Introduction:

Blacknoise Deutschland GmbH is specialist in the development and manufacture of axial fans and cooling technology. Their focus is on the delivery of industrial components and order-related engineering of product-related cooling systems for manufacturers from a diverse range of sectors. With their brand NOISEBLOCKER®, they are present in the market in the segment for IT fans. With their brand NOISEBLOCKER®, they have branches worldwide in over 33 countries. They develop and manage projects at company headquarters in Germany. The production takes place in their specialized partner companies in the Far East. Their quality management is well-experienced and reliable with regard to fans and cooling systems and guarantees high quality in the production of industrial components and brand products. They flexibly make the technologies that we develop available to our clients in the industry via licenses or as components in form of semi-finished parts.

The company has sent us their portfolio of highly reputable IT series fans intended for the PC enthusiasts and users. Today, I will be taking a look at their ever-popular eLoop aka bionic loop fan series of fans. These are NB-eLoop B12-PS and B12-P. The fans are designed in Germany and with these fans, the Backnoise has focused on the enthusiasts who would want silent operations with good performance. The eloop design has won the iF product design award for the innovative design. In axial/diagonal fans, the sound emission of the airstream is louder than the body borne noise. Forming of vortexes in the airstream causes this. With a special form of the rotor blade, Blacknoise Bionic Fans dissolve these air vortexes. This results in fans that are not only much quieter in action (according to optimization) but they also require up to thirty percent less energy which is quite apparent from the power draw of these fans. They take 0.95W with just 0.08A.

The eLoop series of fans are available in two sizes which are 120x120x25mm, and 140x140x29mm. Within each size there are more versions like in our case, the 120x120x25mm has B12-1, B12-2, B12-3, B12-4, B12-PS, and B12-P. The underlying technology and design are same for all these fans except the technical specification like a speed of the fan, airflow, noise level etc.

  1. Item:                          NB-eLoop B12-PS, B12-P
  2. Manufacturer:            BlackNoise
  3. Brand:                        NoiseBlocker
  4. Price:                          B12-PS @ $24.99 [At the time of the review] / B12-P @ $24.99 [At the time of the review]

Specifications

Specs B12-PS B12-P
Size 120x120x25mm 120x120x25mm
Weight 120g 123g
Rated Voltage 12V 12V
Start Voltage 6.2V 6.0V
Input Power 0.95W 1.92W
Input Current 0.08A 0.16A
Rated Speed (12V) 400-1500 RPM 800-2000 RPM
Static Pressure (12V) 1.475 mmH₂O 2.240 mmH₂O
Air Flow < 58.1 CFM / 98.7 m³/h < 77.8 CFM / 132.4 m³/h
Sound Pressure (100CM) < 21.2 dBA < 28.4 dB/A
Loudness (100CM) < 0.440 1.240 Sone (N)
MTBF (25°C/77°F) 140000 Std./hours 120000 Std./hours
Operating Temperature -10°C  ~ +60°C -10°C  ~ +60°C
Frame Material PBT 30%GF PBT 30%GF
Impeller Bayer Makrolon (PC) Bayer Makrolon (PC)
Connector 4-Pin PWM 4-Pin PWM

 

Packaging and Unboxing

The fans come in a cardboard box of white and light gray colors. The front side has a picture of the fan on the main section. iF product design award of the year 2013 is printed on the top left side. NB-eLoop is printed in the vertical layout on the right side. Salient specifications like Sound Loudness, static pressure, airflow, speed and sound level are printed at the bottom right side. Each fan has different specification ratings hence this info will be different for B12-PS and B12-P. The fan is designed in Germany. The size of the fan is printed on the far bottom right side.

The backside of the packing box has Bionic Loop Fan printed on the top left side. Noisblocker brand name and logo are printed on the top right side. Specifications of the fan are printed in the main section. Manufacturer’s contact info is printed on the bottom left side.

