SPCR's Fan Round-Up #2: 120mm Fans

Want to talk about one of the articles in SPCR? Here's the forum for you.
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Post by NeilBlanchard » Fri Feb 16, 2007 8:14 pm

Welcome to SPCR!
Sincerely, Neil
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Post by gurkan » Tue Feb 27, 2007 9:38 am

i think s.one in this forum should review silenx fans, they offer a good cfm/dba value if this is so. i find so many positive user feedbacks for silenx fans but i need to find some scientific fact about this fan.

it is possibly a better fan than noctua.

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Post by J. Sparrow » Wed Feb 28, 2007 10:51 am

SilenX fans are so insanely expensive, that you can probably find the original (not rebadged) fan for much less, or another product which performs more or less the same.

Anyway, SilenX doesn't have many fans here because of unfair behaviour on the forum, use the search function to find out.

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Post by MikeC » Wed Feb 28, 2007 10:56 am

We have a couple more Silenx fans in the review queue; we already examined one in the first 80mm fan roundup.
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Post by Jose Hidalgo » Wed Feb 28, 2007 12:04 pm

Well, it would be good to examine some 120mm this time : the 74-11 of course, but most of all the (incredible ?) 76-11... :shock: Let's see, or rather hear, the truth about these two models please !
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Static Air pressure

Post by munchkin » Thu May 24, 2007 8:08 am

I have just been ripped off! :cry: Bought several Noctua NF-S12 fans (quiet, great airflow at 12v) and several Nexus 120mm fans. Installed the Noctua in my Thecus N5200 (modified to take a 120mm fan, and was happy with the noise until I noticed the case becoming warm to the touch, something that never happend with the original 92mm fan or the Nexus 120mm fan.
On my main box I have a drive cage with 4 hard drives cooled by a fan. When the Noctua was used in this situation I noticed air escaping from the edge of the fan more vigorouslty than it was being blown into the case in the center of the fan ie. a ribbon was effectively blown away from the fan and not sucked up against the grill as I would have expected.
It strikes me that the airflow of a free standing fan is a meaningless number, and what we should be looking at is static pressure. Very few manufacturers quote this. Within a computer case there are usually impediments to air flow, and unless a fan can generate pressure it will not effectively ventilate the case. I suspect the Noctua is inefficient whenever there is some impediment to airflow, which is always in the real world. This may relate to the huge gap between the blades and the fan housing.
Noctua won awards for the CPU cooler and this is very efficient, I'm sure related to the massive surface area more than to efficiency of the fan. As has been said previously if you want a low revving quiet fan take the Nexus over the Noctua anytime. I have waisted far too much money on expensive fans most are disspaointing for one reason or another Noise (Vantec Stealth), Useless for my purpose (Noctua) etc. What always works well is the original thermaltake TT-1225 1300rpm at 7 volts, and 1000rpm at 5 volts, quiet too!! :D

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Post by Jose Hidalgo » Thu May 24, 2007 8:33 am

The truth on the Noctuas begins to unfold... just as I expected. :wink:
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Re: Static Air pressure

Post by Erssa » Thu May 24, 2007 8:46 am

munchkin wrote:was happy with the noise until I noticed the case becoming warm to the touch
Sorry, but LOL! Temps made it sound worse?

If temps are on the safe range, which they will be with every fan on market, things are ok. Noctua is silent, that's all that counts. I know that cooler temps make epenis bigger, but come on... couple of degrees in temps mean diddly-squat when it comes to hardwares expected lifetime.
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Post by jaganath » Thu May 24, 2007 8:55 am

What always works well is the original thermaltake TT-1225 1300rpm at 7 volts, and 1000rpm at 5 volts, quiet too!!
yes,i recommend the TT-1225 too,quite hard to find in the UK though. they look similar to yate loons.

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Post by Jose Hidalgo » Thu May 24, 2007 8:57 am

Erssa wrote:I know that cooler temps make epenis bigger
Sorry, but LOL! (do they really ? :lol: )
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Post by jmke » Thu May 24, 2007 9:17 am

I thought cooler temps made it smaller...
[url=http://www.madshrimps.be/gotoartik.php?articID=389]160+ CPU Cooler Comparison Database[/url]

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Post by Erssa » Thu May 24, 2007 9:32 am

jmke wrote:I thought cooler temps made it smaller...
Only with water cooling...
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Post by Erssa » Thu May 24, 2007 9:54 am

Jose Hidalgo wrote:Sorry, but LOL! (do they really ? :lol: )
They have to. It's the only way I can explain people's obsession for cooler temps.

