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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  • Dustin Sklavos - Thursday, August 23, 2012 - link

    That at least half of you have a fan you're upset wasn't included, and they're almost all completely different fans. There was no way I was going to be able to cover all of them (although the Yate Loon, Noctua, and Scythe are admittedly pretty big omissions, especially the Noctua), but I seem to have opened Pandora's Box with this one.

    This roundup is a little unusual for us (but then I'm the unusual review guy at this point), so if it does well I'll look into updating it with a second part in a month or two with a second set of fans. Noctua's reached out to me, so the possibility is there.
    Reply
  • NeXTguy2 - Thursday, August 23, 2012 - link

    If you do a second round you might want to consider the following fans, too. Looks like Austria (Noctua) and Germany (Noiseblocker, be quiet!) have a bit of a fan industry going...

    http://www.bequiet.com/en/casefans/270
    http://www.noiseblocker.de/en/BlackSilentPro120.ph...

    The people at Noiseblocker have also just released a new fan series based on research funded by the German ministry of technology. Basically, the blades are connected on the outside to a ring that rotates in the chassis. So far, they don't even seem to have a page in English about it:

    http://noiseblocker.de/eLoop120.php

    I'm using the low-speed ones as case fans, but that's beside the point I guess.
    Reply
  • maximumGPU - Thursday, August 23, 2012 - link

    It was great seeing Anandtech reviewing fans, especially since the which "which fan is best " discussion is certainly fiercly debated by enthusiasts on forums.
    Great first step and definetly +1 for a second round up with more fans!!
    Reply
  • MrSpadge - Thursday, August 23, 2012 - link

    Personally I find Arctic Cooling fans to be a solid choice. Not sure how they're available in the US, though. Reply
  • sicofante - Thursday, August 23, 2012 - link

    Maybe research a little bit what makes a fan have good pressure, then proceed.

    Usually, many fins with little space in between say "high pressure"...
    Reply
  • sanityvoid - Thursday, August 23, 2012 - link

    Dustin,

    I posted another reply as I didn't see your reply right away. I appreciate the hell out of you trying this in the first place. I love reading Anandtech and come here most for builds, advice, or to browse the forums to see what everyone is doing with their rig's.

    I think you did indeed open Pandora's box, but having said that I think a different poster is correct in saying that this is a welcome addition to other articles here at Anandtech. Much needed and many people do prefer water over air. I, myself, just bought and installed a H80 with my recent upgrade to my rig.

    Keep up the good work and I certainly look forward to a part 2 of this.

    Cheers!
    Reply
  • sanityvoid - Thursday, August 23, 2012 - link

    I would also mention based on the sheer numbers of comments there is a definite reason to do a part 2 as so many people seem passionate about this area. Least you could pitch that to your editor that way!!! Reply
  • nubnubbins - Thursday, August 23, 2012 - link

    I think the issue is that you have a random hodgepodge of fans included while passing over fans widely regarded as some of the best for radiators. As a baseline, you should have had a Yate Loon and Scythe Gentle Typhoon AP15. Yates are widely regarded as the best budget fan and AP15s the best lower noise rad fan. After that, the Cougar Vortex, Aerocool Shark, Gelid Wing, Noiseblockers, Noctua NF-P12 and NF-F12, and XSPC Xinrulian fans are all regarded as great radiator fans by the likes of MartinsLiquidLabs and those in the water cooling community.

    It's nice to see some fan reviews, I think people are just disappointed that the staple radiator fans were left out and you had a disproportionate number of Corsair fans instead.
    Reply
  • Streetwind - Thursday, August 23, 2012 - link

    Geez guys, calm down a bit! ;) Testing every fan on the market is more or less impossible. While I personally would have loved to see the Scythe/Nidec Servo GentleTyphoon make an appearance (especially since they're somewhat more obscure than they deserve), but the purpose of this article is not to crown "the best fan ever".

    It is supposed to showcase "a good fan" for the job. Clearly there will be other good fans. Some may even be a little better. But so long as you're giving a customer a recommendation that's in the top 20% of products on the market, backed up by hard data, that's already going to help that customer a whole lot than forum posts stating "I can guarantee you that fan XYZ is the best, I have been using it for years". Because all that a post like that states is "I have not compared my fan to others in years and actually have no idea how good the competition is".
    Reply
  • Aikouka - Thursday, August 23, 2012 - link

    There's nothing wrong with people mentioning fans. In fact, it can be helpful as it gives Anandtech an idea of what people would like to see. They can take the mentioned devices, review their stats (and maybe even existing reviews) and possibly create another line-up.

    Although, frothing rage is never appreciated, but I think people have been pretty civil. =)
    Reply

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