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Six 120mm Fans Tested For Best CPU Cooling…

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hi all,

Having pushed my CPU overclock via the stock cooler as high as possible/comfortable, I was ready to get a new cooler in preparation to OC further and see how high I could get (the CPU, not me…although I am very addicted to OCing & tweaking stuff). My goal was to find the best cooling solution for my CPU while at the same time keeping the noise down to a comfortable level (i.e., no jet taking off noise levels but more like air conditioning is running noise levels…~ about 30dbs est.).

So, without further ado (results/some screenies at bottom)….

Work log:

- Bought an OCZ Vendetta 2 but it did not fit my case (yes, I measured twice but had had a couple of drinks that eve and to this day I have no idea what happened!).
- Bought and installed an OCZ Vendetta instead because I really like and wanted to stay with HDT technology.
- Did not care for the 92mm PWN fan that came with so said fan was dumped (you should see all the odds & ends in my closet, ha!).
- Tested the following 120mm fans I had on hand for lowest load temps on the Vendetta as follows:

1. Scythe Kama PWM Fan DFS122512L-PWM
Fan Speed: 310 -1200rpm
Fan Noise: 0.00~24.89dBA
Airflow: 12.38~52.71CFM CFM
Rated Voltage: 12V (9cm and 12cm)
Rated Current: 0.16A
Bearing Type: Sleeve
MTBF: 30,000 hours
Test Notes: Very nice, quiet fan upto 80% (+/-1,000 rpm) and mostly quiet at 100% but it does not allow for any additional airflow headroom (you’ll probably want to run at max or close to max rpms). No motor whine/buzz encountered at any speeds.

2. Cooljag Everflow PWM Fan - R121225BUAF (it’s basically a Silverstone FM121 with PWM connector…hard to find but available here: http://www.heatsinkfactory.com/coolj...21225buaf.html)
Rated Current: 0.40 Amp
Rated Input Power: 4.80W
Rated Speed: 2400 RPM
Max. Airflow: 110.03 CFM
Max. Static Pressure: 3.26 mmH2O
Sound Level: 39.5 dB(A)
Test Notes: This fan was ok upto about 55% rpms (+/-1,300 rpm) but anywhere above that it got progressively louder and not just due to the airflow. The motor makes a somewhat buzzing noise (may be attributable to the PWM function) that is not subtle and can be heard over all other case fans. Running this fan above 55% 24/7 would be a nuisance.

3. Silverstone FM121 (see, pretty much same specs as above….)
Fan Bearing:Dual Ball Bearing
Fan Speed:800 RPM to 2,400 RPM
Fan Airflow:Up to 110.03 CFM
Fan Noise:17 dBA to 39.5 dBA
Maximum Air Pressure:3.26mm/H2O
Test Notes: Similar to above, but this fan is definitely better made/more silent at comparable speeds, although the specs seem to indicate they are the same fan except for the PWM function? The noise became intrusive at around 70% (+/-1,700 rpm) but more due to airflow than motor noise, although some buzzing/droning was still present.

4. Scythe SY1225SL12H 120mm Slipstream
Air Flow: 88.11 CFM
Bearing Type: Sleeve
Noise Level: 33.00 dBA
RPM: 1600 RPM
MTBF: 30,000 hours
Test Notes: Great fan, very quiet upto about 88% (+/-1,400 rpm) and then noticeable but not too loud (and just airflow noise at that). Too bad that it cannot push as much air thru the cooler thus temps suffer somewhat (not great with back pressure on the tight & dimpled fins the Vendetta has due to the blade design). I found the best use for this fan was for exhaust (free flow in my cases case), then intake, then CPU.

5. Scythe S-FLEX SFF21F
Air Flow: 63.7 CFM
Bearing Type: S-FDB (Fluid Dynamic Bearing by SONY Corporation)
Noise Level: 28.0 dBA
RPM: 1600 RPM
MTBF: 150,000 hours
Test Notes: Another great fan, good bearings, long life and quiet upto about 88% (+/-1,400 rpm)….it’s just a little louder than the Slipstream. Motor noise is more noticeable above this speed than the Slipstream (not too bad at full speed) but I personally would not run it at max rpm 24/7. Better CPU temps than the Slipstream at both 88% & 100% I believe are due to it’s higher back pressure tolerance.

