(For a look at parts one and two of the fans we're testing (or actually have tested) you'll want to go back and check here.)

Enermax Magma


Airflow (in CFM) Static Pressure (in mm/H2O) RPM Rated dBA
69.15 1.4 1500 18

The Enermax Magma has pretty generous ratings, but it's also been one of the fans I've seen repeatedly pop up on forums as a solid choice for a 120mm radiator fan. Enermax's advertising materials promote the fact that it can run silently even at exceedingly high temperatures, but it'll be interesting to see if this fan is really all it's cracked up to be.

$13.99 at NewEgg

CoolerMaster Excalibur

Airflow (in CFM) Static Pressure (in mm/H2O) RPM Rated dBA
26.4-85.6 0.75-3.53 600-2000 13-30

The first of CoolerMaster's two entrants, the Excalibur is also one of the only PWM fans we have on hand for testing. Interestingly, both of CoolerMaster's fans look to have placed an emphasis on blingy design, but the Excalibur at least doesn't seem to have the same grossly exaggerated "miracle fan" ratings than the Sickle Flow from the last review had. And while the Sickle Flow was just grabbed off the shelf at a Fry's Electronics, the Excalibur and Turbine Master were both handpicked by CoolerMaster for this roundup.

$18.99 at NewEgg

CoolerMaster Turbine Master MACH 1.8

Airflow (in CFM) Static Pressure (in mm/H2O) RPM Rated dBA
80.3 1.96 1800 30.5

There are actually two models of Turbine Master; the MACH 1.8 is the faster of the two and designed for high performance rather than silence (in much the same way that Corsair has both silent and performance models of their 120mm fans). I'll say this for CoolerMaster; they can produce an interesting looking fan. The Turbine Master has more blades than any other fan in either roundup and comes with a nifty little removable dome for the fan hub.

$16.99 at NewEgg

Noctua NF-F12

Airflow (in CFM) Static Pressure (in mm/H2O) RPM Rated dBA
55 2.61 1500 22.4

I'll admit this is the fan I was most interested in checking out. The ratings listed on the packaging aren't particularly exciting, but Noctua has seen fit to equip the NF-F12 with a PWM connector as well as boxing it with a low noise adaptor. The whole package was actually pretty fancy, and while I'm not sure I'm a fan of the "chai latte" coloring I definitely got the impression that this was going to be a strong contender. Of course, for the price, it had better be.

$29.99 at NewEgg

Testing Methodology The Fans We're Testing, Part 4
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  • Finally - Monday, October 22, 2012 - link

    Here is the latest Fan roundup (number sixteen!) of Summer 2012: http://www.orthy.de/2012/07/354/

    I found the cooling performance to be irrelevant.
    As long as you have 3 fans in your case (1 for the CPU, 1 at the front and 1 in the back), temperatures tend to stay in the green all the time.

    Sure, I could crank them all up to max RPM, but the few extra degrees I would gain are not worth the increase in noise...
  • DanNeely - Monday, October 22, 2012 - link

    The main reason for water cooling instead of using an air cooler is to push your CPU to near the redline. In that area a few degrees of additional cooling do matter.
  • Finally - Monday, October 22, 2012 - link

    You are preaching to the wrong crowd. I like my PC undervolted, cool and QUIET.
  • TeXWiller - Monday, October 22, 2012 - link

    <quote>some of the European brand fans seem to cost more than two times as much in the US</quote>Those Noctua fans are expensive everywhere. Of course, add the VAT to the prices in Europe. Noctua promises really high MTBF numbers and long waranties compared to most other manufacturers. I personally have been using those lower end Papst fans for some time already. A fan with 80000 hour MTBF is apparently more durable than a hard drive with 800000 hour MTBF. ;)
  • tty4 - Monday, October 22, 2012 - link

    The prices in Europe usually include taxes, the Noctua is ~18EUR online (in Germany), which is about 24USD, which already includes 20% sales tax. So the price in the US should be more like 20USD, while is seems to be 30USD, which is a rather large price difference.
  • DanNeely - Monday, October 22, 2012 - link

    Instead of trying to match up noise/performance numbers from two bar graphs could you do a noise vs temperature scatterplot?
  • maximumGPU - Monday, October 22, 2012 - link

    I second that, It would be so much more useful!
  • Dustin Sklavos - Monday, October 22, 2012 - link

    That...is a really good idea...and I'm ashamed of myself for not having thought of it. Not for this review (I'm seriously backlogged and we have a boatload of stuff coming in), but that's exactly what I've been looking for for my case reviews.
  • DanNeely - Monday, October 22, 2012 - link

    Are the numbers available in textual form anywhere? I'd like to throw them into a spreadsheet to get the plot myself; but would prefer not to have to type them in manually.
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    Ok, I typed everything into Excel; and after the usual inordinate amount of fighting (to include a detour fighting with Google's spreadsheet too) managed to get a temperature vs noise plot. I'm not really happy about its legability, but with most of the points packed into a fairly narrow area of the graph it's really not practical to try and put labels next to each point.


    If anyone wants to try and make a better chart, here's the raw data too:

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