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 Post subject: What is the quietest 120mm fan?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2011 9:16 am 
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Posts: 1087
What is the quietest 120mm fan? And what type of bearing would make it most quiet,
not ball bearing,
sleave bearing?

fluid dynamic bearing?

magnetic levitation?


enermax and sunon used to sell but their more recent offerings appear to be ball bearing ?

the enermax magnetic fan is d/c at newegg.

Bearing Type
1 Ball, 1 Sleeve (6)
2 Ball (59)
Ball (77)
Enter (3)
EverLasting Quiet (2)
Ever Lubricate (41)

- More

Fluid Dynamic(31)
Hydraulic(6)
Hydro Wave(22)
Magnetic Barometric(2)
Nanoflux Bearing (NFB)(6)
Rifle(9)
Sleeve(103)
SSO(5)
Vapo Bearing(8)
Z-AXIS(2)


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 Post subject: Re: What is the quietest 120mm fan?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2011 7:43 pm 
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Location: USA
Usually, quality fluid dynamic bearings are some of the quietest, and most types of quality sleeve bearings are very quiet too. The biggest factor in noise is the blade size and shape. Speed, electronics, and material will also affect it.

Some of the overall quietest 120mm fans known right now are from Nexus, NoiseBlocker, and Scythe.

The Nexus black and white fan is one of the favorites. The sound (from what I've read) is very smooth, and at only 1,000RPM, it will never be much louder than the ambient noise of most household rooms. It uses a sleeve bearing with long lasting lubricants.

All of NoiseBlockers fans are excellent. Their sound quality is near as good as the Nexus at similar speeds, and they all use high quality sleeve bearings (premium models use advanced sleeves that last longer). They're available in a wide variety of speeds. I use a premium M12-S2 undervolted to 950RPM in my computer (which has noise dampening rubber corners), and it's completely inaudible over the rest of my system.

Most of Scythe's 120mm fans are good choices for quiet computers (not the Ultra Kaze). The Slipstream fans rival the Nexus while having slightly better airflow, and their only fault is some have a poor lubricant that gets stiff after a year (easy fix, just add oil!). The S-Flex is a long time favorite with quality fluid dynamic bearings. The Gentle Typhoons have some of the quietest airflow of any fan ever, but they have some odd tonal noises at certain speeds. I use an 1,150RPM GT in my power supply, and it's totally "silent" 99% of the time (once in a while, it hits a tonal point).

Noctua is another good brand, but based on SPCR reviews, they seem to develope an extra tone at higher speeds that increases their noise level above cheaper alternatives.

Based on customer reviews, SilenX fans are to be avoided. Their poor fluid dynamic bearings often leak and wear the fan out within months. The noise, according to SPCR, is exaggerated by SilenX and is only acceptable at best to a quiet PC enthusiest.


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 Post subject: Re: What is the quietest 120mm fan?
PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2011 10:34 am 
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i actually have the s-flex fan and i've wonderd if they can go quieter :)

wouldn't magentic levitation fans be even more quiet since there's no friction?

the 120mm adda fan in my corsair vx450 was really really loud and noisy
it is double ball bearing

so i swapped it out for the s-flex scythe 120mm


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 Post subject: Re: What is the quietest 120mm fan?
PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2011 12:57 pm 
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Location: North of the 49th parallel
dan wrote:
wouldn't magentic levitation fans be even more quiet since there's no friction?

IIRC, the maglev fans are Sunon exculsive, and I have bad experience with them: the KDE1205PFV2 which I have, it was noisy as brand new, some 92 mm(I don't remember the model#) in Acer computers(@job) became extremely noisy over time, and the noise is bearing type noise. The impellers are average design, nothing special with them. IMO, if you want silence, look elsewhere.


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 Post subject: Re: What is the quietest 120mm fan?
PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2011 2:28 pm 
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dan wrote:
wouldn't magentic levitation fans be even more quiet since there's no friction?
You would think so, but apparently the friction doesn't generate the noise. I know nothing about the sunon fans. But apparently the latest versions of the Enrmax fans aren't bad... but not quite as good as Nexus, noiseblocker, Noctua and certain of the Scythe fans.

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 Post subject: Re: What is the quietest 120mm fan?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 8:33 am 
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ces wrote:
dan wrote:
wouldn't magentic levitation fans be even more quiet since there's no friction?
You would think so, but apparently the friction doesn't generate the noise. I know nothing about the sunon fans. But apparently the latest versions of the Enrmax fans aren't bad... but not quite as good as Nexus, noiseblocker, Noctua and certain of the Scythe fans.



