Most Fans “blow”

Today, I have been in the bathroom running the exhaust fan, at the stove running the exhaust fan, listening to the furnace blowing air, sitting at my desk with the APS fan rumbling on its worn bearings, with the external drive enclosure fans whirring and the computer fan whirring, too, and in the car with the blower on high to defog my windshield. I am surrounded by fans, and they are noisy buggers for the most part with disappointing airflow.

Most fans “blow”. They are lousy compromises on size, airflow, power consumption, vibration – and noise. There is one standout in fan design that I am aware of, and that is the fan that Apple uses with asymmetrically spaced impeller blades in their MacBook Pro Retina Display laptops. See about half way down the webpage:

I listened closely to a MacBook Pro Retina Display laptop fan running full blast in a Best Buy the other day – it was a quiet whir with a terrific rush of air out the exhaust ports off the laptop. With my ear pressed up against the case bottom where the fan was directly behind, I could just hear a soft whir. Marvelous. I had taken great pains to turn off the sound from blaring TVs throughout the store during a customer lull, and it was quiet – almost silent on the store floor. A largish number of sales staff crowded around me as I booted from a thumb drive with a fan speed control utility installed and set the fan to max speed. The fan was really, genuinely quiet. Impressive. I passed the laptop around, and the Geek Squad fellow listened and smiled. “Quiet. Really quiet. You should hear the HP laptop fans – they screech at high speed. These Apple fans are amazingly quiet.” Yes, they really are quiet.

If these fans with asymmetrically spaced impeller blades were made for bathrooms and kitchens, our homes would be much quieter environments. For desktop computers, APS cabinets and drive enclosures, and our offices would be much quieter. Even car AC systems would benefit.

Heck, why not for nuclear submarine propellers…

I want quiet flow, not “blow”.

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