120 mm Fan Roundup, Part 2: 1350 RPM or Higher Rotation Speed

We continue testing 120 mm fans and today we are going to check out 32 models, which rotation speed exceeds 1350 RPM. We will check out their acoustic performance and airflow.

by Sergey Lepilov
01/26/2011 | 03:27 AM

In the first part of our 120mm fan roundup we discussed 18 models with a rotation speed up to 1350 RPM. We found out which of them were the best and the worst and which, just average. Today, I’ve got an even more difficult task to cope with because I’ve got as many as 32 models of fans with a rotation speed of over 1350 RPM. Of course, users preferring silent computers won’t be interested in this review as much as in the first part because such high-speed fans are generally not very quiet. Instead, such products are meant to provide the highest cooling performance possible, the level of noise being of secondary importance. Still, I will try to sort out this heap of variegated products to find those that offer the best combination of air flow, acoustic comfort, price and other characteristics.

Fans 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, except one fan from Arctic Cooling, rotate counterclockwise. The testing methodology is exactly the same as in Part 1 of our roundup. The only new thing is measuring the fans weight using an electronic scale. All fans are listed in alphabetical order in our article.

Testing Participants

Akasa Viper (AK-FN059)

First goes the Viper fan from Akasa. It is shipped in a large colorful box with a cutout in the front panel which provides a view of most of the fan.

 

The text on the back panel tells us about the unique shape of the impeller blades that are supposed to generate a 30% stronger air flow compared to conventionally shaped impellers. A durable and quiet fluid dynamic bearing is also mentioned there along with the rest of the fan’s specifications. Included with this product are four long silicone pins.

The Viper (AK-FN059) is manufactured in China and has a recommended price of $14. It comes with a 1-year warranty. By the way, it is this fan that works in the Akasa Venom (AK-CCX-4002HPV2) which is quite a good cooler.

The Viper has a black frame and a bright-yellow impeller. The impeller blades are indeed shaped in a highly original way.

 

Narrow at the base, the blades not only get wider towards the ends but also bend a little as if trying to lie down with their back edge. As a result, the blades almost touch the fastening spokes with their bottom edges.

This shape of the impeller blades is referred to by Akasa as S-Flow. The manufacturer claims it to ensure a 30% stronger air flow which is also more focused than with fans that have the ordinary shape of the impeller blades. The impeller is 111 millimeters in diameter. Three of the fan spokes are 5 millimeters wide; the cable spoke is 8 millimeters. The electromotor is 41 millimeters in diameter.

The speed of this fan is PWM-controlled within a range of 600 to 1900 RPM. The noise level varies from 6.9 to 28.9 dBA at that. The maximum air flow is as strong as 83.63 CFM. The specified static pressure is quite high at 2.98 millimeters of water, which is important for cooling very densely finned heatsinks. The weight of this fan is not specified, but my digital scales reported 161 grams for it.

The sticker on the fan says it is the DFS122512M model, which is strange because Young Lin doesn’t have a fan similar to the Akasa Viper in its product range. The bearing type, voltage and current are also indicated on the sticker:

The service life of the fluid dynamic bearing is 50,000 hours. The voltage is standard at 12 volts but the start-up voltage is not specified. It proved to be very low according to my measurements, amounting to 3.5 volts only. Working at its maximum speed, the fan needed no more than 2 watts of power, which is a very good result compared to the other tested products. The fan’s 4-wire sleeved cable is 300 millimeters long.

Before I discuss the first diagram with test results, I want to clarify something. As opposed to the diagrams from the first part of this bipartite test session, each diagram now shows the ratio of noise and air flow, which seems to be more relevant for end-users, rather than those two parameters separately. Besides, each diagram now additionally contains the test results of one of the leaders of today's test session, the Scythe Kama Flow 2, which will serve as a kind of a common reference point for the rest of the fans. To put it simply, the closer the graph of a particular fan to the graph of the Scythe Kama Flow 2, the better that fan is. Except for one case specified below, every diagram is built to the same scale.

Now let’s take a look at the performance of the first product in this review:

Producing a uniform and quite agreeable noise, the Akasa Viper cannot give you a strong air flow despite the claims of a 30% advantage of the originally shaped impeller over classic ones. This fan can only compete with the Scythe Kama Flow 2 at very low speeds, but that’s not an achievement considering that we are dealing with high-speed fans today. All in all, the Akasa Viper is just an average-quality product.

Alpenföhn Föhn 120 Wing Boost

The Föhn 120 Wing Boost is packed into a large box with a cutout in the face side. You can see some of the frame and impeller through that cutout.

 

The product specs and a brief list of the key features can be found on the back of the box. Included with this fan are various power adapters and four silicone pins.

The Föhn 120 Wing Boost is manufactured in China and costs $15. Its warranty period is 3 years. This fan is employed in the Alpenföhn Matterhorn and Deep Cool Gamer Storm coolers.

The fan has a black frame and a blue 9-blade impeller fastened on four spokes:

 

The impeller and electromotor are 111 and 39 millimeters in diameter, respectively. Three of the fan spokes are 5 millimeters wide; the cable spoke is 8 millimeters wide. The weight of the fan is 165 grams.

The blades have a large angle of attack and a sharp front edge. The interior of the frame is smooth:

The key feature of the Föhn 120 Wing Boost is that its frame is not all plastic but has a robust anti-vibration coating. Thanks to that coating, the fan is expected to produce less noise than ordinary 120mm fans with plastic frames.

The rotation speed of the fan is PWM-controlled within a range of 500 to 1500 RPM. The max air flow is specified to be 63.6 CFM. The noise level varies from 8 to 24.8 dBA. The manufacturer doesn’t specify the static pressure for the Föhn 120 Wing Boost.

The sticker on the electromotor contains information about the actual maker of the fan. It is the German firm EKLAG (the DF1202512CL-007 model).

A start-up voltage of 5 volts is specified in the product specs and my measurements agree with that, yielding 5.1 volts. The peak power consumption of the fan, missing in the specs, proved to be 2 watts. The service life of the fluid dynamic bearing is not mentioned in the specs, either. The fan’s 4-wire sleeved cable is 420 millimeters long.

The test results for this fan can be found in the subsection about its clone Deepcool UF120 (see below).

Antec TriColor 120mm

TriColor 120mm fans are installed by Antec into their system cases and are also available as individual products. The fan comes in a transparent plastic blister wrap with a paper insert.

The product’s key features and specifications are listed on that insert in three languages. Included with the fan are a PATA power adapter and four self-tipping screws.

The Antec TriColor is manufactured in China and costs $15. Its warranty period is 1 year.

The frame and the 7-blade impeller are made from transparent plastic. It’s even quite hard to spot this fan against a white background.

 

The impeller and electromotor are 111 and 45 millimeters in diameter, respectively. Three of the fan spokes are 4 millimeters wide; the cable spoke is 7 millimeters wide.