The left side of the packing box has the Noiseblocker brand name and logo printed on the top side. Bionic loop fan is printed under that logo. The fan has 6 years warranty which speaks for the confidence that the manufacturer has in their fans. The fans have NB-EKA P2 drive. The fans have NANO-SLI 2 Bearing and NB-Cable management. The fans are designed in Germany and made in China. The model and size of the fan are printed at the bottom.

The right side of the packing box has the Noiseblocker brand name and logo printed on the top side. Bionic loop fan is printed under that logo. The fans have bionic chassis that has enabled them to ensure the straight airflow. The blades are made of Makrolon high-tech material. The fans are designed in Germany and made in China. The model and size of the fan are printed at the bottom.

The top side has the opening cover of the packing box. The size of the fa is printed in the main section. High quality 12V IT Fan is printed on the right side. B12-PS and B12-P are printed on their respective packing on the raised part of the cover. Noiseblocker brand name and logo are printed on the right side.

Accessories

The contents are:

  • 8x NB Silicon mounts for vibration free installation
  • 4x fine threaded screws and knurled nut for tool-free assembly
  • 2x power cables

Closer Look

The bionic loop fan is the world’s first such design to feature a bionic frame and bionic rotors. Combination of these two with the SLI2 and position invariant magnetic bearings have enabled the NB to deliver a product which delivers the same or better performance level as can be had from the axial fans but at much less noise level. The fans are modular as well. Unlike standard axial fans with fixed power connector, these fans don’t have fixed connectors. The fans are available in two sizes. Within each size, there are other versions with each having different specifications yet same design. The fans were released in the white color rotor but now black color edition is also available. Available sizes are: –

  • 120x120x25mm
    • B12-1
    • B12-2
    • B12-3
    • B12-4
    • B12-PS
    • B12-P
  • 140x140x29mm
    • B14-1
    • B14-2
    • B14-3
    • B14-PS

These fans come under their IT series of fans which are marketed for the PC users and the enthusiasts. We are reviewing the B12-PS and B12-P versions of the eLoop in 120mm category. The B12-PS fans are rated at 12V DC with an input power of 0.95W using the 0.082Amperes. The starting voltage for these fans is 6.2V. The fans are rated at 400 to 1500 RPM at 12V. The static pressure is rated at 1.475 mmH₂O at 12V. The air flow is rated at less than 58.1 CFM equivalent to 98.7 m³/h. The sound pressure is rated at less than 21.2 dB(A) at 100CM. The loudness level is 0.440 Sone (N) at 100CM. The MTBF is 140000 Std./hours. Operating temperature for the fans is -10°C to +60°C.

The B12-P fans are rated at 12V DC with an input power of 1.92W using the 0.16Amperes. The starting voltage for these fans is 6.0V. The fans are rated at 800 to 2000 RPM at 12V. The static pressure is rated at 2.240 mmH₂O at 12V. The air flow is rated at less than 77.8 CFM equivalent to 132.4 m³/h. The sound pressure is rated at less than 28.4 dB(A) at 100CM. The loudness level is 1.240 Sone (N) at 100CM. The MTBF is 120000 Std./hours. Operating temperature for the fans is -10°C to +60°C.

As both fans have same design and layout so we will be showing one in the pictures except where the difference is found. Let’s take a look at the fan itself. We have a black color frame of the fans. Noiseblocker is calling this frame as the bionic deep sound frame. The frame is made of the reinforced fiberglass PBT material and build quality is top notch. There are no anti-vibration pads on the corners of the frame but NB-Slics have been provided in the accessories for this purpose. The spacing between two mounting holes on any side is 104.8mm whereas each side from edge to edge is 120mm. The frame is designed as such that the mounting holes have raised surface. There is a gap between the corners and the fan’s inner frame. It is covered with the rubber inserts. NB is printed on their top. Two rubber inserts face each other on the inner side of the frame to give the better overall look and feel to the fans. They give the impression of a uni-body on the first look at the fan.

