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Overview

You can find a guide on TIM's here

If along the way you have any questions or would like to make any suggestions on how to improve this guide, you can do so by replying to this thread. I will take any suggestions if they're reasonable. This is my first time making a guide so correct me if I make a few mistakes
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I will take anything into consideration.

Introduction
  • So we all know looking for the right fans for your case/heatsink/radiator is a huge hassle. Well, I've put together a guide based on my preferences that can help you choose the correct fan for the setup you're looking for.
  • My goal is to provide you with the right fan for your needs, remember this whole guide is based off my opinions so no flaming or thread bashing will be tolerated
Explanation of fans

What is CFM?
  • CFM stands for Cubic Feet per Minute. It means how much air your fans can push, and a high-CFM fan is not necessarily loud, as a low-CFM fan is not necessarily quiet, and is considerably the most important thing in buying a fan.
What is dBa?
  • dBa - dBa stands for decibel adjusted, which means the noise power calculated in dB or decibels. The higher the CFM, usually means higher dBa.
What is RPM?
  • RPM stands for revolutions per minute, the number of RPM on a fan represents how many times the blade makes a full circle in one minute, many people new to fans tend to confuse RPM with CFM, they are not the SAME , the higher the RPM, the more noise you'll likely have.
What is Static Pressure?
  • Static Pressure means how much the fan pushes or pulls air through various obstacles (Heatsinks, radiators etc..). The more static pressure your fan has, the more amount of air is through grills/heatsinks/dust filters/radiators. It is important to know that static pressure is the most important thing to buying a fan when it comes to pairing it up with your heatsink or radiator. Static pressure is not related to either dBa or CFM, but to the fan design and the turbulence it creates.
Bearings
  • Sleeve - Use two surfaces lubricated with oil or grease as a friction contact. Sleeve bearings are less durable as the contact surfaces can become rough and/or the lubricant dry up, eventually leading to failure.
    Sleeve bearings may be more likely to fail at higher temperatures, and may perform poorly when mounted in any orientation other than vertical. The lifespan of a sleeve bearing fan may be around 40,000 hours at 50 °C. Fans that use sleeve bearings are generally cheaper than fans that use ball bearings, and are quieter at lower speeds early in their life, but can grow considerably noisier as they age
  • Ball - Use a sealed bearing containing steel balls against which the axle rotates. Though generally more expensive, ball bearing fans do not suffer the same orientation limitations as sleeve bearing fans, are more durable especially at higher temperatures, and quieter than sleeve bearing fans at higher rotation speeds. The lifespan of a ball bearing fan may be around 63,000 hours at 50 °C.
  • Fluid - Have the advantages of near-silent operation and high life expectancy (comparable to ball bearing fans). However, these fans tend to be the most expensive.

Choosing the right fan

When it comes to choosing the right fan, you have to take these types of cooling options into consideration.
  • Case Cooling
  • Heatsink/Radiator Cooling
  • Silent Cooling
First up, Case Cooling:

There are many fans I would recommend for case cooling but the ones that really stand out for intake would have to be these fans listed here.
  • Yate Loons - These fans are perfect for case cooling since they pull great amounts of CFM while at a reasonable dBa
  • Coolermaster R4's - These fans are great when it comes to intake, they pull great amounts of CFM and have a very low dba (69.69CFM , and can go as low to 19dBa) they also come in various colors, blue,red,green & black.
  • Scythe Slipstreams - The fans pull a tremendous amount of air at a really reasonable dBa, in case this one is too loud, there is also a lower dBa version of the fan that pulls 100CFM here
  • SilverStone SST - These fans don't get as much attention as they deserve, it's fan is manual adjustable and can go up to 110CFM & 39.5 dBa. Equipped with 9 fan blades, it offers elevated quietness and performance levels beyond traditional 7 bladed fans.
  • Antec Tri-Cools -These fans are perfect for an intake fan. The Antec TriCool 120 LED case fan is a variable speed (1200/1600/2000RPM) 120mm fan that moves a lot of air (39/56/79 CFM).