The impeller blades lack any distinguishing features. There are two ribs on the interior surface of the frame. The gap between the frame and the impeller is no larger than 2 millimeters.

The speed of this fan can be regulated by means of a cable with 3-way switch.

You can set the speed at 1200, 1600 or 2000 RPM to get an air flow of 39, 56 or 79 CFM at 25, 28 or 30 dBA of noise, respectively. The start-up voltage, power consumption and bearing type are not listed among the product specs. Of course, I could not learn the type of bearing without taking the fan apart, but I did measure the other two parameters. The start-up voltage of my Antec TriColor 120 was 3.9 volts and its peak power consumption was 3.2 watts in my tests.

The 3-wire cable of this fan is 470 millimeters long.

There are LEDs built into the corners of the fan frame.

The highlighting cannot be turned off but I don’t think that people will buy this TriColor for using it without its highlighting, especially as it is quite beautiful.

Here are the test results for this fan:

The Antec TriColor performs alike to the above-discussed Akasa Viper, except that the bottom level of speed and noise is somewhat higher with this model. The TriColor doesn’t produce any unwanted additional sounds. So, it is just yet another average fan.

Arctic Cooling ARCTIC F12 Pro PWM

The ARCTIC F12 Pro PWM from Arctic Cooling is a copy of the ARCTIC F12 Pro TC covered in my previous review. The key difference is that it supports PWM-based speed regulation as is indicated on its packaging:

Besides that, the ARCTIC F12 Pro PWM has a top speed of 1500 RPM, which makes it eligible for the second part of this large roundup. The bottom speed is 400 RPM. The max air flow is specified to be 57 CFM at a noise level of 0.5 sones. The information on the sticker is the same as that of the ARCTIC F12 Pro TC. According to my measurements, the ARCTIC F12 Pro PWM starts up at 4 volts and consumes no more than 2.6 watts. The recommended price of this product is $9.5.

This model having no design differences from the ARCTIC F12 Pro TC, let’s move on right to its test results.

The ARCTIC F12 Pro PWM surprised me with its subtle, yet audible rattle. It was only at near-maximum speeds that the rattling sound got lost in the noise of the air flow. Perhaps this was a problem of my particular sample of the fan (unfortunately, my second sample had lost one blade of its impeller during transportation) but I don’t like it anyway. The ARCTIC F12 Pro PWM doesn’t show anything exceptional in terms of air flow which might be expected from a frameless fan with a rated speed up to 1500 RPM.

Be Quiet! Silent Wings PWM (BL023) and USC (BL013)

The Silent Wings PWM (BL023) and USC (BL013) from be quiet! are among the most interesting products in this review. They come in cardboard boxes with a flap and a cutout in the front side.

 

There is exhaustive information about the product on each box. The PWM (BL023) kit includes screws and spacers whereas the USC (BL013) model is equipped with two PATA power adapters and screws.

 

These Silent Wings fans are manufactured in China and cost about €18, which is quite a lot. The warranty period is 3 years.

The fans have a slim frame and a 7-blade impeller with riffled blades:

 

The impeller and electromotor are 112 and 44 millimeters in diameter, respectively. The four spokes are curved in the direction opposite the rotation of the impeller. Three of them are 6 millimeters wide; the cable spoke is 9 millimeters wide. The weight of the fan is 140 grams.

The impeller is nestled within a ring which in its turn is firmly fixed in a square frame of the standard size (120x120x25 millimeters).

The impeller blades have a wavy profile which is meant to minimize noise compared to ordinary smooth impellers, the air flow being the same. Each of these fans has a rotation speed of 1500 RPM and an air flow of 50.5 CFM at 17 to 18.5 dBA of noise. The static pressure is specified to be 1.63 millimeters of water. As their names suggest, the two models differ in that the PWM version features PWM-based speed control while the USC version doesn’t have it.

This difference is indicated on the fans’ stickers:

 

The two models have identical electrical characteristics. They can start up at 3.5 volts and work in a voltage range of 3.5 to 12 volts. Their peak power consumption is 1.1 watts. I’ve got very similar numbers in my practical tests: both fans started up at 3.3 volts and consumed no more than 1.2 watts. The cable length is 440 millimeters. Most extraordinarily, the Silent Wings PWM (BL023) and USC (BL013) are equipped with fluid dynamic bearings with a record-breaking service life of 300,000 hours. These fans are going to last for as long as 34 years!

Besides everything else, the frames of the Silent Wings fans have silicone bushings to reduce vibrations and noise:

These bushings are not as soft as I would wish.

Here are the test results of these fans:

The Silent Wings fans are better than the Scythe Kama Flow 2 up to a rotation speed of 1200 RPM, but their airflow-to-noise ratio is worse than the leader’s at the higher speeds. Anyway, these be quiet! fans are exceptionally quiet indeed. I guess they even might have been included into the first part of this review where I discussed low-speed and low-noise fans. The Silent Wings series works softly and without any unwanted sounds.

Cool Age 120SX2

In the first part of this roundup I tested a Cool Age Silence Fan 120DX2. Here, I will check out its more advanced cousin called Cool Age 120SX2. Its packaging is compact and transparent from the front:

You can read the specs of the fan from the back of the box. Included with the fan are a speed controller (designed as an expansion-slot bracket for the back panel of the system case), a PATA power adapter and four self-tipping screws.

 

Take note that the included controller can not only vary the speed of the fan but also turn it off completely. The Cool Age 120SX2 is manufactured is China and costs about $12. Its warranty period is 3 years.

First off, the Cool Age 120SX2 is one of the three fan models in this review to differ from the standard height of 25 millimeters. This model measures 120x120x38 millimeters. Its impeller is white; its frame is black.

The seven-blade impeller seems small but its diameter is actually not much different from other fans, measuring 111 millimeters. Three of the fan spokes are 5 millimeters wide; the cable spoke is 7 millimeters wide. The electromotor is 52 millimeters in diameter, which is indeed larger than with other fans, yet not the largest size in this test session. The Cool Age 120SX2 weighs 259 grams.

The impeller blades are very broad, have a large angle of attack and bend a little in their bottom part.

The ends of the blades are rather thick. The gap between them and the frame is about 3 millimeters. As I’ve said above, the speed of the fan is regulated with a small rheobus. The speed range is 0 to 2000 RPM. The maximum air flow is specified to be 80 CFM at 32 dBA of noise. The static pressure is not listed among the product specs, which is a shame because thick fans usually have a higher static pressure than ordinary 25mm models.

The fan’s large motor bears a sticker:

Below the sticker there is a dual ball bearing with a rated service life of 120,000 hours. That’s quite long. The manufacturer doesn’t specify the start-up voltage but my measurements yield 2.4 volts for that parameter. The Cool Age 120SX2 boasted very low power consumption, about 2 watts only. That’s very low for this bearing type and such a massive impeller. The fan’s 3-wire cable is 260 millimeters long. The speed controller’s cable is about 500 millimeters long.