 

The outer frame of the fan has hexagonally shaped boxes forming a pattern around the corners and in the middle of the frame. The top side of the outer frame has Noiseblocker brand name and logo embossed on it. The left side of the frame has arrow indicators showing the airflow direction and the fan’s blades movement direction. The bottom side of the outer frame has “Designed in Germany” embossed on it. The right side has a label indicating the compliance.

These fans are modular in a sense that these don’t have fixed or permanent power cables coming out of them. Rather they are designed such that there is a 4-pin PWM connector attached to a small length cable of 4 wires. These wires are not braided. The connector is well placed inside a corner but has flexible wiring so can be taken out of the corner and placed on the subject to the requirement. For connectivity, Noiseblocker has provided two 4-pin PWM cables with the fan. One has a length of 500mm and the other has a length of 200mm. They were considerate enough to provide a complete solution for cable management as per the requirement.

The fan has Makrolon 6 solid blades in the white color. Noiseblocker has termed these as bionic rotors. They are made of high-quality synthetic material by Bayer with the anti-dust surface. Build quality is good and there is no flex in the blades. The diameter of the motor hub is approximately 40mm. There is an NB brand logo embossed in the middle. This rotor design differs from the axial fans. Unlike the axial fans, the rotors on bionic loop fans are interconnected via a frame on their tip side. This white frame is implemented on the inner side of the fan’s frame. The complete rotor is a single piece. The bottom edges of the blades have raised curve lines pattern which starts from the motor hub side and reduces as it goes towards the tip of the blade. Idea is to ensure the straight airflow throughout the fan. This is much like the focused flow approach on the Noctua’s NF series fans. Secondly, they are addressing the noise issue that is caused by the air stream across the border of the fan. This is the area where the tips of the blades spin. A gap between the fast moving blades and the border creates vortexes making the noise. This bionic frame and bionic rotor design dissolve these vortexes hence reducing the noise level. There is another benefit of this design which is that this design enables to fan to draw less power for the same level of performance that axial fans will provide but at higher power. According to the Noiseblocker, there is 30% less energy consumption of these fans.

The backside of the fan has a sticker in white color covering the motor hub. 12V is printed on the top of the sticker. The Noiseblocker brand name and logo are printed in the middle. NB-eLoop is printed under the brand name. The fan’s model is printed at the bottom. There is a 4 arm assembly holding the motor hub and connecting it with the frame. Notice the structure of the arms. They are neither in a curve pattern nor in a straight line pattern. This is more of a waveform pattern. This pattern in connection with the dotted edge of the frame makes up the bionic frame. The 4 wires are nicely routed on one of the arms having an inset for that purpose. Overall build quality is very good and rock solid.

The Blacknoise are using position invariant magnetic bearing named as NB-Nano SLI2. These remind of the Magnetic Levitation bearings on the Corsair ML series fans. I was not able to find specific information on these bearings. The fans are using NB-EKA P2 motor.

The Noiseblocker has provided 8 Silicone NB-Slics. Idea is to have the rubber mounts/Slics inserted into the mounting holes of the fan. The long screws will be passed through the knurled metal nut and then used to mount the fan on the surface. This extra rubber mount adds anti-vibration functionality not only on the point of contact between the fan and the surface but also between the screw and the fan itself. Noiseblocker believes that by adding space between the fan and the surface these noises can be virtually eliminated.

The unique design approach of the bionic loop fan has made it suitable for use on the CPU air cooler’s heatsink, radiators and even just for airflow. The overall harmony and synchronization of the bionic frame, bionic loop rotor, and magnetic bearing have enabled these fans to deliver comparable performance at low noise levels as compared to the axial fans.

Testing

Much thanks to the Blacknoise for sending us 3 fans in each category which has enabled us to test them on the Alphacool Eisbaer 360 which is a 360mm CLC. It is a standard on my test bench that I do check the fan for the thermal performance even if they are rated for high airflow than static pressure ones. The NB-eLoop B12-PS and B12-P are tested against the NB-BlackSlientFan XL-P and the Alphacool Eiswind 12 fans.

