120mm Fan Roundup: Scythe, 1stPlayer, Reeven, Phanteks

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COMPARISONS

The following table has been assembled indicating the temperature rise each fan produced at noise levels of 22 [email protected] and below. The fans have been arranged loosely from best to worst from top to bottom.

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
Be Quiet! Silent Wings 2 120
       
22
   
25
27
SilverStone FQ121
             
23
 
28
 
31
Noiseblocker M12-S2
         
23
     
25
29
33
Scythe Slip Stream 120DB PWM
 
22
       
24
 
27
 
Scythe Grand Flex-SH-P
       
21
     
25
 
31
 
Scythe Slip Stream 120DB-H
21
     
23
           
Scythe Grand Flex-M
   
23
     
26
   
30
 
Noiseblocker M12-P
         
22
   
25
 
31
 
Gelid Wing 12
         
22
   
26
     
Reeven Euros 12C
22
       
25
   
29
 
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
 
Sharkoon Shark Blades
           
26
 
28
 
32
39
Phanteks PH-F120MP
   
23
       
26
 
35
   
1stPlayer SteamPunk Pro
31
       
36
   
44
 
SPL (dBA @1m)
22
21
20
19
18
17
16
15
14
13
12
11

Of the fans tested today, the two better sounding models come out on top, though I wouldn't exactly call them winners. The Slip Stream 120 dB and Reeven Euros produce below median results, landing in the bottom half of our performance:noise chart.

The PH-F120MP is only saved from the indignity of last place by the absolutely abysmal SteamPunk Pro. 1stPlayer's design team has given us the worst performing fan we've tested by an inconceivable margin. At best, it lags behind the Phanteks fan by 9°C. At the 12~13 dBA level, it suffers a ridiculous 20°C deficit compared to the best fans on the chart, something I previously believed was impossible.

120 mm Fan Comparison: Open Airflow at 1100 RPM
Fan Model
Airflow (in/out,
feet per min)
Scythe Slip Stream 120DB PWM
460/700
21
Scythe Slip Stream 120DB-H
460/680
21~22
Scythe GlideStream 120-MP
480/650
17
Corsair AF120 Performance
420/660
18
Corsair AF120 Quiet
410/630
16~17
Reeven Euros 12C
390/640
21~22
Gelid Wing 12
370/590
17
Antec TwoCool 120
380/550
17
Noiseblocker M12-S2
340/500
17
Noiseblocker M12-P
340/500
17
Antec TrueQuiet 120
330/500
19
Antec TrueQuiet 120 Pro
330/500
19
Noiseblocker B12-2
390/430
15
Noiseblocker B12-PS
350/450
18
Nexus Real Silent
300/490
18
SilverStone FQ121
270/480
15
Scythe Gentle Typhoon AP14
300/450
16
Be Quiet! Silent Wings 2 120
310/420
13~14
Corsair SP120 Quiet
310/420
14
Phanteks PH-F120MP
280/380
20
Scythe Grand Flex-M
350/290
19~20
SilverStone AP123
280/360
20
Scythe Grand Flex-SH-P
340/290
18
1stPlayer SteamPunk Pro
220/230
27
Fan Model
Airflow (in/out,
feet per min)

At 1100 RPM, the new Slip Stream and Reeven Euros manage to generate more airflow than most fans, but they do so with substantially higher noise levels. The PH-F120MP doesn't fare well in this metric and again, the SteamPunk Pro takes up the rear; it's the loudest fan and it pushes the least amount of air.

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 5~10 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.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Phanteks PH-F120MP - US$24

Given our great experience with previous Phanteks fans, the PH-F120MP is an utter disappointment. It performed poorly on both our cooling and airflow tests and it has an absolutely atrocious sound. As it's marketed as a radiator fan, it may perform better on a watercooling setup but I remain skeptical considering our previous tests with AIO coolers. Our reference fans, which have traditional designs usually perform similarly to the stock fans provided despite lacking the high static pressure widely believed to be optimal for pushing air through tightly packed spaces. Even if it was a good choice for such a function, it would be an expensive uni-tasker lacking flexibility.

Reeven Euros - €17.50

Subjectively speaking, the Euros is actually the best sounding fan of this roundup but its acoustics are not superior enough to overlook its lackluster performance and relatively high price. There are plenty of fans on the market that sound as good or better but also produce stronger thermal results.

Scythe Slip Stream 120 dB - US$12

The original Slip Streams still have no true successor. Like the GlideStream, the Slip Stream 120 dB line is a step behind acoustically, and this newer model lags behind further when it comes to cooling proficiency. Switching from sleeve to ball bearings seems to have been a move in the wrong direction. At least it's affordable, something you can't say about other fans in this roundup, though I would rather buy a GlideStream any day of the week.

1stPlayer SteamPunk Pro - US$33

The SteamPunk Pro's test results speak for themselves. It's loud and delivers the worst performance you can possibly imagine. 1stPlayer's offering is an an expensive novelty that looks good and sucks at everything else.

Our thanks to Phanteks , Reeven, Scythe, and 1stPlayer for supplying the fans tested in this review.

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SPCR Articles of Related Interest:

Sharkoon SHARK Blades & SilverStone FQ121 120mm Fans
Scythe GlideStream, Slip Stream XT, and Grand Flex Fans
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 Roundup #6: Scythe, Noiseblocker, Antec, Nexus, Thermalright
SPCR's Recommended Fans

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