Let’s see what this heavyweight can do in practical tests:

First of all, the Cool Age 120SX2 was unstable, meaning that it would produce different sounds as I changed its speed. This is a rather annoying effect. On the other hand, if you keep this fan running at its maximum speed all the time, the Cool Age 120SX2 will ensure a strong air flow and, thanks to its thickness, a high static pressure.

Cooler Master BladeMaster 120 (R4-BMBS-20PK-R0)

Next go as many as three 120mm fans from Cooler Master. The first of them is called BladeMaster 120 (R4-BMBS-20PK-R0). This fan is sealed into a transparent blister wrap with a paper insert.

 

The paper is quite informative, telling you the specs as well as key features of the product. Included with the BladeMaster 120 are four vibration-absorbing rubber pieces and four self-tipping screws.

The fan is manufactured in China, costs $12, and has a 1-year-long warranty. It is employed in the inexpensive Hyper 212 Plus cooler.

The Cooler Master BladeMaster 120 has originally shaped blades that resemble those of the Akasa Viper. But there are seven blades here, so they are larger than the nine blades of the Viper.

 

On the other hand, Cooler Master doesn’t follow Akasa in claiming a 30% advantage in air flow. They only suggest that these blades ensure an optimal balance between air flow and noise. The impeller and electromotor are 114 and 47 millimeters in diameter, respectively. The spokes that the electromotor with impeller are attached to are curved opposite the direction of the impeller rotation. Three of them are 5 millimeters wide; the cable spoke is 10 millimeters wide. There is a holographic sticker with a Cooler Master logo on the electromotor. The manufacturer’s name is also pressed out on one of the impeller blades. Cooler Master seems to be afraid of forgeries. J

There are two smooth ribs on the interior of the fan frame. The gap between the ends of the impeller blades and the frame is about 2 millimeters.

The speed of the BladeMaster 120 is PWM-controlled within a range of 600 to 2000 RPM. The air flow varies from 21.2 to 76.8 CFM and the noise level from 13 to 32 dBA. The fan’s static pressure varies from 0.4 to 3.9 millimeters of water at that.

An informative sticker is attached to the fan:

The BladeMaster 120 runs on a sleeve bearing with a rated service life of 40,000 hours. The start-up voltage is not specified but was measured by me to be 5.3 volts. The peak power consumption is specified to be 4.32 watts but was only 2.36 watts during my tests. The 4-wire cable is 290 millimeters long. The fan weighs 155 grams.

The test results for this and the other two fans from Cooler Master are listed at the end of the description of the last of them.

Cooler Master Excalibur (R4-EXBB-20PK-R0)

The Excalibur is a rather new product from Cooler Master. It comes in a compact plastic package:

Besides the fan, the package contains two power adapters, four screws, and four long silicone pins.

The fan is manufactured in China and costs $16. Its warranty period is 1 year.

It’s hard to find any parallels between the legendary sword of King Arthur and the new fan from Cooler Master. Perhaps the blades of the impeller, with a distinct edge in the middle and a small tip at the end, do bear a remote likeness to the blade of a sword.

 

The 9-blade impeller and electromotor are 110 and 40 millimeters in diameter, respectively. Seven of the fan spokes are 3.5 millimeters wide; the cable spoke is 10 millimeters wide.

Besides the original shape of the impeller blades, the Excalibur features a perforated frame:

Cooler Master claims that this frame is going to provide more air to the impeller at low speeds. And at high speeds, it should lower the noise by reducing turbulence and vibrations. I can believe the first point but the second seems questionable to me. At a high rotation speed not only the air flow but also the static pressure of the fan will be reduced due to these holes in the frame. And static pressure is most important for cooling densely finned heatsinks of CPU coolers. The impeller can be taken off for cleaning, by the way.

The speed of the Cooler Master Excalibur is PWM-controlled within a range of 600 to 2000 RPM, just like that of the above-discussed BladeMaster 120. However, the air flow is specified to be somewhat higher at 26.4 to 85.6 CFM, the noise level varying from 13 to 30 dBA (lower than that of the BladeMaster 120). The peak static pressure of this model is lower compared to the previous model and equals 3.53 millimeters of water; the minimum static pressure is 0.75 millimeters of water.

The fan sticker tells you the model name, voltage, current, and the country of origin.

An improved ball bearing runs beneath the sticker. It is also called a barometric ball bearing. Here is how it works:

Its key design feature is that there are additional magnetic stabilizers that help this fan work quieter and longer than fans with ordinary ball bearings. The manufacturer specified a service life of 100,000 hours for it.

A very low start-up voltage can be singled out among the product specs. It is 3.3 volts. The peak power consumption of the Excalibur is 3.1 watts, which is not very low. The cable is 490 millimeters long. The fan has a weight of 129 grams.

You will see the Excalibur test results at the end of the next fan’s description.

Cooler Master SickleFlow 120 (R4-C2R-20AC-GP)

The SickleFlow 120 (R4-C2R-20AC-GP) is probably the most popular of the three Cooler Master models included into this review. It comes in a transparent plastic pack that protects it against any hazards and allows to see the fan without opening the package.

The accessories are limited to a PATA power adapter and four self-tipping screws.

The fan is manufactured in China and has a recommended price of $7. The warranty period is 1 year. This fan is employed in Cooler Master’s V8, V10, GeminII and other coolers as well as in system cases.

To me, the SickleFlow looks gorgeous. Its glossy black frame is a perfect match to the 9-blade impeller with sickle-shaped opaque blades.

 

The impeller and electromotor are 113 and 40 millimeters in diameter, respectively. Three of the fan spokes are 5 millimeters wide; the cable spoke is 12 millimeters wide.

There are two ribs on the interior of the frame. The gap between the impeller and the frame is about 3 millimeters.

This fan has a constant speed of 2000 RPM. Its air flow of 69.7 CFM is somewhat lower compared to the previous two fans from Cooler Master at the same speed. Its noise level is specified to be a highly implausible 19 dBA. The static pressure is 22.94 millimeters of water, which is lower than that of the BladeMaster and Excalibur.

The start-up voltage of this fan proved to be the lowest among the tested products at only 2.4 volts. Its power consumption is less than 2.9 watts, i.e. lower than the specified 4.2 watts. The sleeve bearing is rated for 40,000 hours of operation. The fan’s 3-wire cable is very short. It’s only 290 millimeters. There is a PATA power adapter in the box but it deprives the user of the monitoring and speed control features. The SickleFlow weighs 113 millimeters.

Now let’s see how the three fans from Cooler Master performed in my tests:

So, the new Excalibur model is the worst of the three in terms of the noise-to-airflow ratio. Although its graph goes higher than the graph of the BladeMaster, the Excalibur is somewhat more agreeable to the ear. The BladeMaster does ensure a stronger air flow, though.

