The measurements were set up comparing pairs of fans using two different, highly discriminatory, stereo sensors. The first has been calibrated for approximately 400k hours, the second for around 160k hours. (Mine and my daughter's ears respectively ) The fans were first compared at 12V then at 5V. These voltages were chosen as easy to get from a spare psu, and 5V was hoped to be close to the start voltage needed for a Seasonic psu cooling fan. Each fan was hand held at the corners during listening to eliminate any mounting surface issues. The tests were done in a quiet room in my house. No measurement of cfm was taken - the first 4 are allegedly fairly similar.
The basic fan specs are (noise is dBA):
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Brand Model cfm noise Power rpm Papst 4412FGL 55.3 26.0 1.25W 1600 Yate Loon D12SM-12 56.0 39.0 3.6W 1650 NMB Tech 4710NL-04W-B10-P00 58.6 27.0 1.44W 1550 SuperRed CHB12012AS 61.0 32.0 2.3W 1700 Evercool EC12025M12S 79.1 30.0 3.4W 2000 Dynaeon DF1212BB 87.0 39.0 4.6W 2200
Summary results at 12.12V (quietest first, voltage as per multimeter)
Papst & NMB equal
[Full results: Yate Loon bt Evercool, SuperRed bt Dynaeon, NMB bt SuperRed, Papst bt Yate Loon (just), Papst tied NMB, Yate Loon bt SuperRed (just), Evercool bt Dynaeon]
Summary results at 5.14V
[Full results: Papst bt Yate Loon, SuperRed bt NMB, NMB bt Yate Loon, Papst bt SuperRed]
OK - some explanations are in order (all against the 5V results).
First - threw in the 80mm Panaflo to try give some point of reference to those who know it. It lost against the Papst because it (this particular sample at least) has motor clicking - not loud, inaudible at 12V above the air, but definately distracting at 5V. The airflow noise was too similar to distinguish a difference - the Papst we could only hear air and a very smooth motor.
Equally discerning a difference between the Papst and the SuperRed demanded several "this or this" retries without a clear winner. Except the SuperRed suddenly developed a 'rubbing' sound and so was eliminated. The rubbing was only audible with the SuperRed in a vertical orientation: in a horizontal orientation (as per Seasonic psu) it vanished, but in a horizontal orientation the younger (less experienced?) judge felt the Papst was almost definately quieter anyway!
The NMB did poorly at 5V compared to its placing at 12V: again like the Panaflo it has a clearly audible ticking at 5V. It lost its match against the SuperRed easily.
I didn't bother with the Evercool & Dynaeon at 5V: these are clearly higher cfm fans. But clearly from results at 12V the manufacturers published dBA are not necessarily comparible: on paper the Yate Loon should be terrible at 12V, yet it easily beat the Evercool and just beat the SuperRed.
I did decide to measure the start and run current for some of the fans, again somewhat to try understand Seasonic fan control behaviour.
(all figures mA, first is peak during start, second is stable running current)
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Papst 180/100 Panaflo 120/72 (80mm) SuperRed 198/124 NMB 180/93 Yate Loon 290/210 Evercool 440/310
Addendum 21 December
Updated summary results at 5.14V
[Additional comparisons: Papst bt Evercool, Yate Loon bt Evercool, NMB bt Evercool]
Comments on the Evercool @ 5V: no 'nasty' motor noise although possibly a bit growly; a bit of a flutter/flap occasionally (like it is rubbing). Not possible to reliably cause/stop (the flap). But the Evercool is moving much more air and despite a (mostly) smooth motor noise, is definately louder than even the NMB tick. The Evercool can be easily heard from 50cm (and probably even 1m): the NMB tick can only be heard from about 20cm. Note in the earlier tests the Papst, 80mm Panaflo, SuperRed & NMB were mainly discriminated with ears at about 10cm from the exhaust side of the fans.
Also measured Evercool current and inserted in table above.