For example Scythe Ninja is easily cabable of cooling cpus like low/mid x2s or low end C2Ds passively. Yet most people would still use the fan, just to get lower temps. Running passive would make absolutely no difference in the cpus lifetime or stability. The only difference would be, that the passive cpu, would be quieter and would run 10c/20c (idle/burn) hotter then the actively cooled.

Same goes for case fans. People complain about Noctuas temps, eventhough the temps remain perfectly stable and safe. Somehow it doesn't matter anymore, that the Noctua is one of the smoothest sounding and quietest fans... If people stopped measuring temps (which is useless anyway, unless you are overclocking), they would choose Noctua over other fans, based on the only* meaningful attribute, sound. Or in this case, the lack of it.

* excluding money
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Post by munchkin » Thu May 24, 2007 4:26 pm

Hi Erssa, I would contend that no fan is the quietest, and provided you can't boil an egg on the case it's OK. the point is if you wan't a fan it must be able to blow some air across the components when there is resistance to flow. We need to compare apples with apples, noise cannot be the only criterion, it is the ratio of noise to airflow that is important and I would like to see Static Pressures used as a measure instead of airflow, and relate that to noise. I guess its easy to make a fan quiet just run it slow enough. The fact that the case got warm to the touch was not a reason to panic, it was just an indication of function in a real world situation, and it was a dramtic difference that I did not expect or anticipate, in that particular situation the noctua was the outlier when compared to Vantec, thermaltake (all slowed to 1000rpm with a resistor), Nexus and the original 92mm fan. I would contend that function has been sacrificed for sound. None of these fans were appreciably louder, at the quoted speed, when compared to the Noctua, but were in a different league in terms of efficiency. Perhaps someone could do a detailed comparison of the available "quiet 120mm fans using Pressure and noise as the primary criteria. I have found it particularly hard to assess fans on the quoted performance, and on the emmotional preferences of people in forums. We need some science and common sense to sort out which are the better fans. Cheers :)

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Post by Erssa » Thu May 24, 2007 10:46 pm

munchkin wrote:it is the ratio of noise to airflow that is important
I strongly disagree, only noise is important, everything else is secondary as long as it doesn't fry the hardware.
I guess its easy to make a fan quiet just run it slow enough.
No it's not. There are differences in the fan noise signatures, and they are usually more pronounced the quieter your computer is. Crappy bearings are crappy bearings, even if the fan is slow.

I might agree with you, if Noctua gave significantly worse temperatures then other fans, but it doesn't do this, in fact in some cases Noctua performs even better then other fans. I'm willing to bet, that the absolute maximum temp difference between a Noctua @ 800rpm and some other fan @ 800rpm is less then 4 celsius (0-2c is more likely), that makes it insignificant.

Just to make it clear, I don't own any Noctua products, my case fan is Nexus. And btw, welcome to SPCR.
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Post by Jose Hidalgo » Fri May 25, 2007 2:38 am

Like I've said before, why bother with Noctua products when Sharkoons " golf balls" are significantly better ? (same noise level BUT much better pressure, with about 10°C less inside the case)

(of course I've nothing to do with Sharkoon, they're just the best products I've found as of today)
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Post by jaganath » Fri May 25, 2007 3:56 am

why bother with Noctua products when Sharkoons " golf balls" are significantly better ? (same noise level BUT much better pressure, with about 10°C less inside the case)
my SE2000 120mm has a noticeable whine at all speeds, not loud but definitely there. moves a heck of a lot of air at top speed, but I would have to say at 1krpm my Yate Loon D12SL-12 is better, noisewise. could be sample variance, who knows.

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Post by Jose Hidalgo » Fri May 25, 2007 4:17 am

I was speaking of the SE1000, which can go down to 500rpm while still moving a lot more air than the Noctuas inside a PC case. ;-)
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Post by cpemma » Wed May 30, 2007 1:28 pm

Just playing with the data for a handful of the more available fans, a few factors seem evident;
  • Noise bears quite a good relationship to speed; to get to a quiet 20dBA the speed needs to be around 900RPM for each of these fans. (This says nothing about the characteristics of a particular fan's sound)
  • Flow to noise relationship is far less tight, as is flow to RPM; but before leaping in for the quietest bang per cubic foot of air, we should be looking at cooling effectiveness in real-world situations. Back pressure has a massive effect on flow from slow-running fans. I've again found two slow fans in series (front and back) are very effective at keeping case ambient low.