Now as for exhaust fans, they'll be listed down here.
  • Xigmatek XLF - At 61 CFM and a dBa lower than 20, who could go wrong with this wonderful fan. I have seen quite a few people on OCN use these fans and the orange blades make it look really nice.
  • Yate Loons - As mentioned earlier, you can't go wrong with the yate loons, they pull great amounts of CFM while at a reasonable dBa
  • Noctua 12 series - Tho it's expensive, you can't go wrong with these high quality fans, they dead silent and can be used as an exhaust fan to pull all the heat from your computer. The fans come with an adjustable fan controller.
  • Scythe S-FLEX SFF21F - The S-Flexes offer fluid dynamic bearings which makes the fan top quality, with the advantage of fluid bearings, the fan offers less vibrations and lower noise level with a benefit of a longer life line, highly recommend this fan for an exhaust.
  • Scythe GentleTyphoon - Moving at around 55CFM at only 28dBa, I am sure many gentletyphoon owners will tell you how great this fan is.
  • Scythe Slipstreams - These fans make a great exhaust as well, they pull tremendous amounts of CFM but lack static pressure, however that it is not needed when using the fan as an exhaust. There is also a lower dBa version of the fan that pulls 100CFM here
  • ENERMAX MAGMA - Quiet, but deadly. These fans pull up 69CFM with a dBa of only 18. Recommend this fan to many users, the red makes it stand out
Now onto cooling heatsinks:

When looking for fans to cool your heatsink, your main concern is static pressure. A fan with lower CFM but much higher static pressure will cool much better than a fan with higher CFM but with little to no static pressure.
For example, scythe s-flexes and scythe slipstreams, the s-flexes have a much lower cfm but attain much more static pressure, as for the slipstreams, they pull more cfm but have little to no static pressure. As for fan size, 120x120x38MM fans cool heatsinks best, they acquire much more static pressure than 120x120x25MM's.

First up, the infamous
  • Sanyo Denki H1011 - We all know what this fan is, amazing static pressure and undervolts REALLY well. I highly recommend this fan for cooling you radiator or heatsink. As for a heatsink, you will only need one as they pull a LOT of air.
  • Sanyo Denki H101 - This is currently the H1011's updated version, this fan tends to pull more static pressure with less CFM, still a great fan for radiators or heatsinks.
  • NMB-MAT Panaflo's - The panaflos are great fans for heatsinks, they have a great amount of static pressure, tho not as much as the san aces, they are still spectacular fans. I highly recommend them as well.
  • Delta - We all know the dreaded delta's, they pull HUGE amounts of CFM with VERY high static pressure, however they are the loudest fans you'll ever hear, at 220 CFM, the fans dBa can reach up to 65!
    If you plan on purchasing these fans, make sure you purchase a fan controller and some fan guards as well.
  • Scythe Ultra Kaze - Many people assume that if a fan pulls a lot of CFM, the static pressure has to be good as well. NOT true, here's a perfect example of it, the ultra kazes tend pull up to 133CFM with a dBa noise level of 45dBa, this fans moves a lot of air! However, if you're planning to use it for your heatsink/radiator, I highly advise you not to, these fans have horrible static pressure along with terrible vibration. When undervolted, many users often complain about a clicking and whining noise. If you still consider purchasing it, I'd advise you to stay away from the 3K and go with the 2K, to avoid the loud noise the fan produces.
  • Silverstone FM122 - I've heard great things about the fan, still I believe silverstone does not have that much attention as they should be getting. With an adjustable fan controller, this fan can 107CFM, the fan's static pressure is 5.68mmH20, in terms that is really good for a fan. I highly recommend this product to anyone in the market for some nice white fans.
  • 1ST PC CORP. AFC1212DE-SP02 - A member suggested that this fan is a must, and might I say, its a tremendous fan, the fan was developed by delta. The fans pulls 148CFM
    @ 51dBa, the static pressure for the fan is whopping 15.29 mm, this fan will go great with heatsink/radiator, just make sure you purchase a fan controller.
Push/Pull setup

We all know that 120x38MM fans dominate in heatsink cooling, but don't be so sure. When paired up, a 120x25MM fan can match up to a single 120x38MM fan using the push/pull method, for example; lets say I have a vertical heatsink, I have two fans, one will be pushing the air in and the other will be pulling the air out, like this Pull<Heatsink<Push'

