Thermalright TL-B12 Extreme in the test – crumbling case fan turbine with a lot of throughput and a nasty side k(n)ick
The Thermalright TL-B12 Extreme also wants to compete with the windy barrel organs tested Phanteks T30 and score points with the customer over an extremely wide speed range through flexibility and dominance. The price is also dominant, with which one intends to enter the German market shortly, because 29 euros for an unlit wind machine is self-confident. You could definitely accept the price, but then the test object must not make any mistakes. You can find out in today’s test whether this really works. Because where there is a lot of light, this time there is unfortunately also shadow.
It is interesting that the TL-B12 Extreme (in contrast to the T30) uses the normal thickness of the fan of 25 instead of 30 mm, which of course does not offer any further leeway with the rotor blade geometry. So you don’t have to pay attention to the fact that you need more space in depth during installation, as with the T30. The rather unstable rotor (and frame) is joined by a double ball bearing and a somewhat growling drive. And now?
You can let it run from 561 rpm (PWM) or 293 rpm (DC) or unbraked up to 3150 rpm (at least in theory), which makes it really very flexible. A mild evening wind or a deadly tornado – everything should be possible. You can ponder the purpose, but such a broadband fan is actually almost a luxury item if it performs as well or maybe better than most of its competitors at under 2000 rpm and then, in an emergency, can still put a big shovel on it can.
The bearing and the construction will keep us busy acoustically in the course of the test, especially since there are other sources of noise and interference. The power consumption is a little more generous at full speed with over 4 watts, but power comes from fuel. There is no RGB, not even for an extra charge. Of course, there are also plenty of accessories. In addition to corners in different colors, which one could also benevolently call decoupling, there is also a Y-splitter for two fans and various screws.
By the way, the gap dimensions are a disaster and I (reluctantly) refer to the title of this article. It could of course be a one-off bug on a single model, but we re-tested a second fan and noticed the same bug again. The impeller is not quite in the middle of both fans and also has a relatively large amount of play. Which means, not quite in the middle… on the other hand, a Lada is really real precision work. These deviating gaps were absolutely the same for both fans, so that one could assume a series error here.
At higher speeds, this is noticeable in a slight clicking or scratching, the origin of which we could then find in the macro as a real grinding track on both fans:
The material used is also faulty, or the entire injection molding process was carried out in a completely questionable manner. All of this has more of the charm of self-printed prototypes and not the standing of a solid mass-produced product. All components are extremely brittle and will crumble or break even with the slightest pressure. The following gallery also shows you other interesting details such as the circuit board of the 4-pole motor, the imprint of which leaves some questions unanswered:
Some investigation then revealed that these parts come from Speedy, the same OEM that EKWB uses for its Vardar, by the way. However, Speedy’s reputation is not really the best and so today’s result is not that surprising. We prefer to cover the cloak of silence about the RMA quotas of these products.
And because it was so easy to act out one’s aggression with little pressure, we (contrary to our usual habits) made this video. It is not possible to check whether and why the quality management failed, but I have already sent the importer feedback. The answer is still pending and I will of course post an update and test it again if possible.
The product itself is very interesting and the measured values also look very promising, but we would have preferred to do without the drama with the gap dimensions and their consequences as well as with the material. Stop speedy. Nevertheless, we decided to publish the test, because it was already finished and the scratches and crumbs only really became apparent after continuous load operation. Sometimes it just has to be the sensitive measurement microphone that puts you on the right track. And a buy warning at this point is quite appropriate.
|form factor||120 mm|
|weight in grams||215|
|minimum speed||551 PWM (measurement)|
|Flow rate m3/h||190.28|
|static pressure mmH2O||5.0|
|sound pressure dBA||40,5|
|Life Time hrs||n/a|
On the next page you can see how and what we test and why. Understanding the details is extremely important in order to be able to classify the results objectively later on. The differences between many models are more in the details and THE best fan for all situations can hardly exist. There is a certain optimum in every situation and of course there are also good all-rounders. But they usually have their price. If you are planning to use 60mm radiators, for example, you might be able to save money by choosing the best model for your application, which might not perform so well as a case fan. And vise versa of course.
For curiosity, I also have the original data sheet at hand:
The fan is not currently in stock, but it is already listed by the distributor and is on its way to Germany.