ReviewsCoolersAlphacool Apex Stealth Metal Fan 3000 RPM Review

Alphacool Apex Stealth Metal Fan 3000 RPM Review

In this review, I will be testing the latest Apex Stealth Metal fans from Alphacool to bring you a thorough analysis based on my testing and comparison against other fans.

Expert Verified By

High-Performance!

Review Summary

Alphacool’s Apex Stealth Metal Fans, showcased at Computex 2023, stand out for their unique decoupled design, offering high airflow and low noise across two speeds (2000 RPM and 3000 RPM) and four colors. Despite their premium build and performance, the high price and potential noise at maximum speed might deter some users. With features like hydrodynamic bearings, a 100,000-hour MTBF, and a 5-year warranty, they cater to enthusiasts seeking top-tier, durable cooling solutions.

Hours Tested: 5
Tech4Gamers Recommended Award

Overall
8.7/10
8.7/10
  • Quality - 9/10
    9/10
  • Design - 9/10
    9/10
  • Performance - 9/10
    9/10
  • Features - 8.5/10
    8.5/10
  • Value - 8/10
    8/10

Pros

  • Good Performance
  • Elegant Design
  • Decoupled Design
  • Metal Frame
  • Daisy-Chain Function
  • Multi-thread Screws
  • Best noise output at 2000 RPM
  • 5-Year Warranty

Cons

  • Fans are loud at full speed

Alphacool showcased the new fans during Computex 2023. These fans gain a lot of traction primarily for the marketed numbers from Alphacool during the show. These fans are called Apex Stealth Metal Fan. “The power of heavy metal with the sound of silence” is how Alphacool is defining these fans.

The most salient feature of these fans is a completely decoupled impeller including bearings and motor from the main metal frame. According to Alphacool, these fans generate high airflow at high static pressure and are ideal for radiator mount as well as for case ventilation.

These fans are available in two speeds; 2000 RPM and 3000 RPM. Each variant is available in four colors:

  • Matte Black
  • Chrome
  • White
  • Gold

Key Takeaways

  • The Apex Stealth fans at 2000 RPM (64% PWM) yield similar thermal performance to the ARCTIC P12 fans at full speed, with temperatures around 94°C under load, while being quieter. At 100% PWM, although louder, the Apex Stealth fans significantly outperform the ARCTIC fans by reducing temperatures (91°C vs 95°C), indicating that an Auto PWM setting could optimize noise and cooling efficiency.
  • You should buy the Alphacool Apex Stealth Metal Fans if you like metal fans, want a good PWM range, and prefer less cable clutter.
  • You should not buy the Alphacool Apex Stealth Metal Fans if you are on a tight budget or want a silent experience. 

The salient specifications include:

Dimension 120x120x25.5mm
Speed 400~3000 RPM ±10%
Airflow 70.98 CFM
Static Pressure 4.23 mmH₂O
Max Volume 40.1 dBA
Bearings Hydro Dynamic
MTBF 100,000
Starting Voltage 6VDC
Nominal Voltage 12VDC
Power Consumption 6.60W
Current Rating 0.50A (Max 0.55A)

Dimension

Alphacool-Apex-Stealth-Fan- — Dimension 1024x85
Dimension

The above picture shows the dimensions of these fans. The length and width are 120mm whereas the height stands at 25.5mm. There is a standard gap of 105mm between any two mounting holes. The cable length is 140mm on the fan. The bundled extension cable has a length of 500mm.

Packaging And Unboxing

Alphacool-Apex-Stealth-Fan- — Alphacool Apex Stealth Metal Fan 3000RPM Matt Black Packaging 1024x80
Packaging (Image By Tech4Gamers)

The fan is shipped inside a cardboard box finished. The following are provided:

  • 1x Fan
  • 1x User Guide
  • 1x PWM Extension Cable
  • 1x Fiber Cloth
  • Various Screws
  • 4x Stealth Mounting Nuts for Case mount

Design

Let’s start taking a look at this fan.

This is a matte black edition of the Apex Stealth fans. It has 9x black blades which are connected to a ring (outer ring) that also spins with the blades. There is a matte black finished center that has a large diameter. The trailing edges have a raised surface that integrates into the frame. The frame is made of die-cast zinc material. The blade assembly is plastic.

There is no branding of any sort on the center and the main frame itself is in a matte black finish. These fans are also available in Gold, Chrome, and White editions. These are non-RGB fans. The fan blades, the motor, and its suspension are completely decoupled from the metal frame.

Looking at the backside of the fan, you can spot a 5-arm assembly that is not connected to the main frame. Instead, it is connected to the outer ring (that is fixed). This way it is completely de-coupled from the main frame. How Alphacool has achieved this is a mystery. The arms have a slope design that would disrupt the airflow yet at the same time direct the air in a spiral loop.

This fan is manufactured on 04-11-2023. There is Alphacool branding on the center along with the power rating of the fan that I have already covered in the specifications.

Alphacool-Apex-Stealth-Fan- — Alphacool Apex Stealth Metal Fan 3000RPM Matt Black Mounting Corners 1024x96
Mounting Corners (Image By Tech4Gamers)

The above picture shows a mounting corner. There is no anti-vibration pad on these mounting corners. This is a sunk-in design wherein the screws sit flush with the main frame giving a clean look. Alphacool has placed a special damping system between the metal frame and the fan which absorbs all the vibration.

The front and rear metal frames are interconnected internally, a technological marvel. The inside frame is also circular sitting and holding the inner components. There is no arrow marker on any side of the metal frame.

There is a 140mm long cable on one side of the fan. It has a 4-pin PWM connector under one corner and a 4-pin socket connector on the opposite corner. Alphacool has kept the length of this cable short and still provides the daisy-chain functionality. This would make cable management convenient. There is a 500mm long PWM extension cable provided with each fan. I think a three-fan set would have a single cable.

