Zalman ZM-F3-FDB & ZM-SF3 120mm Cooling Fan Review

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Unboxing the ZM-F3-FDB

Here we have the ZM-F3-FDB unboxed for the world to see with a nice picture of the back of the box.
For those of you who are wondering, Zalman quotes the fan’s cable length as 400mm ± 10%. My sampled measured well within that range at 390mm; well within the target value on their part. It is 395mm if you count the 3pin Molex header.

Now that you’ve gotten to see the fans, here are the included accessories. There are five rubber fan screws; in case one of them breaks on you, you have a replacement. Or, if you buy 4 fans you have a complete, extra set.
There is also a 5v Resistor cable.

Something I found interesting here is the F3-FDB actually features translucent blades, but the housing for this fan gives no indication of the option to add LED’s like you would expect to see, though. Personally, this is fine as I do not like LED’s or any lighting, and I do not use lighting in my computer.

These translucent blades to react well to the UV Cathodes I have on hand, and offer a nice sparkle effect with my white Cold Cathodes.

Here is the back of the F3-FDB, showing us a few certification logos. Along with, because of the oil used in the bearing and the plastics it is made out of, that you are not supposed to just throw it away in the trash.
If you are wondering what to do if this fan breaks out of (or in) warranty and you cannot (or do not want to) RMA it, you can look up on the internet for an Electronics Recycling Center to dispose of the product for you.
ECR’s are actually widely available, and many electronic stores are certified places. This includes stores like Best Buy, Comp USA, Microcenter, Fry’s Electronics, and Tiger Direct.

This is the magic behind the F3-FDB fan; the Fluid Dynamic Bearing. If you’ve never heard of the Fluid Dynamic Bearing before, it’s a fan bearing pioneered by Sony for its low resonance, high reliability under heat, and cheap design.

The groves in a Fluid Dynamic Bearing (FDB) allow oil to travel evenly inside the bearing no matter the position. Along with being a sealed chamber and using a newer oil, Fluid Dynamic Bearings have improved MTBF’s now allowing them to survive up to 150,000 Hours at 25*C, as rated by Zalman. This is roughly 17 years worth of time.

Like sleeve bearing fans; you get a nice and quiet experience from the bearing as it’s a virtually frictionless environment for the rotation of the shaft. This is what helps Zalman keep their noise levels quiet.

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