Scythe GlideStream, Slip Stream XT, and Grand Flex Fans

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MP3 SOUND RECORDINGS

These recordings were made with a high resolution, lab quality, digital recording system inside SPCR's own 11 dBA ambient anechoic chamber, then converted to LAME 128kbps encoded MP3s. We've listened long and hard to ensure there is no audible degradation from the original WAV files to these MP3s. They represent a quick snapshot of what we heard during the review.

These recordings are intended to give you an idea of how the product sounds in actual use — one meter is a reasonable typical distance between a computer or computer component and your ear. The recording contains stretches of ambient noise that you can use to judge the relative loudness of the subject. Be aware that very quiet subjects may not be audible — if we couldn't hear it from one meter, chances are we couldn't record it either!

The recording starts with 5 second segments of room ambiance, then the fan at various levels. For the most realistic results, set the volume so that the starting ambient level is just barely audible, then don't change the volume setting again.

  • Scythe GlideStream 140
    — 550 RPM (11 dBA@1m)
    — 700 RPM (13~14 dBA@1m)
    — 900 RPM (18 dBA@1m)
    — 1100 RPM (23 dBA@1m)
    — 1250 RPM (27~28 dBA@1m)
  • Scythe GlideStream 120
    — 550 RPM (11 dBA@1m)
    — 700 RPM (11~12 dBA@1m)
    — 900 RPM (14 dBA@1m)
    — 1050 RPM (17 dBA@1m)
  • Scythe GlideStream 120 (PWM)
    — 550 RPM (11 dBA@1m)
    — 700 RPM (11~12 dBA@1m)
    — 900 RPM (13 dBA@1m)
    — 1100 RPM (17 dBA@1m)
    — 1350 RPM (23 dBA@1m)
  • Scythe Slip Stream 140XT
    — 550 RPM (11~12 dBA@1m)
    — 700 RPM (13~14 dBA@1m)
    — 900 RPM (17~18 dBA@1m)
    — 1100 RPM (22 dBA@1m)
    — 1350 RPM (27 dBA@1m)
  • Scythe Grand Flex
    — 550 RPM (11~12 dBA@1m)
    — 700 RPM (12 dBA@1m)
    — 900 RPM (15 dBA@1m)
    — 1100 RPM (19~20 dBA@1m)
    — 1500 RPM (27~28 dBA@1m)
  • Scythe Grand Flex (PWM)
    — 700 RPM (12 dBA@1m)
    — 900 RPM (14 dBA@1m)
    — 1,100 RPM (18 dBA@1m)
    — 1,500 RPM (27 dBA@1m)
    — 2,500 RPM (40 dBA@1m)

COMPARISONS & FINAL THOUGHTS

The following table has been assembled indicating the temperature rise each fan produced at noise levels of 22 dBA@1m and below. The fans have been arranged loosely from best to worst from top to bottom.

140+ mm Fan Comparison: Thermal Rise (°C)
SPL (dBA @1m)
22
21
20
19
18
17
16
15
14
13
12
11
Antec TwoCool 140
19
21
23
Phanteks PH-F140HP/TS
18
19
22
25
Scythe Kaze Maru 2 Adj. VR
(Slip Stream 140)
18
19
22
Noctua NF-A14 FLX
18
20
23
Noctua NF-A15 PWM
18
20
23
Corsair AF140 Quiet
17
18
22
25
Scythe Slip Stream 140XT-MP
19
20
23
Scythe Slip Stream 140XT-M
18
20
23
26
Scythe GlideStream 140-M
21
23
26
Noctua NF-P14 FLX
21
23
27
Antec TrueQuiet 140
22
23
26
bequiet! Silent Wings 2 140
20
21
25
29
Thermalright TR-TY150
20
23
25
Xigmatek XAF-F1453
20
22
26
Xigmatek XLF-F1453
19
21
26
Green box indicates a win, blue box indicates second place.

