120 mm Fan Roundup, Part I: 1350 RPM or Lower Rotation Speed

Today we are going to discuss 18 fan models with rotation speeds of 1350 RPM or lower. We will check out their acoustic performance and airflow readings.

by Sergey Lepilov
01/17/2011 | 10:23 AM

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.

Testing Participants

Arctic Cooling ARCTIC F12 PWM

The ARCTIC F12 PWM fan from the renowned Swiss firm Arctic Cooling is shipped in a compact white cardboard box with a picture of the fan on the face side, a description of the product’s applications on the back, and the product specifications on the left and right sides. The fan is accompanied with four self-tipping screws, a couple of stickers and a brief installation guide.

 

The ARCTIC F12 PWM is manufactured in Switzerland and comes at a recommended price of only $8.5. The warranty period is 6 years.

The fan has a black frame and a white 9-blade impeller attached to four spokes.

 

The impeller is 112 millimeters in diameter. Three of the spokes are 4 millimeters wide and the fourth spoke with cable is 6 millimeters wide. The rotor is 35 millimeters in diameter. Running a little ahead, I can tell you that this is the smallest rotor among the fans included into this test session.

The blades of the fan’s impeller are very slim and narrow at the base but get wider towards the ends. Each blade is curved like a sail:

The ends of the blades are quite sharp. The interior of the frame has two characteristic ribs which are going to generate more noise at near-maximum speeds of the fan. As its name suggests, the Arctic Cooling ARCTIC F12 PWM controls its speed automatically through pulse-width modulation. Its speed range is 300 to 1350 RPM. The fan is specified to produce an air flow of 57 CFM at max speed, the noise level being no higher than 0.5 sones. The fan’s static pressure is not specified. The ARCTIC F12 PWM weighs a mere 108 grams.

According to the voltage and current ratings indicated on the sticker attached to the fan’s rotor, the fan has a max power draw of 1.8 watts.

However, I measured the power consumption of my ARCTIC F12 PWM to be 2.7 watts, which is higher than specified. The start-up voltage is very low at only 2.8 volts. This must be due to the high-quality electronics as well as to the fan’s fluid-dynamic bearing with a guaranteed service life of 6 years.

The ARCTIC F12 PWM supports the exclusive PWM Sharing Technology. Its point is that one ARCTIC fan can share the PWM signal to control the speed of up to five fans. There is a special wire with connector for that purpose, besides the main cable.

These cables are 300 millimeters long. Now let’s check out the test results of this fan model.

The “%” column of the table shows by how much the fan’s speed is lower in the tunnel compared to its speed on the open testbed, the voltage being the same. Theoretically, the higher this percentage, the lower the static pressure of the fan is, but this is just theory and only applies to the specific testbed. Therefore I won’t emphasize this when analyzing the results.

Despite its good airflow results, the Arctic Cooling ARCTIC F12 PWM is not a very good fan because it produced a barely audible rustle. The impeller was throbbing slightly, too. This fan is subjectively comfortable at speeds up to 1050 RPM and quiet at speeds up to 830 RPM. That’s a mediocre performance compared to the other tested products.

Arctic Cooling ARCTIC F12 Pro TC

The second fan from Arctic Cooling - ARCTIC F12 Pro TC - comes in the same white cardboard box with different informational content.

The accessories are the same as those of the ARCTIC F12 PWM model but the fan itself is quite different:

 

This is actually the only frameless model among the products included into this review. Such fans are rare in CPU coolers and almost never used to cool system cases. The 7-blade 112mm impeller is somewhat thicker than those of ordinary 120mm fans and hangs on four spokes connected with each other with two rings which perform a protective function. The spokes are attached to the base via four vibration-absorbing silicone pins.

There are holes in the frame opposite these pins, so you can use standard self-tipping screws to fasten the fan in your system case, but only in one position. The fan weighs 140 grams.

The ARCTIC F12 Pro TC features wide and aggressively curved blades.

If this fan had a frame, it would have a very high static pressure, I guess. Arctic Cooling doesn’t specify this parameter, though. The impeller can be taken off for cleaning and lubricating the fan when necessary.

Below the impeller you can see an electromotor and a fluid-dynamic bearing.

 

As opposed to the ARCTIC F12 PWM, the ARTIC F12 Pro TC has the largest rotor among the tested products. It is 49 millimeters in diameter and has a paper sticker:

The electric parameters of this model are exactly the same as those of the above-discussed ARCTIC F12 PWM, but its real power consumption proved to be somewhat lower at 2.5 watts. Its start-up voltage is 4.9 volts, which is a little higher compared to the ARCTIC F12 PWM. The speed range is different, too. The rotation speed of the ARCTIC F12 Pro TC is controlled via a thermal sensor installed on a separate 400mm cable. The fan itself is powered via an ordinary 3-pin connector.

The sleeved power cable is 400mm long, too. The product specs say that the speed range of the ARCTIC F12 Pro TC is 400 to 1300 RPM but a picture at the official Arctic Cooling website shows a wider range, suggesting that the maximum speed of the fan can reach 2000 RPM if there is a temperature of 38°C on the thermal sensor.

However, this model would not speed up above 1480 RPM during my tests even when I deliberately warmed its thermal sensor up to 55-60°C, not to mention the declared 38°C. Interestingly, the ARCTIC F12 Pro TC is specified to produce an air flow of 33 CFM at the max speed of 1300 RPM, which is far lower than the 57CFM air flow of the ARCTIC F12 PWM which is a mere 50 RPM faster. The ARCTIC F12 Pro TC is specified to have a noise level of 0.4 sones.

Let’s check out the test results for this model.

So, the ARCTIC F12 Pro TC performs even worse than its cousin ARCTIC F12 PWM, which might have been expected since frame-less fans are generally inferior to their frame counterparts in air flow and static pressure. It is the rather high noise level of the ARCTIC fans that I am surprised about because Arctic Cooling products are usually quiet. The ARCTIC F12 Pro TC is an exception as it produces a distinct and rather irritating sound with its electromotor. So, the only thing left for me to add is that the recommended price of this fan is $9.90.

Cool Age Silence Fan 120DX2

We know Cool Age Cooling System from our earlier tests of the Cool Age X 120TF cooler. Today, I will take a look at the Cool Age Silence Fan 120DX2.

