by Sergey Lepilov
09/29/2010 | 10:27 AM
Over a year has passed since we posted our last fan roundup. A lot of ne fan models have been released since then in both: 120 mm as well as 140 mm form-factor. We managed to collect an enormous number of new 120x120x25 mm fans and quite a few 140x140x25 mm ones. The latter products will open a series of fan roundups on our site today.
The fans of this size are currently pretty popular. It is not only because processor air-coolers more and more often use 140 mm fans these days, but also because they gradually replace the common 120 mm fans inside contemporary system cases, which is exactly what happened back in the days with the 92x92x25 mm fans. This is a pretty logical process, although it will be some time before 120 mm fans go away completely. Nevertheless, we believe that 140 mm fans will continue increasing their presence not only in the CPU cooling products, but also as system case components.
Well, today we are proud to introduce to you 13 fan models from nine cooling solutions manufacturers, such as: Deep Cool, Evercool, Nanoxia, Noctua, Noiseblocker, Revoltec, Scythe, Thermalright and Xigmatek.
We would like to start by telling you a bit more about our new fan testing equipment and methodology.
We used the same measuring tools as last year: our special controller card, CENTER 321 noise meter and ProskitMT-4005 anemometer:
Let me start by saying that we used a new controller revision that allows measuring the voltage with a finer increment of 0.1 V instead of the formerly used increment of 0.3 V. That is why this time we set the fan rotation speed using 0.5 V increments in the interval between 4 and 12 V. For the purposes of unification of our testing approach, we measured the rotation speed of PWM controlled fans using the same voltage setting. Moreover, now our controller can also display the average fan rotation speed after the stabilization period. Of course, we didn’t leave out the fan current and startup voltage. We took all our measurements after 5-7 minutes to ensure that the motor has warmed up enough.
The methods used for measuring fans acoustic characteristics have been seriously modified. Now we didn’t just use a polyurethane foam stand, but hanged them inside a special wooden frame:
This frame weighs 2.3 kg and has four silicone stands attached to the bottom of it:
Moreover, the fans didn’t touch the frame and were fastened using special soft silicone mounts:
In addition to that the noise meter is now installed on a tripod with rubberized legs, while in our previous session last year it was sitting sideways on top of two cardboard boxes:
The distance to the receiver of our noise metering device was 150 (±1) mm and the device itself was centered precisely along the axis going through the center of the fan rotor. All these modifications and improvements of our testing techniques should ensure more precise measurement results that would be less dependent on the external factors. Here I would also like to add that all acoustic tests were performed between 1:00 and 3:00 AM in a closed room about 20 m2 big. There were no computers or any other electrical appliances working in this room except for the controller. The subjectively comfortable acoustic maximum is at 36.0 dBA, acoustic quiet – at 33.0 dBA.
The airflow was measured in feet per minute, in order to calculate its volume in the most typical unit for cooling fans – CFM. This methodology has also been significantly improved. First of all, we used an air guider. In the beginning we decided to go with a Nexus BeamAir 120. However, since the results obtained with this air guider didn’t seem credible enough, we decided to make one ourselves. Here is what we came up with:
Our custom-made air guider was built with almost 700 cocktail straws, 8 mm in internal diameter and 210 mm long, with very thin and smooth walls. It allowed us to eliminate possible turbulence and additional spinning of the anemometer blades. To ensure lower airflow resistance the adjacent straws were shifted vertically by 4-5 mm.
Anemometer was inserted into a round of polyurethane foam:
Since the air guider was inserted in the center of the pipe, the distances between the guider and the fan and the guider and anemometer were the same and equaled 145 mm.
We made two more polyurethane foam rounds to install the fans: one for the ones with a square frame, and another – for the fans with a round one:
Both rounds were inserted into the ends of a 500 mm long plastic pipe segment with 200 mm internal diameter:
The foam rounds sat very tightly inside the pipe, so there was absolutely no airflow loss: all of it went through the air guider and then through the anemometer fan module. We tested each fan twice in its entire rotation speed range and took the average value from both test runs (unless there were some serious peaks or drops, in which case the test was performed one more time).
To calculate the volume of the airflow we multiplied the measures airflow speed by the size of the anemometer blades surface times three (so that it could match more or less closely to the airflow readings declared in the fan specs). We measured the airflow sped with the air guider as well as without it. The graphs and charts show the airflow readings with the air guider but we will also provide a link to a complete Excel-file with all the results and fan specs.
Besides the pipe with an air guider inside, we also measured the airflow when there were three different heatsinks installed right next to the fan: Scythe Ninja 3 with the fins set wide apart, copper Thermalright TRUE with very dense fin array, and a two-array Thermalright Silver Arrow with the highest heatsink fin density of all:
However, the readings taken off both Thermalright heatsinks were the same to the nearest tenth, while with a Scythe Ninja 3 heatsink the airflow didn’t change at all. Therefore, we decided to provide only the results taken with a two-array Silver Arrow heatsink (besides the results with an air guider).