It is the cheap and modest SickleFlow that is a sensation here as it is overall better than the Scythe Kama Flow 2! There is only one problem with it: the SickleFlow begins to drone at some speeds (that’s why its graph is not very smooth). To avoid that annoying sound, I had to increase or lower its voltage by 0.1 or 0.2 volts. Anyway, the SickleFlow is deservedly the best of the Cooler Master trio.

Coolink SWiF2 120P

The SWiF2 120P is a copy of the SWiF2 1201 model I tested earlier but with somewhat different specs. The product box is the same, though.

It now includes a power splitter besides silicone pins and screws.

There are no design differences from the 1201 model, but the 120P supports PWM-based speed regulation within a range of 800 to 1700 RPM. The air flow varies from 35.6 to 75.1 CFM at that while the noise level, from 8.5 to 27.1 dBA. The static pressure of the fan is not specified.

There is a sticker with the electric specs and the Coolink web address on the fan’s motor.

The fan’s start-up voltage is specified to be 7 volts but its impeller would begin to spin up even at 5.4 volts. I measured the power consumption of the SWiF2 120P to be 3.54 watts or very close to the specified value. The fan costs $12 and has no other differences from the Coolink SWiF2 1201. So, let’s move on the test results:

Despite falling behind the leader, the Coolink SWiF2 120P is quite a good fan in itself. Most users are not going to notice that, but I must tell you about its peculiarity which is not obvious from the graph: its noise may change very suddenly when the fan changes its speed. The SWiF2 120P does not rattle or anything, but cannot boast anything exceptional in terms of noisiness and air flow. So, it’s just an average product.

Floston Red Impeller 120P

The Red Impeller 120P is an elder cousin of the high-quality, quiet and inexpensive Red Impeller 120Q and comes in a similar box. The product specs on the back are different, of course.

 

This model doesn’t differ from its cousin in design but has one visual difference. Its frame is black.

 

This fan weighs 125 grams and is 20-25 grams heavier than the 120Q. Its rotation speed is 1800 RPM; the air flow is 61.9 CFM; the noise level is 25 dBA; the static pressure is 1.75 millimeters of water.

As opposed to the 120Q’s sleeve bearing, the 120P is equipped with a dual ball bearing with a rated service life of 50,000 hours. According to the specifications, the start-up voltage of this fan is 6 volts, but my sample started up at 4.4 volts already. Its peak power consumption was 2.7 watts in my tests, which is lower than specified, too.

Now will the Red Impeller 120P be up to the high quality standards of Floston? Let’s check this out.

Indeed, the graph of the Red Impeller 120P goes very close to the graph of the leader of this test session. Thus, the Floston Red Impeller 120P is an excellent fan with an optimal noise-to-airflow ratio. Most importantly, it costs only one third of the price of the Scythe Kama Flow 2!

Deepcool UF120

Next goes the UF120 model from Deepcool. We tested the UF140 in an earlier review and now it’s time to check out its 120mm cousin. The boxes of both models are designed in the same way. You can find an installation guide, a list of accessories, and performance graphs of all the fans in the series on the paper insert.

The accessories are four long silicone pins, a user guide, a PATA power adapter, an extension cable, and a cable with two soldered-in resistors for lowering the speed of the fan:

Like the entire Deepcool UF series, the UF120, being a clone of the Alpenföhn Föhn 120 Wing Boost in exterior design and internals, has a beige frame and a blue impeller fastened on four spokes:

 

The impeller and electromotor are 111 and 40 millimeters in diameter, respectively. Three of the fan spokes are 5 millimeters wide; the cable spoke is 8 millimeters wide. The weight of the fan is 172 grams.

The fan frame is not plastic, as usual, but an elastic vibration-absorbing material. Its interior is smooth to reduce noise.

The impeller has 9 blades with three notches on each which are meant for aesthetics only. The speed of the fan is PWM-controlled within a range of 500 to 1500 RPM. The maximum air flow is specified to be 66.3 CFM; the noise level is 17.6 to 27.8 dBA. The static pressure is not specified.

The sticker on the motor is not informative at all. You can only find out the fan’s electric specs on its box or at the manufacturer’s website. The start-up voltage of the Deepcool UF120 is declared to be 7 volts but my sample started up at 5 volts. The power consumption was 1.44 watts in my tests, which is lower than the specified 1.56 watts. The dual ball bearing of this fan is rated for 40,000 hours. That’s not long for this bearing type, I must say. The 3-wire sleeved cable is 420 millimeters long.

Now, here are the test results of the Deepcool UF120 and Alpenföhn Föhn 120 Wing Boost which are both one and the same fan, actually.

Although the Alpenföhn Föhn 120 Wing Boost and Deepcool UF120 seem to be clones, differing only in their exterior design, they do have different test results. The Föhn 120 Wing Boost has a linear correlation between noise and speed whereas the UF120 is not that stable, changing its noise in sudden jumps. I should add that both samples of the Deepcool fan that I tested behaved like that. These results might be due to some differences in the electronics, but I’m almost sure the Alpenföhn and the Deepcool have the same electronics because they have the same start-up voltage and power consumption results. So, these fans are twins externally but behave differently.

Delta FFB1212EH

Delta FFB1212EH is the most powerful fan in this test session. It comes without any packaging and accessories. The manufacturer may have decided such luxuries unnecessary or this model may be just meant for OEMs. The fan is manufactured in Taiwan and costs about $30. Its warranty period is 1 year long.

The Delta FFB1212EH measures 120x120x25 millimeters and this is where its similarity to ordinary fans ends. Just take a look at it:

 

We’ve got a completely original fan here with a large 65mm electromotor, 11 slim blades and 11 spokes which are curved in the direction opposite the blades. This must be meant not only to optimize the air flow but also keep the impeller firmly fixed at high speeds. The impeller is 114 millimeters in diameter.

The fan’s brutal appearance is emphasized by its black frame with two edges on the interior side.

The Delta FFB1212EH is the second heaviest model in this review at 257 grams.

The speed of the fan is as high as 4000 RPM. No wonder that the Delta FFB1212EH is specified to consume almost 21 watts of power. It is connected to a PATA power plug only.

There is a separate cable for monitoring but my controller wouldn’t read any data from the sensor for some reason (it would report 0 RPM all the time). Using adapters, I managed to connect the Delta FFB1212EH to the controller to change its speed. The air flow of this fan is 150.3 CFM and its noise level is 56.4 dBA. Both numbers are the overall highest for this as well as the five previous reviews about fans published on our site.

The voltage and current parameters are indicated on the sticker:

The Delta FFB1212EH consumed less during my tests than specified: no more than 12.3 watts. This is the highest power consumption among all the tested fans, though. The fan cables are both 330 millimeters long.

