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Case Fan

Mon Aug 28, 2017 1:10 am


So I just built my new system and its running fine temp wise (Realan E-D5S case) but I am just looking for peace of mind to improve my air flow a little.

What 120mm case fans would you guys recommend? I know its pretty difficult to go too far wrong here but if people already have them installed and have had a fine time with them that would remove some of my doubt.

Primarily I am looking for quiet, not fussed about looks or neons or anything of that sort. I am one of those boring people who always builds an ugly system as practically as I can :).

I have been looking at the non LED corsair ML120s if anyone has any opinions on them?
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Re: Case Fan

Mon Aug 28, 2017 1:27 am

ML120 is a little pricey but should do a good job; Corsair is generally a safe bet. Coolermaster has worked well for me too. Scythe has a good reputation.

I would avoid Thermaltake, Silenx, and no-name generics.
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Re: Case Fan

Mon Aug 28, 2017 1:41 am

I've been very satisfied with the ML120 myself; they're worth it.

Just remember check the price for the twin pack if you're going for the non-LED version. It can get you a lot more fan/$, for some reason only Corsair knows.

Can't say the same for Cooler Master, at least for anything with POM bearing; the bearing noise is intolerable IMO - I was a former JetFlo user which is now full of regrets (at least it was cheap); I bought the ML120 twin pack partly to shut the fan up, the other is a H60 fan upgrade as I'm getting two fans anyway due to how costly a single fan can get relative to just getting both.

If you were wondering how loud the JetFlos get, I'll just say that the ML120 maxed out at 2400 (2500 in practice with my particular sample) sounds far more tolerable than the JetFlo at 1200 due to the complete lack of bearing noise; let alone at a more apples-to-apples 2000. IOW, way more airflow at a more tolerable noise level - you could probably take running it at 2000 or 2400 and not be bothered at all unlike the JetFlo which starts to become bothersome past 1200; or run it at 1200 and enjoy the relative silence.

I'm not too knowledgeable about Cooler Master's other fans, but IMO, avoid anything with the POM bearing. They should list it in their fan specs.
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Re: Case Fan

Mon Aug 28, 2017 1:52 am

Haven't used the POM bearings (that I know of); all of my CM fans have been their "long life sleeve bearings". While I'd previously been leery of sleeve bearings from a reliability standpoint, CM's "long life" claim seems to be accurate, based on several systems I've owned that used these fans for extended periods (multiple years).
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Re: Case Fan

Mon Aug 28, 2017 9:22 am

I personally like Enermax and Cougar fans. I own the Enermax TB Silence and Cougar Vortex fans and I like both. I'd say the TB Silence would be better exhaust and Cougar Vortex is a good intake.
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Re: Case Fan

Mon Aug 28, 2017 9:41 am

DPete27 wrote:
I personally like Enermax and Cougar fans. I own the Enermax TB Silence and Cougar Vortex fans and I like both. I'd say the TB Silence would be better exhaust and Cougar Vortex is a good intake.

+1 on Cougar. I even have the Vortex as my CPU fan, no problem with the airflow and the lower noise level was my main reason to replace the stock one on my Hyper 212+ heatsink in the first place.
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Re: Case Fan

Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:20 pm

I'm surprised that no one has mentioned Noctuas. They cost a few more bucks but they last a long time, are quiet and I've never had a problem with one. I have 3 of their 120mm fans which have been running in a system for 6 years 24/7 and are as quiet as the day I got them. The newer ones are even better built and all of them come in a PWM version if you want to hook it up to your motherboard for control.
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Re: Case Fan

Tue Aug 29, 2017 2:30 am

I'll third Cougar and second Noctua. Noctua is the gold standard of fan reliability, but their 120mm options are a bit weak for the moment IMHO, and Cougar might be better. I've got first-hand experience with all of the below except the P12 and A12:

* Noctua F12: It's reliable and all that, but it's optimized for max static pressure and doesn't have the best airflow-to-noise ratio, especially in case fan applications.
* Noctua S12A: Like the F12, except optimized too much for max airflow. It only takes a touch of backpressure to turn it turbulent and noisy (relatively speaking).
* Noctua P12: An older design, but more balanced and probably more aerodynamically sound in typical applications than the F12 or S12A.
* Noctua A12: Definitely more balanced and probably puts the rest of this list to shame, but you can't buy it quite yet.
* Cougar Vortex HDB: Much better typical-scenario aerodynamics than the F12 or S12A, cheaper, and still quite good build quality.
* Arctic F12: My budget pick, largely on the basis of FDBs for $10. A bit flow-biased, but it handles pressure much more gracefully than the S12A. You definitely get what you pay for as far as comparisons to Cougars and Noctuas, but IME it's well above what Cooler Master or Corsair can build at this price.
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Re: Case Fan

Tue Aug 29, 2017 4:04 am

Primarily I am looking for quiet

A good 1200 RPM fan e.g. a Scythe, Noctua, or the like should do the trick -- pair it with an undervolting option and adjust to desired noise/airflow. If going the PWM route, ensure you're getting a fan that's kosher with that control route. 1200rpm should be plenty fast for most anything you may ever desire and a good choice will quiet down very nicely at lower rpms.

synthtel2's post should help you learn a bit about design i.e. what blade design is more appropriate for restrictive e.g. heatsink vs unrestrictive e.g. case fan.

Not sure what the community is like nowadays, but you could glean a lot of good insight even from old posts at SPCR.

Edit: Since you are a new poster, I'll get specific and say I'm still rocking a Scythe Slipstream 1200rpm at 6v. I've never bothered to look into the Noctua options simply due to having been able to reach ambient with noticeably cheaper undervolted Slipstreams. If you ever get into quite computing in more than a cursory manner, I'd again recommend SPCR to you if only for additional reading.

Edit2: Make sure you are focusing on what's actually making the most noise. A paper towel tube held up to the ear can be used to help distinguish between noise sources (or simply just start unplugging things...). Don't be surprised if your video card seems to sound like a vacuum cleaner once you get squared away with a good case fan setup, for example.
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Re: Case Fan

Tue Aug 29, 2017 6:05 am

I've pretty much standardized on the 1350rpm Arctic F12 PWM as it was just $4 each for a really long time on Amazon in the 5-packs. The cheap FDB probably doesn't last that long (cheap ones usually die from leakage) but it's consistent and very quiet for the airflow.

The various $20 Noctuas are no quieter or more efficient in tests but are reputed to have the least PWM clicking sounds at very low RPM (none of my boards will go that low anyway). SSO2 bearing is rated 150k hours. Haven't seen any tests yet of the much hyped new models with the very tight 0.5mm clearances but they look promising, especially the slim A12x15 fan.

The $20 Be Quiet! tests so far as the most efficient PWM fan in airflow-to-noise, but a dB spec doesn't help describe how annoying a sound is so YMMV. Rated 300k hours

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