30x 120mm Fans Roundup - Tested on WC Radiator

Cooling/VGA & Other Cooling by Martin @ 2009-05-19

Today we have a guest article from Martin who tested 30 different 120mm fans when mounted on a water-cooling radiator. He measured generated noise, cubic feet per minute of air moved with each fan, allowing for some impressive comparative result charts. If you arere looking for a 120mm fan upgrade, this article is a must read!

  • prev
  • next

Comparison Charts

Air Flow Vs. Noise

This chart represents a relationship between air flow and noise. It's probably one of the more important relationship folks are looking for, although I would caution about noise numbers being what they are. Noise quantity does not equal noise quality and that's something not presented here. Many of the 38mm fans seem to present better here, although subjectively I think their noise quality is lower than the 25mm fans. You can also get a sense for how strong or powerful a fan is by how far the lines extend upward on the air flow scale.

Madshrimps (c)
Click to Zoom


Regardless, the Gentle Typhoon is presenting well here with its unique fan blade design. It does present a different tone than most of the fans, sort of a sound all of its own. Other fans seem to rate relatively poorly that doesn't really fit with my own perception. The noise blocker fans seem to have a good smooth sound in my own perception, yet they measured higher numbers of noise quantity compared to others.

I would fall back to what I understand from noise level.

3db differences are considered "Barely perceptible". I've also probably got 1-2dB error in testing, so I wouldn't necessarily consider anything significant unless the difference in sound is more than 5dB.

And one zoomed to better see lower speed areas:

Madshrimps (c)
Click to Zoom


Radiator Air Flow Vs. Voltage

This is purely performance only showing you how much air is pushed through the radiator for various amounts of voltage. Generally the thicker (38mm), the higher the RPM, the more curved shaped blade, and the more number of blades produces more power.

Madshrimps (c)
Click to Zoom


The Delta AFB SHE 38mm nearly 4000RPM fan is clearly king here producing nearly 10X the amount of air as some of our slowest speed fans. Of coarse all that comes with ALOT more noise, but we're not looking at noise in this chart.

Air Flow Vs. RPM

This is more of a measurement of fan blade power or efficiency per RPM. The important thing here is to understand that there's a fairly good range of performance for the same RPM. Some fans have a straighter blade and require more RPM for the same CFM, etc.

Madshrimps (c)
Click to Zoom

Madshrimps (c)
Click to Zoom


The San Ace with its 38mm thickness and curved blades is producing the most per RPM, followed by the Gentle Typhoon.

Noise vs. RPM

And this is the noise measurement per RPM. Some fans tend to produce more noise per RPM and this could be a combination of the fan blade making the noise as well as the motor. There appears to be some give and take between CFM and Noise per RPM with many of the fans, but some seem to do both pretty well.

Madshrimps (c)
Click to Zoom

Madshrimps (c)
Click to Zoom


Noise Vs. Voltage

This chart is all about noise "Quantity" and nothing more, again I would caution that noise quantity is different than quality. This does not quantify the "motor Ticking" or other types of "irritating" noises that you would consider when comparing the noise of one fan to another.

Madshrimps (c)
Click to Zoom


The Ultra Kaze 1000, the LED version of the Yate Loon D12SL12, the Noise Blocker XL-1, and straight blade yate loon D12SL12 are among the more quiet fans. Again this is just noise quantity, not quality or tone!

RPM Vs. Voltage

This is just a simple look at RPMs. Some fans have an ability to reach fairly wide ranges of RPM, while others are more specifically designed for one area only. This should give you some sense of the fan's ability to change RPM by varied amounts of voltage

Madshrimps (c)
Click to Zoom


Air Flow Vs. Power Consumption

This is likely not of concern for most users, but I have seen a few fans claiming to be environmentally friendly regarding energy efficiency, so I thought I'd plot this comparison. It is a relationship of energy efficiency vs. air flow produced. This should also give you a sense of power requirements for fan controllers, etc.

Madshrimps (c)
Click to Zoom

Madshrimps (c)
Click to Zoom


Some fans like the Nanoxia, claim to be a "Green" fan. It is green in color, but it was more of average than a top electrical efficiency fan. The Gentle Typhoon and a few other were generally more electrically efficient.
  • prev
  • next
Comment from Rutar @ 2009/05/19
impressive testing, now even with power consumption but:

The chart is too hard to read, you need to make additional charts for groups of 10 fans. Of course, if someone could code it so you can select several fans and then the chart would be created that would be best. Don't let great test data go to waste because of the presentation.
Comment from leeghoofd @ 2009/05/19
Welcome onboard Martin !
Comment from jmke @ 2009/05/19
it was a one time guest article
Martin's main focus was water cooling gear; this was his final big group test (until the bug bites again )

his site is at http://martin.skinneelabs.com/ where you can find plenty of water cooling reviews
Comment from jmke @ 2009/05/19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rutar View Post
The chart is too hard to read, you need to make additional charts for groups of 10 fans. Of course, if someone could code it so you can select several fans and then the chart would be created that would be best. Don't let great test data go to waste because of the presentation.
will see what I can do, he send me the source file; don't expect a database just yet, but different presentation is doable I think; although X/Y scatter charts are still the best for this; problem is that the Legend is hard to read
Comment from Rutar @ 2009/05/19
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmke View Post
will see what I can do, he send me the source file; don't expect a database just yet, but different presentation is doable I think; although X/Y scatter charts are still the best for this; problem is that the Legend is hard to read
They type of chart is not the problem, it is just that because there are so many similar looking graphs that its hard to tell which fan is which graph.

if they would be groups of 10, the problem would be smaller even if those are groups of similar performers.
Comment from jmke @ 2009/05/19
will have to re-arrange the data for this to work; will take some time, don't expect it before next week

 

reply