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

  • softdrinkviking - Friday, August 24, 2012 - link

    Sanyo Ace has wide range of fans, some of which are optimized for noise.
    w w w .
  • mantikos - Sunday, August 26, 2012 - link

    Sanyo Denki has fans that are damn near silent to leaf blowers...and in either category they are the best. Although a little hard to find.
    I have a Sanyo Denki hooked up to my radiator and I can tell you this thing is awesome!
  • Beenthere - Thursday, August 23, 2012 - link

    ...this type of testing doesn't provide much useful data as the results are only applicable to the hardware tested, i.e. the exact PC case, CPU/cooler, and peripherals as installed in this particular PC case.

    The advertised airflow and static pressure mean absolutely NOTHING unless tested under the exact same industry standards by one source, on the same test equipment all at the same time. In addition how these fans actually perform in real use can be completely different than the advertised performance specs as the case/cooler/peripherals ALL influence the fans performance.

    The reality is the only way to determine how any fan will actual perform in your PC is to test it. Chances are you won't find much difference between the top 5-10 fans that operate at approx. the same speed and with similar airflow, so you might as well just pick the one that makes you happy and forget it unless you want to test for entertainment purposes.
  • prophet001 - Thursday, August 23, 2012 - link

    Akasa Viper PWM fans is the best one I've used.

    Noctua is good but they don't have the ability to output high CFM when necessary.
  • Narg - Thursday, August 23, 2012 - link

    I love that case, other than it's only ITX. Does anyone know if there is something similar in a Micro ATX or any ATX for that matter? Reply
  • C'DaleRider - Thursday, August 23, 2012 - link

    Go to Xtremesystems, liquid cooling sub-forum, then the testing sticky. Inside you'll find Martin210's test of over 50 fans tested on a Swiftech MCR-120 rad. Further testing on higher density finned rads are also there, conducted by Vapor.

    Sad this site tried to do with 8 fans what has been done with 50 fans, and counting.
  • SantaAna12 - Thursday, August 23, 2012 - link

    Nice! I was ready for something straight ahead. I would like to see the Noctua included too. I own some, and found that them to be noisy. Coolermaster slapped down! Hardly a big surprise get what you pay for....mostly. I ended up using Nexus....but would like to see a better cfm flow option that is truly quiet. Good review! Reply
  • 996GT2 - Thursday, August 23, 2012 - link

    Why was the Gentle Typhoon line (especially the AP-15) not tested?

    The AP-15 is one of the go-to fans for radiators. Not only does it have good static pressure, but it has a very acoustically pleasing noise characteristic.
  • maximumGPU - Friday, August 24, 2012 - link

    I got an GT-AP after after all the praise they got, and i was underwhelmed. They push a good amount of air but i certainly didn't find their noise "acoustically pleasing".
    I hoped for better.
    Of all the fans i tried, the best so far has been the TY-140 from thermalright.. But they're 140mm and look hideous.
  • 996GT2 - Friday, August 24, 2012 - link

    In my own testing the AP-15 @ about 1800 RPM sounded like my FDB bearing Scythe S-Flexes at about 14-1500 RPM. The AP-15 is inaudible to me at ~1000 RPM from a normal distance. Reply

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