Since all fans worked under load inside the pipe, their rotation speed was lower than in an open testbed during our noise measurements. You can check out the speed difference in a table provided at the end of the article. However, in order to scale acoustic and airflow measurements identically, we increased the airflow readings by a coefficient illustrating the relation between the fan speed inside the pipe and on an open testbed.
Well, I assume this detailed description of our testing methodology should be enough to move on to the actual test of our 140 mm participants. With the exception of Noctua, we had at least two units of each 140 mm fan model. We tested acoustics of all available fans, while airflow tests were only performed for one unit of each model. All fans discussed in this roundup are sorted in alphabetical order.
We are going to mention individual specs of the tested fans later in the corresponding chapters. Here we would like to sum up their complete specs in a reference table for your convenience:
Click to enlarge
I would only like to add that all fans spin counterclockwise.
We have already introduced Deep Cool brand to you in one of our recent CPU cooler reviews. Today we are going to talk about their new 140 mm fan – Deep Cool UF140. This fan ships in a large white box with a fan image on the front and its specification in several different languages on the back of the box:
The thin slip-on cover hides a box made of thick cardboard that has a flip-cover with magnetic locks. Inside this cover there is a detailed description of the included accessories, several examples of proper fan installation, and four airflow and static pressure graphs for all Deep Cool UF series fans:
Deep Cool UF140 lies in a plastic tray with the bundled accessories placed in a section next to it under a cardboard cover:
The fan is bundled with four long silicone mounts, manual, PATA power supply connector, extender and a cable with two soldered-in variable resistors for lowering the fan rotation speed.
UF140 is a 140x140x25 mm fan, which comes with retention of a 120 mm fan. We are going to see more than one solution like that in our today’s roundup. However, these fans won’t always be suitable for case cooling, because they may simply not fit into the spot designed for a 120 mm fan. But as for using them for CPU cooling, in most cases they will do just fine.
Let’s take a closer look at the new fan:
Subjectively, Deep Cool UF140 has very refined and neat looks: bright-blue nine-blade fan sitting inside a pale cream-colored round frame with a silver rotor sticker. There are three thin pins and one wide one (with a cable inside it) holding the fan in the frame.
The fan is non-removable and is only 128 mm in diameter (the only fan with even smaller diameter is the one from Scythe):
There is a 2 mm gap between the blades and the inside of the fan frame.
The key peculiarity of the Deep Cool UF140 fan is the soft elastic anti-vibration cover called TPE Cover, which lines the inside of the plastic frame around the fan:
According to the manufacturer, this cover combine with the effect from the use of enclosed silicone mounts prevents any possible vibration transfer from the fan to the system case of cooler heatsink, which makes Deep Cool UF140 an extremely quiet product.
Another peculiarity of this fan is the presence of three raised horizontal lines across every blade:
As you can understand from the fan description, they aren’t intended for any sort of airflow optimization, as you may have assumed, but for creating unique visual effect when the fan is working. However, as you can tell from the height of these lines, they shouldn’t have any significant effect on the fan’s airflow.
As for the specifications of Deep Cool UF140, we didn’t notice anything advanced about them. Due to enclosed resistors, the rotation speed may vary in the interval from 700 to 1200 RPM; the maximum airflow is declared at 71.8 CFM, and he noise should be between 17.6 and 26.7 dBA. The manufacturer didn’t indicate the static pressure. This fan is one of the heaviest fans in our today’s roundup. It weighs 167 g.
However, the rotor is, on the contrary, the one with the smallest diameter of only 41 mm. It is covered with a sticker bearing the manufacturer logo and the name of the country where the fan was made:
The declared voltage for Deep Cool UF140 is 10.8-13.2 V, with the startup voltage at 7 V. In our case, both fans would start at 5.8 V, which is very good for a 140 mm fan. The maximum power consumption of 1.56 W according to the specifications is almost the same as we got during our tests – 1.61 W, but this is one of the average results obtained today. The 420 mm three-pin cable is long enough, plus there are also adapters that add a little length to it. Deep Cool UF140 uses a double ball bearing with 40,000 hours MTBF, which is very little for a bearing of this type. The recommended retail price of this fan from China is $22.95, which makes it the most expensive fan in our today’s roundup.
Before we proceed to the first graph, I would like to add that for your convenience we drew all graphs using the same scale (the same grid). Now let’s check out the airflow and the acoustic performance of Deep Cool UF140 fan:
Deep Cool UF140 didn’t break any records neither in acoustic performance, nor in airflow volume. This fan proved to be a stable average runner, although frankly speaking, we had expected it to shine more because of its very high price. Nevertheless, we can certainly give this product due credit for soft and smooth operation and absence of any sort of parasitic sounds. These fans do not crackle or rustle, although they aren’t among the leaders in terms of their noise level. In my personal opinion, Deep Cool UF140 remains acoustically comfortable up to 830 RPM and is extremely quiet at up to 720 RPM. The addition of a two-array heatsink into the testing pipe doesn’t lower the airflow too much.
