Corsair H80 Stock Fan

When I met with Corsair, I asked them specifically which fans they would recommend using with the H80 since they had just released their new SP120 line. Surprisingly, they suggested that unless you're going for extreme silence, the stock fans that come with the H80 would provide the most balanced performance. Part of the reason for this is that the H80 has a built-in three speed fan controller that can change settings just by pressing a button on the waterblock; you can read more about it in our review of the H80 itself here.

Airflow (in CFM) Static Pressure (in mm/H2O) RPM Rated dBA
46-92 1.6-7.7 up to 1300 (Low), 2000 (Medium), 2500 (High) 22-39

Our own testing with the H80 on its own revealed a decent range of performance, with the Medium setting seeming to be the ideal one, but we'll be able to compare them to a broader range of fans this time to see if the H80's stock fan continues to be the best choice.

Corsair SP120 Quiet Edition and High Performance Edition

The "SP" in "SP120" stands for "Static Pressure"; Corsair recently released a series of fans geared for radiator and case use, with the SP line targeting radiators. The designs are fairly slick, with removable colored trim and rubber mounting posts to mitigate vibration noise. The Quiet Edition has its fan speed capped and is designed, as its nomenclature suggests, for quiet operation. Meanwhile, the High Performance Edition runs at a higher speed and produces more noise as a result.

Fan Airflow (in CFM) Static Pressure (in mm/H2O) RPM Rated dBA
SP120 Quiet

37.85

1.29 1450 23
SP120 High Performance 62.74 3.1 2350 35

The rated performance of these fans is interesting, especially taking into account the SP120 Quiet's specifications actually being lower than the lowest setting of the H80's stock fan.

SilverStone Air Penetrator AP121

It's interesting to note that this fan has been the subject of a lot of debate on forums as to how fit it is for use as a radiator fan. SilverStone advertises a high static pressure for the AP121 and its grill is designed to direct air, suggesting that it would be a potentially ideal radiator fan. At the same time, its grill also potentially obstructs a decent amount of airflow.

Airflow (in CFM) Static Pressure (in mm/H2O) RPM Rated dBA
35.36 1.71 1500 22.4

The AP121 isn't much for airflow, bested even by the quiet SP120, but it sure fires that air with a decent amount of force. This is going to be one to watch; it should be a strong performer due to its solid static pressure, but we'll see.

Testing Methodology The Fans We're Testing, Part 2
POST A COMMENT

112 Comments

View All Comments

  • Ragesystem - Monday, August 27, 2012 - link

    Terrible

    Ignoring the questionable quality of the single pass radiator, or that of an all in one rad, I'm not sure where you pulled those results for the sickleflow, because it's well known that those fans are excellent for radiators. Something isnt right here.

    I would stay away from the noctua nf-p12 if youre going for a heavy oc, they are okay in dual or triple pass rads or in non-oc sitations, they just dont cut it.
    Reply
  • Similicuir - Tuesday, August 28, 2012 - link

    I found a (french unfortunatly) test here : http://www.hardware.fr/articles/867-15/noctua-nf-f...

    of NF-F12 PWM, it seems they are also testing it on radiator...doesn't look so great compared to others, especially when you consider their price.
    Reply
  • maxcellerate - Friday, March 15, 2013 - link

    I loved the French article or rather the translation: much more fun not quite knowing what's meant.

    But numbers are the same in any language and the clear winner was the Cooler Master Excalibur; which left favourites like the Cougar Vortex, Arctic Cooling, Scythe and Noctua for dust. And yet it doesn't appear on anybody's list of 'best fans'. It's number 1 position is also borne out in this very pertinent review http://www.techreaction.net/2011/12/20/water-cooli...
    Which goes one step further than the French article, rather than just measuring air flow through a radiator (or not) measure the resultant temperature drop. Which after all is what it's all about (Yes, I go for performance over noise, within reason, I don't want to sit next to a hoover).
    But what's most interesting to me about the techreaction article is that ALL the fans are within a 3 Celsius of each other.
    Which tells me that there's really not much difference fans.
    OK, there's only 15 fans reviewed, and there's no 1.99 'fan-u-like' fan reviewed; but there is a 3.99 Yate Loon which holds it's end up admirably.

    So bottom line is: it's no disaster which fan you stick on your cpu cooler.

    But as we all know, a 3 degree cooler cpu is a happy cpu.

    Though yet again the 3.99 Yate Loon D12SM-12, has to be a no-brainer (if you can find someone who will sell you ONE).

    Then again the Cooler Master Excalibur is 1.8 degree cooler...
    Reply
  • Daggarhawk - Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - link

    i agree with other commentators. this is a really interesting article, and helpful. dustin is on point again.

    would love to see the scythe, noctua and thermalright fans reviewed. particularly interested in thermalright since their silver arrow has led the pack in air cooling, and they are known for performance w quietness throughout their line.
    Reply
  • jabelsk - Saturday, September 01, 2012 - link

    Specs given by fan manufacturers (just like specs on flat screen TV's) are COMPLETELY MADE UP. I'm glad this story was written so more people can learn the truth. Here's another source of information on the subject:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9uUXt7mE6Qg&fe...

    Also another way they mislead the consumer is by perpetuating the idea that fans are built for CFM *OR* static pressure. Physics says as CFM goes down pressure goes up and vice versa. So a good fan will be good at *BOTH* CFM and pressure, not one or the other, just more misleading marketing.
    Reply
  • jabelsk - Saturday, September 01, 2012 - link

    Fan specs given by manufacturers (just like specs on flat screen TV's) are COMPLETELY MADE UP. I'm glad this story was done so more people can learn the truth. Here is some more info on the subject:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9uUXt7mE6Qg&fe...

    Also another way they mislead consumers is by perpetuating the idea that fans are only good at CFM *OR* static pressure. Physics tells us as CFM goes down pressure goes up and vice versa. A good fan will be good at *BOTH* CFM and pressure, not one or the other, just more misleading marketing.
    Reply
  • jabelsk - Saturday, September 01, 2012 - link

    sry double post. someone delete pls. Reply
  • LoneWolf15 - Sunday, September 09, 2012 - link

    Both Noctua and Scythe apparently didn't make the cut. People here have already commented about Noctua, so I'll talk about Scythe. What, no Gentle Typhoons? They aren't cheap, but they're darned fine fans. I use Scythe S-Flex (FDB) fans as well, but the Typhoons are probably better for radiator use. Seeing as both Noctua and Scythe are highly regarded in the enthusiast crowd, I'm disappointed to see them missing in action. Reply
  • cronos1013 - Friday, September 28, 2012 - link

    Dustin,

    OK so by doing this article and ignoring the 2 fans widely recognized as the best radiator fans on the 120mm market, you are showing how little credibility you have in this area, and how you didn't really do ANY research before going about testing these.

    It's time to suck it up, buy 2 more fans and rerun these tests...because come on...nobody wants to know what the best of the under performing fans for radiators are.

    -Chris
    Reply
  • JonnyDough - Monday, October 22, 2012 - link

    but what about fans that aren't mounted against one? Surely they will produce different noise than one pressed against a radiator. Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now