Articles: Cooling

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Fan Efficiency

Thermalright SI-128 Cooler

At first we are going to see how our testing participants coped with processor cooling when we used a Thermalright SI-128 cooler (we used only 1 fan of each type here). The fans are ranked according to their cooling efficiency in the ascending order:

There are three groups on the diagram for a reason: we grouped the fans according to the level of noise they generate during operation. The leader in the quietest group is GlacialTech fan, although it boasts a very small advantage over the other six participants. The latter ones are 2ºC more efficient than SilverStone FM123 and Zalman ZM-F3 LED. The very last ones in this race are the fans with the lowest static pressure: Noctua NF-S12 and the youngest Scythe Slip Stream model.

The second group represents the fans with moderate level of generated noise and the results here are a little bit more interesting. Noctua NF-S12 fan remains an outsider here, because the design of its fan blades is not efficient for proper cooling of the dense heatsink array of Thermalright SI-128 cooler. However the new Noctua model turns out 3ºC more efficient at almost the same rotation speed and even lower noise. Solutions from Cooler Master and Scythe Minebea Silent IC at nominal 1100RPM perform at the same level with Noctua. The winners’ laurels in this group belong to SilverStone FM123 and FM122 with a small advantage in terms of fan rotation speed but almost the same level of generated noise than the rest of the group.

In the third group the results are obtained at maximum fan rotation speed. The results are actually not surprising at all, as the fans with the highest static pressure could finally show their real best: Scythe Ultra Kaze and SilverStone FM123/122 are the winners. The top-of-the-line Scythe Minebea Silent IC at ~2010RPM as well as SilverStone FM121 don’t fall too far behind the leaders. As for Scythe Slip Stream 120 fans, they take the last positions among these high speed fans due to high airflow at a pretty moderate static pressure.

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