Red Scorpion fan from Evercool is sealed in a clear plastic blister with a very bright cardboard insert:
The insert has fan specifications and brief description of its key features printed on it. Red Scorpion comes with four self-tapping screws and a PATA power-adapter:
I am sure the word “red” in the name comes from the red color of the semitransparent fan blades:
The semi-transparent frame is of dark-brown color. This contrast makes the fan really stand out. It measures 140x140x25 mm, but these dimensions are provided without the plastic adapter-ring that allows installing Red Scorpion fans into the system case spots designed to accommodate 120 mm fans. Moreover, this ring will also help guide the airflow better, as its outer edge is cone-shaped.
Evercool Red Scorpion has 11 almost flat, but slightly curved blades with relatively small surface. The diameter of the fan itself is 131 mm and it sits on four pins that cannot be considered particularly thin. There are two noticeable edges on the inside of the fan frame, so it is not totally smooth like the one of the previous testing participant:
These edges will most likely make the fan a little noisier, that it could be without them. The nominal fan rotation speed is declared at 1200 RPM. There is no mention of the airflow and static pressure in the fan specs, and the noise shouldn’t exceed 22 dBA.
The fan rotor is 45 mm in diameter. There is a red paper sticker with a scorpion and fan marking on top of it:
Evercool Red Scorpion uses an “Ever Lubricate” bearing technology with at least 40,000 hours MTBF. The nominal fan voltage is 12 V, while the startup voltage of both fan units we tested wasn’t mentioned in the specs and equaled 3.7 V. the three-pin cable measured 360 mm without the PATA adapter. The price of Evercool Red Scorpion fan is one of the lowest among our today’s testing participants - $10!
Here are the test results:
Unfortunately, Evercool Red Scorpion turned out one of the two obvious outsiders in this test session. The reason for this poor result is loud rustling of the blades at speeds beyond 850-900 RPM. Hadn’t it been for this rustling sound, the fan would have been acoustically comfortable at 840 RPM and could have been considered quiet at 610 RPM or lower speed, but this is not the case. At the same time, Red Scorpion doesn’t show any high airflow readings, which places it at the bottom of our fan rating list. Its only true advantage is the lower price point and very slight reduction of the airflow volume under load. However, this is hardly a consolation because of its poor acoustic performance.
The next fans to be tested are two Nanoxia DX14 models, which also sell sealed in a clear plastic blister with a cardboard center:
Both fans come with four long silicone mounts that will absorb vibrations if the fans are used for system case cooling:
Nanoxia DX14 fans are very similar to the previously tested Nanoxia FX12 and FX+12. Just like the latter two models, DX14 stand out due to their seven acid-green blades and black matt fan frame:
The fans measure 140x140x25 mm and weigh about 140 g. the fan itself sits on four regular pins, with sloped internal edge. There is a three-wire cable going along one of them. The fan blades of Nanoxia DX14 are made of high-tech polycarbonate Makrolon by Bayer MaterialScience. Their distinguishing feature is extreme broadening of the blade from the base towards the outer end. Together with the serious curving of the ends, these blades should theoretically create much higher airflow pressure than the traditional fan blades.
There are two barely noticeable edges around the inside of the fan frame:
Moreover, note that Nanoxia retention holes have bushes in them, which will make it impossible to install these fans onto the CPU heatsinks using traditional retention (by catching on to the inside of the fan frame).
Nanoxia DX14 fan is 134 mm in diameter (the second largest), while its rotor is one of the largest – 45 mm. both fans rotate with constant speed of 700 RPM for DX14-700 and 1200 RPM for DX14-1200, which is quite logical, judging by the model names. According to the specs, these fans create corresponding airflows of 27.6 and 52.4 CFM, generate 17 and 22 dBA of noise, and 0.91 and 1.27 mmH2O of static pressure.
The rotor stickers bear the manufacturer’s name and the fan model number:
Beneath them we find the very well familiar Nano Engineered Bearings (NEB) with guaranteed MTBF of at least 80,000 hours and an ECO-motor that can spin the fan at 4-13 V voltage (3.8 and 4.1 V startup voltages respectively). In this case the maximum power consumption will be 0.81 W for DX14-700 and 1.82 W for DX14-1200. The fans are powered via a 400 mm three-pin cable. They come without any adapters (make sure you have corresponding mainboard and rheobus connectors ready). However, I am sure that those who value reliability more than compatibility will be pleased with a 10-year unlimited warranty provided by the manufacturer. Nanoxia DX14 is priced around $16.50.
