Noise Levels & Fan Speeds
Testing ProcedureFan noise testing is done at 25%, 50%, and 100% fan speed, with a Pyle PSPL25 sound pressure level meter recording the dBA level at a distance of 30 cm. The fan(s) RPM results are taken at the same 25%, 50%, and 100% settings. The selected speeds are handled by MSI's Command Center software, and a Lamptron FC6 fan controller is also used as a secondary method of confirming RPM and dBA readings. This ensures that proper results can still be obtained if MSI's Command Center cannot control the fan(s). To give users the noise profile of the tested CPU cooler, testing is done using fan speed percentages instead of various load levels.
Cooling performance, while amazing, comes at a slight price in terms of noise. At 25%, the Predator 240 is one of the quietest coolers tested; however, as fans ramp up so does their noise output. Hitting 41 dBA at 50% and 50 dBA at 100%, the EK Predator 240 is not as quiet as the Swiftech units when the fans are at full speed. At 6 dBA more, EK just doesn't match their rival's level of quiet with everything set to run at full speed. However, in the grand scheme of things, the EK Predator should remain near-silent under day-to-day conditions. After all, who runs FPU loads 24/7?
The RPM readings show that the 2200 RPM label for the Vardar fans is correct. It also explains the noise levels at full load. Still, the wide PWM RPM range is a good thing, keeping the Predator 240's noise emissions under check most of the time, while the 2200 RPM fans give it enough grunt to keep things cool if you wish to push your CPU that hard.