Summing up the results of our today’ test session we should first of all say that choosing the right fan for your particular needs is not an easy task and it is not limited only to the noise and airflow specs. Even though these two parameters are undoubtedly the key ones, you should also consider such important characteristics as static pressure and fan MTBF. And while we are going to come back to studying the fans static pressure in the near future, we won’t be able to verify if the claimed MTBF promises stick for natural reasons. That is why here we will have to trust the experience of users working with specific fans for a considerable period of time (sometimes, very considerable). Theoretically, fans using ball bearings should last longer than the ones using sleeve bearings or their modifications. However, this is not always the case in real life. Besides, the buying decision also includes personal user preferences, including the aesthetics factor, as well as pricing and availability in the market.
Nevertheless, the results of our today’s tests allow us to single out three groups of fans. The first group includes the best models with excellent combination of acoustics and airflow rates. These are first of all Noiseblocker fans from NB-Multiframe and NB-BlackSilent series, Scythe Gentle Typhoon and S-FLEX fans, Thermalright TR-FDB (the specific model we tested) and Nexus Basic. The former fans offer not only the best combination of airflow and noise, but also look stylish and are equipped with unique shock-absorbing triangles. We should absolutely give due credit to Scythe Gentle Typhoon for remarkable bearing design and ridiculously low power consumption. And Thermalright TR-FDB and Nexus Basic together with the junior Noiseblocker NB-BlackSilent fans are the most affordable solutions among the fans in the leading category. If you would like to know my personal preferences in this group of products, they will be with Nexus Basic fan, as it is a practically noiseless model.
The second group of fans is the largest one. Here we have solutions from such makers as Scythe, GlacialTech (EDLA1), Zaward, Enermax, Noctua, Thermaltake, Akasa, Silverstone, SilenX, GELID Solutions and Nanoxia. The fans from the latter two stand out due to their unique looks, fluorescent blades and the richest accessories bundles, although they come at a pretty high price. Among Enermax fans we should point out their top model called Magma for offering the best noise-to-airflow ratio among all Enermax fans. GlacialTech GT 12025 fan proveddthat you don’t need to pay a lot for good fans; the most important thing is to choose the right type of bearing (we are talking about EDLA1). The biggest disappointment in this group was SilenX fans: we expected much more from 38 mm models with small rotor, uniquely-shaped blades and promising slogans on the packaging. Besides, the “cheating” with the iXtrema IXP-74 rotation speed also upset us a little. Unfortunately, Noctua fans didn’t prove up to our expectations because they yielded even to the previous NF-P12 model. However, all these solutions are pretty good anyway, they are simply average overall.
And the third group, as you may have already guessed, is today’s outsiders. First of all here belong crackling Akasa UltraQuiet Amber and Xilence PWM – we can’t recommend any of these models because of very unpleasant crackling sound that they make during work. The two remaining GlacialTech fans also make some additional noises, besides, a lot of users reported that they don’t last too long. The new Thermaltake ISGC 12 fans create very weak airflow, and so do 140 mm fan models, which airflow is also very unfocused. Enermax Apollo produces very high CFM at maximum speed, but also runs very noisy. However, this fan is primarily intended to create lighting of inimitable beauty inside your system case, because no other fan has outstanding lighting like Enermax Apollo.
Well, that’s about all we wanted to tell you about the fans today. Hopefully, this article will give you some food for thought and will help make the right choice or confirm that you have already made the right one. Good luck!