I would also like to add that according to the manufacturer, Nanoxia DX14 is also water-resistant. So, now let’s move on to our air-tests:
Nanoxia DX14-700 is practically noiseless, but it also creates very weak airflow. As for Nanoxia DX14-1200, it generates very little noise and therefore remains acoustically comfortable up to 980 RPM and very quiet up to 820 RPM, which is an excellent result for a 140 mm fan. Too bad that there are no higher-speed models in this lineup, which could have become very popular among extreme overclockers favoring air-cooling due to pretty high though not record-breaking airflow readings.
The Austrian Noctua NF-P14 FLX fan, which is a default fan of the famous Noctua NH-D14 super-cooler and of Noctua NH-C12P SE14 cooler can also be purchased separately. For about $20 you can get not just a fan with accessories, but also a white-and-brown cardboard box with a cut-out window in front and a ton of information on the back:
You can get even more info about the Noctua NF-P14 FLX fan and technologies used in it by opening the flip-cover in the back:
Together with the fan you get two adapters with variable resistors, a PATA power adapter, four silicone shock-absorbing mounts, four metal plates with retention holes and four self-tapping screws:
There is no manual, but once you’ve read the info on the package, you won’t really need one.
Noctua NF-P14 FLX is a 140x140x25 mm fan with retention holes that should fit a 120 mm fan spot. It weighs 150 g. the fan has a round light-pink frame with contrasting dark-brown blades inside it:
The fan itself is 130 mm in diameter. All nine blades have “notches” on the internal edge. These notches are intended for smoothing the airflow, lowering the noise and increasing the pressure. They help split the acoustic component of the fan airflow into several different spectrums that blend in better with the background noise from the rest of the system case and are easier to perceive for the human ear.
The inside surface of the fan frame is smooth and there is a 2 mm gap between the frame and the end of the fan blades:
When the fan is connected directly to the three-pin mainboard or rheobus connector, it will rotate at 1200 RPM, but with the enclosed adapters it can be lowered to 900 RPM or 750 RPM. In this case the airflow will equal 60, 49.3 and 41.9 CFM respectively, generating 19.6, 13.2 and 10.1 dBA of noise. The respective static pressure will be 1.29, 0.77 and 0.53 mmH2O. The fan’s maximum power consumption is declared to be 1.2 W (1.32 W according to our measurement results). The fan has one of the highest startup voltages in our today’s test session of 7.9 V.
The fan rotor is only 41 mm in diameter and is covered with a metal plate instead of a plastic or paper sticker:
Since the actual impeller of a 140 mm product weighs more than the impeller of a 120 mm model, Noctua engineers used a special reinforced metal shell to ensure that the bearing will last long. As a result, NF-P14 FLX boasts the same long-term service life span as its 120 mm brother and should last at least 150,000 hours. Moreover, this fan also uses second version of Smooth Commutation Drive technology, which makes its motor run almost completely noiselessly. I am sure that you remember the details about Noctua’s self-stabilizing and self-lubricating SSO bearings from our previous review: they are used in this fan as is, without any additional modifications.
Noctua NF-P14 FLX fan is priced at about $20 and is manufactured exclusively in Austria. It is expensive, but it comes with a 6-year warranty, which is not bad at all, although definitely not a record.
Let’s check out the performance of this relatively new fan:
Despite all unique technologies employed in Noctua NF-P14 FLX, this fan doesn’t boast any record-breaking airflow readings or extremely low noise levels. In fact, it seems to be closer to the two least successful participants of our today’s test session, rather than the average runners. For example, Noctua NF-P14 FLX is acoustically comfortable up to 830 RPM and quiet at up to 710 RPM, which is not that impressive against the background of other testing participants. In my opinion, the high price of this fan is not justified by its performance at all.
The German Noiseblocker Company doesn’t need a special introduction, because their fans were among the leaders of our previous test session having totally impressed us with their unprecedentedly low noise. Today we are going to test NB-BlackSilentPRO PK-1, PK-2 and PK-3. I wonder if they will be able to retain the leadership crown won by their 120 mm brothers last time.
The shape and style of the fan package design didn’t really change, they have only become a little bigger, which is quite logical:
The fans are bundled with a shock-absorbing frame made of soft rubber, two cables of different length and long retention screws with nuts:
It is the first time that we come across a fan with an anti-vibration frame like that. What an interesting alternative to the common silicone mounts…
NB-BlackSilentPRO PK-1/2/3 measure 140x140x25 mm and weigh only 135 g. the fan frame is quite simple, made of black matt plastic, while the seven-blade impeller features radically black glossy finish, which makes the fans look really appealing:
The impeller diameter is 130 mm. The blades are shaped in such a way that they feature wide front part and sharp front edge. The inside of the fan frame has two slightly raised ribs:
There are no holes in the fan frame, only bushes (why do they need them at all, I wonder?). The three models differ by their rotation speed and all other characteristics depending on it. PK-1 fan rotates at 700 RPM, creates 35.3 CFM airflow, generates 9 dBA of noise and boasts 0.952 mmH2O static pressure. PK-2 and PK-3 fans has the following corresponding specs: 1200/1700 RM, 54.7/90.1CFM, 20/27 dBA and 1.295/1.781 mmH2O.