The product packaging is pretty and original: there is a cutout in the shape of a bear in its front so you can have a look at the fan without opening it.

Included with the fan are a small sticker with the same bear and four short silicone pins for installing the fan.

The Silence Fan 120DX2 is manufactured in China and has a recommended price of $9.9. Its warranty period is 1 year.

This fan looks pretty. Its transparent frame creates the impression that the dark-blue impeller is just hanging in the air.

 

However, it is actually fastened to four spokes, three of which are 5 millimeters wide and the cable one is 8 millimeters wide. The impeller is 112 millimeters in diameter while the rotor is 40 millimeters. The weight of the fan is not specified, but it seems to be very light.

The 7-blade impeller does not feature any innovations except that the plastic of both the impeller and frame is somewhat rough rather than smooth as usual.

The rotation speed of the fan is specified to be 1200 RPM. Working at such a speed, the fan is expected to produce an air flow of 62 CFM and no more than 17 dBA of noise. The latter number looks rather implausible to me. The sticker on the rotor bears the manufacturer’s name and tells you some of the fan specs.

Below the sticker there is a dual ball bearing (with a rated service life of 60,000 hours) and an electromotor. According to the specifications, the Silence Fan 120DX2 needs no more than 3.96 watts of power but my measurements suggest that its peak power draw is 1.2 watts. Its start-up voltage is rather high at 7.7 volts. The fan’s 3-wire cable is 395 millimeters long.

Here are the test results:

The Cool Age Silence Fan 120DX2 is better than the two Arctic Cooling products in terms of noisiness. The sound of its working is not uncomfortable even at the maximum speed. The fan remains quiet until 910 RPM, which is a very good result in this test session. The Silence Fan 120DX2 also features a strong air flow which depends linearly on the impeller’s speed.

Cooler Master Ultra Silent (SAF-S12-E1)

Cooler Master offers a wide range of fans, but I’ve got only one model to test today. The Ultra Silent (SAF-S12-E1) comes in a transparent plastic blister pack with a paper insert.

 

The fan is accompanied with four self-tipping screws and a PATA power adapter. It is manufactured in China and has a recommended price of $9. Its warranty period is 1 year.

The Ultra Silent (SAF-S12-E1) is the heaviest model in this review. Its weight is almost as high as 200 grams. The fan has a black frame and a black 7-blade impeller with a holographic sticker on the rotor.

 

The impeller is 111 millimeters in diameter. Three of the fan spokes are 5 millimeters wide and the cable spoke is 8 millimeters. The rotor is 48 millimeters in diameter. I didn’t spot any technological innovations in this product. The wide blades have a small angle of attack. Their front edges are very sharp.

The Ultra Silent (SAF-S12-E1) seems to be designed somewhat rudely. It lacks any elegance although I have no real complaints about its manufacturing quality. The fan is specified to have a constant speed of 700 RPM. Its other specs go like this: the noise level is 13 dBA, the air flow is 11.27 CFM, and the static pressure is 0.57 millimeters of water. So, we can infer that this model is designed to be quiet and cannot be expected to be good in other parameters.

The sticker on the rotor is quite informative:

The product specifications mention a mysterious bearing referred to as SuperFlo, which must be an ordinary sleeve bearing. The specified power consumption is 2.52 watts but my Ultra Silent (SAF-S12-E1) did not consume more than 0.54 watts during my tests. Its start-up voltage was 5.4 volts. The 3-wire cable is very short. Its length is a mere 200 millimeters.

Let’s see what this fan can show us in terms of noise and air flow:

Knowing its specifications, we could not expect anything better from the Ultra Silent. Its air flow is indeed weak. Moreover, notwithstanding the low numbers the fan is not really quiet even at the minimum speed because of the distinct throbbing of its impeller throughout the entire speed range.

Coolink SWiF2 1201

The Coolink SWiF2 1201 is a rather new model. It is shipped in a small cardboard box with a cutout in the face side through which you can see a part of the fan. You can read the specs of all SWiF2 series fans from the back of the package, the specs of this particular model being highlighted in yellow.

 

The fan comes together with soft silicone pins of an acid-green color and with four self-tipping screws. The Coolink SWiF2 1201 is manufactured in China and has a recommended price of $11.9. Its warranty period is 5 years.

The Coolink SWiF2 1201 differs from the other tested fans in having as many as 11 blades. The impeller is an eye-catching yellow-green color. The frame is matte black.

 

The impeller is 111 millimeters in diameter. Three of the fan spokes are 5 millimeters wide; the cable spoke is 8 millimeters wide. The rotor is 41 millimeters in diameter. For the fan to perform well with so many blades, the Coolink engineers had to make them smaller and denser and increase their angle of attack as you can see in the photo:

The fan’s frame doesn’t differ from the other fans’ and has two ribs on the interior surface. The speed, air flow and noise level of the SWiF2 1201 are specified to be 1200 RPM, 55.4 CFM, and 18.2 dBA, respectively. The manufacturer doesn’t specify the static pressure. The fan weighs 145 grams.

There is a rather informative sticker on the fan’s rotor:

According to this information, which agrees with the product specs, the SWiF2 1201 has a peak power draw of 1.68 watts. My measurements yielded 1.56 watts. The start-up voltage is declared to be 7 volts but both my samples of the Coolink SWiF2 1201 could start up at a low voltage of 3.3 volts. The fluid dynamic bearing of this model is expected to serve for 150,000 hours, which is most impressive for this type of bearing. The 3-wire sleeved cable of the fan is 400 millimeters long.

Considering its specs and original impeller, the Coolink SWiF2 1201 should deliver high performance. Let’s see if it is really so.

The Coolink SWiF2 1201 is subjectively just as good as the Cool Age Silence Fan 120DX2 in terms of noisiness, although it is formally louder according to the numbers. It is quite comfortable up to 1010 RPM and quiet up to 880 RPM. On the other hand, this model cannot produce a strong air flow, being just average in this parameter.

Floston Red Impeller 120Q

Floston Electronic Enterprises is a new player on the market of computer components and 120mm fans are among the company’s first products distributed around the world. TheRed Impeller 120Q is one of them.

The product box is made from cardboard. There is a cutout in its face side through which you can see the fan. Above it, you can see a list of the product features.

 

For more detailed specifications you can refer to the back of the box. The fan is manufactured in China. Included into the box are a PATA power adapter, four silicone pins, and four self-tipping screws.