Alphacool-Apex-Stealth-Fan- — Alphacool Apex Stealth Metal Fan 3000RPM Matt Black Cable Connectors 1024x76
Cable Connectors (Image By Tech4Gamers)

The above picture shows both connectors.

Alphacool-Apex-Stealth-Fan- — Alphacool Apex Stealth Metal Fan 3000RPM Matt Black Tip Clearance 1024x62
Tip Clearance (Image By Tech4Gamers)

The above picture shows a better view of the tip or ring clearance from the main frame. This is still not that tight tip clearance as I have seen on the Noctua NF-A12x25 series of fans but this complete decoupling design is simply amazing.

Since this is a closed design, the blade tips don’t flutter at high speed which would help with the durability of the fan.

Alphacool-Apex-Stealth-Fan- — Alphacool Apex Stealth Metal Fan 3000RPM Matt Black Screws 1024x85
Screws (Image By Tech4Gamers)

Alphacool has provided three types of screws based on their threading:

  • M3
  • M4
  • UNC 6-32

Thermal Testing

I have used the mentioned configuration to test the performance of these fans:

Here is the settings table for testing:

All Cores 5.1GHz on P-Cores, 4.1GHz on E-Cores
VCore (V) Auto
Power Limits PL1=PL2=200W
Thermal Paste Noctua NT-H1
Test Run Time 30 minutes CINEBENCH R23.2
Idle Time 10 minutes
Fan/Pump Speed 100% PWM Duty Cycle
Monitoring Software HWInfo64
Alphacool-Apex-Stealth-Fan- — Alphacool Apex Stealth Metal Fan 3000RPM Matt Black Test Bench 961x102
Test Bench (Image By Tech4Gamers)

Alpahcool has provided two Apex Stealth 120×25.5mm fans which is why I was forced to use a 240mm size AIO liquid cooler for the testing. I have used ARCTIC Liquid Freezer II 240 for the reason that it has a 38mm thick radiator hence static pressure of the fans would matter.

Alphacool-Apex-Stealth-Fan- — Alphacool Apex Stealth Metal Fan 3000RPM Matt Black Installed Fans 2 1024x88
Installed Fans (Image By Tech4Gamers)

Here is a specification comparison of both fans:

  Apex Stealth 3000 RPM P12 PWM
Dimension 120x120x25.5mm 120x120x25mm
Speed 400~3000 RPM ±10% 200~1800 RPM
Airflow 70.98 CFM 56.33 CFM
Static Pressure 4.23 mmH₂O 2.2mmH₂O
Max Volume 40.1 dBA 0.3 Sone
Bearings Hydro Dynamic Fluid Dynamic
MTBF 100,000 N/A
Starting Voltage 6VDC N/A
Nominal Voltage 12VDC 12VDC
Power Consumption 6.60W 1.2W
Current Rating 0.50A (Max 0.55A) 0.1A

Why do P-Cores and E-Cores have lower clock speeds?

The ARCTIC Liquid Freezer – II 240 could not handle the stock thermal load of the Intel i7 13700k and the CPU was throttled under stress testing. This is why I set PL1 and PL2 to 200W each. This caused the P-Cores to operate at 5.1GHz and E-Cores at 4.1GHz.

Alphacool-Apex-Stealth-Metal-Power-120mm-Fan-Testing
Thermal Performance (Image By Tech4Gamers)

I have tested the Apex Stealth fans at 2000 RPM (64% PWM) and 3000 RPM (100% PWM). The ARCTIC fans were at their full speed for the test. You can see that Apex Stealth fans at 2000 RPM are almost at the same performance level as P12 fans. This shows that the actual airflow of these fans is less. However, Apex Stealth fans were almost silent operating at 64% PWM.

But these fans are loud by any means at 100% PWM duty cycle but running these fans at full speed changed the thermal equation in Alphacool’s favor with quite a significant difference. I would run these fans on Auto PWM.

Should You Buy It

Buy It If

✅You like metal fans: Besides PUN, these fans have a metal frame. The build quality of these fans is unmatched. These fans are also heavy. They are tank-built.

✅You are looking for a good PWM range fan: These fans have a PWM range of 400 to 3000 RPM and feature a zero RPM and auto-restart feature.

✅You want to reduce the cable clutter: The fan itself has a short cable that has a PWM connector and a socket that allows easy daisy-chaining and it helps reduce cable clutter.

Don’t Buy It If

❌You are on a budget: The Alphacool Apex Stealth Metal Fan retails at €29.98. If this sounds like a steep price then these fans are not for you.

Final Words

To wrap up, the Alphacool Apex Stealth Metal Fans from the high-end Apex series come with standout features, even though there was some initial debate about their performance. Their robust metal die-cast zinc frame and innovative decoupling ensure top-notch sound quality but be aware they might get noisy at full throttle.

These fans are equipped with a special rotor and Hydro-Dynamic bearings for a reliable 100,000-hour MTBF, which is slightly less than what Noctua offers but still praiseworthy. Designed with 9 blades for speeds up to 2000 or 3000 RPM, they excel in airflow and static pressure, though they tend to be louder than expected during my tests.

Alphacool has made installation a breeze by including three types of screws and a 500mm PWM extension cable, ensuring compatibility with Zero RPM mode on certain motherboards.

When I tested these fans with an ARCTIC Liquid Freezer II 240 AIO, they significantly enhanced cooling, despite the uptick in noise. With a 5-year warranty, Alphacool’s fans are a dependable pick for those who prioritize performance over quiet operation.
Recent Updates


  • March 3, 2024: Updated the thermal performance graph with our Noctua NH-A12x25 PWM results.

 
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