Let’s see what the Delta FFB1212EH showed in my tests:

Well, there is nothing to comment upon. The Delta FFB1212EH has the highest noise level and delivers the strongest air flow in today’s test session.

Evercool Aluminum Frame (12025)

The only non-plastic fan in this roundup comes from Evercool. The Aluminum Frame (12025) is shipped in a modest box that has a cardboard bottom and a plastic cover.

The specs of the three models in the series are listed on the back of the box. I’ve got the midrange model with the M index. Included with the fan are a PATA power adapter and four screws.

The Evercool Aluminum Frame is manufactured in China and costs a mere $7. It is expected to work for 1 year without any problems.

As is clear from its name, the key feature of this product is its aluminum frame. The plastic impeller is fastened to it with four plastic spokes. The impeller blades are painted silvery to match the frame.

 

The impeller and electromotor are 111 and 42 millimeters in diameter, respectively. The four spokes are all 5 millimeters wide. The weight of the fan is 299 grams, making it the heaviest in this test session.

The interior of the frame is smooth. You can see the cutouts for the impeller poles:

Those poles are fastened with ordinary screws:

The 3mm gap between the impeller and the frame can also be seen in the photo. So, why did they make the frame from aluminum? I guess to be different from the other manufacturers and fans. There are just no other fans available with aluminum frames!

The rated speed of the Evercool Aluminum Frame is 2000 RPM. Working at this speed, it is declared to deliver an air flow of 79.1 CFM and a static pressure of 2.83 millimeters of water at 36 dBA of noise. I measured its start-up voltage and peak power consumption to be 5 volts and 2.93 watts, respectively, which is somewhat lower than specified.

The fan runs on a ball bearing whose service life is not specified by the manufacturer. The 3-wire cable is 380 millimeters long.

Here are the test results for this fan:

The aluminum frame seems to be the only advantage of this fan. The Evercool Aluminum Frame is far from exceptional in terms of air flow or noisiness.

Everflow R121225BL and R121225BU

Everflow Technology Corporation is represented with one model in this review but the Everflow 121225 comes in two speed flavors: the medium “BL” and the high-speed “BU”. Both fans are shipped in OEM packaging without any accessories. They are manufactured in China and cost $12 to 16. The warranty period is 1 year long.

The two speed versions do not differ in design. Both have a black frame and a black impeller with nine sharp blades that have a large angle of attack.

 

The impeller and electromotor are 112 and 43 millimeters in diameter, respectively. Three of the fan spokes are 5 millimeters wide; the cable spoke is 8 millimeters wide. The weight of the fan is 140 grams according to the specs and 152-156 grams according to my measurements.

These Everflow fans feature an aggressive impeller with long and dashingly twisted blades.

There are two ribs on the interior of the frame. This and the closeness of the impeller to it (the gap is only 2 millimeters) suggest a rather high level of noise and also a high level of static pressure these fans should deliver.

The BL version has a rated speed of 1500 RPM. The BU version features PWM-based speed control up to 2400 RPM. Their parameters are specified like this: air flow at 66.7 and 110 CFM; static pressure at 1.42 and 3.12 millimeters of water; and noise level at 30.5 and 39.5 dBA.

Besides the speed and related characteristics, there are other differences between these two versions. The junior version runs on a sleeve bearing with a rated service life of 30,000 hours whereas the senior model features a dual ball bearing with a service life of 50,000 hours. There are differences in their electronics, too, as you can see by comparing the information on their stickers:

 

So, the Everflow R121225BL is declared to have a peak power draw of 2.4 watts and the R121225BU, 4.8 watts. They consumed 1.8 and 4.5 watts, respectively, in my tests. The start-up voltage was 5.9 volts for the BL version and 4.8 volts for the BU version. The cables of these fans are 295 millimeters long.

Let’s see if their test results differ.

Well, we can see the two Everflow R121225 fans perform consistently, delivering the same air flow and noise within the same speed range. The senior model, the R121225 BU, is one of the leaders of this test session in terms of air flow. Otherwise, there is nothing special about them.

Logisys CCF120GN

The Logisys CCF120GN fan comes in the most popular type of packaging:

Included with the fan are a speed controller, a back-panel bracket for turning the fan’s highlighting on and off, and screws.

Like most other fans, the Logisys CCF120GN is manufactured in China. Its recommended price is $17. Its warranty period is 1 year.

As opposed to the other tested 120mm fans, this model features a highlighting cathode lamp fastened with screws.

 

 

The lamp is powered via a separate cable and can be turned off if necessary.

Otherwise, the Logisys CCF120GN is an ordinary fan of the 120x120x25mm form-factor with a 7-blade transparent impeller and a transparent frame. The impeller and electromotor are 112 and 40 millimeters in diameter, respectively. Three of the fan spokes are 4 millimeters wide; the cable spoke is 8 millimeters wide.

The impeller blades are shaped classically and do not betray any newfangled innovations or optimizations:

According to the specs, the speed of this fan can be changed with the included controller within a range of 2800 to 3200 RPM, but my sample was actually rotating at 910 to 1820 RPM. Interestingly, the air flow is supposed to be 42.3 CFM at only 22 dBA of noise within the specified range of 2800-3200 RPM.

The fan sticker shows the manufacturer’s logo and website address.

The fan runs on a sleeve bearing with an unknown service life. The Logisys CFF120GN starts up at 3.5 volts and consumes no more than 4.1 watts (without the lamp). Its cable is very long at 500 millimeters plus the adapters and the speed controller cable. So, you shouldn’t have any trouble connecting this fan to any point in any system case.

Here are its test results:

Alas, the Logisys CCF120GN is perhaps the worst product in this review. The original highlighting is the only advantage I can see in it.

Panaflo H1A (NBM-MAT FBA12G12H)

Here is another OEM fan for you. The Panaflo H1A comes in a simple pack with two power cables.

The fan is a product of the Japanese firm Minebea-Matsushita which is a well-known maker of high-quality fans. It is manufactured in China and costs slightly above $20. Its warranty period is 1 year.

The Panaflo H1A is a 120x120x38mm fan with seven small blades and a massive electromotor fastened on four spokes:

 

The impeller and electromotor are 113 and 59 millimeters in diameter, respectively. Three of the fan spokes are 5 millimeters wide; the cable spoke is 10 millimeters wide.

The design makes it clear that this fan is meant to produce a strong air flow, the noise level being but a secondary factor. The product specs suggest that point, too: 2500 RPM, 103.8 CFM and 41.5 dBA.

The fan runs on a fluid dynamic bearing whose service life is not specified. There is a sticker on the electromotor telling you the model name and some other information.

According to it, the peak power consumption of the fan is 7.2 watts but I didn’t spot the fan to consume more than 4.7 watts during my tests. The start-up voltage is very low at only 3 volts. The 3-wire cables are rather short at 240 millimeters.