The rotors of all three fans are 45 mm in diameter and covered with stickers reading their voltage, model name and rotation speed:
NB-BlackSilentPRO PK-1/2/3 are built with noiseless and very long-lasting NB-NanoSLI bearings with 120,000-180,000 hours MTBF. Besides their record-breaking life span, the motors of these fans can start at a very low voltage (only 4.5 V according to the official specifications and 3.5-4.2 V according to our own measurements) and consume only 0.72 W, 1.08 W and 2.4 W of power for PK-1, PK-2 and PK-3 models respectively. Moreover, NB-BlackSilentPRO PK-1/2/3 boast some sort of cable-management, with only a three-pin connector on a short cable coming out of the actual fan and two cables, 200 and 500 mm long, included among the bundled accessories. You can use either of these cables or connect them with one another for a total of 700 mm length.
This German fan maker decided not to fall behind their Austrian competitor and also provides each of their fans with a 6-year warranty. NB-BlackSilentPRO PK-1/2/3 fans are priced at about $20 per fan.
Let’s find out how effective these Noiseblocker fans actually are:
NB-BlackSilentPRO PK-1/2/3 confirmed the previous success of their 120 mm brothers to the utmost extent. The junior fan in this lineup, NB-BlackSilentPRO PK-1, is extremely quiet, although this quiet operation comes at a price: not very high airflow readings. The medium model, NB-BlackSilentPRO PK-2, must be the most popular one in terms airflow-to-noise ratio. By the way, it is only a little bit quieter than the top model - NB-BlackSilentPRO PK-3, but overall, they show very close results at identical rotation speeds. These fans remain acoustically comfortable up to 940-960 RPM and are very quiet at 770-790 RPM speed. In terms of airflow volume, Noiseblocker NB-BlackSilentPRO PK-2 and -3 models are in the good center of the rating list getting very close to the top three.
There are a lot of Revoltec branded fans out there, but we managed to get our hands on only one model – AirGuard 140 mm (RL060). The fan is sealed in a clear plastic blister with a cardboard center. The front side is fully open, which allows you to check out the entire fan without removing it from the package:
The fan specifications are provided on the back of the package in two languages. The only accessories included with the fan are four self-tapping screws for fastening the fan.
Revoltec AirGuard 140 mm looks pretty common. It measures 140x140x25 mm and weighs 150 g. It consists of a black frame and black impeller sitting on four wide pins with a Revoltec logo sticker covering the front of its rotor:
However, this fan does boast one unique feature compared with the rest of the testing participants: it has three mounting holes in each corner of the fan frame, including the holes that would fit a 120 mm fan space. However, we are still pretty upset to see the bushes in these holes.
Seven blades of the 130 mm impeller of Revoltec AirGuard fan have a sharp front edge and a wide end. You can clearly see two ribs going along the inside of the frame, which will most likely produce additional noise:
There is a 2-3 mm gap between the frame and the fan blades. The fan rotates with constant speed of 1200 RPM. At this speed Revoltec AirGuard 140 mm should create 56.5 CFM airflow and be no louder than 19.8 dBA. Unfortunately, there is no mention of the fan’s static pressure among the specifications.
The fan rotor is 45 mm in diameter and the sticker on top of it provides info not only on the manufacturer and fan model, but also of the bearing type used in it. It is ”Hysint bearing”:
Besides “a low noise development and a long lasting operating time”, we couldn’t find any other info about this bearing type. I dare suppose that it is none other but a common fluid-dynamic bearing with 50,000 hours MTBF. Maximum power consumption of Revoltec AirGuard 140 mm fan is claimed to be at 1.32 W, which is close to what we got: 1.21 W. As for the startup voltage, AirGuard can’t boast much here, as its startup voltage is relatively high is equals 6.6 V. It comes with a 500 mm long three-pin cable.
Revoltec AirGuard 140 mm fans are manufactured in China and come with a 1-year warranty. They are priced at $13 MSRP.
Now let’s check out the results of Revoltec AirGuard 140 mm tests:
Despite big promises and super-new technologies, Revoltec AirGuard 140 mm fan turned out a very good product. High-quality fluid dynamics combined with sharp fan blades make this fan acoustically comfortable at up to 950 RPM and very quiet at up to 750 RPM. As for the airflow, Revoltec AirGuard feels quite at home here and over the entire range of tests it proved to be in the middle pack of very good products. Considering its low MSRP, it deserves a good “B+”.
