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Best silent fan solution for the money.

1242 Views 5 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  synge
Looking for some recommendations on CPU fans that run silent or as close to silent as possible while being cost effective. Currently running a Q6600 and looking to upgrade to a i5 or i7 so recommendations are welcome on all those CPUs.
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The most "cost effective" is to buy cheap and undervolt. As long as the fan doesn't have bearing noise issues, that is the best way to get low price and quiet.

Probably want to use a heatsink with a 120mm fan, as that is probably the best airflow-quiet-cost ratio.

Many popular aftermarket HSFs have cross-platform compatibility. Just make sure whatever you buy supports your current and potential future socket.

Example: Cooler Master Hyper 212+ is a spectacular deal when it is on sale frequently for around $20. It is not the best cooler. It is not the most quiet cooler. However, it is one of the best for $20, and with the fan suitably undervolted, can be reasonably quiet.
Maybe some 38mm Yates?

Else I would just say Cougar Turbines.
Cougar Turbines are $30 for 4 , so that's about $8 each http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835553009

Discounted Cougar Vortex HDB (300K hour one) go for about $8 , right now $9 if you can stand orange fans

$16 - $6 off w/ promo code EMCXMXM76, ends 8/14 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835553001

I wouldn't buy the fan separate from the heatsink though, when you can buy a Thermalright True 120M for about $30 or Thermalright True 140/HR-02 Macho for ~$40.

Arctic F12s are $8 http://www.superbiiz.com/detail.php?name=CA-F12

$9+shipping Arctic F12 PWM with cables sleeved http://www.performance-pcs.com/catalog/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=36_407_696&products_id=26686

Arctic F14 $9+shipping http://www.superbiiz.com/detail.php?name=CA-ACF14

Scythe/Nidec Gentle Typhoons go for about $10-12 but not anymore. http://www.sidewindercomputers.com/scge120mmsic2.html
^ best option for radiator

Thermalright TY-140s and TY-147s sometimes go for about $12 http://www.superbiiz.com/detail.php?name=FAN-TY147 , http://www.superbiiz.com/detail.php?name=FAN-TY140

Gelid Silent 12 PWM 1500RPM max http://www.superbiiz.com/detail.php?name=FAN-PX12
(not as good as Gentle typhoon/Cougars/Arctic on heatsinks)
lower RPM fan Gelid Silent 12 only meant for Case fan http://www.superbiiz.com/detail.php?name=FAN-FN12SX

Given that the price of generic Yate Loons (see http://www.performance-pcs.com/catalog/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=36_1130_49_1051) or other fans is the same as the Arctic F12s I'd go with the Arctic F12 if you hate orange

Keep in mind if your motherboard only supports PWM speed control for the CPU fan header you'll be annoyed by PWM tick at lower RPMs unless you grab Noctuas, Be Quiet, Thermalright, etc that are not known to tick.

Any cheaper and you're looking at stuff like rebated $3 after rebate Cooler Master Sickleflows (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103061) which aren't that great and have sleeve bearings.

FrozenCPU also has many fans, but the cheapest is $6-8+shipping (Yate Loon/XSPC ones that are sleeve bearing)
120mm: http://www.frozencpu.com/cat/l3/g36/c15/s60/list/p1/Fans-12_Volt_Fans-120mm_x_25mm_Fans-Page1.html
140mm : http://www.frozencpu.com/cat/l3/g36/c15/s775/list/p1/Fans-12_Volt_Fans-140mm_x_25mm_Fans-Page1.html

P.S. you need to be more specific
How important is noise? What is your tolerance in dB? High frequency (ringing/coil whine)/low freq (hum/mechanical bearing noise)?
What motherboard will you use (or fan controller)? Do you need PWM to control fan speed?
How far are you planning to OC?
What heatsink will you use? How willit be oriented (if you face it up then you can't really use sleeve bearing fans)
How good is your case airflow?
How much is the budget ideally? etc.
mobo, RAM, case
Any color (Noctua brown & cougar orange included) or do you have a windowed case and want to stick to a color theme (blue/white/black)? Some people are specific , i.e. "I want red LEDs".

Some resources for you
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Originally Posted by AlphaC View Post

have sleeve bearings.
A wonderfully informative post, albeit not well sorted.

Regarding sleeve bearings... they may not last as long as ball bearings, but they aren't ALL that bad plus they are generally quieter and cheaper than ball bearings (all the various other "rifle" or "fluid" bearing styles are probably somewhere in-between). For instance this thread talks about different Yate Loon sleeve bearing fans, and they are NOT all the same in noise, performance, quality and longevity.
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Thermalright Macho Rev. A is difficult to beat for massive, quiet cooling at $50 including fan. Undervolt to 7-9V and you'll barely ever hear it.

If you want a REALLY quiet setup, the Silverstone Helgion HE-02 for $65 comes without a fan, but almost doesn't need one if you're not overclocking. Get a Thermalright TY-140 fan ($15) to go with it and undervolt it to 5V, you'll never hear the thing at all. $80 total.

If you're crazy enough to go completely fanless, the NoFan CR-95C Copper ($99) will do the job at stock or even light overclocks.
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