R6 120mm Fan Testing on an MCR120 Radiator Round 6 Summary

Posted: November 4, 2010 in Fans
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I think from a noise level only perspective…most fans (90%) perform pretty much the same per CFM level. Supposedly it takes 3dbA for most humans to barely perceive a noise level change, and that’s about the spread I have found for most fans with a few exceptions. I’ll list out some of my favorites below:

The Scythe Gentle Typhoon Series – 1000-1800 Medium Speed is dominating in CFM/dbA ratio. At $15-20 it’s not the cheapest, but a real amazing fan on a radiator.

The Delta AFB1212VHE – 1800+ High Speed is dominating the 38mm fan category in CFM/dbA ratios. At $17 at SWC, it’s not a low-cost fan, but very reasonable compared to other industrial grade 38mm fans of similar performance levels. The downside of Deltas is they are high-speed fans and generally don’t even like turning down to lower speeds (not that I would recommend doing that with a 38mm fan much anyway). They do really well at high speeds 2000+ RPM, but definitely a high minimum noise level.

And some other favorites:

Yate Loon D12SL-12 and D12SM-12 from PTS or SWC are my pick for budget fan. They do pretty much the same as every other fan below 1000RPMs at a fraction of the price of around $6 and do very well at all voltages.

Arctic Cooling F12 is my pick for lower speed PWM and semi budget fan. This fan gives you awesome PWM capabilities, a better bearing, and better looks than yates and can be bought for under $10. This fan also does really well at all voltages.

Scythe Kama Flex H or Zalman ZM-F3 are also pretty good all around fans at good prices.


While I have many favorites and there are many good fans, I do have some top picks for performance.

ULTRA SILENCE BELOW 1000 RPM = Many options.  Really once you get down to speeds this slow, it’s very difficult to separate.  Fans with high noise quality ratings would be top picks, but I also enjoy the cheaper fans such as the yate loons or Arctic Cooling F12.  There really is very little difference in noise levels down this slow, so pick whichever 25mm fan you like the looks or price of.  Check out the videos as well.

AVERAGE FAN SPEEDS 1000-2000 RPM = Scythe Gentle Typhoons.  These fans simply stand out from the crowd in producing the lowest dbA per CFM by a fair margin, particularly in the 1800RPM area.  That lead tapers down to very little as you dial down to 1000RPMs.  While noise quality isn’t perfect and some can be cranky, the noise levels for the amount of air pushed through the radiator were amazing.

HIGH SPEED 2000+ RPM = Delta AFB1212VHE Rev3.  They have to be the latest revision with notches in the fan hubs, but these fans also stood out from the high speed crowd in producing the most CFM through a radiator with least amount of noise.  Unfortunately they don’t slow down much, so don’t expect you can dial them down to slow speed noise levels.  Any fan at 2000RPM is loud, and these are loud as well.  They are just a fair amount less loud than other high speed fans.  I bought mine from sidewinders, they have the newer revisions.

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  1. […] the kit but if you want to get a feel for how some of the other choices perform then take a look at This Even the great work done in testing shown in that link is only related to one type of rad so you […]

    • Bolek says:

      Please try Super Flower fan. It is extreme quiet with high flow
      I’m running it at 500 rpm. For me everything over 1000 rpm is LOUD. So I am surprised you divided fan speeds into such categories 🙂 I have to run Noctua p12 at 400 rpm to be pleased by its inaudible sound:). I own super flower (terrible name) for a few days And I am surprised by its noise quality and CFM! The only drawback is that it uses rubber instead of holes and you have to drill to have a possibility to mout it to the radiator. Best regards !

      • Martinm210 says:

        Hrad to measure noise below 1000rpm also gets really hard to tell a difference between fans that slow. Subjectively, a $5 yate loon is as good as most fans down at those speeds.

        • Bolek says:

          Yes, but some fans don’t want to turn on on such low voltage 🙂 Noctua p12 won’t start, Super flower without any problems 🙂 I am very glat to have such cheap and very good fan.

          BTW, I am scientist and I do like your aproach while testing. Have you ever consider boxplots for a visual representation of your results? Best Regards