Heres a picture explaining push/pull


As for push/pull fans, you would want fans that achieve the most static pressure.
  • Scythe S-FLEX F - I would highly recommend this fan for anyone in the market for a push/pull, they have a tremendous amount static pressure for a 120x25MM fan, would be perfect for a push/pull setup.
  • Scythe GentleTyphoon - With the curved blades in mind, these fans are perfect for push/pull, as they also have a great amount of static pressure for a 120x25MM fan.
  • SilverStone SST-FM121B - As mentioned previously, the fan has manual adjusted fan controller. This fan is great for a push/pull setup as it has 3.26mm static pressure, almost as good as its big 120x38MM brother, I would highly recommend this fan for push/pull or by itself.
  • Noctua P12 - This fan also has an adjustable fan controller, the fan is dead silent and has great cfm to dba ratio. The static pressure on the fan can go up to 1.68, which is pretty good for a 120x25MM fan, recommend this fan for a radiators or push/pull setup.
  • Akasa Apache AK-FN057 - I recently saw this fan on a recent thread made on OCN. It seems that the fan' static pressure is 2.64 mm H2O
    . This fan is perfect for silent solution to push/pull.
Please remember case fan specifications for heatsinks are remarkably similar to case fans for radiators, because it is pulling air through a ton of aluminum or copper fins.

Silent Cooling

Silent cooling is usually for HTPC setups where heat is not too much of an issue. This is when you mainly focus on the dBa and not the cfm nor static pressure.

For these types of fans, I recommend any type of noctua 12 series fan as they are pure silent.
  • You could find them here
  • You can't go wrong with the S-FLEX D's with a dBa of 8.
All these fans are based on my personal preferences. As for the fans, when you have set very concrete conditions of what type of fan you are looking for where as many factors have been eliminated, for example;

- Quietest fan would be Noctua NF-S12 regardless of airflow
- Best radiator fan Delta TFB1212GHE-F00, regardless of noise

As for Fan Controllers
I would recommend the Sunbeam Rheobus-Extreme as a personal preference.
The Scythe KM02 is good as well and in my opinion, the best looking fan controller on the market.
The Lamptron FC-2 is very good as well, it has an output of 45 watts for 6 channels

Heres a proper guide on installing a fan controller

Now onto Heatsinks
  • Prolimatech Megahalem - This coolers, in my opinion is currently the best heatsink on the market as of now, it's easy to mount and it comes with a very flat base, so there is no need to lap the cooler.
  • TRUE - Short for thermalright ultra extreme, is also a very good cooler, it comes right behind the Meghalem. However, the TRUE usually comes with a very non-flat base making you lap the cooler and other various mods like the washer mod. Still recommended if you can't find the Megahalem.
  • Scythe Mugen 2 - What can I say? This cooler is HUGE. However, its very cheap, at only 40$, who could go wrong with this beast? It cools as well as a TRUE (unlapped). The only downside to this is that that you have to take your motherboard apart to install it and make sure you have enough clearance for your ram. You can find the fan club for the cooler on OCN here
  • Xigmatek Dark Knight - We all know what this cooler is, I would highly recommend this cooler if you're on a budget because it looks great and cools great. The only downside to this cooler is that for AM2 users, you have to mount it up&down, which is bad if you have a PSU on top. Otherwise, I highly recommend it.
  • Cooler Master V8 - This heatsink cools pretty well, it is best known for its looks, but don't get fooled by the nice looks of the cooler. This heatsink is a complete rip off for 60$, tho it has mediocre cooling, for 60$ ? Not worth it, I suggest you to pick up a Megahalem for that price.
  • OCZ Vendetta 2 - What can I say? For 20$, this cooler would be the best if you're on a tight budget, its a huge improvement from its little brother, the Vendetta. The only downside to it this heatsink is that it uses push/pin, if you were going to pick this cooler up, I highly recommend you to purchase a backplate with it.
  • I'd like mention that the Thermalright IFX-14 beats the megahalem by a 1-3 degrees depending on the tester.
    The only problem with the IFX-14 is that it needs lapping and is hard to mount.
Custom Dust Filters


Heres a video showing you how to create your own custom dust filters using pantyhose


