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
POST A COMMENT

112 Comments

View All Comments

  • Streetwind - Thursday, August 23, 2012 - link

    Yes, as far as I'm aware it's based on the Fan Xpert II software that's bundled with the Panther Point boards; it doesn't work directly from the UEFI.

    In fact, didn't Anand post a video earlier the year where an ASUS rep came over to you guys show off the fan control software in action?
    Reply
  • maximumGPU - Thursday, August 23, 2012 - link

    Yes they do, i have 7x Asus board and their fan control software is superb. it'll work with both PWM and non-PWM fans as in my case.
    It provides a lot of useful information too such as min and max rpm for each fan.
    the only thing missing is the ability to create a fan profile that could be linked to temperature other than cpu temp, like motherboard for example.

    Their software is what pushed me to chose their mobo instead of competitors.
    Reply
  • Iketh - Thursday, August 23, 2012 - link

    oh come on, they are not rare at all Reply
  • danjw - Thursday, August 23, 2012 - link

    Yes, I believe that the Z7x's can also voltage control. But PWM usually have a better range then with standard fans, voltage controlled. Also, I believe the Corsair Link controller does voltage control as well. Reply
  • ckevin1 - Thursday, August 23, 2012 - link

    I have an Asus P8Z68-V Gen3, and last night I went through the pain of figuring out how to voltage control a 3-pin fan on it. It *can* be done.

    The CPU and SYS fan headers are PWM only, as I found, but the 4-pin Chassis fan header (near the slots & I/O panel) does support voltage control. Plain old fan XPert that they provide on the download site for my board can control it, and it can also be set up from the BIOS.
    Reply
  • piroroadkill - Thursday, August 23, 2012 - link

    You say this, but I had an MSI board back in the Pentium III era that had completely independant fan control on all headers.

    I also had an Abit board with µguru that had completely independant fan header control, for Pentium 4.

    I also had an Abit board with µguru that had total control for Socket 775...

    Now I have an Asus P8Z68-V Pro, and before I had another 775 Asus board, I've never had worse fan control. The headers are shared, each are a certain type of control.. It's pathetic.

    In summary: abit had amazing fan control for many years, Asus is playing catch up, your comment is therefore amusing.
    Reply
  • piroroadkill - Thursday, August 23, 2012 - link

    Oh, and I wish I could edit, but I can't forget that the ASUS boards also prevent you from dropping the speed below a certain amount, which is awful. I had to fit resistors to my Corsair A70 and THEN fan control it to make it a reasonable noise level. I'd prefer to have the full range of speed available to me. Reply
  • ypsylon - Thursday, August 23, 2012 - link

    InstaFAIL. By far most potent fans on the market. They combine supreme performance (120mm - 138.4m3=82CFM @ 1500rpm/26dB) with low noise and great price for performance. Running exclusively only AC Sharks now. Tested many fans, survived only 1 type.

    For liquid cooling solutions (even for such poor AIO kits) there is easy way to improve cooling a bit. Put spacer (gutted old fan or buy brand new one in shops trading LC things) between radiator and fan(s) on the intake side. That way radiator will be cooled equally on the entire surface. With default setup: fan straight to radiator, center of radiator is warmer than edges, simply because air straight below fan bearing cannot cool and move quickly enough.
    Reply
  • Stupido - Thursday, August 23, 2012 - link

    The idea of the spacer is an excellent one!
    Thanks for that!
    Reply
  • JerWA - Thursday, August 23, 2012 - link

    Any hopes of you guys snagging one of these to add to the test results?

    Gelid Wing 12 PL, P/N: FN-FW12BPL-18.

    http://www.gelidsolutions.com/products/index.php?l...

    I'm using 2 as the push in a push/pull H100 setup, and it'd be nice to know if there's a better option and just how they measure up in comparison.
    Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now