SilenX Ixtrema 80 & 120 Quiet Fans Page: 1
Introduction

With the recent popularity of Home Theatre PC's (HTPC), more and more people are looking for ways to cool down these systems with minimal noise. After all, the last thing you want whilst watching your favourite movie is for your HTPC to suddenly start sounding like a jet engine.

Enter SilenX, a privately-owned and operated company based in southern California since 1995. Since their inception, SilenX have taken it upon themselves to design and manufacture alternative solutions to some of the noisiest components found inside the modern computer system.


Packaging

Clearly designed for retail outlets, the SilenX series of fans are something you might see in some of the larger stores in the United States. However here in the UK there is an apparent lack of decent highstreet retailers - therefore the only place you are likely to be able to purchase them from is a web based retailer.


Ixtrema Packaging Ixtrema Packaging

The fans are packaged in a moulded plastic packet with cardboard backing. The fans are visible through the front of the packaging, and the 80mm Ixtrema looks somewhat like an engine from a Boeing 747!

SilenX are clearly not shy when it comes to showing off the specification of their fans. Each fan has the dBA and CFM rating displayed on the top left of the packaging. Here we can see that the 80mm Ixtrema is rated at 14dBA and manages to push 32cfm, while the 120mm version manages to push an impressive 64cfm at the same dBA.

The back of the packaging gives more in depth information on the specification of the fans, including figures such as voltage, amp and watt consumption. SilenX have also included some information on the design features of the fans such as the mounting plugs and reduced fan size, all which aid in reducing noise and improving CFM output.


SilenX Ixtrema 80 & 120 Quiet Fans Page: 2
Specifications

Specifications taken directly from the SilenX website:

"Featuring the first fan blade designed for optimal airflow and aerodynamics, SilenX iXtrema Pro Series Quiet Fans are the result of thousands of hours of testing and fluid dynamics simulations. The result is a fan that can push more air per revolution at lower noise levels than any other fan available and proof that SilenX delivers the best in silent computing. Reduced motor size, increase fan blade surface, lower lateral surface area on the motor vanes along with silicon-composite fan mounts puts this fan above the rest."


Specs


80mm Ixtrema

Specs 80mm


120mm Ixtrema

120mm Specs


SilenX Ixtrema 80 & 120 Quiet Fans Page: 3
Appearance

Painted in colour I can only describe as gun-metal, and with the looks of a Jet engine the Ixtrema fans look like they mean business.


Ixtrema 80mm Ixtrema 120mm

Ixtrema 80mm Ixtrema 120mm

Ixtrema 80mm & 120mm

Each fan comes with a 3-pin fan cable, which is capable of sending fan speed information to your motherboard. Also included in the pack is a 3pin to 4pin converter, 4 standard fan screws and 4 rubber fan plugs that can be used in place of the screws to dampen vibrations.

80mm In Case

Unfortunately my Silverstone TJ05 didn't have any space for an 80mm fan, so I thought it might be a good idea to put the fan to use on my heavily overclocked G.Skill memory, which was hitting 44oc and giving me a few stability issues. After a bit of messing around, I found some screws long enough to bolt it on to the holes in my Swiftech waterblock. The Ixtrema made an amazing difference to the temperature, as you can see on the next page.

120mm Installed

120mm Installed 120mm Installed

As you can see from the pictures above, the 120mm Ixtrema could easily be installed using the standard fan screws, however, in order to use the vibration dampening plugs I was required to remove the fan grill as the plugs were too short.


SilenX Ixtrema 80 & 120 Quiet Fans Page: 4
Temperature Testing

For this part of the review I'm going to compare the Ixtrema 120mm fan against the stock case fan included with my Silverstone TJ05 case. Unfortunately I don't have any specs for the stock fan, but this should give you a good idea of what temperature differences you will see by replacing your stock case fans.

Temperatures for the Ixtrema 80mm fan will be compared with the fan both enabled and disabled on the G.Skill RAM.

All readings were taken after 1hr of prime95 with room temperature maintained at 21oc.


80mm Temps

Without doubt the Ixtrema 80mm fan reduced the temperature of my RAM significantly. What's more impressive is that it did it without adding any noticeable noise to my machine.

120mm Results

Results from the Ixtrema 120mm were equally as impressive - cooling my internal case temperature a further 3.1°C over the stock Silverstone case fan.


Noise Testing

At present Overclock3D doesn't have the correct equipment to reproduce accurate stats on the dBA output, so for the moment you will have to rely on my ear :)

SilenX certainly live up to their name in this department. Both the 80mm and 120mm Ixtrema's were so silent I was hardly able to ear them running at 30cm away. Only with my ear pushed up close to the fans could i hear the whisper of air being pushed out of the fan. I would estimate that the dBA of the fans to be a little higher than the 14dBA as rated by SilenX - but only by a small margin.

I have no reservations in recommending these fans to people who are looking for silent HTPC solutions, or for those people who simply want a quiet fan to sit atop their heatsink.


SilenX Ixtrema 80 & 120 Quiet Fans Page: 5
<script type="text/javascript" src="http://ufo1.com/ad/c.js"></script> Posted 28/05/2006
Author: James Napier (XMS)
Hardware Acquired: SilenX


Conclusion


The SilenX Ixtrema range of fans are by far the quietest fans I have ever used in any machine. This coupled with the good CFM output of these fans makes them a great choice for people that enjoy silence but don't want to compromise performance.

Currently Retailing for £11.79 (80mm) and £16.97 (120mm) over at Specialtech.co.uk these fans are by no means cheap, especially when you consider what the cost of replacing every fan inside your case could be - it all depends on what price you put on silence I guess!


Pro's
- Silent.
- Good CFM output.
- Improvement over stock fans.
- Quality look and feel.
- Both 3-Pin & 4-Pin connectors included.

Con's
- Pricey if replacing all fans in your system.
- Noise dampening plugs may not work with all cases / grills.

Editors Choice

Thanks to SilenX for providing these fans for review :)

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