Is my scythe s-flex 120mm as quiet as Nexus, noiseblocker, Noctua ?

it appears microcenter and newegg d/c it


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 Post subject: Re: What is the quietest 120mm fan?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 9:14 am 
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dan wrote:
Is my scythe s-flex 120mm as quiet as Nexus, noiseblocker, Noctua ?
Unless you are really really fussy, they are all good. The speed at which they are run is probably more important than which one you use.

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 Post subject: Re: What is the quietest 120mm fan?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 10:43 am 
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ces wrote:
dan wrote:
Is my scythe s-flex 120mm as quiet as Nexus, noiseblocker, Noctua ?
Unless you are really really fussy, they are all good. The speed at which they are run is probably more important than which one you use.


well the 120 mm PSU Corsair 450vx adda fan i swapped out was horrific

does speedfan tell you rpm?

i have it at 49%


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 Post subject: Re: What is the quietest 120mm fan?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 10:55 am 
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dan wrote:
well the 120 mm PSU Corsair 450vx adda fan i swapped out was horrific
ces wrote:
dan wrote:
Is my scythe s-flex 120mm as quiet as Nexus, noiseblocker, Noctua ?
Unless you are really really fussy, they are all good. The speed at which they are run is probably more important than which one you use.
well the 120 mm PSU Corsair 450vx adda fan i swapped out was horrific
I was referring to Nexus, noiseblocker, Noctua... not all fans.

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 Post subject: Re: What is the quietest 120mm fan?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 11:13 am 
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I've been through all kinds of fans trying to get silence (first) and reasonable air flow (second) and my favorite by far is the Arctic Cooling F12 running at 5V. It starts up in the mid 3V range so running it at 5V isn't a problem. It is a cheap FDB fan (under <$10) and the current version (the F12) is even slightly quieter than the older versions. I used to use Zalman Fan-Mate to get the older versions to around 4.5V, but the F12s are quiet for me at 5V so now I have a bunch of Fan-Mates in a box and use Zalman ZM-MC1s to generate the 5V without any power loss through the Fan-Mate.

I actually use theses things all over the place. I have one sitting on my desk to cool me off (try it, just a little airflow on yourself constantly makes a big fan unnecessary). I have a couple hooked up to battery boxes in my emergency kit (I'm in Houston so staying cool in a power outage is a big problem). I have a couple aimed at laptops sitting on Laptop Lifts (http://www.gpg2.com/). As strange as it sounds, I even have on my night stand aimed at my head when I sleep... and just about any noise bothers me when I sleep.

That one on my nightstand was actually hooked up to a $100 variable desktop power supply (that was the older Arctic Cooling 120mm fan before, now I run a F12 at 5V from a USB power charger). It displays the active current delivered to the load, which turned out to be something like 40mA at 5V which is amazingly low (its spec is for 150mA at full speed 12V). When I hook up ball bearing fans to that same PSU I usually see 3 to 4X the power consumed for the same quietness/airflow.

I use smaller (40mm/60mm) low RPM SilenX fans like the IXP-34-12 where 120mm fans won't fit and they are also quiet. But I agree the the other posters, they aren't as great as they are built up to be.

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 Post subject: Re: What is the quietest 120mm fan?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 11:22 am 
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Forget my previous comment about SilenX fans, my memory must be fading. I just checked a system I thought was using SilenX fans and it is actually running 80mm Scythe S-Flex fans that are very quiet (SFF21D) but don't seem to be available any more. I remember now, I bought 60mm SilenX fans that fit inside the case I was using but they didn't sound right. So I replaced them with a single 80mm Scythe fan mounted outside of the case with plastic wire ties and and rubber bumpers.

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 Post subject: Re: What is the quietest 120mm fan?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 1:37 pm 
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i got a couple of Scythe S-Flex fans to replace loud 120mm corsair vx450 fan from microcenter.

couple months later they no longer carry them


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 Post subject: Re: What is the quietest 120mm fan?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 2:24 pm 
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Apparently I`m not alone in recommending the Nexus black and white and S-Flex fans. Skythe also makes my favorite pwm fans, Kama pwm.

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 Post subject: Re: What is the quietest 120mm fan?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 2:41 pm 
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ntavlas wrote:
Scythe also makes my favorite pwm fans, Kama pwm.

Have you compared the Kama PWM to the Arctic Cooling F12 PWM? I've been using the ACF12 fans for a while, and they are very quiet when new, but seem to get noisier after a year or so. (BTW, I tried a Nexus PWM and it was awful.)

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 Post subject: Re: What is the quietest 120mm fan?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 3:06 pm 
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Quote:
Have you compared the Kama PWM to the Arctic Cooling F12 PWM? I've been using the ACF12 fans for a while, and they are very quiet when new, but seem to get noisier after a year or so. (BTW, I tried a Nexus PWM and it was awful.)


