fan I can find has a Twister bearing, including the three I am reviewing today.

Enermax Cluster Batwing blade

Enermax Cluster Batwing Blade

Features (from the Enermax website)

T.B.Vegas Quad UCTVQ12P

  • PWM speed control to keep your system cool and silent all the time
  • Smart APS (Adjustable Peak Speed) control providing 3 peak rpm options
  • Patented Circular Type LED with 48 (4×12) diodes and up to five times brighter than other LED fans
  • Blue/Red/Green/White 4-color LED with 6 switchable modes
  • Patented Carved Halo Frame design for extra 20~30% airflow
  • Twister Bearing technology for long lifetime and low noise
  • Focus Blades centering the light to increase brightness
  • Detachable fan blades for easy cleaning
  • Isolator-mounts for shockproof and easy installation
T.B.Vegas Quad

T.B.Vegas Quad

Cluster Advance UCCLA12P

  • PWM speed control to keep your system cool and silent all the time
  • Smart APS (Adjustable Peak Speed) control providing 3 peak rpm options
  • Twister Bearing technology for long lifetime and low noise
  • Batwing Blade design and Carved Halo Frame for extra 20%~30% airflow
  • Detachable fan blades for easy cleaning
  • Isolator-mounts for shockproof and easy installation
  • White lightning LED can be on or off
Enermax Cluster Advance

Enermax Cluster Advance

Everest Advance UCEVA12T

  • Built-in thermal sensor for auto-adjusted fan speed control
  • Smart APS (Adjustable peak speed) control providing 3 peak rpm options
  • Twister Bearing technology for long lifetime and low noise
  • Batwing Blade design and Carved Halo Frame for extra 20%~30% airflow
  • Detachable fan blades for easy cleaning
  • Isolator-mounts for shockproof and easy installation
  • Blue lightning LED on/off
Enermax Everest Advance

Enermax Everest Advance

Specifications

T.B.VEGAS QUAD – UCTVQ12P Specifications
Dimension (mm) 120*120*25
Speed Mode Ultra Silent Mode Silent Mode Performance Mode
Speed (RPM) 500~1200 500~1500 500~1800
Air Flow (CFM) 20.42~50.68 20.42~63.26 20.42~75.98
Air Flow (m3 / h) 34.69~86.11 34.69~107.48 34.69~129.09
Static Pressure (mm-H2O) 0.618~1.504 0.618~1.680 0.618~2.276
Noise (dBA) 14~20 14~22 14~25
Rated Voltage (V) 12 12 12
Input Current (A) 0.40 0.45 0.50
Input Power (W) 4.8 5.4 6
MTBF (hour) 100,000
LED Color 4-Color (Blue, Red, Green and White)
LED Number 48 (4 Colors *12)
LED Type Circular Type LED with 6 Modes
Accessory 4 x isolator-mounts ; 1 x 4 pin fan power adaptor ; 1 x adhesive tape

 

Cluster Advance Specifications
Model UCCLA12P
Dimension (mm) 120*120*25
Speed Mode Ultra Silent Mode Silent Mode Performance Mode
Speed (RPM) 500 ~ 1200 500 ~ 1500 500 ~ 1800
Air Flow (CFM) 26.51 ~ 53.02 26.51 ~ 71.25 26.51 ~ 86.69
Air Flow (m3/h) 45.04 ~ 90.08 45.04 ~ 121.05 45.04 ~ 147.29
Static Pressure (mm-H2O) 0.483 ~ 1.073 0.483 ~ 2.414 0.971 – 2.383
Input Current (A) 0.18 0.25 0.35
Rated Voltage (V) 12 12 12
Input Power (W) 2.16 3 4.2
Minimal Noise (dBA) 8
MTBF (hour) 100,000
Accessory 4 x Isolator-mount; 1 x fan controller; 1 x fan controller sticker

 

Everest Advance Specifications
Model UCEVA12T
Dimension (mm) 120(W)*120(H)*25(D)
Bearing Type Twister Bearing
Frame Carved Halo Frame
Blades Batwing Blades
Speed Mode Ultra Silent Mode Silent Mode Performance Mode
Speed (RPM) 500~1000 500~1300 500~1600
Air Flow (CFM) 26.51~46.10 26.51~60.11 26.51~76.00
Air Flow (m3/h) 45.04~78.32 45.04~102.13 45.04~129.12
Static Pressure (mm-H2O) 0.483~0.933 0.483~1.268 0.483~1.907
Minimal Noise (dBA) 8 8 8
Rated Voltage (V) 12 12 12
Input Current (A) 0.15 0.20 0.30
Input Power (W) 1.8 2.4 3.6
MTBF(hours) 100,000
Connector 1 x 3 pin connector ; 1 x 4 pin fan power adaptor
Safety & EMC CE, China RoHS, RoHS, WEEE

Packaging

All three fans come in clear plastic outer boxes with cardboard inner displays. The backs give you features and specifications.

Enermax Everest and Cluster front

Enermax Everest and Cluster Front

Enermax Everest and Cluster back

Enermax Everest and Cluster Back

T.B. Vegas Quad front

T.B. Vegas Quad Front

T.B. Vegas Quad back

T.B. Vegas Quad Back

Accessories and Controls

Enermax does ship their fans with accessories. All three ship with Molex to 4-pin (PWM) adapters. All come with double-ended vibration isolators. These are good when you need to put the fan in a confined space inside a case. You put one end of each mount in the four screw holes at the corners of the fan frame (put in the end with the wider gap between the disk and the shoulder). Then you put the fan up against the case wall and pull the tips through the screw holes in the case. This saves a lot of time and effort.