The Japanese Scythe Co., Ltd. also offers a wide range of fan products, but for our today’s roundup we will only look at Scythe Slip Stream 140 represented by four models with different rotation speeds: 500 (SM1425SL12SL), 800 (SM1425SL12L), 1200 (SM1425SL12M) and 1700 (SM1425SL12H) RPM. We received the top model in this lineup - SM1425SL12H.
The fans are packed in a clear plastic box with a sheet insert inside:
The latter has a ton of information on it, including the fan specs in six different languages. Among the bundled accessories we find four self-tapping screws and an adapter cable with a PATA connector:
Scythe Slip Stream 140 fans measure 140x140x25 mm with retention holes to fit 120 mm fan mounting spots:
Both, the fan frame and impeller are of radical black color. The whole fan weighs 141 g. The diameter of the impeller sitting on three 6 mm pins and one 10 mm pin is only 127 mm, which is the smallest of all today’s testing participants. But the rotor of this fan is also the smallest - only 40 mm in diameter.
Nine crescent-shaped blades have sloped ends (the distance between the blades and the fan frame changes from 1 to 2 mm as the blade widens towards the end. The inside of the fan frame is pretty interesting: it has one raised rib where the airflow comes in, and then a smooth contour along the edge on airflow exit:
Could it be helping Scythe Slip Stream 140 fans to maintain very low noise level at high speeds, which is what the manufacturer claims? At the declared 1700 RPM the airflow should hit 92.4 CFM and generate no more than 36.4 dBA of noise. Static pressure is again unknown.
The paper sticker on the rotor hides the motor with a sleeve bearing that should last only 20,000 hours:
Scythe Slip Stream 140 motor also has nothing to boast, because its maximum power consumption is claimed to be 4.2 W (3.55 W according to our measurements). However, the startup voltage is the lowest of all: only 2.8 V! The junior Scythe Slip Stream 140 will most likely have higher startup voltage setting. The three-pin cable is pretty short, only 300 mm, but there is a PATA adapter with a 500 mm cable included with the fan, if you need extra length.
In conclusion we have to add that these fans are manufactured in China and are priced at $14 MSRP. They come with a 2-year warranty. Now let’s check out the test results:
Well, here is one of our today’s performance leaders: Scythe Slip Stream 140 fan. It is not only the fact that this fan has the highest rotation speed of all testing participants, but its nine crescent-shaped blades create the largest airflow at the same level of noise. In other words, Scythe Slip Stream 140 remains acoustically comfortable at up to 970 RPM (second best result) and is quiet up until its speed hits 780 RPM (first prize). There is no crackling or rustling, the motor works very quietly (at least while the fan is still new). The only sad thing is that its MTBF is so low, but the low price of the fan makes up for that matter. All in all, it is an excellent fan!
Thermalright TY-140 fans are the newest product from the well-known company. Unfortunately, they are sold in unappealing brownish-colored box with a round opening in the center of the front panel that reveals the fan rotor sticker:
The fan’s key features and technical specs are all listed on the back of the box. There are no accessories bundled with the fan, none whatsoever. The box only contains the actual fan and some air for it :)
Despite being the largest of all today’s testing participants – 153x140x26.5 mm - Thermalright TY-140 weighs only 140 g (only Noiseblocker fans are lighter). The first TY-140 sample we got our hands on this time had a dark-blue impeller and a pale-green frame:
However, the next two samples had a dark-gray impeller, which is the final coloring scheme of this fan model. Fans like that have already started selling.
The fans stand out not only due to their large frame with retention holes for 120 mm fan slots, but also due to not very large impeller, which diameter is only 130 mm. Besides, the seven blades of this fan are the most massive of all thirteen 140 mm fans tested today. It is also remarkable that Thermalright TY-140 fan blades contact only 3/5 of the rotor surface, i.e. they are coming out of the lower part of the rotor. But towards the end of the blades they rise up to the top of the rotor:
There are two sharp edges inside the fan frame. The impeller sits on three 7 mm wide pins and one 10 mm wide pin that are curved in the opposite direction. The wider pin holds a four-pin cable. Thermalright TY-140 fans are the only ones in our today’s test session that support pulse-width modulation. As a result, their rotation speed may vary in the interval between 900 and 1300 RPM creating 57-73 CFM airflow and generating 19-21 dBA of noise.
Thermalright TY-140 fans use Thermalright’s exclusive “Enhanced Hyper-Flow” bearing that generates very little noise and is very durable. The latter was confirmed by the official MTBF of 100,000 hours declared in the specifications. The motor with the bearing inside are covered with a sticker telling you the manufacturer’s name, fan model, voltage, current and the country the fan is made in:
The rotor diameter is 41 mm. the maximum power consumption of Thermalright TY-140 is 2.4 W according to the specifications, and 1.27 W according to our tests. Its startup voltage is 5.7 V. The sleeved cable it comes with is 250 mm long, which is not enough to connect the fan to any part of the mainboard, not to mention using it as a case fan. Thermalright TY-140 comes with a recommended price tag of $14.95 and is furnished with a one-year warranty.