Let’s take a look at the test results of the Panaflo H1A:

Well, this is an excellent performance! Being expectedly inferior to the leader at low speeds, the Panaflo H1A gets closer to the latter and overtakes it at high speeds. The superb stability of this fan is impressive: except for one “hump” in its graph, the noise is increasing proportionally to the air flow. Minebea-Matsushita has once again proved its excellent reputation.

Rexflo DF12123025BH-PWMG

The 120mm DF12123025BH-PWMG fan from Rexflo is shipped in a modest-looking package with a transparent front. The product specs are listed on the back side:

The fan comes without any accessories. It is manufactured in China and has a recommended price of $20. Its warranty period is 1 year.

The Rexflo DF12123025BH-PWMG looks most conventionally with its black frame and 7-blade impeller connected with four spokes:

 

The impeller and electromotor are 110 and 44 millimeters in diameter, respectively. Three of the fan spokes are 5 millimeters wide; the cable spoke is 7 millimeters wide.

The impeller has seven blades that get wider towards the ends and have a sharp front edge.

The interior of the frame is curved, promising a low level of noise. Well, this fan can hardly be called quiet because the rotation speed of its impeller, controlled via pulse-width modulation, is 1000 to 2600 RPM. The air flow is declared to be 36.9 to 96 CFM and the noise level, 21.9 to 42.6 dBA. The static pressure is not specified.

The fan sticker tells you the model name, voltage and current, and the country of origin. According to my measurements, this fan has a start-up voltage of 5.4 volts and a peak power draw of 2.8 watts. Its dual ball bearing is expected to serve for 50,000 hours. The 4-wire cable is 300 millimeters long.

You can find the test results of the Rexflo DF12123025BH-PWMG in the next section.

Rexus TopMotor DF121225BH

The TopMotor DF121225BH comes in OEM packaging without any accessories. Its design is identical to that of the fan from Rexflo (see the previous section).

 

The frame, the impeller, everything is the same as in the above-discussed Rexflo DF12123025BH-PWMG.

However, the recommended price of the TopMotor DF121225BH is almost twice lower at $11.

The key difference of the Rexus from the Rexflo is the lack of PWM-based speed control. This must be why they differ in price. Thus, the rotation speed of the TopMotor DF121225BH is constant at 2600 RPM. The air flow and noise parameters are the same but Rexus also specify the static pressure for their fan at 4.8 millimeters of water (this is the second highest specification among the tested fans).

The Rexus’s sticker is but slightly more informative than the Rexflo’s.

The bearing type and service life are identical to those of the Rexflo but the electric specifications are different. The peak power consumption is twice as high at 7.8 watts. Although not as high as the specified value, the actual power consumption of the fan as measured by me was indeed twice that of the Rexflo at 5.32 watts. The start-up voltage is 4 volts. The length of the 3-wire cable is 430 millimeters.

Now let’s see how different the outwardly identical fans from Rexus and Rexflo were in my practical tests:

Once again two seemingly identical fans perform differently in tests. The Rexflo model is the better of the two, supporting a wider range of speeds and being more comfortable in terms of noisiness. Although the Rexus can occasionally pump somewhat more air, the rotation speed being the same, this small advantage is negated by its irregular noise. Both models are very far from the leader of this test session.

Scythe Kama Flow 2 120 (SP1225FDB12H)

The Kama Flow 2 120 series from the Japanese firm Scythe were among the leaders of the first part of this bipartite review, delivering excellent cooling performance at low noise. Here I will check out the high-speed SP1225FDB12H model. Its packaging is the same as that of its lower-speed cousins except for the specs and model name.

According to the specs, the rotation speed is 1900 RPM; the air flow is 63.23 CFM; the noise level is 33.8 dBA. The static pressure is not specified. The weight of the fan is 169 grams.

The model name is indicated on the fan sticker:

The improved fluid dynamic bearing of the Kama Flow 2 120 series is expected to keep the fan up and running for no less than 120,000 hours. This fan is among the most economical, consuming no more than 1.9 watts. Its start-up voltage is very low at only 2.8 volts.

This cooler serves as the reference point in this review, so you could have already seen its results in the diagrams. It is one of the best in this test session.

Scythe Slip Stream 120 PWM and PWM-V.R. (SY1225SL12HPVC and SY1225SL12HPVS)

Scythe’s Slip Stream 120 PWM (SY1225SL12HPVC) and PWM-V.R. (SY1225SL12HPVS) fans are not very new. In fact, they are improved versions of the old Slip Stream 120 model. I will describe the improvements shortly.

The packaging of these products is typical of Scythe: a plastic blister wrap with a paper insert you can find a lot of information on.

 

Included with the fans are a speed controller, screws, and a PATA power adapter.

The new fans look like an ordinary Slip Stream 120. They have a black frame and a black 9-blade impeller fastened to a small 36mm motor with four curved spokes.

 

The impeller is 113 millimeters in diameter. Three of the fan spokes are 5 millimeters wide; the cable spoke is 12 millimeters wide. The weight of the fan is 130 grams.

There is nothing new I can tell you about the design and features of the Slip Stream series because it has been around for over 3 years already.

So, what about the PWM and PWM-V.R modifications? As its name suggests, the former version supports PWM-based speed control which is implemented in an original way. Using the controller designed as a back-panel bracket, you can set the top speed limit for the automatic control mode. The speed range is 470 to 1900 RPM at 7 to 37 dBA of noise and an air flow of 23 to 110.3 CFM.

The PWM-V.R. version in its turn features an additional switch for turning the PWM control off and adjusting the speed of the fan manually. The speed range is 500 to 1500 RPM at 7.5 to 32 dBA of noise and an air flow of 24.5 to 81.64 CFM.

Here are the stickers on the fans:

 

Each model starts up at a voltage of 5 volts or lower. The peak power consumption is 3.2 and 6.5 watts for the PWM-V.R. and PWM version, respectively. The 3-wire cable is 600 millimeters long together with the controller cable. The sleeve bearing of these fans is rated for 30,000 hours of operation.

The test results of the updated Slip Stream 120 fans are shown in the diagram:

The popular Slip Stream 120 series should be given credit for being but slightly inferior to the leader despite their respectable age. The PWM model is the better of the two although the PWM-V.R. is very close to it in performance. The fans are both very stable, meaning that their noise depends directly on their rotation speed. They do not produce any unwanted additional sounds.

Scythe Slip Stream Slim (SY1212SL12M and SY1212SL12H)

Here are more Slip Stream fans. I discussed the junior cousins of the SY1212SL12M and SY1212SL12H models in the first part of this review. They come in transparent plastic packages with paper inserts covered with informational text.

 

In the previous review of 120mm fans I tested the 800 and 1200 RPM Slip Stream Slim fans. Here, I will take a look at the models with rated speeds of 1600 and 2000 RPM, an air flow of 38.1 and 45.5 CFM, and a noise level of 28.9 and 37 dBA. They do not have any design differences from the Slip Stream Slim products discussed in the first part of this review.

