Flashy 80mm Fan Roundup - Aerocool/Sharkoon/ACRyan

Cooling/VGA & Other Cooling by jmke @ 2004-06-23

When you want to add extra cooling to your case, you can go for performance, silence or good looks. Many manufactures have increased their research budget to come up with the most innovative fan designs, today we are taking a look at an offering from Aerocool, Sharkoon and AC Ryan.

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The Specs and Testing

Specifications compared :

First up let’s compare the specs, we also include a Vantec Tornado fan as a reference point;

Madshrimps (c)
(*dBA and CFM rating from manufactures*)

The Sharkoon deserves a separate mentioning when it comes down to extra’s, as it includes a PCI bracket with rheobus, giving you the possibility to regulate the speed of the attached fan between 1100-2500rpm. In the tests below the fan was running at full speed, it will come to no surprise that at its lowest setting it is the most silent fan of them all, rated at ~15dBA, but don’t expect a lot of airflow.

When we look at the pricing table we see the NMB stick out as it’s a no frills fan, the other fans are all priced in the same region, except for the aluminum 8025 Aerocool which features no LEDs or fancy blades.

Onto the testing.

Temperature testing

JMke's AMD Test Setup
CPU AMD Athlon XP 2200+ @ 2025Mhz - 1.8v
Mainboard Abit KX7
Cooling * Aerocool Extreme
Memory 1 * 256Mb PC3200 Corsair
Video nVidia Geforce DDR

Madshrimps (c)

The most silent fan gives us the highest temperate which follows logic as it produces only a small amount of airflow, the ACRyan and Aerocool 8025 stick out in the dBA compartment when compared to the temperatures reached. The Sharkoon SL2 comes out the best in this test noise/performance wise.

If we change the graph around we get an even clearer picture:

Madshrimps (c)

The Tornado does not give a good noise/performance ratio; the Aerocool Extreme and BlackFire4 are also at the top of the chart, while the SL2, HT-101 and NMB score very well.

But since the manufactures dBA ratings are not measured the same way we decided to double check their rating by asking a bunch of people to rank the fans according to this table:

Noise Measuring
0 passive
1 inaudible in open air
2 inaudible in case
3 audible if you pay attention
4 well audible, far from annoying
5 well audible, but not annoying
6 too loud for working (intolerant to noise)
7 too loud for working (tolerant to noise)
8 too loud for gaming
9 too loud for LAN party's
10 headache within minutes

If you want to know what each fan sounds like please download this small video clip (.wmv). I did not include the Tornado as it is without any doubt the noisiest of the lot.

Subjective Noise Level comparison

So using the above table we asked a group of people to rate the fans (thank your ShrimpCity!), and here are the results:

Madshrimps (c)

The Aerocool Quad UV and Chameleon fans are really great as they score lower then their “official” rating according the subjective hearing test. The Sharkoon SL2 is on par with the NMB, same as when we compared the specs, the “Extreme” produces less noise then the Blackfire4 which makes the most noise from all the fans tested (minus the Tornado of course).

With every aspect of the fans tested it is time for a conclusion ->
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