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


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


View All Comments

  • sanityvoid - Thursday, August 23, 2012 - link

    I agree the Scythes AP-15's and Noctua F12's should have been included. I just spent 1 week going over different forums reading up on which worked best and which didn't. I'm also angling for low noise but even so the Noctua and Scythe still come up time and time again. Any google search on H80 best fans will return those two fans in the tops threads a real shame they were not included.

    Expensive and somewhat hard to find I agree but I just bought the F12's off Amazon last night.

    Disappointing that a Google search could bear more fruit than a article about this subject.
  • versesuvius - Thursday, August 23, 2012 - link

    " eke every last ounce of performance (within reason) out of our systems."

    Shouldn't that be (without reason) ?
  • todlerix - Thursday, August 23, 2012 - link

    another vote for noctua Reply
  • sirizak - Thursday, August 23, 2012 - link

    Great review, for the products tested and for the scope I thought it was a good article.

    I can understand some wishing for other fans to be tested but the amount of fans on the market today make this mostly impossible.

    If you would like to see a massively broad range of fans tested in a controlled environment I recommend this thread. Slightly different application, being a Megahalems air cooler, but the range of fans and thorough testing can't be faulted.

    Highly recommended if a little dated article, check out the Yate Loons.
  • Runamok81 - Thursday, August 23, 2012 - link

    As others have pointed out, this review is lacking some key contenders for the rad fan crown. This will not stand Dustin! I demand a recount! Please do either another rad fan article, or atleast an update to this article. I trust Anandtech, and I'm desperate for my favorite review site to put its... spin on the rad fan debates swirling across the internet forums. Rad cooling is indeed a hot topic.

    I'll admit, having purchased an H100 and fans yesterday, your article was perfectly timed but educationally lacking. I don't know how you can do a rad fan roundup without the enthusiast champ - Scythe AP15s, the ugly betty - Noctuas, or the newest darkhorse - Cougars peppering in a comparison. C'mon man, you are better than that! I want.. no .. I NEED Anandtech's opinion on these fans!
  • macmuchmore - Thursday, August 23, 2012 - link

    I definitely would have liked to see the Noctua fans included. However, this leads me to request a follow up article that includes a more comprehensive review which has additional fans from other manufacturers as well as a "quality of noise" rating. I know some people say that noctuas are not silent - and I don't disagree. I do believe that they are "nearly" silent and that the sound they make is the least annoying of any fan I have used. Thanks! Reply
  • will1220 - Thursday, August 23, 2012 - link

    why would you test such under-performing 120mm fans? At least include the highest rated 120mm fan on the market: Scythe Ultra Kaze Reply
  • iceveiled - Thursday, August 23, 2012 - link

    I'm a little confused how these fans will work with the H80 unit. The stock fans are rated at 3 different RPMs which the system designates as low/med/high, yet most of the fans here are rated at only a single RPM value.

    Does that mean that the fans will only spin up at their rated RPM regardless of how hot or cool the liquid in the H80 gets? So for example regardless if the H80 fan profile setting is set low, medium or high, the corsair quiet editions fans will only spin at 1450 RPM, or can the corsair unit actually make them spin faster or slower?

    Great article BTW..a little disappointed to see you only test in push configuration. The H80 is meant for push/pull and I'm sure the test results are completely different in push/pull. How many people get the H80 and only use one fan?
  • mantikos - Thursday, August 23, 2012 - link

    If you haven't included a Sanyo Denki San Ace fan in your testing, your fan test is incomplete. These fans will blow your socks off. Reply
  • Runamok81 - Thursday, August 23, 2012 - link

    I've heard the Sanyo Denki San Ace is one of the best performing fans on the market. If you have NO concern about the noise level.

    Video and sound of a Sanyo Denki Ace

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