So, what will the new fans surprise us with? Here is the answer:
First of all, Thermalright TY-140 impressed us with its extremely low level of noise. In fact, it is the quietest fan of all models tested today, unless you are a quietness maniac, of course. For example, this fan rotates at 1080 RPM at 36 dBA (which is the subjective comfort level), and it is an absolutely best result obtained today. And at 33 dBA, which is a subjective quiet zone, this fan rotates at 790 RPM yielding only to Scythe Slip Stream 140 in airflow. No crackling or rustling of any kind, of course, just the airflow blown by seven large blades.
Thermalright X-Silent 140 is another product from this North American Company that appeared about 6 months before the TY-140 model. The packaging is much more attractive here. There is even a picture of an aircraft engine on the back of the box:
Besides, there are also official fan specifications listed on the back. The fan comes with four long silicone mounting spindles, four self-tapping screws and a short adapter for the PATA power source:
Thermalright X-Silent 140 is 141x141x25 mm big and weighs 170 g. It consists of a dark-gray glossy frame and eleven-blade semi-transparent impeller:
This is the largest impeller of all, its diameter is 134 mm. It sits on four straight pins, three of which are 7 mm wide and the fourth one – 9 mm wide. The internal frame surface has two ribs and the gap between the blade end and the frame is 2 mm.
Inside the frame retention holes we one more time see the notorious bushes. The blades of the Thermalright X-Silent 140 fan are hardly unique in any particular way: they have a modest angle and thin but not sharp front edge. The fan rotates at 900 RPM. However, the manufacturer claims a 60.42 CFM airflow at this speed, which is higher than that of Revoltec AirGuard (56.5 CFM) or Noiseblocker NB-BlackSilentPRO PK-2 (56.5 CFM) at 1200(!) RPM. This makes NoctuaNF-P14 FLX with its 52.4 CFM at 1200 RPM almost an outsider. However, it is important to remember that the airflow measuring techniques may differ by different manufacturers, not to mention that sometimes the numbers come simply out of nowhere. I also want to add that the specs also claim 20.9 dBA of noise and do not mention anything about the fan’s static pressure.
Thermalright X-Silent 140 fan uses a fluid dynamic bearing with 50,000 hours MTBF. The rotor is 44 mm in diameter and is covered with a plastic sticker containing some info about the fan:
Thermalright X-Silent 140 is claimed to support 7 V startup voltage, which is almost exactly what our tests showed: 7.4 V. according to its technical specs, its maximum power consumption shouldn’t exceed 1.68 W, but our measurements revealed that it didn’t even exceed 1 W. I have to admit that it is a very energy-efficient fan. It comes with a 400 mm long sleeved cable, unlike the TY-140 model from the same maker we have just discussed.
Thermalright X-Silent 140 fans are made in China, they come with a one-year warranty and are priced at only $12.
Let’s see if Thermalright X-Silent 140 can indeed offer large airflow at a low level of noise:
Despite the relatively modest airflow readings, Thermalright X-Silent 140 is extremely quiet, yielding just a tiny bit to TY-140 model. The fan runs very smoothly and softly, in an acoustically pleasant spectrum. There is no trace of any parasitic sounds like crackling or rustling. Due to very low level of noise, Thermalright X-Silent 140 takes the good third place in our ratings, becoming the third best fan. It remains acoustically comfortable up to 940 RPM and very quiet - up to 770 RPM. Judging by the results of the two models we reviewed today we have to admit that Thermalright maintains the brand reputation by manufacturing mot only high-quality coolers, but also excellent cooling fans.
We are very well familiar with Xigmatek Co., Ltd. that manufactures not only processor and VGA coolers, but also all sorts of cooling fans. We got a pair of Xigmatek Crystal 140 (CLF-F1451) fans for this roundup. This series includes five fan models that differ by the LED lighting color: red, green, blue, white and purple. The fans we got were the ones with the blue LEDs.
Xigmatek Crystal 140 fans are sealed in robust clear plastic boxes with cardboard inserts:
The cardboard page inside has fan specifications and key features listed on it. Among them are high airflow and static pressure. The interesting thing is that they do not mention the actual number for the static pressure, just say that it is very high. The fan is accompanied by four self-tapping screws and a 325-mm long adapter cable for the PATA power connector:
Xigmatek Crystal 140 fans have transparent frame and impeller that is why it is difficult to see them especially against the white background:
They measure 140x140x25 mm and weigh no more than 150 g. the impeller is 131 mm in diameter. It sits on four pins: three pins – 5 mm wide and the fourth – 10 mm wide. There is a thin cable going along each of the pins towards the LED lights in the corners of the fan frame. Once again we see bushes inside the retention holes in the corners of the fan frame, which won’t let you use conventional fan wire clips utilized on processor coolers.
