As mentioned in my first post, this is all just food for thought.
jaganath has some good points, and I certainly appreciate einsteingodel's comments about why he remains a faithful SPCR reader.
Getting more to the nuts and bolts of Spanki's comments, here are a few general comments --
1) The fan roundups we've done already include MANY different fans;
...well, 6 at least, plus some variants of those (doubling the number to 12 - in the 120mm roundup)
...some mid-speed fans are represented. We will probably never test any high speed fans unless they are quiet; from experience, I can say they just don't undervolt well, the noise character never gets good (usually). From our point of view, we don't want to waste our time or that of our primary audience, who will not be interested in 120cfm fans @ 52 dBA @ 1m.
I'll take your word on that (not undervolting well, noise character). As I mentioned (or at least implied), I'm not (personally) particularly interested in the "high-speed" fans either...
...BUt even among the fans we've tested there are models which far exceed 50 cfm -- and we have not only noise measurements but recordings and descriptions at 12, 9, 7 and 5V --- AND RPM and aiflow measurements at each of these voltages. You don't think this info gives you enough info to work with?
Yes - it was exactly the type of information I'm looking for - For the (relatively few) fans included in the review.
I did add a clarification in my post at the top of this page that you did have some 50+cfm fans (including the Antec Tri-cool, which was extremely useful to me, since I know what the Tri-cool sounds like, at different levels).
2) The gist of achieving a good balance of cooling and noise (whatever that balance is for you) usually involves more than one fan. The noise of fans is additive (tho not linearly so), so you want each fan to be significantly lower than the 30 dBA @1m we use as a marker. In some of my own systems, there are as many as 4-5 fans -- yet none are louder than ~ 23 dBA @ 1m. It IS a matter of juggling and balancing many factors.
3) I know that if I wanted to OC' as much as possible and use a super hot vidcard, I'd be prepared to spend more $$ on the best heatsinks and make sure the case airflow restrictions are as minimal as possible. Then I'd still go for the fans with the best acoustic signature -- never mind their ultimate speed or airflow -- and then experiment. I agree with jaganath -- if you want to OC a hot system quietly, there's no way to do it without better heatsinks. If your assessment of a particular HS is that with your CPU you'll need a fan that blows more air than the fan we tested the HS with, then you'd do well to look at the low speed fans we describe as having great noise signatures, then buy a fan in the same family, rathed for a higher speed. (The L and M Yate Loon 120mms come to mind.)
Yep - I agree with all the above, in particular the part about acoustic signature. For example, I happen to disagree with your (site's) particular appraisal of the Scythe fans... based on your recordings (and recordings at another site), I find the tonal/motor noise fairly irratating compared to some of the others that you gave worse marks to...
And that gets to the heart of my (only) real point in all of this - if your review had twice as many fans in it, I'd have twice as many fans to listen to and evaluate based on my own
Obviously, there are only so many hours in the day and the amount of testing you do on each fan takes a lot of time - I understand that, so consider my request for "more" as just the obvious extension of: "Great review! what about fan X?" Ok?
What prompted me to even sign up to the site and comment was this quote from you:
Once the airflow to any heatsink exceeds its heat transfer rate between CPU and fins, then any further increase in airflow is useless. The key point is that with the Ninja, which is truly optimized for low airflow, this occurs with 120mm fans spinning at 1000~1200 RPM --- and for most SPCR enthusiasts, even the quietest 120mm fans at this RPM are already too loud. Yes, you can get better cooling at 1500 or 2000 rpm with a Scythe Inifiny (for example) -- but would you want to accept that noise? The point is -- we don't care if you can get better cooling with higher flow or not -- it's simply too loud.
...taken literally, comes off as elitist and might give some people the impression that your entire HSF section of the site could be replaced with one page that read:
Buy a Ninja.
If you need more cooling, add a Nexus fan.
(Anything else is irrelevent because it's too loud (trust us) and not really worth our time.)
...that would certainly save you a lot of work at least
. (in case it's not apparent, the above was meant as humor - heck, the Nexus only finishes 3rd best in your roundup (though it might find it's way back to the top with the new measurements)).
Seriously though, I'm sure that wasn't your intent and I do appreciate your taking the time to respond and clarify your views and the mission of the site. Thanks.