R8 120mm Fan Testing on an MCR120 continued

Posted: December 16, 2010 in Fans

I’ll update this post as I get all the individual charts cut, but here are the summary results and videos. This batch is released separately from my R6 results because for some reason my anemometer is reading differently and the batch failed my check in/out process to ensure consistency.  As with any large group of tests, it can be a challenge trying to maintain the same exact conditions.  In this example, I was not satisfied, so I broke the results out separately.  I do however have one common fan, the yate loon, so you can do some cross references by comparing to that fan, then comparing to the other round 6.

A special thanks to Old Chap, RatDog (Cisco Systems), Utnorris, & IKIKUINTHENUTZ for sponsoring the fans


In general these were all fairly impressive fans considering most of this batch edged out the very good yate on noise level…at least at higher volts. I also had my first 10 for noise quality (At 500RPM the SlipstreamSL is hard to find fault, it’s practically inaudible)..not moving much air at that speed, but darn quiet too..

I also generally found more of the same, fans designed for high speed have noise quality issues at very low volts. The slipstream PWM vs SL for example, same goes for all the really high speed fans.

Utnorris’s San Ace also did really well at 12V slightly edging out the HE.

Regarding the Deltas….there seems to be a very clear difference between the newer REV 3 with notches in the fan hub vs. the older style. The SHE tested was of an older revision and did not test nearly as well as the HE tested here or the VHE tested in round 6. The older 25mm delta didn’t seem anything particularly above and beyond other than it has a fairly impressive RPM range. Unfortunately the slower speed Delta HE had trouble starting at lower volts. It really wouldn’t kick on until just under 9V, but since there are some controllers that can jump start at higher volts, I ran it back down to a lower than startup voltage just so you could see that possibility.

Slipstream PWM also seems to surprise a little on noise level, it performed really well there although I think it suffers from some motor tick.

I also had fun with my first “Made in the USA” DC-Muffin fan. Like the Papst, it too runs backwards. It was pretty tinny at low volts but had a respectable noise level at higher volts. I do think the 3 bladed design has more blade chop type noise though.

I also gave up on PWM vs Voltage control testing. So far, voltage control has been superior in noise quality, so I’m sticking to that for the videos.

Anyhow….those are my random thoughts…have a look at the videos and see if anything catches your eye.

In the end for me, I’m still eyeballing the sub 1000RPM range, and the yate and slipstream SL were smoothest down there. I think the slipstream SL vs GTAP13 or 12 would be a close match..




Akasa Viper PWM (Voltage Control)

Delta AFB1212HE -S45T 25mm

Delta AFB1212SHE -46T 38mm Old Version

Delta AFB1212HE Rev3 (From SidewinderComputers) 38mm

Evercool Aluminum Frame EC12025M12CA

Muffin-DC Model MD12B2

San Ace 109R1212H1011 38mm Sample Utnorris

Scythe Slipstream SY1225SL12SL 500RPM

Scythe Slip Stream 110CFM/1900RPM PWM (Voltage Control)

There you have it. I would highly recommend the side by side video method for comparing fans, just match up similar FPM levels via the blue anemometer and listen with your headphones at a reasonable level. Personally, I think noise quality is more important than noise level, but everyone has a slightly different take on it and their own preference.


  1. Alvin says:

    Martin, this is a great site! I’ve recently read your review of the new version of the Swiftech Apogee XT Rev.2. I’m still buying the Koolance CPU-370 though.

    I have a question for you Martin. What do you think of the website CoolingTechnique.com. Do you think their testing methodology is fair or what? Can I trust their reviews, especially the data regarding their testing of the Scythe GT 3000-5400rpm fans?

    What is your take on the site & the reviewers?

    Thanks Martin!

    • Martinm210 says:

      I didn’t know they were testing fans, so I’d have to catch up and read how it was done. The little I have talked with them, they were extremely detailed and professional about their work though. I know there was some drama over the use of a die simulator in testing, but I’m generally very open to a variety of test methods used.

      I can generally learn something from just about any test out there, you just have to look into the test methods used in detail and think through the variables that either were or were not captured.

      For fans, I’ve always focused on testing ON an actual radiator, since that’s what I was most interested in myself. Open air testing however would likely be better at simulating a case fan scenario etc.

      I considered doing a case fan series of fan tests too at one point, but the rad test was enough to wear me out as it was..:)

      Good folks over there though, I’ll have to catch up on all the great work they do.

  2. PepeLapiu says:

    Hi Martin,
    Many of my shopping list items for my next build are being based on your science, as well as Skinnee’s.

    I imagine you would be the right person to ask the following question:

    A GT-1850 fan puts out 28 dBA at max speed.
    A GT-1150 fan puts out 16 dBA at max speed.

    If I were to slow the GT1850 down to 1150 rpm, would it sound the same as a GT1150 at max speed?

    Of course, in this question, we are assuming voltage fan control, as opposed to PWM control.


    • PepeLapiu says:

      Never mind my question above. You already answered it elsewhere. Feel free to erase my last post above as well as this one.

      [quote]Many fans also exhibit motor ticks or harmonics at some voltage levels other than 12V when using a fan controller.
      [B]MYTH – You can have it all, High Speed 38mm fans and smooth low speed using a fan controller–WRONG!![/B]
      I’m calling BS on this, I have yet to find a good strong 38mm fan that works acceptably good at low speeds. I’ve even made the mistake of trying medium speed panaflos back in my earlier days. I figured, what the heck, I may need a little more fan power, so I’ll just plan on turning them down a bit with my fan controller. Well, after forking over the $$ for 6 new panaflo medium speed fans, I was sorely dissapointed when I undervolted. Sure they have great power, but they were also very ticky at low volts. This problem seems to be common to pretty much all 38mm thickness fans with the large fan hub and also to some extent with most higher speed 25mm fans. You simply can not have it all.[/quote]

      Bummer! I already placed my order for GT2150’s, all 16 of them.

  3. Ed Hume says:

    Hi Martin

    I had a idea. I got the idea looking at a thread in the OCN air cooling section about a water cooling product. The guy has an H60 and he thinks his fans are too loud.

    So I referred him to your #6 test run, but then I had my idea. I’ll quote myself:

    [quote]And I’m thinking: the cfm output listed on your Corsair fans is about the same as that of a a TY-140. Now, a fan is circular, and a circle takes up 78.5% of the area of a square of the same width. That is, the diameter of the fan is the same as the width of the square, so the rad’s corners are not getting blown. OTOH, a fan where the diameter is the same as the diagonal of the square would blow air through the entirety of the rad. If the cfm of both fans are the same, the larger fan can blow more quietly to get the same effect.

    So I’d recommend getting a pair of TY-140’s. Since they have 120mm screw holes they will fit nicely on your rad. And because they are PWM they will answer quite nicely to your mb.[/quote]

    What do you think? Is this a decent idea for a 120mm rad?

    More importantly: is there a way to test the hypothesis?


  4. Evan says:

    I have a design for a very cheap and easy to make fan controller capable of handling at least 5A of current, more if you install a heatsink onto the switching mosfet.

    It will operate with 98-99% efficiency and be controllable with a standard 10k potentiometer.

    Anyways, I don’t know if you have solved the problem yet, but I’d be happy to help.

    I have a prototype sitting on my desk that can control an MCP355 and 7 * 1500 RPM fans without even getting hot so I think it works pretty well.

    –Evan (charliehorse55)