BitFenix Spectre Pro

The new BitFenix fans are intriguing. BitFenix doesn't really target them for any specific purpose the way Corsair and, to a lesser extent, SilverStone do. At the same time, their fan blade design is unique in that there's a reinforced, bevelled pattern on the individual blades. BitFenix cites this as a measure intended to increase longevity.

Airflow (in CFM) Static Pressure (in mm/H2O) RPM Rated dBA
56.22 1.24 1200 18.9

Judging from the specifications, though, it seems the Spectre Pro is geared more for quiet operation and case airflow than use as a radiator fan. At full bore it's a very quiet fan that produces a healthy amount of airflow, but the static pressure leaves something to be desired. It will be interesting to see if the increased airflow helps balance the low pressure.

Nexus Real Silent Case Fan D12SL-12

I thought it would be interesting to throw this old chestnut into the mix. This Nexus fan comes highly recommended by SilentPC Review for its excellent balance of performance and acoustics. I'd actually been using this as the fan on my Xigmatek Dark Knight for some time before switching to a closed loop cooler, and at full bore it's still pretty much inaudible.

Airflow (in CFM) Static Pressure (in mm/H2O) RPM Rated dBA
36.87 1.2 1000 18

The Nexus isn't that attractive on paper outside of its remarkable efficiency, but anecdotally I found it to be an excellent heatsink fan due to its incredibly low noise as well as its solid performance. Whether or not it will be a solid radiator fan remains to be seen due to its comparatively low airflow and static pressure ratings.

CoolerMaster SickleFlow 120

The CoolerMaster SickleFlow 120 was a last minute entrant; I'd been wandering around Fry's, saw it on the shelf, remembered that it had been mentioned fairly positively on forums when I'd be researching radiator fan performance, and figured I'd snag one and see how well it performed in practice. Opinions seem to be fairly split, with people citing it as having horrible static pressure but other people being extremely happy with it.

Airflow (in CFM) Static Pressure (in mm/H2O) RPM Rated dBA
69.69 2.94 2000 19

If nothing else, the specifications sure are pretty optimistic. For a whopping 1dB more, the SickleFlow theoretically provides almost twice the performance of the Nexus! Just judging by the spec sheet, CoolerMaster's fan should blow the rest of our fans out of contention, but you'll see word of mouth on forums and rated specs aren't always reliable.

NZXT Performance Case Fan 120mm

On the opposite end of the spectrum, we have one of the 120mm NZXT fans that CyberPower PC shipped attached to a 240mm Asetek radiator some time ago. NZXT rates the fan pretty conservatively, but CyberPower still felt like it was a solid enough contender to deploy in a review unit.

Airflow (in CFM) Static Pressure (in mm/H2O) RPM Rated dBA
47.27 0.95 1300 25.35

If the SickleFlow's ratings are overconfident, NZXT's fan seems positively humble by comparison. Of all the fans we're testing it has the lowest rated static pressure, mediocre airflow, and one of the highest noise level ratings. So why deploy it, other than that it's inexpensive? Asetek ships their radiator kits with fans included, why not use one of those? I'll show you.

The Fans We're Testing, Part 1 Test Results
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  • Kougar - Sunday, September 02, 2012 - link

    I have to second this. The P12's are known for their silence yet, amongst other things, are specifically stated to deliver higher pressure for radiator use.

    Comparing the F12 against the P12 would be even better though, of course.
    Reply
  • JPForums - Thursday, August 23, 2012 - link

    Great review.
    Leaves me wanting more.
    I vote for a follow up.

    I would have loved to have seen the Noctua NF-F12, ...


    I second this. Noctua's fans specify pretty reasonable noise, airflow, and static pressure. By what I've heard, they may live up to their specs.
    Also, like below, I'd be interested to see if Noiseblocker's excellent case fans make good radiator fans.
    While we are at it, throw Thermaltake's Hydrodynamic bearing fans on the list to see if they are really as good as thermaltake claims. The versions pair with Thermaltake coolers should be ideal.
    Finally, an old school Thermaltake Thunderblade would be a good point of comparison to see how far they've progressed.
    Reply
  • Guspaz - Friday, August 24, 2012 - link

    Yeah, the very first thing I thought when I opened this article was "Wait, there's no Noctua fans in that picture, where are they?"

    A 120mm fan review without a Noctua fan in it is certainly incomplete.
    Reply
  • sam1337 - Saturday, August 25, 2012 - link

    i agree, wheres the nf-f12 and scythe GT :P Reply
  • OCedHrt - Thursday, August 23, 2012 - link

    http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/coolers/display/1...

    The SickleFlow comes nowhere near 69.69 CFM. Though even at 33 CFM it performs quite poorly here.
    Reply
  • jackstar7 - Thursday, August 23, 2012 - link

    I'm using Noiseblocker fans and find that in normal conditions they perform very well and keep quiet. Mine are on an H60. I believe Idontcare might have some stats in the forums about their performance. Reply
  • Grooveriding - Thursday, August 23, 2012 - link

    Really surprised not to see Scythe GTs included. Reply
  • Mr. Pedantic - Thursday, August 23, 2012 - link

    I would have really liked to see how the Gentle Typhoons stack up as well. Reply
  • Rick83 - Thursday, August 23, 2012 - link

    Yes, after all often they are claimed to be -the- fan for radiators (and many other applications) Reply
  • sicofante - Thursday, August 23, 2012 - link

    Absolutely. It kind of discredits the whole review, when the GTs are considered the best for this task almost everywhere. Reply

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