    There's also the variation from the change in SPCR test method on air flow so don't read too much into these results. ;)
  • TANSTAAFL - if you see a fan claiming <20dBA at >1000RPM somebody is being economical with the truth. ;)
Image
Solid lines are a "best fit" from all the points.

Fans included (and you'll have to go back to the data to check which is which) are:
Antec TriCool 120
Globe Fan S1202512L-3M
Nexus D12SL-12
Noctua NF-S12-800
Noctua NF-S12-1200
Noiseblocker NB-XL-1r2
Papst 4412FGL
Scythe SFF21E
Scythe SFF21F
Yate Loon D12SM-12

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Post by sebmex » Fri Oct 26, 2007 6:45 am

Hi everyone,

enthousiast about the Scythe 1200 rpm S-Flex, I am disapointed to see that it's 3 pin and my mobo is 4 pin pwm controled.

I found this Scythe Kama PWM Fan 120mm - DFS122512L-PWM (not the Kama in the review, another one, cheaper than S-Flex and japanese version)

I was wondering if it also had the Sony-FDB bearing system and if someone had a chance to compare it to the S-Flex 1200 rpm model, or a Noctua 120 mm or Nexus.

Thank you, I think this answer will help many people around.

Sebmex

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Post by MajmuN » Fri May 09, 2008 5:06 am

Hello, first post here in SPCR, my most trusted computersite. Hope my english is good enough for you guys.

Anyway: Nexus deserves first place now in my opinion.

Image

At the same speed they perform identically, but what i've heard the Nexus (i own 3 Nexus, but haven't heard any Noctua fan) has a little smoother carachter that's harder to recognize. At full speed Noctua pushes more air, but also sounds twice as much as the Nexus. An increase of 3dB(A) means 100% more noise. Plus, the Nexus costs twice the less (at least here in Sweden).

Anyone who agrees/disagrees?

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Post by Erssa » Fri May 09, 2008 8:33 am

MajmuN wrote:Hello, first post here in SPCR, my most trusted computersite. Hope my english is good enough for you guys.
Welcome to SPCR!
Anyway: Nexus deserves first place now in my opinion.

Image

At the same speed they perform identically, but what i've heard the Nexus (i own 3 Nexus, but haven't heard any Noctua fan) has a little smoother carachter that's harder to recognize. At full speed Noctua pushes more air, but also sounds twice as much as the Nexus. An increase of 3dB(A) means 100% more noise. Plus, the Nexus costs twice the less (at least here in Sweden).

Anyone who agrees/disagrees?
Theory aside, empirical tests show, that Nexus is better then Noctua NF-S12, BUT... Nexus is not better then Noctua. Noctua has a new model, NF-P12, that addresses the flaws in S12. Based on the tests I have seen, P12 is even better then Scythe Slip Stream M, which is the current reigning champion. I hope SPCR reviews P12 soon to confirm it.

Still, Nexus is a top3 fan, and excellent value. It's truly amazing how many years it managed to be the best fan in the world.
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Post by NeilBlanchard » Fri May 09, 2008 8:37 am

Hi,

And the Scythe Slipstreams are better (and less expensive) that either Nexus or Noctua:

http://www.silentpcreview.com/article832-page1.html
Sincerely, Neil
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Post by MajmuN » Fri May 09, 2008 10:37 am

Erssa wrote:
MajmuN wrote:Hello, first post here in SPCR, my most trusted computersite. Hope my english is good enough for you guys.
Welcome to SPCR!

Anyway: Nexus deserves first place now in my opinion.

Image

At the same speed they perform identically, but what i've heard the Nexus (i own 3 Nexus, but haven't heard any Noctua fan) has a little smoother carachter that's harder to recognize. At full speed Noctua pushes more air, but also sounds twice as much as the Nexus. An increase of 3dB(A) means 100% more noise. Plus, the Nexus costs twice the less (at least here in Sweden).

Anyone who agrees/disagrees?
Theory aside, empirical tests show, that Nexus is better then Noctua NF-S12, BUT... Nexus is not better then Noctua. Noctua has a new model, NF-P12, that addresses the flaws in S12. Based on the tests I have seen, P12 is even better then Scythe Slip Stream M, which is the current reigning champion. I hope SPCR reviews P12 soon to confirm it.

