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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  • wiyosaya - Thursday, August 23, 2012 - link

    Personally, I was surprised not to any Scythe fans. IMHO, they make the best fans of manufacturer. I've been buying Scythe exclusively for several years now with a focus on quiet computing, and IMHO, their dbA ratings are spot on whilst providing excellent cooling. Reply
  • DarkStryke - Thursday, August 23, 2012 - link

    Sorry, but this review was very lackluster, and is void of explaining the most important factor that affects fan performance on a radiator, the fin density (Fins Per Inch). That H80 unit uses a very dense FPI setup (roughly 20), which will greatly affect the performance of a fan, and thus render your results totally meaningless to users of less dense radiators.

    That's not even commenting on the omission of Scythe Gentle Typhoon AP-14/15's, which no thorough radiator review would be without, as they are considered one of the best rad fans available.

    I have to ask the Anand review editorsf, was this just a marketing filler review?
    Reply
  • prophet001 - Wednesday, September 05, 2012 - link

    If you're concerned about a fan's performance when used in conjunction with a radiator or heat sync then you look at the fan's maximum static pressure.

    You don't review fans based on fin density.
    Reply
  • Jibcutter - Thursday, August 23, 2012 - link

    Should have tested COUGAR CF-V12HP Vortex Hydro-Dynamic-Bearing (Fluid) 300,000 Hours 12CM Silent Cooling Fan with Pulse Width Modulation. I purchased these to run on the Corsair H100. The temperature differences and noise reduction over stock have been orders of magnitude different. Reply
  • Ti-Da - Friday, August 24, 2012 - link

    can't Agree more !!!
    I've bought 5 of these baby COUGAR CF-V12HP w/PWM for my H100 + 1 exhaust on White Corsair 600T - Doing push/pull and the temps/noise is really great.
    Reply
  • **USA** - Monday, August 27, 2012 - link

    Am using 5 as well...terrific performance! Very low temps and low noise! Using the USAdystopia method of mounting as seen on utube. Reply
  • fausto412 - Thursday, August 23, 2012 - link

    I have seen comparative fan tests before done by SPR.
    I have none PWM fans and I can control their speed using Speedfan. You telling me the Corsair cooler doesn't allow that? a fixed speed fan sucks.

    I would like to see this test of fans repeated and including more fans. test for how much air the fans move at different RPM's(600, 1100, 1800, Max rpm) and at what point is the air/noise useless because the temp won't go any lower and the db tradeoff. Now that is something i have been wanting to see for some time. Also include a breakdown of fan components and whether they matter. diff types of bearings and suck plus why should people care to have pwm and why isn't every motherboard i run into has only 1 pwm header.
    Reply
  • danjw - Thursday, August 23, 2012 - link

    With most of Asus's Z77 motherboards having all PWM fan headers, that, I think, is the way the industry is going. I would like to see a similar shootout with PWM fans. Also, I would like some 140mm fans in there, as a lot of cases can mount 140mm fans these days.

    It is nice to see you do a fan review, though. I hope you will do some more!
    Reply
  • Streetwind - Thursday, August 23, 2012 - link

    The nice part about the ASUS 7x boards is that they can handle any type of fan.

    Connect a 4-pin PWM fan, and it will be PWM controlled. Connect a 3-pin classic fan, and it will be voltage controlled. You can mix and match however you like, too. They've really done a great job on the fan control, an area that other manufacturers have sadly chosen to ignore for many years. Hopefully that will change in the future.
    Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Thursday, August 23, 2012 - link

    The 7x boards do this? Because my Z68-based ASUS board has a load of fan headers and they're all PWM, it's utterly pointless right now. PWM fans are rare as hen's teeth, most of the popular ones are three-pin right now. Reply

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