120 mm Fan Comparison: Thermal Rise (°C)
SPL (dBA @1m)
22
21
20
19
18
17
16
15
14
13
12
11
Noiseblocker B12-2
             
20
   
23
28
Scythe Gentle Typhoon AP12
                   
24
27
Scythe Slip Stream 120-M
     
21
     
23
     
26
Noiseblocker M12-S1
                   
25
29
Corsair AF120 Quiet
         
20
 
23
26
30
Scythe GlideStream 120-LM
         
21
   
23
 
26
Corsair AF120 Performance
       
20
   
23
 
26
 
Scythe Gentle Typhoon AP14
   
19
     
22
   
24
27
 
Scythe GlideStream 120-MP
         
21
     
23
28
Nexus Real Silent
       
22
     
24
 
26
33
Noiseblocker B12-PS
19
   
21
     
24
 
28
30
Corsair SP120 Quiet
   
21
       
22
 
29
bequiet! Silent Wings 2 120
       
22
   
25
27
Noiseblocker M12-S2
         
23
     
25
29
33
Scythe Grand Flex-SH-P
       
21
     
25
 
31
 
Scythe Grand Flex-M
   
23
     
26
   
30
 
Noiseblocker M12-P
         
22
   
25
 
31
 
GELID Wing 12
         
22
   
26
     
Antec TrueQuiet 120
     
24
     
26
   
29
34
Antec TrueQuiet 120 Pro
     
24
       
27
 
29
35
Antec TwoCool 120
         
22
 
26
 
31
34
SilverStone AP123
   
24
       
27
   
31
 
Green box indicates a win, blue box indicates second place.

Of the larger fans in this roundup, the Slip Stream 140XT came out ahead, claiming a minute victory over the GlideStream 140. That being said, the GlideStream has superior acoustics, with a smoother and more predictable and pleasant character. However, if you go purely by the numbers, they're both average at best against competing 140 mm models.

The smaller GlideStream 120 puts up a much better fight, at least against members of its own size class. Only a couple of Corsair, Noiseblocker, and previous Scythe 120 mm models performed better. The GlideStream 120 lagged slightly behind the Gentle Typhoon and Slip Stream 120 at higher speeds and the older versions pulled well ahead at the ultra low 11~12 dBA@1m level.

Despite or because of all its unusual design elements, the Grand Flex was disappointing. Its cooling proficiency was as lackluster as its sound quality. There are plenty of fans that sound terrible and perform well or vice versa, but the Grand Flex falls is closer to the negative side of the spectrum on both accounts.

It's always nice to see new fans built on fresh ideas but this latest crop of Scythe fans ultimately fails to improve on their predecessors. The top performer, the Slip Stream 140XT, doesn't live up to the Slip Stream 140's cooling efficiency. Similarly, the best sounding of the bunch, the GlideStream 120/140, falls short of the Slip Stream 120's silky smooth profile. Still, in the grand scheme of things, the GlideStream 140 is a pretty good fan. It was only 2~3°C behind the top fan, the Phanteks PH-F140HP/TS which incidentally is also the only model ranked above the GlideStream that can boast having superior acoustics. Given the tightness of the temperature spread, we believe greater weight should be placed on how the fan sounds.

Great thanks to Thermalright for sponsoring the CPU thermal simulator and the heatsink samples. Thanks also to Scythe for supplying the fans used in this roundup.


Scythe GlideStream 120/140 is Recommended by SPCR

* * *

SPCR Articles of Related Interest:

Second 140 mm Fan Roundup: Antec, bequiet!, Corsair, Scythe
First 140 mm Fan Roundup: Noctua, Phanteks, Xigmatek
Fan Roundup #7: Antec, bequiet!, Corsair, GELID, Noiseblocker, SilverStone
Fan Test System, SPCR 2010
Fan Test Methodology V.3
Anatomy of the Silent Fan
SPCR's Recommended Fans

* * *

Discuss this article in the SPCR Forums.



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