Suppliers

I would like to recommend these sites if you're on the market for buying a new fan.

www.newegg.com - Reliable shipping, great customer service.
http://www.petrastechshop.com/ - I've ordered many things from this site and they are a great website to get your computer accessories from.
http://www.frozencpu.com/ - I've heard many great things about them and they seem like a reliable site.
www.jab-tech.com - Realiable site, and favored by some members. They sell various coolers that other sites that do not offer.
www.newark.com - Basically, a newegg for a fans and cooling accessories. Here you can find, the infamous sanyo denki and much more.
http://www.svc.com/ - Great prices on computer accessories
http://www.sidewindercomputers.com/ - Similar to petra's, sidewinder has the cheapest prices on the megahalem as of today

http://www.performance-pcs.com/ - They tend to have a huge variety of computer fans/heatsinks/radiators, they usually never run out of stock as they have a huge surplus of items currently available.

End

I will take any suggestions into consideration, as of now I am looking for more options to add, so post a reply.

Note:
I've spent a lot of time making this guy, so no flames
 

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Excellent guide. I learned some new stuff from this guide. +rep and vote for sticky.
 

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Great Guide +1 and a another vote for some serious stickiness.

Only thing that I see that I disagree with is that you list the best air cooler as the Megahalems. The Thermalright IFX-14 beats it by a 1-3 degrees depending on the tester. Source

The only problem with the IFX-14 is that it needs lapping and is hard to mount.
 

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Nice guide. The R4s don't run at 19 db at max rpm(while pushing 90cfm). My Xigmatek XLF's are quieter and they're both rated at 19db on newegg.
 

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Another problem with the IFX-14 is that it requires lots of space.
 
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Looks good.

I can definitely see the Akasa fan having high static pressure. Just looking at the fin design and the amount of fins it looks tight. Also if you notice that the fins tips are relatively closer to the housing and that might be the trick. If the motor is strong enough it can pretty much physically block the air from being forced back. I have not tested the fan though, but this seems to be the general idea of it.

Akasa says it runs 1300rpm and 57cfm with 16dba. It seems possible with this design. Someone needs to test this out.
 

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Rep to you. Great info.
 

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First off, awesome guide! This should definitely be stickied as it should help a wide range of people. I wish they made different color schemes of the Xiggy XLF but look sweet nonetheless.

+rep
 

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everyone recommends yate loons and goes crazy over them but i bought 4 from petras and 2 of them made odd noises
 

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nice guide but one thing I would like to mention about the Panaflo fans. Rexus is a just a distributor for their fans they dont make them so if someone happens to get Panaflo's from somewhere other than newegg it will be listed differently NMB-MAT is the company http://www.m-mmotor.com/english/index.html I only mention this because someone here on OCN asked about it before about Panaflo's. I own 3 of them great fans.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Quote:

Originally Posted by redalert View Post
nice guide but one thing I would like to mention about the Panaflo fans. Rexus is a just a distributor for their fans they dont make them so if someone happens to get Panaflo's from somewhere other than newegg it will be listed differently NMB-MAT is the company http://www.m-mmotor.com/english/index.html I only mention this because someone here on OCN asked about it before about Panaflo's. I own 3 of them great fans.
Thanks! Edited
 

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First off, great job nemesi5, I'm sure a lot of people will find this guide very useful.

Would like to recommend that you add GELID's Wing 12 to the list. Specs are good in comparison to most of the posted exhaust fans (very quiet, 12 - 25 dBA, 1500 RPM/ 64.3 CFM, comes with fan speed control and silicone fan mounts, long lifetime (100'000 h MTTF at 40°C) and are waterproof & dustproof).

Also, a lot of people on Newegg are saying that the posted specs of the Coolermaster R4s are incorrect (Newegg say 90 CFM, Coolermaster say 69.69CFM on the retail box - see comments).
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by nemesi5 View Post
What is Static Pressure?
  • Static Pressure means how much a fan generates when running. The more static pressure your fan has, the more amount of air is through grills/heatsinks/dust filters/radiators. It is important to know that static pressure is the most important thing to buying a fan when it comes to pairing it up with your heatsink or radiator.
Generate what?
 
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