The recommended price of this product is as low as $5. The warranty period is 1 year long.

The Floston Red Impeller 120Q looks very cheerful with its transparent frame and glossy bright-red impeller. Its appearance can be characterized as gaudy and aggressive.

 

The 7-blade impeller is 112 millimeters in diameter. Three of the fan spokes are 5 millimeters wide; the cable spoke is 8 millimeters. The rotor is 40 millimeters in diameter. The weight of the fan is 120 grams.

The blades are wide and curved. They have sharp front edges and thick ends.

The Red Impeller 120Q has a constant speed of 1000 RPM. For this speed the manufacturer promises an air flow of 68.9 CFM, a static pressure of 1.148 millimeters of water, and a noise level of 13.6 dBA or lower. The specifications look suspicious to me because they are not typical for a fan with a rotation speed of 1000 RPM (the airflow and static pressure seem to be overstated while the noise level is understated).

The Red Impeller 120Q runs on a sleeve bearing with a rated service life of 20,000 hours. The fan is specified to consume 3.24 watts but my measurements produced a result of 0.9 watts only. The measured start-up voltage didn’t coincide with the specified one, either. It was 4.5 volts as opposed to the specified 6 volts. The fan’s 3-wire sleeved cable is 375 millimeters long.

The results of my tests are shown in the next diagram:

So, the Floston Red Impeller 120Q performs excellently, being one of the leaders of this test session. It stays within a comfortable noise range at any speed. I would even call it not just comfortable but exceedingly quiet. It was almost inaudible at its maximum 990 RPM from a distance of 70-80 centimeters. The hiss of the air passing through its impeller could only be heard when I put my ear down within 30-40 centimeters from the fan. Although the Red Impeller 120Q is no record-breaker in terms of air flow, it should certainly be considered by every user who prefers very quiet computers.

GlacialTech PWM Fan (GT12025-LWD0A)

Known for its entry-level solutions, GlacialTech Inc. is represented with one model in this review. The PWM Fan (GT12025-LWD0A) has a very informative box with a photo of the product, specifications and even a diagram showing the correlation between the fan’s static pressure and air flow.

 

Besides the fan, the box only contains a few self-tipping screws. No wonder that the price of this product is only $5-6. The fan is manufactured in China. The warranty period is unknown.

The GlacialTech GT12025-LWD0A is a most ordinary 120x120x25mm fan with a black frame and a 7-blade impeller.

 

The impeller is 112 millimeters in diameter. Three of the fan spokes are 4 millimeters wide; the cable spoke is 8 millimeters. The rotor is 40 millimeters in diameter. The weight of the fan is 144.5 grams.

The crescent-shaped blades have wide ends and sharp front edges. There is one rib on the interior of the fan frame at the input of the air and another such rib at the output.

The fan’s rotation speed is PWM-modulated within a range of 700 to 1400 RPM. The maximum air flow is 41.7 CFM, the static pressure is 2.030 millimeters of water, the noise level is 29.6 dBA. For the fun’s sake, you can compare the specified speed and air flow of this GlacialTech GT12025-LWD0A with the dubious specs of the above-discussed Floston Red Impeller 120Q.

The fan’s rotor bears a film sticker with the model name and some of the product specifications.

Judging by them, the GlacialTech GT12025-LWD0A has a peak power draw of 1.44 watts and my measurements agree with that (1.24 watts). GlacialTech specifies the start-up voltage correctly, too. It is 3.7 volts according to my measurements (should be no higher than 6 volts according to the specs). It’s hard to tell anything about the improved sleeve bearing’s specified service life of 35,000 hours. This is quite a typical value for a bearing of that type, though. The fan’s 4-wire cable is 300 millimeters long.

Here are the test results:

Unfortunately, the entry-level 120mm fan from GlacialTech is not quiet. It is comfortable up to 1000 RPM and quiet up to 810 RPM. This model’s impeller is humming a little when working. That’s not a big problem, yet I wish there were no such unwanted sounds at all. The GlacialTech GT12025-LWD0A is just average in terms of air flow. All in all, this fan is far from exceptional.

Nanoxia DX12

The German firm Nanoxia is frequently represented in our fan roundups. This time around, I’ve got as many as three fans from Nanoxia: DX12-600, DX12-900, and DX12-1200. The fans are sealed in plastic blister wraps with cardboard bottoms. You can read the detailed specifications of each fan on the back of its package.

Four soft silicone pins, 70 millimeters long, are included with each of these fans:

I must confess it is much easier to install a fan using such long pins as opposed to the short ones included with other fan models. These fans are manufactured in China and have a recommended price of $11.90. The warranty period is as long as 10 years.

The new products do not differ much externally from Nanoxia’s FX12 and FX+12 we tested in our previous review of 120mm fans except that the plastic frame is now black rather than translucent.

 

The acid-green impeller has retained the same shape and substance (it is Makrolon, a high-quality water-resistant material). The impeller is 111 millimeters in diameter. Three of the fan spokes are 5 millimeters wide; the cable spoke is 8 millimeters wide. The rotor is 40 millimeters in diameter.

The “nanotechnology bearings from nonabrasive materials” are still ready to keep the fan up and running for 10 years whereas the ECO motor ensures a long service life and low power consumption.

  

So what’s the difference between the DX12 and FX12 series? The DX12 fans are less expensive. They come in simpler packaging and without a fan speed controller. They do not support PWM-based speed management, either. The good news is that they are about 30% cheaper than their FX12 series counterparts. The newer series includes three models with rotation speeds of 600, 900 and 1200 RPM, air flow of 25.9, 34.7 and 46.2 CFM, static pressure of 0.41, 0.73 and 0.91 millimeters of water, and a noise level of 10, 13.5 and 20.5 dBA, respectively. The 3-wire sleeved cable of each model is 400 millimeters long.

According to my measurements, the start-up voltage of these fans was 6.2, 4.3 and 4 volts and their power consumption was 0.34, 0.71 and 1.58 watts for the DX12-600, -900 and -1200, respectively. Now let’s see how they did in my air flow and noise tests:

  

Cutting it short, the Nanoxia DX12 series fans are among the best in this test session (they are in the top four, to be exact). The junior model is completely inaudible at 30.2 dBA, working at a max speed of 700 RPM (compare this to the Cooler Master fan’s 32 dBA at 720 RPM). The midrange DX12-900 model is immaculately quiet even at its maximum 1000 RPM while the senior DX12-1200 is comfortable up to 1150 RPM. I can only add that there are only three more fan models from other brands in this review that can match these results.

