Silent 10gbe networking in a SOHO

Published 26 July 2014.

I recently upgraded the network infrastructure in my office to 10 gigabit, the improved performance is great but the noise from the associated hardware was really starting to distract me. It seems most enterprise hardware is expected to be located in dedicated server rooms but not all small businesses have such luxuries. I set about investigating if I could replace the standard fan in the Sonnet enclosure to see if I couldn’t quieten things down a bit.

I use a 15” Macbook Pro with a Sonnet thunderbolt / PCIe enclosure which enables me to connect a Small tree 10gbe adapter. Its worth me noting here that there is a limited range of 10gbe cards which are compatible with Macs used in the Sonnet enclosure. Don’t expect to be able to drop in a standard Intel x520/x540 and have it work, there are no Intel drivers available for OSX so you have to go to either Small Tree or Myricom for compatible cards.

The compatibility matrix is located here .

I want to see how far I can push 10gbe via the Thunderbolt 2 enclosure and plan to write a follow-up article once I’ve done all the required tuning. Out the box its quick but I suspect it has more to give with a bit of network stack tuning.

Pulling the enclosure apart, I found it used a 60mm Sunon HA60151V4-000U-999 fan. All the details are below but in summary its a 2500rpm fan running at 12v pushing 10.6CFM @ 14.5dBA.


I wanted to find a suitable replacement to match the standard fans airflow but at a reduced noise level. I looked at the usual major manufacturers and summarise their data below.

  Sunon Nanoxia Scythe Gelid Noctua Acousti Products
Model HA60151V4-000U-999 Deep silence 60mm Mini-Kaze 60mm, SY602012L Silent 6 NF-A6x25 FLX Dustproof 60mm
Size (mm) 60 x 60 x 15 60 x 60 x 25 60 x 60 x 20 60 x 60 x 15 60 x 60 x 25 60 x 60 x 25
Rotation Speed (RPM @ 12v) 2500rpm 2000rpm 2500rpm 3200rpm 3000rpm 2700rpm
Rotation Speed (RPM @ 7v)   1200rpm     1600rpm 1850 rpm
Airflow (CFM @ 12v) 10.8CFM 15.8CFM 12.3CFM 16CFM 17.19CFM 13.7CFM
Noise (dBA @ 12v) 14.5dBA 12.1dBA 19.99dBA 24dBA 19.3dBA 16.9dBA
Airflow (CFM @ 7v)   9.7CFM     9.83CFM 9.4 CFM
Noise (dBA @ 7v)   6.2dBA     8.2dBA <10 dBA
Static Pressure (mm-h2o @ 12v) 1.01mm H20 0.96mm H20   2.6mm H20 2.18mm H20  
Static Pressure (mm-h2o @ 7v)   0.63mm H20     0.61mm H20  
Voltage range (V) 12V 7-12V 10.8-13.2V 12v 7-12V 5-12V
Power (W) 0.6W 0.84W     1.44W 0.96W
Rated current (A) 0.05A 0.16A 0.06A 0.22A 0.12A 0.08A
Connector 2-pin 3-pin 2-pin 3-pin 3-pin 3-pin
Durability hours   80000 30000 50000 150000 60000
Manufacturer link Sunon Nanoxia Scythe Gelid Noctua Acousti Products

I decided to use a Nonaxia Deep Silence 60mm 2000rpm fan as it provided close to identical airflow but at a virtually inaudible 6.2dBA.


Fitting the fan was simple enough and the added depth was easily accommodated. The 7v adapter fitted snugly behind the fan out of the way of the airflow.

Before: Sunon fan installed as standard


After: Nanoxia fan installed


The Sonnet enclosure only has a two pin fan connector so there is no RPM readouts available.


I attempted to remove the heatsink from the card in order to be able to record some accurate before and after temperatures but it proved to be impossible to shift so I decided to measure the heatsink temperature instead to avoid any chance of damaging an expensive network card. Over a weeks testing heatsink temperatures haven’t changed and still remain cool to the touch and I’m pleased to say the noise level is virtually inaudible. Its not completely silent but falls way below the ambient noise level of the room and certainly doesn’t distract whilst working which was the goal.

Now this enclosure has been addressed, the noise from the network routers is starting to bug me so I suspect I’ll turn my attention to them soon.