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Our reference fan is either a Nexus 80, 92, or 120 fan, as required by the
heatsink under review. These are some of the quietest fans on the market,
but that's not why they were chosen. There are other fans as quiet as or quieter
than the ones from Nexus, but there's one reason to prefer the Nexus fans over
the others: Over the past two years, these fans have been used countless times
in dozens of SPCR reviews. They are reference fans not because we chose
to use them, but because we did use them.
Some readers may feel that the choice of reference fan is incorrect or that
more than one fan should be used. In addition to the reason mentioned above,
there are several compelling, simple reasons for us to use the Nexus fans:
- They are well known by many and not impossible to get in most places in
- They are quiet compared to most fans at 12V, hard to hear at 9V and virtually
silent below this level.
- They represent the low airflow that is often necessary for quiet computing.
- We happen to have a small bunch of them on hand.
- Using more than one fan means double the time spent testing. Too much time
is already spent at this task. Besides, the whole point is to use a single
Each of the reference fans has been carefully profiled below using our
standard fan testing methodology, and more detailed results for the 80mm
and 120mm fans can
be found in recent SPCR fan roundups. Results for the 92mm model can be expected
to follow within the next month or two.
Heat Source: CPU on Motherboard
Our standard test platform uses an Intel Pentium D 950 processor. While this
is far from the cutting edge in terms of performance, it is an ideal choice
for a heatsink test bed because it puts out considerably more heat that Intel's
more recent Core 2 Duo chips, ensuring that the top heatsinks are given something
sufficiently difficult to cool.
The Pentium D 950 is rated for 3.4 GHz clock speed, 1.2V core voltage, and
130W TDP. However, detailed testing of our test bench showed that the processor
(along with some small losses in the VRMs on the motherboard) did not consume
more than 78W under full load. This 78W figure will be used when calculating
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