Nexus 120mm Real Silent

We tested fans from the Dutch firm Nexus Technology a year ago and found the Basic model very good, praising it as one of the best in that test. In my today’s test session the company is represented by the 120mm Real Silent model that comes in two colors: with white (D12SL-12WL) and blue (D12SL-12BL) highlighting.

The fans are sealed into transparent plastic blister wraps and thus can be easily seen through the packaging. There is also some useful information there.

 

Included with each fan are a PATA power adapter and four silicone pins.

The impeller shape and the frame resemble the Nexus PWM (D12SL-12 PWM) which, unlike the Basic model, did not do especially well in our earlier tests.

 

By the way, we wrote in that earlier review that that fan would look good with highlighting, and now Nexus really offers highlighting in two colors! The fan’s impeller is 112 millimeters in diameter. Three of the spokes are 4 millimeters wide; the cable spoke is 8 millimeters wide. The rotor is 45 millimeters in diameter. The fan weighs a mere 123 grams.

The impeller is the same as in the above-mentioned Nexus PWM:

But its speed is now 1000 RPM. The manufacturer promises an air flow of 36.87 CFM at a noise level of 18 dBA.

The sticker on the rotor conceals an electromotor and a sleeve bearing with an unspecified service life.

Judging by the specs, these fans can work at a voltage of 6.5 to 13.8 volts and start up at 7 volts. However, both samples had a start-up voltage of 9.9 volts in my tests, which is one of the worst results in this review. On the other hand, they are rather economical despite their highlighting, consuming only 1.55 watts rather than the specified 3.6 watts. The 3-wire sleeveless cable of these fans is 400 millimeters long.

There are LEDs in the four corners of each fan:

Both types of highlighting look very beautiful:

 

Now let’s see how good these fans are in terms of air flow and noisiness:

The highlighted Nexus PWM fans are very high-quality products. Although they do not make it into the top four, they should be appreciated by modders as well as by any user who prefers quiet computers. These fans are quiet until 980 RPM (which is very close to their maximum speed) and may only disturb you with the bright color of their highlighting but not with their noise.

Noiseblocker NB-BlackSilent PRO PL-1 and PL-2

Fans from the German firm Noiseblocker have been discussed in our reviews before. Today I’m going to take a look at two new models: NB-BlackSilent PRO PL-1 and NB-BlackSilent PRO PL-2. The latter model doesn’t really fit into this review because its rated speed is 1400 RPM, but running a little ahead I can tell you that the NB-BlackSilent Pro PL-2 deservedly falls into this category of fans thanks to its surprisingly low level of noise.

These fans are packed into cardboard boxes with a cutout in the side panel. You can see some of the fan’s impeller and frame through it.

 

The package of each fan is most informative, detailing product specifications and key features. Included with each fan are screws and nuts for fastening, a soft vibration-absorbing frame with bushings in the corners, and two sleeved cables:

Each fan has a recommended price of $12.95 and comes with a 6-year warranty. They are manufactured in Germany.

The new models differ from the Noiseblocker NB-BlackSilent series in the design of both the frame (it is now solid and black) and the impeller.

 

The included soft frame is now used to suppress vibrations. The impeller is 112 millimeters in diameter. Three of the fan spokes are 5 millimeters wide; the cable spoke is 7 millimeters. The rotor is 44 millimeters in diameter. The fan weighs 120 grams.

The blades of this fan have a sharp front edge and a large angle of attack.

There are almost no ribs on the interior of the frame, which indicates the manufacturer’s desire to use every means available to reduce the noise. The rotation speed is constant at 900 RPM for the PL-1 and 1400 RPM for the PL-2. The air flow is 40 and 56.5 CFM, the static pressure is 0.761 and 1.296 millimeters of water, and the noise level is 11 and 20 dBA for the PL-1 and PL-2, respectively.

The new products from Noiseblocker do not differ from their predecessors in their internals. They run on a high-quality and energy-efficient motor NB-EKA Plus II, use expensive polymer materials and feature durable and noiseless bearings NB-NanoSLI. Quite a bunch of cutting-edge technologies within one small device! The sticker on each fan tells you the latter’s model name and rotation speed.

 

The Noiseblocker NB-BlackSilent Pro PL-1 boasts the longest rated service life among all the products in this review. It is as long as 180,000 hours! Its PL-2 cousin has a rated service life of 160,000 hours, which is impressive as well. The PL-1 is specified to consume no more than 0.72 watts and didn’t need more than 0.42 watts in my tests. That’s an excellent result. The PL-2 is specified to have a power draw of 1.92 watts and consumed 1.32 watts during my tests. These fans are supposed to have a start-up voltage of 4.5 volts but they could easily spin up at 4.1 and 3.9 volts, respectively. The two included cables are sleeved and have a length of 200 and 500 millimeters. The combined length is the longest among the 18 tested products.

Thus, the Noiseblocker NB-BlackSilent PRO PL-1 and PL2 are superior in every characteristic so far. Now let’s check out how they perform in terms of noise level and air flow.

 

The German fans are blameless. In my personal opinion, the Noiseblocker NB-BlackSilent PRO series are the most comfortable fans in this review in terms of noisiness. Perhaps “silence” may be too loud a word, yet I would dare call these fans silent until a speed of 900-950 RPM. Their extremely quiet operation deserves my praises, really. The Noiseblocker NB-BlackSilent PRO PL-1 and PL2 are not the leaders in terms of air flow, yet make it into the top four in this parameter as well.

Revoltec AirGuard 120mm (RL039)

There are two products from Revoltec in this review. The AirGuard 120mm (RL039) is shipped in a transparent plastic blister wrap with a cardboard insert:

This fan is manufactured in China. Besides it, the box contains only a few mounting screws. The recommended price is $9. The warranty period is 1 year.

The fan has a black 9-blade impeller and a black frame.

 

The impeller is 112 millimeters in diameter. The fan spokes are all curved clockwise, opposite the direction of the impeller’s rotation. Three of the spokes are 4 millimeters wide; the cable spoke is 10 millimeters. The rotor is 40 millimeters in diameter. The weight of the fan is not specified, but it isn’t heavy subjectively.