The Eiswind 12 fans operate on the 12V DC. They are 4-Pin PWM fans with the rated speed of the 55-1700 RPM with ±10%. Airflow rating is 63.85 CFM with the static pressure rating of the 1.66mmH₂O. Sound rating is 29 dBA per fan. We have already reviewed the NB-BlackSilentFan XL-P which can be accessed by clicking over here.

My testing consists of the three areas. I have checked the airflow on each of the profiles. Next, PWM range of the fan along with air flow reading against each point of the speed was checked. Next, thermal performance of the fans on 50% and 100% of their rated speeds were checked along with the acoustics. I have used Reeven Polariz fan controller for the testing.

Airflow Testing

In our first testing we, try to validate the stated/rated airflow value by the manufacturer. The rated airflow value of B12-PS is 58.1 CFM at full speed. In my testing, the airflow value comes to the 64.25 CFM validating the rated airflow value. The rated airflow value for B12-P is 77.9 CFM. The tested value is 89.90 CFM.

PWM Range

Next up, is the PWM range of the fan and the corresponding airflow values.

780 is the lowest RPM achieved on the B12-PS which is above the rated minimum RPM of 400. The maximum speed of the fan comes to 1650 RPM. Rated maximum speed is 1500 RPM. The fan stops spinning below 5.0V. Minimum speed on B12-P was 300 RPM at 4.5V giving us 11.94 CFM. The maximum reported speed comes out to 2130RPM which is 130 RPM above the rated speed of 2000 RPM.

Thermal Testing

Thermal performance of the fan was tested on this test bench:

  • Intel i7 6850k
  • Asus Rampage V Edition 10
  • Ballistix Elite 4x4GB @ 3000MHz
  • Alphacool Eisbaer 360
  • Samsung 840 EVO 250GB
  • Corsair AX 1200i

Testing was performed on the Microsoft Windows 10 x64 Professional edition build version 1709. Noctua NT-H1 thermal paste was used. The fans were put on 50% and 100% of their speed. The pump of the CLC was put on 100% of the speed. Asus RealBench v1.44 was used to stress test the CPU. RealTemp was used to monitor the temperatures.

First, the stress test was run on the stock clocks of 3.6GHz with the turbo boost of 38GHz and Turbo Boost of 4.0GHz at 1.16V VCore. XMP was loaded all the times. Reported temps are delta ones which are calculated by subtracting the average of each core’s maximum temps from the ambient temp. The benefit of using delta temps is that it covers the variation in the temperatures under uncontrolled environment.

Next, the Chip is overclocked to 4.3GHz at 1.350V VCore. XMP is loaded as well. The stress test is run again using the same methodology as described above and delta temps are noted.

Here are the results.

The fans were tested at their 50% and 100% of the rated speeds. NB-eLoop B12-P topped the chart with amazing performance. At 100% of the speed, the B12-P was again leading. B12-Ps falls between NB-BlackSilentFan and the Eiswind 12.

 

Next, we overclocked the i7 6850k to the 4.3GHz. On 50% of the rated speeds, The B12-P gave us a superb performance by matching the result of other fans on their 100% speed. At 100% this fan was leading again. The B12-PS was almost in same performance delta as the other fans, which is still better result.

Acoustics

Noise levels as per Fonseo Digital Sound meter are too good on B12-P with just 20.8 dB(A) at 100% speed and 28 dB(A) for the B12-P. Clearly, Noiseblocker has done a marvelous job of providing the almost same level of performance yet with silent operations.