6. Scythe Ultra Kaze DFS123812L-2000
Fan Bearing:Sleeve Bearing
Fan Speed:2,000 RPM
Fan Airflow:87.6 CFM
Fan Noise:33 dBA
Fan Dimensions:120mm x 120mm x 38mm
MTBF: 30,000 hours
Test Notes: This is the only x38mm fan I tested (and the last one I bought). It has similar cfm specs as some of the Sunon and Panaflo x38s but with a little less dbs at 100%. Quiet upto about 75% (+/-1,750 rpm) and then mostly airflow noise with no whine or motor buzz. Also, due to the x38mm design, the airflow noise is lower in tone than with the x25mm fans and, to me at least, it is less intrusive (kinda like comparing a 4-Cyl VW engine vs. a Mustang V8 engine, it just sounds better). Very good CPU cooling performance as the air gets thru the Vendetta’s fins and out the back more so than the other fans tested.

Test Methodology (this is as scientific as I get):

All test results were obtained over a course of 2 consecutive nights. Ambient temps ranged from 19.4 to 20.6C so +/- 1C variance can be applied to results. All tests were performed with the case side panel closed and intake/exhaust fans were left at same speeds. Orthos small FFTs were run for all tests and measurements were recorded via both Speedfan and HW Monitor when the load curve settled into a horizontal line. Please be aware that no compressed air cans, dry ice, flamethrowers or magma were used to influence temps during the testing of these fans.

Raw Data/Results (and I mean raw, like the Sushi I got at Sushi 4 U the other night):



Some Screenies:

Intel Stock cooler - CPU idle & then load temps running Orthos Small FFTs (Core0/Core1/CPU) =
29/29/34C idle --> 56/55/60C Load (ambient was 20.6C)



OCZ Vendetta with Scythe Kama PWM Fan DFS122512L-PWM @ 100% fan speed - CPU idle & then load temps running Orthos Small FFTs =
25/27/31C --> 44/44/50C (ambient was 19.4C)



OCZ Vendetta with Ultra Kaze 2000 fan @ 100% fan speed - CPU idle & then load temps running Orthos Small FFTs =
22/24/31C --> 41/42/47C (ambient was 19.8C)



And the winner is…..the Ultra Kaze 2000 (shown here in all it’s glory):



Well, that’s about it folks as I am happy with the results. I hope this was of interest to at least someone. And if there is anything I need to clarify or missed, please just let me know…I did the best I could with what I gotz! I must be an uber-nerd because I had mucho fun doing this.

Cheers!!!

Fan Epilogue:

1. The Scythe Slipsteam found employ as my primary exhaust fan and is living a happy life.
2. The S-Flex F also swung a deal with me and ended up as my bottom front intake fan and is partying it up as we speak.
3. The Scythe Kama PWM made a glorious return to the MicroCenter with honors. It is a good fan and deserves respect (but just not in my case).
4. The Cooljag Everflow PWM was returned to the Heatsink Factory wherein the engineers confirmed there was no issue with the motor and still issued me a full refund (nice guys).
5. The Silverstone FM121 has been retired and resides comfortably in my closet until called to duty again (or until I fubar something else up).
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PacMan4
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post #2 of 17
nice job + rep
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post #3 of 17
Are the ratings from the specs or did you independently test yourself?
Once again...
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Once again...
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post #4 of 17
good comparison, although from my experience the Scythe Slipstream spanks the FM121 (dear God are the FM121's annoying at full speed...)
    
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post #5 of 17
Those aren't fans, THIS is a fan.
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post #6 of 17
I've got the 1900RPM Slipstream, and I'm very unimpressed with it. Maybe I got a bum unit, or maybe the 1600RPM version is much better, I don't know. Great comparison though, I've got something similar planned.
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post #7 of 17
great guide!
I was already leaning more towards the ultra-kaze anyway

I wonder if I can jury-rig one to my AC Freezer
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post #8 of 17
nice guide
+rep
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post #9 of 17
O nice job. Will come in handy
post #10 of 17
+1 Nice work! A 120mm fan on a 92mm cooler...that's commitment.

I have the Ultra Kaze (130 cfm) in back and the Slipstream (110) in front (stock fan on Vendetta 2 cpu hsf). All temps - CPU, chipsets - are down down down.
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