The fan stickers indicate the model name, voltage, current and the country of origin of the product.

 

The start-up voltage is not specified in the product specs but proved to be 6.8 volts for the 1600RPM model and 5.1 volts for the 2000RPM one. The peak power consumption is 2.1 and 2.7 watts, respectively. The service life of the sleeve bearing is specified to be 30,000 hours.

Here are the test results of these fans:

These slim fans are expectedly weak in terms of air flow. Only 10 millimeters thick, they cannot pump large amounts of air. These Scythe Slip Stream Slim fans are not quiet, either. While being the main reason for their low performance, their slim form-factor is also their advantage because these fans can be used where others just wouldn’t fit.

SilenX iXtrema LEDIX-12025-DNM

The iXtrema LEDIX-12025-DNM model is missing on the SilenX Corporation website for some reason. I received it in OEM packaging, the only indication of its origin being the sticker on its motor:

 

As you can see, the 7-blade impeller and the frame are made from transparent and smooth plastic. The impeller and electromotor are 112 and 40 millimeters in diameter, respectively. Three of the fan spokes are 5 millimeters wide; the cable spoke is 8 millimeters wide.

I could spot no special features in the impeller and frame.

This fan proved to have a rotation speed of 1980 RPM and lack PWM-based regulation. Its start-up voltage is 3.1 volts and its peak power draw is 2.95 watts.

There are four LEDs on the motor that produce a mild orange light.

The 3-wire cable is 330 millimeters long. The weight of the fan is 112 grams; it costs $12.

You will find the test results of this fan at the end of the next section.

SilenX iXtrema Pro LED IXP-74-14

As opposed to the previous model, this fan from SilenX is listed at the company’s website although it too comes in OEM packaging without any accessories. TheiXtrema Pro LED IXP-74-14 is manufactured in China and has a 1-year warranty. It will cost you $12.

The frame and impeller of this very light (96 grams) fan are made from matte plastic.

 

The impeller and electromotor are 113 and 33 millimeters in diameter, respectively. Three of the fan spokes are 4 millimeters wide; the cable spoke is 8 millimeters wide.

The impeller blades have a large angle of attack and are a mere 2 millimeters away from the smooth interior of the frame.

This fan has a constant rotation speed of 1400 RPM. Its air flow is specified to be 72 CFM at 14 dBA. The latter number looks most implausible.

The specifications say that the fan runs on a fluid dynamic bearing but its service life is not declared. A holographic sticker with key product features is attached to the fan:

The iXtrema Pro LED IXP-74-14 starts up at 3.1 volts and consumes 4.7 watts of power, which seems to be quite a lot of a 1400RPM fan. The 3-wire cable is 330 millimeters long.

Here are the test results of the two SilenX fans:

Although having different impellers, the fans have almost the same air flow and noise results, the speed being the same. Both are close to the leader of this test session and do not produce any unwanted additional sounds. So, the SilenX fans are good products. Don’t forget that they are also equipped with highlighting.

Triebwerk TK-122

Here is the more powerful of the two fans from Triebwerk. The packaging and exterior design of the TK-122 are the same as those of the TK-121 model tested in the previous review.

The sticker on the electromotor is the single visible difference:

The specs differ, too. The Triebwerk TK-122 has a rotation speed of 1800 RPM, an air flow of 88.4 CFM, and a noise level of 30 dBA. Working at that speed, this thick fan is going to develop an impressive static pressure of 3.38 millimeters of water (the second highest specified level among all the tested fans). The “nano-bearing” is expected to keep the TK-122 up and running for 80,000 hours, spinning up at 4.5 volts. In fact, this model started up at 3.9 volts and consumed no more than 3.26 watts. The price of this high-tech fan is $35.

Let’s see what it can do:

I must confess I had expected better results from the thickest fan in this review. Its 55 millimeters of height do not do it any good. The Triebwerk TK-122 is inferior to the Scythe Kama Flow 2 in terms of the noise-to-airflow ratio. Besides, this model was not very stable, its noise changing in sudden jumps rather than smoothly.

Xigmatek Crystal CLF-F1251

Next go two fans from Xigmatek. The first model is Crystal CLF-F1251 which comes in a transparent plastic box with a paper insert.

Besides the fan, the box contains four screws and a PATA power adapter.

The Crystal CLF-F1251 is manufactured in China and costs about $10. Its warranty period is 1 year.

The fan has a transparent frame and a 113mm impeller connected with four spokes.

 

Three of the fan spokes are 5 millimeters wide; the cable spoke is 9 millimeters wide. The electromotor is 43 millimeters in diameter. The weight of the fan is 120 grams.

The impeller blades are rather large. They are narrow and lowered at the base and get broader towards the ends.

The edges of the blades are rounded off. There are two rounded-off ribs on the interior of the frame. The Xigmatek Crystal is sleek and neat, obviously to minimize its noise.

Its specs go like this: 1500 RPM, 68.33 CFM, 20 dBA. The fan runs on an optimized sleeve bearing (“rifle bearing”) whose rated service life is 50,000 hours. Xigmatek doesn’t reveal why the service life is so long.

The start-up voltage of this fan is 6.5 volts; the power consumption is 2.2 watts. These numbers are close to the product specs. The 3-wire cable is 300 millimeters long.

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

My sample of the fan has blue highlighting.

The Crystal may also come with green, red, white or purple highlighting.

You will find the test results of this fan at the end of the next section.

Xigmatek XLF-F1253

The XLF-F1253 model comes in the same packaging as the previous one, but its design is different:

The included PATA power adapter is slightly different, too.

This fan is no different from the previous Crystal model in design but its impeller and frame are a different color.

 

The size, weight, impeller shape and other features are the same as those of the Xigmatek Crystal.

The rotation speed is 1500 RPM, too, but the air flow is specified to be 61 CFM, which is 7.33 CFM lower compared to the Crystal. The level of noise, the type and service life of the bearing and the electrical parameters of this fan are identical to those of the Crystal model.

The Xigmatek XLF-F1253 starts up at a lower voltage and consumes somewhat less power than the Crystal, though.

There are white LEDs in the corners of the frame:

The contrast between the dark frame and the orange impeller makes the highlighting quite beautiful.

Here are the test results:

The two Xigmatek fans, although designed almost identically, perform differently in my tests. Besides the difference in their noise-to-airflow ratios you can see in the diagram, the Crystal is somewhat more agreeable to the ear than the XLF-F1253. I must tell you that both fans are not as bad as the difference from the Scythe Kama Flow 2 suggests.

Zalman ZM-F3 (ZF1225ASH)

The last product in this review comes from Zalman. The ZM-F3 is an entry-level fan that is shipped in a plain cardboard box with a minimum of useful information.