The blades are small but have a large angle of attack. They get wider from the base towards the thick ends.

Two ribs at the input and output of the air can be seen on the interior of the frame. The Revoltec AirGuard 120mm (RL039) is specified to have a rotation speed of 1200 RPM, an air flow of 51.5 CFM and a noise level of 23.9 dBA. The static pressure of this fan is not specified.

A mysterious type of bearing, Hysint bearing, is indicated on the fan’s sticker.

The manufacturer’s website doesn’t say anything about that but I suspect the Revoltec AirGuard is equipped with a fluid dynamic bearing. Its rated service life is 50,000 hours. The fan has a start-up voltage of 5.5 volts as opposed to the specified 7 volts. Its power consumption proved to be 1.63 watts in my tests although its specifications say 2.16 watts.

Here are the test results of this fan:

It is hard to be fair to other fans after the Noiseblocker NB-BlackSilent PRO PL-1 and PL-2, yet I will do my best to be objective. The Revoltec AirGuard is not noisy or rattling, though. It is comfortable up to 1050 RPM and quiet up to 890 RPM. Its airflow results are rather average compared to the other tested fans.

Revoltec Dark Grey (RL049)

The second fan from Revoltec, Dark Gray (RL049), is shipped in a plastic package with a paper insert.

 

Included with the fan are four self-tipping screws and a PATA power adapter. The Revoltec Dark Grey, like its cousin, is manufactured in China and costs about $9. The manufacturer guarantees its failure-free operation for 1 year.

As opposed to the Revoltec AirGuard, the Dark Grey has a translucent frame and impeller which are connected with three 5mm and one 8mm spoke.

 

The fan’s impeller is 111 millimeters in diameter and the rotor is 40 millimeters in diameter. The manufacturer doesn’t specify its weight but this fan seems to be one of the lightest models in this test session.

The Dark Grey’s impeller is shaped differently than the AirGuard’s. I’d call its shape somewhat more classical.

The seven sail-shaped blades have thick slanted ends and sharp front edges. Their angle of attack is rather small. The rotation speed of the impeller is 1200 RPM, just like with the AirGuard, but the air flow is weaker at 49.2 CFM (compared to the AirGuard’s 51.5 CFM). The noise level is different, too. It is 22.5 dBA with the Dark Grey and 23.9 dBA with the AirGuard. The manufacturer doesn’t specify the static pressure.

The sticker on the fan’s rotor says that the fan is highlighted and runs on a sleeve bearing. It also mentions a couple of electric characteristics and names the country of origin.

The Revoltec Dark Grey is specified to have a peak power draw of 2.4 watts. Indeed, the fan required no more than 1.68 watts during my tests. Its start-up voltage is 6.9 volts which is somewhat higher than with the AirGuard. The fan’s 3-wire cable is a mere 250 millimeters long.

There are four LEDs in the corners of the fan frame.

The highlighting isn’t very bright although looks attractive in darkness.

Thus, the Revoltec Dark Grey seems to be just as good as the AirGuard in its specs. Let’s see if it is that good in terms of noisiness and airflow.

So, the Revoltec Dark Grey is similar to its cousin in terms of noise, yet overall seems to be slightly better than the AirGuard in both noisiness and in airflow. It remains comfortable up to a rotation speed of 1060 RPM. At 920 RPM or lower the Revoltec Dark Grey is going to satisfy even demanding users. Its airflow results are average compared to the other tested fans and somewhat better than those of the Revoltec AirGuard.

Scythe Kama Flow 2 120 (SP1225FDB12L and SP1225FDB12M)

Scythe Co., Ltd. Japan has three models in this test session. First goes the Kama Flow 2 120. Like the Noiseblocker (see above), this fan has a rated speed of 1400 RPM and doesn’t formally fit into this review, yet it proved to be so exceptionally quiet that I am going to discuss the SP1225FDB12L (900 RPM) and SP1225FDB12M (1400 RPM) here. The senior model with a rated speed of 1900 RPM will be tested in our next review. 

Traditionally for Scythe products, the package is a transparent plastic wrap with a paper insert.

 

There is a lot of text on the insert just as you can see in the photo. One PATA power adapter and four mounting screws are included with each fan.

Despite its Japanese roots, the Scythe Kama Flow 2 120 is manufactured in China. The recommended price of this model is $16.8. The warranty period is 2 years.

The frame and the 7-blade impeller are totally black.

 

The Scythe Kama Flow 2 120 weighs 169 grams. Its impeller is 113 millimeters in diameter (the largest in this test session). Three of the fan spokes are 5 millimeters wide; the cable spoke is 8 millimeters. The rotor is 48 millimeters in diameter (the largest in this test, too).

The impeller has seven sharp blades with characteristically thick ends and slim front edges. The angle of attack is large.

There are two ribs on the interior of the frame, diverging from each other. The two Scythe Kama Flow 2 models are specified to have a rotation speed of 900 and 1400 RPM. Their declared air flow is rather weak even for such speeds, equaling 30.5 and 47.5 CFM, but the noise level is low at 11 and 27.6 dBA, respectively.

An extra fluid dynamic bearing (EX-FDB) hides below the sticker.

 

The bearing has a service life of 120,000 hours. The current of 0.3 amperes you can see on the rotor and in the fan specs indicates a peak power draw of 3.6 watts but the two Scythe Kama Flow 2 120 fans did not consume more than 0.62 and 1.11 watts in my tests. The start-up voltage was very low at only 4.6 volts for the SP1225FDB12L and 3 volts for the SP1225FDB12M. The power and speed monitoring cable is 300 millimeters long. I can also add that the Kama Flow 2 series includes 92 and 80mm models, too.

Let’s see what results the two Kama Flow 2 120 fans achieved in my tests:

 

The results are fantastical, especially those of the junior model! There is no other fan in this review to produce only 31.4 dBA of noise at a rotation speed of 1040 RPM. The Japanese firm has developed a very quiet fan that becomes the leader of this review, outperforming very strong opponents in terms of air flow and noisiness combined. Yes, the opponents are very close behind, as you will see in the summary diagrams, yet the Kama Flow 2 is indeed the best fan of this test session.

Scythe Kama PWM (DFS122512L-PWM)

The second model from Scythe is called Kama PWM. It is shipped in the same packaging but with a different paper insert.

