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Vantec Fan Vibration Dampener Kits
This is a creative solution to the old problem of an unbalanced case fan inducing vibrations to the rest of the computer enclosure which then creates little squeeks and rattles elsewhere. This problem can be especially noticeable in aluminum cases if they have loose fitting panels.
Vantec's Vibration Dampener kits come in a variety of sizes for fans from 60mm, through to 120mm. Vantec have also produced a version to help reduce vibration coming from a standard ATX powersupply. Each Vantec Fan Vibration Dampener kit comes with two silica gel gaskets, a pack of 8 case fan screws and several silica gel washers for alternative mounting of up to two fans. The powersupply vibration dampener kit comes with just one silica gel gasket and the necessary mounting hardware.
By using a silicon vibration dampener around the edge of the case fans which come in direct contact with the case, the idea is to reduce the amount of vibrations going from the fan through to the surrounding metal.
While I do believe the Vantec Vibration Dampeners do have some effect on fan vibration, it is a toss up between saying they absorb part of the vibrational energy, or simply augment it slightly beyond where it is annoying to us. I think the later is more accurate given the material used, but it's also important not to overestimate the effect the Vantec Dampener kit will have on a PC.
The vibration dampeners will certainly have zero affect on a loud high RPM fan, and any of the associated noises of 'whooshing' air through vents, grills or heatsinks. If a fan is suffering from dried out bearings and makes a grinding sound, the vibration dampeners won't help there, though they may absorb some of that energy before it goes through the rest of the case.
I could give countless other examples, but that really isn't necessary. The point I'm trying to make is this; if you have an already noisy or loud computer, the Vantec Vibration Dampener kit will make no difference in the grand scheme of things.
Where the Vantec Fan Vibration Dampener Kits are best served, in my opinion, is as part of a total low noise computer solution. Say for example you have a PC which has been built to be as quiet as possible, and the loudest part just happens to be the fans which create some minor sympathetic vibrations in the case frame. This could happen if the case is made from really thin aluminum, or a little loose here and there in the joints.
In that example, a vibration dampener kit like this may be the useful extra addition to help deal with some noise here and there, but even then we are not talking a massive drop in decibels.
That's just not realistic for this product, and although vibration and sound go together, that is not really what this product is capable tackling.
Benefits in terms of dust.
One benefit not mentioned in Vantec's literature about their Vibration Dampener kits, which come in 60mm, 80mm, 92mm, and 120mm fans sizes, is that the silicon gaskets can work well sealing off the space around the edge of a fan's frame. If you use dust filters, this can help insure that intake air passes through the filter, and doesn't skirt around a gap between the fan and the frame.
It's difficult to provide a really accurate level of testing to validate Vantec's claims, or disprove them without several highly sensitive accelerometers and the necessary hardware to generate accurate readings. Instead of the high-tech approach we simply used the good old fashioned method - the hand.
With a case fan connected to a case by regular means we felt for vibrations and then compared that to the same case and fan using Vantec's vibration Dampener.... suffice to say the difference was very subtle, which leads us to the comments we made at the beginning of this review. The vibration dampener kits are really only going to be of good value to users of quiet PC's. Even then, if a fan is generating so much vibration in the case that your teeth are rattling away, it may be due to defective bearings, and you should just replace the fan.
Users of low noise PC's looking to really optimize their rig may find the Vantec Vibration Dampener kits a nice accessory to add on, and they can also help with dust filtering mechanisms. The kits retail for about $7USD each, which is a little higher than we would have liked to have seen them priced. If you're running a quiet PC, and are looking for a little extra edge then the Vantec Vibration Dampener Kit is worth a try, but if you're running a standard PC I don't think this kit is really worthwhile.
If your case fan is vibrating that much, you're better off spending the $5 it will cost to replace it, or simply tighten the screws on your case. If all else fails, get a pack of rubber washers from the hardware store, they'll have about the same effect on vibration - though they won't seal off the joint between the case and fan to dust.
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