So far I haven`t although I`m tempted to try the F12 out. The build in splitter is a very useful feature and they`re also cheap and easily available. As for becoming worse with age, it does sound a little dissappointing for a fdb fan.

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 Post subject: Re: What is the quietest 120mm fan?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 3:16 pm 
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ntavlas wrote:
Quote:
Have you compared the Kama PWM to the Arctic Cooling F12 PWM? I've been using the ACF12 fans for a while, and they are very quiet when new, but seem to get noisier after a year or so. (BTW, I tried a Nexus PWM and it was awful.)


So far I haven`t although I`m tempted to try the F12 out. The build in splitter is a very useful feature and they`re also cheap and easily available. As for becoming worse with age, it does sound a little dissappointing for a fdb fan.

Well, please bear in mind that's based on a sample of one (I now have more but they are all new), and it didn't get loud, still way below 20 dba at 600-700 rpm.

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 Post subject: Re: What is the quietest 120mm fan?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 7:13 pm 
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cmthomson wrote:
ntavlas wrote:
Scythe also makes my favorite pwm fans, Kama pwm.

Have you compared the Kama PWM to the Arctic Cooling F12 PWM? I've been using the ACF12 fans for a while, and they are very quiet when new, but seem to get noisier after a year or so.
Try oiling the fans. That should probably solve your problem with the noise... probably for far longer than a year:
viewtopic.php?p=541788#p541788

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 Post subject: Re: What is the quietest 120mm fan?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2011 7:18 am 
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ces wrote:
cmthomson wrote:
ntavlas wrote:
Scythe also makes my favorite pwm fans, Kama pwm.

Have you compared the Kama PWM to the Arctic Cooling F12 PWM? I've been using the ACF12 fans for a while, and they are very quiet when new, but seem to get noisier after a year or so.
Try oiling the fans. That should probably solve your problem with the noise... probably for far longer than a year:
viewtopic.php?p=541788#p541788


should i oil scythe s-flex fans? i thought it was sealed.


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 Post subject: Re: What is the quietest 120mm fan?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2011 8:40 am 
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dan wrote:
should i oil scythe s-flex fans? i thought it was sealed.
If they are making noise, why not. You have nothing to lose.

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 Post subject: Re: What is the quietest 120mm fan?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2011 7:11 pm 
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I'm using 2 case fans- a Scythe Slipstream 120 800rpm fan, and the Nexus 120mm 1000rpm fan. These are both top notch and super quiet. My cpu fan drowns them both out and they are almost silent. The Scythe fan is a bit slimmer and moves less air then the Nexus. Scythe also makes a 500rpm fan which is probably too neutered, and they also make a 1200RPM fan in the same line which may be more appropriate for some people.

I cannot hear the motors of these fans. What I hear is the air moving past the fan grilles, which I intend to cut out and hopefully rectify. If you need quiet you can't go wrong with either.


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 Post subject: Re: What is the quietest 120mm fan?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2011 5:09 pm 
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How long the fan bearings last is also a major factor. Because worn bearings can make a quiet fan a lot louder during it's lifespan.
Ball bearing fans or double ball bearings do last the distance as I've run many for heavy duty long running machines for years, but they are not the quietest but over their life they could be a better bet than a normal fan. Not to say all ball bearing fans are loud many are pretty quiet.

Sleeve bearings can vary a lot in quality and some don't last that long before the wear = more noise. Not all are poor or wear quickly
Various other bearngs hydro dynamic etc etc seem to offer increased life and lower noise.

But the only real test is extended use of these various fans and multiple samples.
Lots of other factors, RPM slower speeds will wear bearings less, temperatures again hotter will increase wear, cooler will reduce it.
Experience is the only real way to find this out.


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 Post subject: Re: What is the quietest 120mm fan?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2011 12:37 pm 
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Best fan is the BeQuiet Silent Wings USC. Amazing. Theyve got everything right.

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 Post subject: Re: What is the quietest 120mm fan?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2011 1:32 pm 
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Maybe (not totally agree...it depends on what you are doing with you fan, exhaust/intake or rad), but it is discontinued now, replaced by Shadow wings and Dark wings.


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 Post subject: Re: What is the quietest 120mm fan?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2011 2:13 pm 
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Lithium466 wrote:
Maybe (not totally agree...it depends on what you are doing with you fan, exhaust/intake or rad), but it is discontinued now, replaced by Shadow wings and Dark wings.


Yeah couldnt find it anymore on the website. I tested loads of fans (I am very picky) and these came out the best, in different roles.

Will check out their new line soon.

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