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

Posted: November 4, 2010 in Fans
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This thread will serve as my updated 120mm radiator based fan testing work in progress. While fan specs are helpful, like pumps they represent how the fan performs in an artificial open air and unmounted condition without any restriction, mounting vibrations, or undervolting effects. In addition there are many different mathematical methods in which noise levels are calculated (Removal of ambient noise) and measured making the task of comparing fans based on specs alone for a radiator application a best guess. In addition, those testing conditions do not include vibration created noises that exist once a fan is mounted to a radiator. Many fans also exhibit motor ticks or harmonics at some voltage levels other than 12V when using a fan controller. That brings me to the purpose of this test, to test in a more real world like radiator scenario without any adjustments to noise levels and record it for your own review.

This round will focus in testing and comparing 120mm fans on a Swiftech MCR120 radiator using a voltage based fan controller to evaluate a more real world radiator condition on a constant test platform.

First off, a HUGE thanks to the following sponsors. It’s been amazing how much support I have received in this so far..a real tribute to the community we have here:

This includes the parts/fans and the sponsors who have donated for this cause as well as some tabular results:
Click to enlarge:

I’ll start creating a new post for each new fan including the pictures and the data tables then link them back up in this main post.


I’ll update this from time to time. Per my reading, it normally takes about 3dbA for most people to perceive a change in noise level…that’s about the spread of “Most” of the fans here. But if we’re splitting hairs…here is the chart for your viewing pleasure…

Just note this is NOISE LEVEL only. I think this is only half the picture, noise quality is what you get by listening which points out the things like motor tics, and other less that smooth sounds.



And last but not least, my completely subjective rating on noise quality. I suggest you listen to the videos to sort this out yourself, I think everyone will have a slightly different opinion on this, but this is what I came up with as a place to start. Noise quality has nothing to do with noise level. I made up my own scoring system by listening for motor type noises and resonance issues. If a fan sounded like very smooth air, it would get high marks. I also marked against resonance issues. If the fan had specific voltage ranges where it resonated, I marked it down. I rated quality in 3 steps and resonance in one field, and averaged them out. I wish there was some sort of scientific way to do this, but this was the best I could do. Again, I suggest rating this with the videos for yourself.

Generally anything with a 7 or better is really good and pretty tight. I just had a slight preference toward fans with slightly lower pitch and or smoother air noises.

Many fans below that were also very good in some areas, but may have had a small motor tick or resonance issue during the test. Resonance is one of those tricky things that may be specific to one test bed. I can only rate what was tested though, it would be impossible to see how the fan behaves in all situations. I’m also typically only testing one sample, and it’s very possible the one fan I test was flawed or less that perfect.

Bottom line, there is no replacement for trying out a fan yourself. Before you go buying 20 fans of the same type, I suggest trying out at least one sample for yourself and see how you like it.

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  1. Lucas says:

    Awsome job Martin!!!

    That’s the best fan review/roundup I’ve ever seen.

    I have a question also: I’m pretending to buy a WC rig based on the Swiftech Ultima XT + Triple Rad + HD5850 block.

    Are the typhoons that good? I mean, they are a little expensive. But if they are worth the money, I’ll take them.

    What do you think?

    Thanks man! Nice job, really!

    • Martinm210 says:


      If you were running under about 1,000RPM, I’d say no, but from 1,000 up to 1,850 and particularly at 1,850 then YES.

      They are that good at higher speeds. I personally still have yate loons in my own rig, but everything is dialed down to about 800RPM. The differences are too small down that slow for me to justify buying all new fans.

      If you haven’t bought fans yet, and you are particular about noise, then I would suggest the GTs. Even without all the sound meters, most people seem to say on a radiator that they make a fairly worthwhile difference.

  2. Lucas says:

    Well, thanks for the reply!

    So GT it is then! Just have to find a place that sells them for a reasonable price, because there is barely no one that sells them here in Brazil.

    Thanks again! I’ll buy those 1850 RPM GTs.

    Just one more question: deos it make any difference if I use push or pull with these fans? I’ll be using a MRC320-QP from Swiftech in a temjin 07 case.

  3. Lucas says:

    Very well! Thank you very much for the help!!!

  4. Hey Martin. Have you tested the Triebwerk fans in pull? They are designed for that, and have some measure of shroud built in, when you use them as pull. I really thought they would perform better on a radiator, I already ordered a bunch, instead of GT’s. Seems like that was a mistake.

    • Martinm210 says:

      I did when I tested the Monsta rad, but I really didn’t see anything different over normal fans. That was a thermal test only, so no data on noise. The Triebwerk are good fans and better than average, but I see their value being more for show. The GTs are better noise/CFM performers, but the Triebwerks are probably the most unique looking fan.

      Here is that old rad test:

  5. PepeLapiu says:

    Hi Martin.
    I got GT-2150 fans frpm the infamous group buy. Based on visual pictures inspetion, they look to be very similar to the AP-15 fans. Would you expect them to test similarly?

  6. marquee says:

    your review are great good job.

    Is there any chance you will be doing a corsair sp 120 review. I would like to know how they stand against the king of the hill ap-15.

    • Martinm210 says:

      I am still working on complete kits right now, but I may do some fan testing in a little while. In the middle of moving, so testing is going to slow down a bit too although I would rather test than pack boxes..:)

      Sent from my iPhone

  7. GEARjmr says:

    As always great testing Martin. I too switched to the AP-15’s from the 3 XSPC fans in the stock XSPC RS360 Raystorm kit to 6 AP-15’s. I find that running the pull fans at a slightly higher RPM than the push draws the most air through the rad. Gotta love how low ya can keep the rpm’s on these fans and yet not sacrificce cooling.