Do all fans make bearing noise?

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Recently built a new system in a Lian Li case, so its's got their stock 140mm fans installed, and they make an annoying whirling sound which I assume if their bearing. Don't get me wrong, it's not disastrous, but do the more expensive makes, say Noctua, are they silent?
 
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All fans make noise.

Less noise is mostly from making the fans run at a lower speed so there's less bearing noise, less noise of fan blades tearing the air and less noise of air whooshing through grilles or any other *stuff* close to the fan.

Assuming the fans aren't simply badly made you could try reducing the speed of the fans if that's an option.

You wouldn't be the first to swap fans to get a different noise though. I've bought then sold a set of 7 fans which were popular at the time because I found they made a certain tone of noise that annoyed me at any speed.
 
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I'm happy with the "whooshing" noises I get from most fans, it's the metallic grinding type sound that I dislike. The Arctic fans on my AIO make no bearing noise at all.

I've actually got a spare 140mm Noctua fan from a previous server build, I might drop that on and see if I can hear a difference.
 

Kei

Kei

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Try the fans unmounted in the orientation that you intend to use them. If the irritating noise is there with it unmounted, you know it's bearing noise or similar. If you get no annoying noises unmounted, you know it's something to do with either vibrations transferred into the case panelling or with turbulence in the airflow between the fan blades and the case cut outs. I've found that dust filter mesh can make quiet fans generate significant amounts of noise.
 
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Corsair ML's don't have bearings at all, using magnetic levitation instead, but the irony is at full whack they're very loud, but that's around 2000RPM, much faster max rpm than many fans they get compared to for noise.

However, I run mine at 400RPM for idle they're basically silent at that speed, whether 140mm or 120mm versions, have 2 of each. I don't run mine higher than 1000rpm at full load which is still fairly quiet.
 
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I've been obsessed with fans in the past, having build a few HTPCS.

I assume by "mechanical grinding noise" you mean like a rattling noise? yep, that's bearings.
or you mean like the high pitched whine of say, a dentists drill? *Urgh* yep, hate that too.

Coolink swif2 are the only fans I have EVER come across that move lots of air but make no whining/bearing noise @ +1500rpm other than the air whoosh (this is just physics, you can never remove this no matter how good the fan).
Unfortunately they only come in green, no high sp and no damn 14cm's.
Now those fans aren't even half as popular or expensive as Noctua. Yet, to ME, they're better.

Everyone raves about noctua but I rekkon it's *mainly* due to nice boxes and accessories (high quality stuff comes in high qualty boxes right?), which i dont give a **** about tbh. My exp was not great:
-£80 cpu cooler = barely beats stock temps.
-2 of their £20+ fans = meh, ok. nothing special: Still have whine.
-Damn ugly ketchup/mustard cables = More of disgrace than the brown colour scheme (or charging a premium for black!).

TLDR: You really can only go on personal experience: EVEN IF you read all the reviews, benchs, buy noctuas etc, you STILL personally might not like the tonal noise they make.

-As PC777 mentioned, the maglev have no bearings as such, have great reviews, do great in benchs yet I tried 2 sets and sent both back immediately as to me the whine was crazy loud. As exhausts @1800rpm? LMAO... I couldn't believe it - Like a jet engine.
-Phanteks ph-140mp are my newest fans. Tested them against Noctuas and both had a whine starting to be audible at 800rpm. Not bad. No bearing noise even at max, just a bit of whine even @1600rpm.
-Sickleflows used to be quiet I remember, but now there's "better" cheap fans (eg bequeit pure series or noctua redux) that actually push more air - at least according to benchs.
-nzxt 14cms (that come with the x61 aio) are great 800rpm UP TO 1800rpm, only small bearing noise, and at 1900-2000(max) they are absolutely insane, again, jet plane db's from BOTH whine AND bearings!! However... They move more air than most £25+ Noctuas.


Setup is also important to think about, and can often solve most peoples 'annoyances' with simple tweaks.
To me, I TRY to run my fans very low in windows/idle.
Then ramp them up all (inc case fans) significantly for gaming, which you have to do in most HTPC's (even when you've modded the top cover to have 3 x "massive" 14cm intake fans like me!!) because the small space heats up FAST.

Annoyingly for me, my r5 3600 seems to need around 800-1000rpm which is *JUST* where I can start to notice most fans gentle whine (phanteks/noctua/sickleflow) or bearing (nzxt).
 
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I'm happy with the "whooshing" noises I get from most fans, it's the metallic grinding type sound that I dislike. The Arctic fans on my AIO make no bearing noise at all.

I've actually got a spare 140mm Noctua fan from a previous server build, I might drop that on and see if I can hear a difference.
You can do this but doesn't really prove anything... that particualr noctua might have rattling bearing noise, another model might have whining. Obv, even fans from the same brand have diff perf caveats. MY first noctua exp was meh... Maybe I chose the wrong fans.

But yeah, awesome if youre happy with one you've already got!

Ive spent FAR too much time trying to find right fans... IMO you're always best off IMO in just trying some dude (with good reviews/rep and somewhere that does free returns obvs).
 
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Guess Lian Li must be using qutie similar fans than in 2008, because PC-A71B bought then also had little noise from ball bearing in stock fans.

But good fans have little bearing noise and it's noise of airflow, turbulence etc which dominates noise signature basically always.
 
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I can second coolink. Epic fans, I don’t have noctua but got ML120s they out perform those by a decent margin. Moves a lot of air. The only issue with them is that while there are no bearing noise the air movement noise is there. However low RPM they still move A LOT of air.

shame that I am selling my pair now. Can’t even buy them at reasonable prices anymore. Gone with Arctic P12 instead.
 
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