 

Included with the fan are four silicone pins and a cable with resistor for lowering the rotation speed.

The Zalman ZM-F3 is manufactured in China and costs a mere $5. Its warranty period is 1 year.

The fan has a standard form-factor of 120x120x25 millimeters.

 

The impeller and motor are 113 and 49 millimeters in diameter, respectively. Three of the fan spokes are 5 millimeters wide; the cable spoke is 10 millimeters wide. The weight of the fan is 164 grams.

The Zalman ZM-F3 is quite an ordinary 120mm fan.

Its rotation speed is 1800 RPM. Using the adapter you can reduce it to 1100 RPM. The air flow and static pressure are not specified. The noise level is 34 dBA at the max speed and 20 dBA at the reduced speed.

The fan runs on a sleeve bearing whose service life is not specified.

The start-up voltage of the fan is 4.8 volts. Its power consumption is 2.2 watts. The 3-wire cable is 400 millimeters long.

Here are the test results:

Well, it was hard to predict such impressive results. An ordinary $5 fan, the Zalman ZM-F3 is just as good as the Scythe Kama Flow 2 which costs twice as much! Moreover, the ZM-F3 is not a new model. It has been selling for about four years already. And it proves to be competitive to the new and more expensive products. It is another question for how long the fan is going to work with such parameters, though.

The newer Zalman ZM-F3 FDB and Zalman ZM-SF3 would be interesting to test. I will try to cover them in my future reviews. Now let’s move on to summary diagrams.

Summary Diagrams

There are too many fans in this review, so I decided to unload the diagrams by not including the worst of the clone fans Deepcool UF120 and Rexus TopMotor DF121225BH, the duplicate fans Everflow R121225BL, Scythe Slip Stream 120 PWM-V.R. (SY1225SL12HPVS), Scythe Slip Stream 120 Slim (SY1212SL12M) and Xigmatek XLF-F1253, and the worst fans from the same brand, i.e. the two fans from Cooler Master (Excalibur and BladeMaster) and the SilenX iXtrema Pro LEDIXP-74-14. To keep the scale of the diagrams reasonably large, I did not include the loudest and most powerful Delta FFB1212EH, either.

So, the first diagram allows to compare the noise level of the tested fans.

Here is the same diagram scaled up to 36 dBA:

The lower the graph, the quieter the fan is. The leaders are the Scythe Kama Flow 2, Cooler Master SickleFlow, Floston Red Impeller 120P, be quiet! Silent Wings and ZalmanZM-F3.

The following diagram shows the correlation between the noise and air flow of the fans.

Now let’s check out summary diagrams with all the fans tested in the second part of this review together with the test results of a Scythe Ultra Kaze (DFS123812L-2000) and a Noiseblocker NB Multiframe M12-S2:

 

The first diagram shows the maximum air flow of each fan.

The Delta FFB1212EH is first, followed by the Panaflo H1A and Everflow R121225BU. The Scythe Slip Stream Slim is the worst fan here.

Now let’s see which fan is the best until up to the highest comfortable level of noise.

The good old Scythe Ultra Kaze wins the test but is closely followed by the Scythe Kama Flow 2 and the Cooler Master SickleFlow. The Floston Red Impeller 120P, Noiseblocker NB Multiframe M12-S2 and Zalman ZM-F3 deliver excellent performance as well. The worst results are produced by the noisiest fans and by the Scythe Slip Stream Slim.

There is no point in publishing a diagram with the air flow of the fans at the subjectively comfortable level of noise because this review includes noisy models. Quiet fans were covered in my previous review.

So, the next diagram shows the start-up voltage of the fans:

 

This diagram shows the peak power consumption of the tested fans:

The last diagram shows the recommended prices for the tested 120mm fans.

As you can see, the most expensive fan is six and more times as costly as the cheapest one, but this difference in price does not always agree with their specs and performance.

Conclusion

Considering that this test session mostly includes high-speed fans, I guess that the most powerful of them should be put aside into a separate group. I mean fans which strive to deliver as strong an air flow and as high a static pressure as possible at the expense of acoustic comfort. These are the Delta FFB1212EH, Cool Age 120SX2, Everflow R121225BU and, especially, Panaflo H1A. The latter not only boasts a very strong air flow but is also the quietest among these four. Therefore, Panaflo H1A recieves our Ultimate Innovation title:

On the other hand, if you need the strongest air flow possible, there is no other alternative to the Delta FFB1212EH which is very powerful and very loud.

The second and most numerous group of fans includes the Akasa Viper, Antec TriColor, Coolink SWiF2 1201, Alpenföhn Föhn 120 Wing Boost and Deepcool UF120, Cooler Master’s BladeMaster and Excalibur, ARCTIC F12 Pro PWM, the fans from Rexus and Rexflo, Scythe’s Slip Stream 120 PWM and Slip Stream 120 PWM-V.R., the two fans of the SilenX iXtrema series, and the Triebwerk TK-122. These fans are not bad or anything, yet there is nothing really special about them, either. They are not record-breakers in terms of noise or air flow, but each of them may be interesting to users. The highlighted fans may also be included into this group. I mean the Logisys CCF120GN, the pair of Xigmatek fans and the above-mentioned Antec TriColor with the SilenX iXtrema series. These models are going to be interesting for all modders and aesthetes.

And the last group consists of the Scythe Kama Flow 2, be quiet! Silent Wings, Cooler Master SickleFlow, Floston Red Impeller 120P and Zalman ZM-F3. These fans are quieter than the others and, thanks to that, have an advantage in air flow at the subjectively comfortable level of 36 dBA. The last three models also come at highly appealing prices. These are excellent fans that won’t leave you disappointed. Therefore, we are proud to award Scythe Kama Flow 2, be quiet! Silent Wings, Cooler Master SickleFlow, Floston Red Impeller 120P and Zalman ZM-F3 with our Recommended Buy title:

There is only one thing left for me to note. Besides the static pressure of the fans which I could not measure with my tools, I also could not check out the durability of the fans. Many manufacturers specify the service life of the bearing but it’s hard to test this in practice. Sleeve bearings are usually the least durable. Next go fluid dynamic bearings, and ball bearings are the most durable type. However, considering the numerous varieties of fluid dynamic bearings available now, this bearing type may have a longer rated service life than a ball bearing. We all are going to be testers then because such durability tests are going to take place in our own computers!

Finally, we would like to extend our special thanks to FrozenCPU.com online store - a great source of PC modification supplies - for providing us the following review samples: Evercool Aluminum Frame fan, Cooljag Everflow 121225BL, Cooljag Everflow 9-Blade PWM (R121225BU), Delta FFB1212EH, Logisys CCF120GN, Rexflo DF1212025BH-PWMG, Scythe Kama 120mm PWM Fan (DFS122512L-PWM), and the award-winning Panaflo H1A.