Included with the fan are a PATA power adapter and screws.

People at Scythe seem to think that vibration-absorbing silicone pins are useless. I don’t agree with that. The recommended price of this model is lower than that of the Kama Flow 2. On the other hand, the fan is not cheap and is offered for $10.9. The warranty period is 2 years. The Kama PWM series also includes a faster model, DFS922512M-PWM, but we will talk about it in our upcoming review.

The Japanese fan is black again but different from the previous model.

 

The impeller is 112 millimeters in diameter. Three of the fan spokes are 4 millimeters wide; the cable spoke is 7 millimeters. The rotor is 40 millimeters in diameter. The fan weighs a mere 110 grams.

The impeller resembles the one of the Revoltec Dark Grey except that the edges are slim and sharp and not so curved here.

Take note that the Scythe Kama PWM is the only fan in this review to have bushings in the mounting holes. These bushings make it impossible to install the fan on a heatsink with wire fasteners that are attached to the interior of the frame. On the other hand, it is easier to install silicone pins into these holes if the pins are long enough.

The rotation speed of the Scythe Kama PWM is, as its name suggests, PWM-controlled within a range of 310 to 1200 RPM. Depending on the speed, the fan is able to produce an air flow of 12.4 to 52.7 CFM at 0 to 24.9 dBA of noise. Its sleeve bearing has a service life of 30,000 RPM which isn’t long compared to the Kama Flow 2, but normal for that type of bearing.

The maximum power consumption of the Scythe Kama PWM was only 0.83 watts in my tests, only half the declared level. Its start-up voltage was 7.9 volts. Its 4-wire cable is 295 millimeters long.

Here are the test results of this fan:

Unfortunately, the Kama PWM is not as good as the Kama Flow 2 as it only stays comfortable until 1060 RPM. It is more or less quiet at 910 RPM or lower. This model doesn’t seem quiet subjectively, either. The airflow results are below average, so the Kama PWM is no more than just satisfactory.

Scythe Slip Stream 120 mm Slim (SY1212SL12SL, SY1212SL12L)

The Slip Stream Slim series is the third product from Scythe in this review.

 

Besides the fan proper, the informative packaging contains a PATA power adapter and screws.

These fans are manufactured in China and come at a recommended price of $10.8. The Scythe Slip Stream 120mm Slim has a 2-year warranty. The series includes four models, two of which are going to be covered in this review. The other two will be discussed in our upcoming report.

These fans are different from ordinary 120mm fans even at first glance.

 

Each Slip Stream 120mm Slim has as many as 15 small blades. Their number and width are determined by the thickness of the fan, which is only 12 millimeters. The impeller is 113 millimeters in diameter. Five of the fan spokes are 3 millimeters wide; the cable spoke is 8 millimeters. The rotor is 39 millimeters in diameter. The fan weighs 98 grams only.

The blades of this fan are narrow and slightly curved. They have a small angle of attack.

With such a slim impeller and blades, the fan cannot create a high static pressure (Scythe doesn’t declare it, though). Their airflow specs are among the lowest, too. It is only 19.4 CFM for the SY1212SL12SL with a rotation speed of 800 RPM and 24.03 CFM for the SY1212SL12L with a rotation speed of 1200 RPM. The good news is that the noise level is low as well. It is specified to be 19.53 and 21.71 dBA, respectively.

The stickers on the fans tell you their model names and electric characteristics.

 

The peak power consumption is 0.96 watts for the 800RPM model and 2.04 watts for the 1200RPM model. I got similar numbers during my tests: 0.89 and 1.98 watts. The Slip Stream 120mm Slim cannot boast a low start-up voltage. It is 11.4 volts for the junior model and 8.5 volts for the midrange model. These results are among the worst in this review, actually. The sleeve bearing these fans run on is specified to have a service life of 30,000 hours.

Now let’s see what these very slim fans can show in practical tests:

 

The results are rather mediocre, I must confess. These fans cannot produce a strong air flow as we might have expected considering their slimness. As for noisiness, the junior model is very quiet while the senior one produces a rustling sound, making it uncomfortable even at low speeds.

Titan GreenVision (TFD-12025GT12Z-LD3)

The Taiwan-headquartered Titan Technology offers a wide range of fans of different form-factors. The 120mm GreenVision (TFD-12025GT12Z-LD3) comes in a simple but practical package. The transparent wrap offers a free view of the fan. The back side of the paper insert provides exhaustive information about the device in several languages.

 

The accessories are scanty. Besides the fan, the box only contains four screws. There are no power adapters, no vibration-absorbing silicone pins, no DVD with some new game J. On the other hand, this fan costs a mere $4.9. Its warranty period is 1 year. The fan is manufactured in China, the world’s leading fan manufacture.

The Titan Green Vision has a transparent frame and a transparent impeller which are connected with four spokes. Three of the spokes are 5 millimeters in diameter. The cable spoke is 8 millimeters.

 

The fan’s impeller and rotor are 110 and 42 millimeters in diameter, respectively.

The 7-blade impeller doesn’t betray any innovations or GreenVision-specific features. It is just like many other fan impellers.

The fan is declared to have a rotation speed of 800 RPM, an air flow of 30.5 CFM, and a noise level of 16.1 dBA. There is nothing extraordinary in these specifications, but the dual ball bearing with a specified service life of 60,000 hours is quite a rare thing for fans in this price category. The rotor is covered with a film sticker on which the model name is indicated.

There are LEDs (red in my sample) on the rotor that produce a very bright light.

The Titan GreenVision fans come with four types of highlighting: red, green, blue and mixed (a combination of red, blue, green and orange). Despite the bright light, the fan has a peak power draw of only 1.5 watts, which is very good. Its start-up voltage is as high as 8.9 volts, though. The cable is 390 millimeters long.

Here are the test results:

Despite Titan’s rather lowly reputation as a maker of coolers, the Titan GreenVision is quite comfortable in terms of noisiness. It isn’t rattling or hissing in any position. It cannot produce a strong air flow, though, being at the bottom of the list in this respect.

Titan TFD-12025SL12S

The second fan from Titan is an entry-level model (TFD-12025SL12S) that is shipped in a plain cardboard box.

Besides the fan, the box only contains mounting screws because this is the cheapest product in this review. You can buy it for less than $3. Of course, it is manufactured in China.

