Articles: Cooling

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Last September we carried out a comprehensive test of 140mm fans, checking out 13 products from 9 brands (see our 140 mm Fan Roundup for details). But even though large fans have been getting more and more popular, it is 120mm models that are still prevalent in computer cases, power supplies and coolers, so this review is all about them. I’ve got so many products to test that my desk could accommodate no more than a third of their number!

I also have to split my tests in two halves according to the speed of the fans. In today’s review I will be talking about 18 fan models with a rotation speed up to 1350 RPM. The second part will cover even more models that run at higher speeds, produce more noise, but also feature higher cooling performance. So, let’s get started.

Fan Testing Methodology

The fan acoustic testing methodology remained practically the same as described in our 140 mm Fan Roundup. The principles of our airflow tests also remained unchanged, but the air guider was slightly modified. We replaced the pipe segment with a longer one of smaller diameter. This time we used a smooth plastic pipe 1000 mm long and 125 mm in internal diameter. On the one end of the pipe we inserted our tested fan inside a special adapter, while on the other – our anemometer inside a circle of polyurethane foam:


The actual air guider was made with 210 cocktail straws, each with an 8 mm internal diameter, inserted in the middle of the pipe:

The distances from the fan and the anemometer to the air guider straws were 400 mm on each end. The pipe sat on two stands on top of our desk, so that nothing could obstruct the airflow going towards the fan and leaving through the anemometer impeller:

As you understand, we had to give up the tests with a heatsink inside a pipe of such small diameter, so that’s about all the changes in our testing methodology. As for the airflow volume calculations, now we multiply the airflow speed by the total anemometer surface size with the rotor as opposed to the previous tests when we used anemometer blades surface size without the rotor. You can find all calculations in a summary table in the end of this roundup. The acoustics measuring error is ±0.1 dBA, airflow measuring error is ±2 CFM, fan rotation speed measuring error is ±10 RPM.

Now let’s meet our today’s testing participants.

Fans Technical Specifications

We are going to mention certain technical specs of the reviewed fans as we go along with our review. The table below, however, lists their complete specifications for your reference:

Here I would like to add that all fans rotate counterclockwise and all of them are powered via 12 V line. All fans are listed in alphabetical order in our article.

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