Still, Nexus is a top3 fan, and excellent value. It's truly amazing how many years it managed to be the best fan in the world.
Thanks for welcoming me :)

Great to hear that the Nexus is better than the S12. There is always forumwars in Sweclockers, and i've always been on Nexus-side, so i'm glad to hear that my theory is true.

What i've heard is that the P12 fan pushes about the same air that the S12 does, but it has a lot higher static pressure, making it easier to push air through tight fins(and so keeping the CPU cooler), something that the S12 is missing. By looking at the fan blades it looks very possible, but by reading forumcomments i've heard that the P12 is a dissapointment. Take this for example, a guy som SPCR who is misshappy with his P12.

Please SPCR, review this fan.

I dont see how the Slipstream is a better fan than Nexus. I've read the review that was recently shown here, noone matches the 'older' top fans?

With Slipstream M i suppose you mean SLIP STREAM SY1225SL12M, It pushes 24CFM @ 18dB(A), is this the old or the new method? In the old method the Nexus pushes 27cfm @ <19dB(A), and in the new method the Nexus pushes 23cfm @ ~19dB(A). And still the Nexus has a nicer sound that is harder to recognize. I know, i have a Slipstream myself on my TRUE. I dont know exactly(how can i find out?) which type it is, but it's supposed to spin 1200rpm maximum, but it actually spins up against 1400rpm at 12v. I can confirm the fact that it sounds like HELL when spinning at 1400 rpm. It may keep the CPU 2-4degrees colder, but it also sounds 10 times the Nexus. But when it spins beneath ~900-1000 rpm it's pretty much inaudible, nothing that disturbs me.

Someone who can explain the Slipstreams?

Thanks again.

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Post by comomolo » Fri May 09, 2008 10:03 pm

I was hoping to see the 120 mm Fander in the roundup, since the 92 mm performed so well. Why haven't you tried it?

I bought a bunch of 92'ers from Fander directly and added one 120 mm just for testing. It sounds as good as the Nexus but the bonus of the included regulator has won me over (sometimes my customers actually need to turn the speed up a bit, despite the noise). I'll be ordering a good number of them when I run out of my Nexus (very soon).

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Post by Erssa » Fri May 09, 2008 10:31 pm

MajmuN wrote:What i've heard is that the P12 fan pushes about the same air that the S12 does, but it has a lot higher static pressure, making it easier to push air through tight fins(and so keeping the CPU cooler), something that the S12 is missing. By looking at the fan blades it looks very possible, but by reading forumcomments i've heard that the P12 is a dissapointment. Take this for example, a guy som SPCR who is misshappy with his P12.

Please SPCR, review this fan.
This Xbitlabs.comtest showed, that P12 beat Scythe Slip Stream in both static pressure and "open air" tests.

Image

When paired with a heatsink, 835 rpm Noctua P12 was 1 celsius better then Scythe Slip Stream @ 800.

Image

And this system was with a Passive Ninja Copper, where fans were used as case fans. See how Noctua outperforms Slip Stream.

Image
And it is the quietest fan of the test of the bunch. You can find similar results from many hardware sites. Clearly Noctua P12 is exceptionally quiet when it comes to objective sound measuring. The only unanswered question is, how does it perform subjectively.

Like they said in the recent SPCR fan test: "While the 1000 and 2000 RPM Ultra Kazes performed well, the measured SPL is deceiving. They sound subjectively worse than any of the other fans in the round-up when registering [email protected] The others are more or less inaudible."

This is the only concern left for the P12. This and how they perform around 500 rpm. That's why we need SPCR to test them.
I dont see how the Slipstream is a better fan than Nexus. I've read the review that was recently shown here, noone matches the 'older' top fans?

With Slipstream M i suppose you mean SLIP STREAM SY1225SL12M, It pushes 24CFM @ 18dB(A), is this the old or the new method? In the old method the Nexus pushes 27cfm @ <19dB(A), and in the new method the Nexus pushes 23cfm @ ~19dB(A). And still the Nexus has a nicer sound that is harder to recognize. I know, i have a Slipstream myself on my TRUE. I dont know exactly(how can i find out?) which type it is, but it's supposed to spin 1200rpm maximum, but it actually spins up against 1400rpm at 12v. I can confirm the fact that it sounds like HELL when spinning at 1400 rpm. It may keep the CPU 2-4degrees colder, but it also sounds 10 times the Nexus. But when it spins beneath ~900-1000 rpm it's pretty much inaudible, nothing that disturbs me.

