120mm Radiator Fan Roundup Part 2: Fan Harderby Dustin Sklavos on October 22, 2012 12:01 AM EST
It's funny, when I did the first 120mm radiator fan roundup two months ago, I wasn't expecting quite the response it got. It was an interesting exercise that seemed worth sharing with the rest of you, and as it turned out, I was mostly right. What I wasn't prepared for was the avalanche of responses from both you and from vendors about the fans that were tested, or more appropriately, the fans that weren't tested. It was obvious there needed to be another run of fans, and that's just what I've done.
Ten new contenders; some pulled from my own stock, one pulled from retail, and some graciously and generously sent by vendors. The results from these fans will be added to what will wind up being absolutely massive comparison charts. There's an entrant from Scythe, Noctua's gold standard NF-F12, the Enermax Magma, and even a couple contenders from Cooler Master and Rosewill. Is there something available that's a better choice for Corsair's H80 120mm radiator, or are the stock fans still the most well-rounded option?
A lot of testing went into this round. Results are still comparable with the older results (and they most definitely will be compared with the older results), but the batch of fans I have available now are an even more eclectic blend. I'll tell you now that there are some results that turned out pretty much as expected, but some surprises and hidden gems here too.
Before we go on it's worth getting a refresher on the previous article. While the next page has the testing methodology again in its entirety, all but the most fundamental information on the original eight fans I tested with will be omitted for the sake of brevity.
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soloburrito - Monday, October 22, 2012 - linkSo yeah, there are a lot of fans you guys will obviously miss out on, but if given the opportunity, I wouldn't mind burning $10 or $15 to send a fan for you all to test straight from a distributor.
That's the easy part. Whether you have enough time to put dozens more fans through their proper paces is another issue entirely.
Just a thought.
Adamantine - Monday, October 22, 2012 - linkI would like to point out that you at least have an understanding of what specs are important for fan performance and that you spent quite a bit of time doing the review. The fans in the test, don't really have a problem with the results, although the review is not perfect. Hopefully, you're going with more of a database approach and just haven't gotten to the most highly regarded fans for radiators. Also, you should consider going with the higher speed fans since higher speed fans have more versatility when combined with fan controller. There are a couple models out there that make weird or annoying noises when combined with a fan controller, although sometimes the same model at a lower speed doesn't have the noise.
Some of the highly regarded fans (most are based on Sony's fluid bearing):
Gentle Typhoon 1850
Cougar PWM 1500
DanNeely - Monday, October 22, 2012 - linkI'd also like to see at least one Yate-Loon fan. They're a popular budget model and seeing how they stack up with higher end fans would be beneficial.
Juddog - Monday, October 22, 2012 - linkCo-signed for Yate-Loon; all the fans in my quiet case are yate-loons and I love them, especially when tweaked with a fan-bay adapter.
One other thing to note for future fan reviews is that some fans seem to perform ok with fan bay adapters whereas others have issues.
Ananke - Monday, October 22, 2012 - linkI have Yate-Loon. Bought on clearance from Microcenter three years ago for $2 each. That thing is amazing. Absolutely inaudible and OK airflow. In comparison to the 120 mm Yate-Loon, the Antec fans in this review at lowest speed are noisy. All the Cooler Masters I owned sound like jet - absolutely intolerable and tossed immediately.
I agree, for low noise, people should just buy the SONY fluid bearings based solutions.
sicofante - Sunday, October 28, 2012 - linkRadiator fans don't need to just move air, they need a high air pressure. The Yate-Loons are great case fans, but not that great radiator fans. (Including them would prove that, but the point of a review like this is comparing radiator-friendly fans. Not discard those which aren't.)
Streetwind - Monday, October 22, 2012 - linkPoor Dustin, prodding the bees' nest again :D I think you can produce another 20 roundups like this and still not leave everyone happy. I'm saying this because I know a German reviewer who's so far looked at 130 different fans, only 120mm models, and he still doesn't have nearly all often-requested models either!
Just shows what a big deal noise and thermals are to enthusiasts, who sadly often forget that the specific ranking among fans is influenced more than anything else by the specific testing method, and that different fans are designed for different jobs (for example, your beQuiet rep was right - the Silentwings series was never really meant to sit on a radiator).
That said, I still thank you for the review and hope you'll do a few more despite the crazy comments they tend to induce. Like, have you seen Noiseblocker's new bionic loop fan? That might be worth testing just for the sheer "what the heck is this even" factor :D
As an aside, some of the European brand fans seem to cost more than two times as much in the US, even after adjusting for currency conversion, if they can be found at all. I can only assume it's the same the other way around (for example, we don't get Rosewill fans at all over here). It's really a bit of a shame.
DanNeely - Monday, October 22, 2012 - linkGot a link to his reviews?
Finally - Monday, October 22, 2012 - linkTHIS is the German site you mentioned:
I personally prefer Enermax T.B. Silence.
It's extraordinarily quiet and I can plaster my whole PC with 3 of them for just 18€.
DanNeely - Monday, October 22, 2012 - linkThanks. Am I overlooking it, or this reviewer only looking at noise levels and not cooling performance?