The fan looks quite a well-made thing, though.

 

The black frame and the black impeller are connected with three 3-millimeters-wide spokes and one 8-millimeter spoke with a 3-wire cable. The 7-blade impeller is 110 millimeters and the rotor is 42 millimeters in diameter.

The fan’s blades are narrow at the base and expand towards the ends. They are placed wide apart from each other, have a sharp front edge and a distinctly defined angle of attack.

The rotation speed of this model shouldn’t be higher than 1400 RPM. Its airflow and noise level are specified to be 53.4 CFM and 28.3 dBA, respectively. The static pressure of the fan is 1.778 millimeters of water. I can also add that Titan’s entry-level fan series includes six models within a speed range of 1400 to 2900 RPM.

The sleeve bearing of the Titan TFD-12025SL12S is expected to serve for 30,000 hours. The sticker on the rotor tells you the fan’s model name, voltage and current.

In my tests the fan had a power draw of 0.88 watts and a start-up voltage of 7.8 volts. Its 3-wore cable is 390 millimeters long.

Let’s see if this very cheap model from Titan can surprise us with anything:

Well, the Titan TFD-12025SL12S is a good illustration of what a cheap fan is. Besides being noisy by itself, the fan has a poorly balanced impeller which is producing all manner of unwanted sounds in varying tonalities. The air flow is weak. That’s the best you can buy for $3, actually.

Triebwerk TK-121

It happens so that one of the most exciting fans, the Triebwerk TK-121, is discussed at the end of this review. This fan is unique not only among the tested products but among fans at large.

It comes in a small cardboard box. You can read the detailed specs of the product on the back of the package.

 

The fan is fixed within the box in two foam-rubber pieces. The following accessories are included with it:

There are two sets of long screws with two types of threading and nuts. There are also three cables to connect the fan (including a PATA power cable) and an advertising booklet. Like the Noiseblocker fans, the Triebwerk is manufactured in Germany. The warranty period is 3 years. The recommended price of this product is the highest among the tested 120mm fans at $34.95! Here I will be talking about the junior model of the series. Its higher-speed cousin will be covered in our next report.

The fan is a standard 120 millimeters wide and long but its frame is as thick as 55 millimeters.

 

Note that this is the thickness of the frame because the impeller is only 30 millimeters thick, which is larger than with ordinary 120mm fans but smaller than the frame the impeller is sunken into. The impeller is 111 millimeters and the rotor is 40 millimeters in diameter. The Triebwerk fan doesn’t have spokes. Instead, it has a 2mm wire which helps minimize the resistance to the air and the noise from it.

The fan’s seven blades have the largest angle of attack among all the fans in this review.

“Thick” fans generally feature higher static pressure than ordinary 25mm fans and the Triebwerk puts a special emphasis on that. Having a specified rotation speed of 1200 RPM, the Triebwerk TK-121 is declared to have a static pressure of 1.62 millimeters of water, which is 28% higher than that of the similar Noiseblocker NB-BlackSilent PRO PL-2 at 1400 RPM (1.269 millimeters of water). Why do I call them similar? Because the Triebwerk features the same high-quality, noiseless and durable NB-NanoSLI bearings. The only difference is that the bearing’s service life is specified to be shorter, 100,000 hours, yet that’s good enough, too. This model is expected to produce an air flow of 61.6 CFM at no more than 21 dBA of noise.

The Triebwerk TK-121 also features a high-quality electromotor capable of working at voltages from 5.5 to 13.2 volts, consuming no more than 1.56 watts.

My measurements agree with the specs: the start-up voltage was 4.1 volts and the peak power consumption was 1.41 watts. The fan comes with composite cables with a combined length of 630 millimeters. This should be more than enough even for the biggest system cases.

The Triebwerk solves the problem of vibrations in a simple way. Instead of silicone pins or anything, there are soft pieces in the corners of the fan through which the fan contacts with a chassis or heatsink or anything you install it on.

The following diagram shows the test results of the Triebwerk TK-121:

The Triebwerk TK-121 produced a strong air flow, yet it is not as strong as to justify its much higher price compared to the other fans. It is not superior to the other tested fans in terms of noisiness, either. On the contrary, the Scythe Kama Flow 2 is just as good as the new-fangled Triebwerk TK-121 in terms of both noise and airflow. It is sad because we might expect this model to be a kind of technical revolution or at least unquestionably superior to the others. Hopefully, this fan has no rivals in terms of static pressure. This is indicated by the fact that the fan had almost the same speed in the tunnel as compared to the open testbed.

Summary Diagrams

Besides the fans tested specifically for this review, the summary diagrams contain the results of one of the best 120mm fans from our previous review. It is the Noiseblocker NB Multiframe M12-S2 and I retested it anew using the new methodology.

The first diagram shows the level of noise of all the fans in this test session. As I’ve got a lot of fans, there are two additional diagrams which are versions of the main one scaled up to the level of subjective comfort and subjective noiselessness.

So, the following fans are the best in terms of noise level: Scythe Kama Flow 2, Noiseblocker NB-BlackSilent PRO, Nanoxia DX12, Triebwerk TK-121, Floston Red Impeller 120Q, and the good old Noiseblocker NB Multiframe M12-S2. The worst fans are the two models from Titan, the GlacialTech and, rather surprisingly, the Arctic Cooling.

The following diagram shows the ratio of noise level to airflow (with two scaled-up versions as above).

We’ve got the same leaders here while the group of losers has been joined by the Scythe Slip Stream 120 Slim fans which cannot pump large amounts of air due to their design and slimness.

Now we’ve reached the most interesting diagrams. The following diagram compares the air flow of the fans at the same level of noise. First, at the subjectively comfortable level of 36 dBA.

And second, at the subjectively noiseless level of 33 dBA.

In fact, these two diagrams shows the fans in the same order, from the best down to the worst, except for one change of places in the top part and minor changes in the middle part of the second diagram. The rule is simple here: the quieter the fan is, the higher speed it has at 36 and 33 dBA and, consequently, the more air it can pump at those levels of noise. This rule doesn’t hold always, though. For example, the Noiseblocker NB-BlackSilent PRO PL-2 is rotating at 1250 RPM when producing 36 dBA of noise, but has a weaker air flow than the Nanoxia DX12-1200 whose speed is 100 RPM lower. There are a few other cases like this in the diagrams.