Someone who can explain the Slipstreams?

Thanks again.
It's the new method. It sounds like your Slip Stream is the Slip Stream H (SY1225SL12H). It has top rpm of 1460. It was the worst Slip Stream in the test. All Slip Streams are reviewed here. Here's couple of quotes from the article.

"As for performance, well, it was simply the best. Of all the fans we've tested at approximately 18-19 dBA, none could match the 24 CFM the Slip Stream M pushed, not even our reference Nexus fan."

This is as official as it gets in a Nexus vs Scythe Slip Stream debate. Enough said.

"The 800 RPM Slip Stream L is also formidable, matching the performance of the Nexus fan in our fan test setup, and beating it for airflow and/or cooling when used with the Scythe Ninja Copper."

I think They mentioned somewhere else, that 800rpm Slip Stream beat Nexus by 2 celsius when paired with a Copper Ninja, and both fans were used at the same noise level.

I'd also like to end this up by saying, that it doesn't really matter which fan you choose (Nexus, Slip Stream M or P12). They are all high quality fans with excellent noise signatures. If you build a quiet machine with any of them, you can replace any of the fans with the next and it has no real world performance difference. The only difference it might make are couple of degrees in cpu and gpu load temps, and the truth is, these temp difference have no effect on anything, except on the users mind. Listen people, stop obsessing over temps! It makes no difference whether your cpu load temp is 44c or 46c! If people are able to get past their temperature obsession, they'd be happy with which ever fan they choose.
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Post by MajmuN » Sat May 10, 2008 2:09 am

Thanks, explains a lot. Though I'm still not 100% convinced over the P12 before SPCR reviews the fan and confrims this. Anyway, i see now.. The Nexus pushes 29cfm at 22dB(A), while the Slipstream M pushes 30cfm at 21dB(A). I had to check if my fan was the H-version. Look what i saw;

http://data.fuskbugg.se/skalman01/DSC03369.JPG
(..It's an M fan..)
When my CPU gets over 70*C warm(do you guys use Fahrenheit?) it spins up _against_ 1400 rpm, it peaks at ~1300-1370. But that could be the DS3 motherboard overvolting the fan a bit.

Edit: Damn, doesn't the forum automatically scale(making it smaller, dont know how it's said) the picture? :|

Anyway it's an M fan. It keeps my CPU 3-4*C cooler compared to the Nexus when both at full speed, but on the other hand it spins ~200rpm more, and it makes about the noise of 5 Nexus i'd guess. 28dB(A) is what SPCR is saying, and it surprises me why SPCR doesnt mention it's noisecharacter. It's not like i die if i listen to the fan at 1300rpm, but since i'm a very sensitive guy i can't stand it too long time. Am i too sensitive?

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Post by Erssa » Sat May 10, 2008 6:29 am

MajmuN wrote:It's not like i die if i listen to the fan at 1300rpm, but since i'm a very sensitive guy i can't stand it too long time. Am i too sensitive?
No. I think your assessment is right. No true silence freak can listen to Slip Stream M with 12V and say it's silent. Most here wouldn't use Nexus at 12V. When you compare Nexus and Slip Stream, you can see Slip Stream is considerably louder with the same rpm, when both fans are running faster then 700rpm. Personally, I wouldn't run it any faster then 800rpm, that's also why I'd buy the Slip Stream L version, would save me from buying a fan controller.

Slip Streams "poor" acoustic performance with 800+ rpms would also explain why it fared so badly against P12 in that xbitlabs.com test. They didn't test the fans with speeds below 800rpm. That's when Slip Streams start to shine.
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Post by MajmuN » Sun May 11, 2008 11:54 am

Woohoo, glad to know that i'm not alone :)

I'm just like you, my Nexusfans runs at ~750-800rpm. They still push a respectable amount of air at that rpm. Though i can stand one Nexus spinning at 1000rpm, but not three of them, like they did when i first plugged them in.

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Post by jonlumb » Mon May 12, 2008 8:55 am

I have sent a request to Sharkoon to send you one of their "Golf Ball" fans. They claim stats of 19dB and 36.7CFM, and at just under £7 are a bit of a bargain in my book.

If you don't hear anything from them, I will more than happily send you one to review, as I use them in all my builds.

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