Enermax Cluster Advance with accessories

Enermax Cluster Advance with Accessories

Enermax Everest Advance with accessories

Enermax Everest Advance with Accessories

The T.B. Vegas Quad has a little push-button appliance on the end of a wire that allows you to semi-remotely cycle through the six LED modes. The Cluster and Everest have On-Off LED switches on short leads.

T.B.Vegas Quad with accessories

T.B.Vegas Quad with Accessories

On the exhaust side of the fans is the Smart APS (Adjustable Peak Speed) control that provides three ranges of rpm options. In the T.B.Vegas Quad and the Enermax Cluster Advance, the speed inside each range responds to pulse width modulation (PWM). The Enermax Everest Advance speed responds to temperature. By using the switch to set the maximum speed of the fan, you control the noise. It’s like getting three fans when you buy one.

Smart APS 3-position switch

Smart APS 3-Position Switch

Testing Setup

These fans were tested in open air with a sound pressure meter (Tenma 72-942) 10 cm from the intake face of the fan. The SPL is then adjusted to 1 meter by subtracting 20 dB. The open-air RPM was also recorded and abbreviated below as FRPM (Free-air RPM).

The airflow was measured with an Extech AN100 anemometer in a custom box that has a 115 mm exit. The RPM was recorded before and after the 72 mm vane wheel was introduced into the airflow exiting the box (RPM0 and RPM). The AN100 has the capability of averaging measurements. Each CFM result is the mean of ten measurements.

For an additional treat, the airflow measures were repeated with a screen filter covering the fan, to give you an idea of what each fan can do while drawing through a filter.

Enermax Cluster and Filter

Enermax Cluster and Filter

Finally, the PWM “duty” was approximated with a Zalman PWM Mate, which sent 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% PWM signals to the fans.

Results

In the graphics below, the labels of each line show the fan model, the APS setting, the speed in free air (FRPM), test box with unobstructed outflow (RPM0), and test box with anemometer engaged (RPM).

In the chart section, the results are displayed below as if they were obtained together: Sound Pressure Level (SPL) in blue, Airflow (CFM) in peach. Bear in mind though, that the measurements of free air speed (FRPM) and sound pressure levels (SPL) were taken separately from the speed (RPM0 & RPM) and output (CFM) in the airflow box.

Note that the “500” nominal speed indicates the RPM each fan is supposed to attain at zero PWM duty. So this was tested both as “500” and as “0%” PWM duty.

Vegas

Cluster

It’s always nice when a company delivers on its promises. These fans appear to have accurate specifications. The PWM on the T.B. Vegas Quad and the Cluster Advance clicked quietly at low speeds, but the noise faded above 1000 RPM. Both fans produced a tone and the noise of air rushing as they approached 1500 RPM.

Now, to get to the thermally controlled Everest Advance fan. I tested this fan with its thermometer exposed to three temperatures: room air (23°C), my body temperature (37°C), and with my heat gun blowing hot air on it (unknown temp but quite hot). The results:

The fan:

Temperature:

Speed:

Everest Advance

23°C

712 RPM

Everest Advance

37°C

1350 RPM

Everest Advance

heat gun

1676 RPM

Since the Everest has the same blade assembly as the Cluster, it makes the same noise at the same speed.

Everest Advance, Intake Side

Everest Advance, Intake Side

Everest Advance, Exhaust Side

Everest Advance, Exhaust Side

T.B. Vegas Quad LED’s

The T.B. Vegas Quad fan has four LED colors in 12 groups, for a total of 48 colors. With these 48 LED colors, they achieve some interesting effects. The LEDs in the T.B. Vegas Quad have six modes: All-On, Sparkle, Propeller (2-bladed), Triple Propeller, Vegas (the first four modes cycling), and Off. I have captured some of the fun in the pictures below. What you can’t see in the still shots is that the propellers move. The Sparkle effect is like a shadow fan running opposite the visible curve of the LEDs reflected in the blades, and the brightness cycles up and down.

In the last picture you can see that the effects are assisted by blades that are reflectors on only half their chords. This is definitely a fun fan.

Propeller mode

Propeller Mode

Triple Propeller mode

Triple Propeller Mode

All LED's ablaze

All LEDs Ablaze

T.B.Vegas blades

T.B.Vegas Blades

Availability

Enermax Everest Advance $13.99 at Amazon and Newegg.

Enermax Cluster Advance $15.99 at Amazon and Newegg.

Enermax T.B. Vegas Quad $19.99 at Amazon and Newegg.

Conclusion

These are well-built fans that match their specs. Where these fans differ from their predecessors is in their three-way selectors — the APS switches that govern their peak speeds essentially give you three fans in one. The Cluster Advance and the T.B. Vegas Quad fans are PWM to boot, which really adds to your being able to control them. You might or might not hear their quiet clicking at low speeds, but Noctua and Cooler Master have produced PWM circuits that don’t make their fans click, so the rest of the industry will likely follow suit. So we should expect a further advance on these fans. In the meantime, the clicking is quiet enough that I can’t hear the FrankenFan in my own rig. That tells me the PWM circuits are quiet enough for me. Also, when you are not using the PWM function, none of these fans click at all.

Pros

  • Adjustable Peak Speeds for three RPM ranges
  • Cluster Advance and T.B. Vegas Quad are controlled by PWM
  • LED’s
  • The fans match their specifications
  • Twister bearings

Cons

  • The PWM circuitry on the Cluster Advance and T.B. Vegas Quad click quietly

 Click the stamp for an explanation of what this means.

 

– Ed Hume (ehume)

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