120mm Fan Roundup - 35 Models Compared

Cooling/VGA & Other Cooling by jmke @ 2009-02-13

We compare the performance/noise balance of 35 different 120mm fans from AcoustFan, Aerocool, Arctic-Cooling, Cooler Master, Coolink, CoolJag, Delta, Gelid, GlobalWin, mCubed, Nexus, Noctua, NoiseBlocker, Papst, Revoltec, Scythe, Sharkoon, SilenX and Xthermal.

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Introduction & Specifications


Today we have large roundup for 120mm fans in store for you; we are testing 19 newcomers and comparing them to 16 older 120mm fans. As always we will keep things to the point, without too much fluff and lots of raw data, analyzed and cut into sections to help you make an informed decision when you’re looking for new 120mm fan.

Madshrimps (c)

The products tested today come from some of most respected brands out there: Acousti, Aerocool, Arctic Cooling, Cooler Master, Coolink, CoolJag, Delta, Gelid, Globalwin, mCubed, Nexus, Noctua, NoiseBlocker, Papst, Revoltec, Scythe, Sharkoon, SilenX and XThermal. They have provided us with different models from their product line-up which met our requirements.


A total of 35 120x120x25/38mm fans were compared, no two are the same, so we have compiled a specifications list which clearly shows you the features of each fan, as well as the included extras you get in the retail package.

The darker colored lines are those we previously tested here at Madshrimps, the new ones are in white font.

Madshrimps (c)

All Fans tested (in easy copy/paste format, if you want to look for a shop who sells them nearby): AcoustiFan S1202512L-3M , Aerocool Turbine 1000 , Arctic Fan 12 , Cooler Master A12025-12AB-4EP-M1 , Cooler Master A12025-7BB-3AN-D1 , Coolink Breeze , CoolJag EverFlow F121225SL , Delta FFB1212VHE , Gelid Silent 12 PWM , Gelid Wing 12 , GlobalWin 1202512L NCB , mCubed X12 , Nexus D12SL-12 (orange) , Noctua NF-P12 , Noctua NF-S12-1200 , Noctua NF-S12-800 , NoiseBlocker M12-P , NoiseBlocker M12-S1 , NoiseBlocker M12-S2 , NoiseBlocker M12-S3 HS , Papst 4412 F/2GLL , Revoltec Air Guard120MM , Revoltec Dark Grey , Scythe AD1212DS-A73GL(6TCL3) , Scythe DFS122512L-PWM , Scythe SA1225HP12LVR , Scythe S-FLEX SFF21E , Scythe S-FLEX SFF21F , Scythe SY122512WH-VR , Scythe SY1225SL12L , Scythe SY1225SL12SL , Scythe SY1225SL12VBL , Sharkoon Silent Eagle 2000 , Silenx Ixtrema Pro IXP-74-11 , Xthermal BTF120PRO

Some of these fans come from CPU coolers (like the Scythe AD1212DS), but most are available in retail and come with fancy packaging which lists all their specifications. Let us take a closer look at the different fans on the next page ->
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Comment from Rutar @ 2009/02/15
How comes the Silent Eagle performs so badly compared to the previous roundups, especially in the noise/temperature ratios? Did fan tech advance that much?

It would be nice to have multiple scatter graphs with different groups of performers so differences can be seen better. I still prefer them over the MER.
Comment from jmke @ 2009/02/15
The Sharkoon Silent Eagle is better known as the « golf ball » fan, as the surface of its fan blades look exactly like that. We’re testing the 2000rpm model here, unfortunately the 1000rpm model we no longer have in our labs. Sharkoon does not label their Silent Eagle model so we added our own “2000rpm” tag to the label.

2000 model best effort is starting point of the 1000rpm model... I don't have the 1000rpm model in house anymore, otherwise would have included it

regrading scatter chart: what groups would you make?
Comment from Rutar @ 2009/02/15
Still, here the SE 2000 RPM did excellent vs the Globalwin which beat all other fans in the 17 fan review. The Noctua S12 1200 outperformed it with 51°/42.9 dBa vs 50.5°/43.6 dBa when there were -3.8°/+0.9 dBa difference in the 4 fan article.

I think it could have to do with the fin spacing difference between the Infinity and the Zipang and the fact that it wasn't mounted directly on the heatsink in the first roundups. I think at least the difference due to the fin spacing should be ruled out and the conflicting results explained.

Eventually 2 test methods have to be used to find out which one is the best casefan and which one is the best CPU fan.