The group of leaders expectedly includes the thick Triebwerk TK-121 model as well as the Scythe Kama Flow 2, Nanoxia DX12 and Noiseblocker NB-BlackSilent PRO. The Floston Red Impeller 120Q should be given credit for being second only to the Triebwerk fan in the below-33dBA category. The Nexus Real Silent is close to the leaders. The Cool Age and Coolink fans are also good enough here. Next goes the group of average products such as the pair from Revoltec, the Scythe Kama PWM, the GlacialTech GT and the Arctic Cooling F12 PWM.

The slim Scythe Slip Stream, the frameless Arctic Cooling F12 Pro TC and the two Titans are in the group of losers. The Cooler Master Ultra Silent and the Nanoxia DS12-600 are good in terms of air flow but have the lowest rotation speeds.

The next diagram shows the peak power consumption of these 120mm fans.

People who try to save as much electric power as they can are going to be satisfied by the junior Nanoxia DX12 or the Noiseblocker NB-BlackSilent PRO which only need half a watt. Moving down the diagram, we can see a lot of economic fans from the Cooler Master Ultra Silent to the junior Scythe Slip Stream 120 Slim which need no more than 1 watt.

The 1 to 2 watt range stretches from the second Scythe Kama Flow 2 120 to the senior model of the Scythe Slip Stream 120 Slim series. Take note that the thick Triebwerk TK-121 is quite economical among the others, outperforming the slim fan from Scythe in this respect, for example.

It is the two fans from Arctic Cooling that need the most power, yet I wouldn’t call them voracious, either. If you install five such fans into your system case, they are going to eat no more than 15 watts per hour. This is negligibly small compared to the power consumption of a mainstream graphics card like the AMD Radeon HD 6870 (about 150 watts in 3D applications). So, although these power consumption results are interesting, they can hardly serve as a factor you should take into account when go shopping.

The next diagram shows the start-up voltage of the fans.

As opposed to the power consumption results, these are more important because many users run their fans at lower-than-specified speeds using various controllers. As you can see, the Arctic Cooling F12 PWM and the midrange Scythe Kama Flow 2 120 are the best products in this respect. They are closely followed by a group of 11 fans, from the Coolink SWiF2 1201 to the Arctic Cooling F12 Pro TC, which can start up at 5 volts or lower. The Cooler Master Ultra Silent, the Nanoxia DX12-600 and the pair of Revoltec fans start at a voltage of 5 to 7 volts. The fans from Nexus and the Scythe Slip Stream 120 are the worst products in this test.

The final diagram shows the recommended prices of the tested 120mm fans.

I guess $10-12 is not a high price for a high-quality fan, so most of the tested fans are quite affordable. The $17 price tag of the exceedingly quiet Scythe Kama Flow 2 120 looks justifiable to me, too. It is the price of the Triebwerk TK-121 – almost $35 – which seems too steep. It is twice as high as the price of the Scythe Kama Flow 2 120 but the Triebwerk doesn’t offer even a 50% advantage in air flow and noisiness. The Noiseblocker NB Multiframe M12-S2 ($23) is more expensive than the newer Noiseblocker NB-BlackSilent PRO PL-1/2 although the latter are but slightly inferior in terms of both air flow and noise. I want to applaud Noiseblocker’s desire to make high-quality fans more affordable.

Conclusion

Following the established tradition, I will begin with the least successful fans of this test session. I guess these are the two fans from Titan, the Arctic Cooling F12 Pro TC, the Cooler Master Ultra Silent and the Scythe Slip Stream 120 Slim. The slim fans from Scythe could not really perform any better because they are not designed for pumping large amounts of air through a densely finned heatsink. They are meant for those situations when a standard 120mm fan 25 millimeters thick cannot fit in. By the way, we have already used these Scythe Slip Stream in one test, and quite successfully. Besides, the junior model of the series is rather quiet, so it is not really among the worst fans here. The rest of the mentioned fans have an uncomfortable noise level and weak air flow. The two models from Titan can be excused for their very low pricing (and the Green version even features highlighting for such small amount of money), but it’s hard to find an excuse for the Arctic Cooling F12 Pro TC and the Cooler Master Ultra Silent. We cannot recommend you to buy any of them.

The most numerous group of fans with average test results includes as many as eight models: Arctic Cooling F12 PWM, Coolink SWiF2 1201, Scythe Kama PWM, GlacialTech GT, Cool Age Silence 120DX2, Nexus PWM, Revoltec AirGuard and Revoltec Dark Grey. These fans do not boast record-breaking results in my noise level and airflow tests, yet they are quite worth the money. The Cool Age Silence 120DX and the Nexus PWM can be singled out here as the best models with an appealing combination of noise level, air flow and price. The Nexus fans add highlighting to that. Perhaps somewhat oddly, I would also list the Triebwerk TK-121 in this group of average products because its price is too high and doesn’t match its performance. The TK-121 is indeed a quiet fan with strong air flow and, most probably, with high static pressure (I didn’t measure static pressure in my tests), yet I don’t think it is worth $35, especially as the leaders of my tests cost only half or even a third of its price. However, price aside, Triebwerk TK-121 fan is extremely innovative and therefore it deserves our Ultimate Innovation title:

And the leaders are the Scythe Kama Flow 2 120, Noiseblocker NB-BlackSilent PRO PL-1/2, Nanoxia DX12 and Floston Red Impeller 120Q. The Japanese and German firms have reestablished their reputation of the makers of finest fans but the quality of the new fans from Floston is quite a surprise to me. The latter are very quiet and cost only $5, which makes them the cheapest fans in the top four. Of course, you should keep in mind that the sleeve bearing of the Floston Red Impeller 120Q is unlikely to work for a long time and will hardly remain as quiet as a new one after a while.

As a result, we would like to award the Scythe Kama Flow 2 120, Nanoxia DX12 and Floston Red Impeller 120Q our Recommended Buy title:

The other three leaders are impeccable and can be recommended to any users, even those who are very fastidious about how noisy their computers are.

If I had to choose the ultimate best fan in this review, it would be the Noiseblocker NB-BlackSilent Pro PL-1 because it is beautiful, extremely quiet and not very expensive. Therefore, we are proud to award this fan our Editor’s Choice title:

P.S.: The next fan roundup to be published on our site will cover over 25 models of new fans with rotation speeds of over 1350 RPM.