To help reduce noise I've been wanting to replace the stock fans (Yate Loon D40SM-12C) that come with the HCiPC Router with something more quiet. I had to wait until I was able to move some services I was running on my dev server before I could do so. Fortunately, today that day came.

This is part one of my homelab re-organization project.

I decided to pick up two Noctua NF-A4x10 FLX fans as they came highly recommended. I can see why, from their quite overdone packaging to its contents, it really does feel quite premium. I still can't quite fathom why they went kind of overboard with the packaging (as ultimately it's just a couple of fans), but it certainly helps them stand out I suppose.

Packaging

The front opens up to expose detailed information and a peek inside the box.
Did I mention detailed?
The back also opens up to expose even more reasons why these are fantastic fans.
The contents. These things come packed with extras.

Included you get a bunch of optional cables for various scenarios:

  • A 30cm extension cable (NA-EC2)
  • A "Low-Noise" adapter (NA-RC11)
  • A 3:2 pin adapter (NA-AC2)
  • A OmniJoin cable (NA-JC2)
  • 4x  Anti-vibration mounts (NA-AV3)
  • 4x Fan screws (NM-SFS1)

Visual Comparison

I was surprised to see how much thinner (shallower?) the Noctuas are compared to the stock fans. Two of these Noctuas stacked on top of one another are almost the same height as one of these Yate Loon Fans

Comparing the thickness/depth of the Noctuas with a Yate Loon D40SM-12C
It was also about time to dust out the router, as it turns out. Moving rooms certainly stirred up quite a bit of dust.

Installation

There are two fans installed within the router on the back wall. These are both connected by a Y-splitter to a single onboard fan port. I'll re-use the splitter for the new fans.

How the original fans were installed.
The Y-splitter that I'll be re-using.

I decided to try the included "anti vibration mounts" instead of screws, as I'd like to try to get the router to be as quiet as possible, and rubber mounts seem like a more logical choice rather than directly screwing them into the back wall.

You first pull the rubber mounts all the way through the mounting holes, like so.
Front-ish view after pulling them through.
Close-up of the page in the manual describing the installation process.

Make sure you check the bottom side of the fan which indicates which way the fans blow, so you don't accidentally install the mounts backwards. The thickest parts should be on the side that will be attached to the wall.

Pulling the ruber mounts through the mounting holes.
Carefully pull them all the way through until the thick part pops out, that's when they're securely mounted.
After they're installed you can easily clip the ends off.

I decided to leave a bit sticking out inside and didn't clip the outside part at all. I might clip them later, but for now I figure it's not bad to leave them as-is in case I ever need to re-mount them or so, although I doubt that will ever happen to be honest.

I used a new cable tie to wrap things up somewhat neatly again.

Results

To be honest I wasn't entirely sure what to expect in terms of sound difference. Fortunately, the difference is immediately noticeable and the router is much more quiet now than it was before. You can still hear it if you're near it (and if it's not mounted inside a cage/closet), but there's no annoying pitch that came with the stock fans. Perfect.

I hope my brief overview may help you in case you are looking for similar improvements. As always, if you have any questions or suggestions you can find me on Twitter.

Thank you.