Conclusion

The NB-eLoop B12-PS and B12-P are Ultra-Silent, Premium Class fans from the BlackNoise. These fans have won the iF product design award in 2013. The fan comes in two sizes of 120x120x25mm and 140x140x29mm. Within each category, there are more versions with varying specifications but with same design and technology. These fans are suitable for use as CPU cooler, on the radiator or even for the airflow purpose and are aimed at the enthusiasts who would prefer performance with silence.

The B12-PS fans are rated at 12V DC with an input power of 0.95W using the 0.082Amperes. The starting voltage for these fans is 6.2V. The fans are rated at 400 to 1500 RPM at 12V. The static pressure is rated at 1.475 mmH₂O at 12V. The air flow is rated at less than 58.1 CFM equivalent to 98.7 m³/h. The sound pressure is rated at less than 21.2 dB(A) at 100CM. The loudness level is 0.440 Sone (N) at 100CM. The MTBF is 140000 Std./hours. Operating temperature for the fans is -10°C to +60°C.

The B12-P fans are rated at 12V DC with an input power of 1.92W using the 0.16Amperes. The starting voltage for these fans is 6.0V. The fans are rated at 800 to 2000 RPM at 12V. The static pressure is rated at 2.240 mmH₂O at 12V. The air flow is rated at less than 77.8 CFM equivalent to 132.4 m³/h. The sound pressure is rated at less than 28.4 dB(A) at 100CM. The loudness level is 1.240 Sone (N) at 100CM. The MTBF is 120000 Std./hours. Operating temperature for the fans is -10°C to +60°C.

The frame is made of the reinforced fiberglass PBT material and build quality is top notch. This frame is referred to as the bionic frame. There are no anti-vibration pads on the corners of the frame. It has a standard 120mm mounting clearance. The fan has Makrolon 6 transparent blades in the white color. The black edition of these fans is also available. These blades are made of a high-quality synthetic material by Bayer with an anti-dust surface. Build quality is good and there is no flex in the blades. These are referred to as bionic loop rotor.

The idea here is to have an overall design in such a way that straight path for the airflow can be ensured and to reduce the possible noise that comes from the airstream. The noise on the airstream is more than the body-borne noise of the traditional axial fans. This is due to the vortexes produced at the end or tip of the blades. To counter this factor, special rotor design is implemented in these fans in which the tips of the blades have no end as there is one continuous frame covering the ends of the blades. As the blades are now sort of ending at the frame which is also rotating, the vortexes are dissolved. The second contributing factor is the use of the invariant magnetic bearing which is called NB-Nano SLI2 bearings as these bearings won’t contribute to the noise production. These bearings remind me of the magnetic levitation concept on the Corsair ML fans. I was not able to find specific information on these bearings. They are using NB-EKA P2 motor. The NB-eLoop fans mostly need 70-90% of a number of revolutions compared to the available low noise axial fans to produce a comparable cooling capacity and volume thanks to its aerodynamically optimized loop rotor.

Another feature of these fans is that they are modular. There is no permanent or fixed power cable coming out of the fan with the fixed length. There is a 4-pin PWM power connector directly connected with the four wires coming out of the motor hub and is nicely placed in a corner. Noiseblockers have provided two sleeved power cables that can be connected to the fans’ connector. One cable has the length of 200mm whereas the other one has a length of 500mm. They were definitely considerate in helping the users towards better cable management. The Blacknoise is providing 6 years of warranty on these fans which shows the manufacturer’s confidence in their fans. They have provided 8 silicon Slics which are holed rubber mounts. These are connected on each of the mounting holes on the fan. The screws are passed through the knurled metal nut and then it is passed through these rubber mounts to install the fan on any surface. This extra rubber mount adds anti-vibration functionality not only on the point of contact between the fan and the surface but also between the screw and the fan itself. Noiseblocker believes that by adding space between the fan and the surface these noises can be virtually eliminated.

Both models are listed at $24.99 at the time of the review. This is a premium price for the premium class fans. In our testing, these fans have delivered comparable performance but at a much lower acoustic level and this is what Noiseblocker are aiming with these fans.

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