Xigmatek Crystal 140 fans have seven blades each. They look like slightly bend pads with a sharp front edge and a thicker center:
The blades have a very aggressive angle, but are spaced out quite far from each other because of their small size. According to the specifications, the fan rotation speed is 1000 RPM, the airflow is 60.5 CFM and the noise is no more than 16 dBA! Very impressive, isn’t it? Well, we are going to find out in a minute if it is really the case.
The sticker on the 45 mm rotor of Xigmatek Crystal 140 hides a rifle bearing that should last at least 50,000 hours.
The startup voltage for Xigmatek Crystal 140 fan is claimed to be 7 V, but in our tests both fans started up beautifully even at 5 V. the power consumption readings are also great: despite the declared power consumption of 3.6 W, both fans consumed less than 2 W of power. The sleeved power cable is 300 mm long, which is not too much, I should say, but as you remember there is a 325-mm long PATA connector that could extend this cable a little more. This is what the working fan looks like:
Xigmatek Crystal 140 is made in China, sells for $15 and can break down without causing any financial repercussions for the users within one year from the date of purchase. Now let’s check out their performance:
If we disregard the noise, then Xigmatek Crystal 140 does indeed boast very good airflow, falling just a little behind other testing participants. However, when this fan is working you hear constant roaring generated by the flat blades. Moreover, the fan roars at high speeds as well as low speeds that is why roaring aside we can only call it “quiet” at 610 RPM (the worst results) and acoustically comfortable at 770 RPM (also the lowest result). I have to admit that the fan really does create good pressure according to the difference in airflow under heavy load and under none as well as our subjective impressions. But, unfortunately, this roaring ruins it all.
The first diagram shows the noise readings for all fans tested today:
ThermalrightTY-140 stands out noticeably as it demonstrates remarkably low noise levels. Although at up to 700 RPM speeds it does have quite a few competitors, such as very quiet Noiseblocker and Nanoxia. After TY-140 we see a tight pack of five fans: Scythe Slip Stream 140, Noiseblocker NB-BlackSilentPRO PK-2 and PK-3, Nanoxia DX14-1200 and Revoltec AirGuard 140. Evercool Red Scorpion, Deep Cool UF140 and Noctua NF-P14 FLX fans have even worse acoustic readings. And the loser of this test, as you already know, is the 140 mm fan from Xigmatek.
The next graph describes the dependence of the noise on the airflow:
Here we have one outstanding leader: Thermalright TY-140. I would also like to mention Scythe Slip Stream 140 and Thermalright X-Silent 140. After that all fans are mixed together, so it is very hard to single out any fan here. Only two products are among the last ones: Evercool and Xigmatek fans.
I believe that the charts showing airflow readings taken at 36 dBA, which is the level of subjective acoustic comfort, are much more illustrative:
The charts at very low noise level of 33 dBA are also very interesting:
There are the same three leaders on both diagrams: Thermalright TY-140 that dashed far ahead of the others at 36 dBA, Scythe Slip Stream 140 and Thermalright X-Silent 140. They are followed by a group of five fans that generate almost the same airflow at 36 and 33 dBA. I could say that the sixth fan, Noctua NF-P14 FLX, closes the group, but this “bundle of super-technologies” is way too expensive to be included into this group. The last ones in this race are again solutions from Evercool and Xigmatek.
Now let’s check out the maximum power consumption diagram:
Here we can single out three groups of fans. The first one includes three fans with extremely low power consumption readings (below 1 W): the junior Noiseblocker and Nanoxia fans as well as Thermalright X-Silent 140. I am sure that they will be perfect for “green” users, as they are truly economical. The second group includes five fans: NB-BlackSilentPRO PK-2, Revoltec, Thermalright TY-140, Noctua and the top Nanoxia model – they consume no more than 1.5 W of power, which also makes them very energy-efficient. The remaining fans consume much more Scythe Slip Stream 140 being the most energy-hungry of all.
The next diagram shows the fans’ startup voltages. I would like to remind you that we provided the average of the two readings taken off both identical (with the exception of Noctua fan, which we only had one). Although in most cases there was hardly any difference between the two fans:
Scythe Slip Stream 140 (SM1425SL12H) fans boast record-breaking startup voltages of 2.8 V. But, as you probably understand, this is not true for the entire fan lineup. Besides Scythe, there are three other fans that can startup at voltages below 5 V: all three Noiseblocker products, both Nanoxia fans and the Red Scorpion from Evercool.Xigmatek fan starts at 5 V. and the worst ones this time are Noctua and Thermalright X-Silent.
In conclusion I would like to offer you a comparative diagram showing the pricing of the tested 140 mm cooling fans:
I am sure no comments are necessary here.
As for the comparison of the fans performance on a processor heatsink, like the one we performed in our previous roundup, we believe that these tests will simply help identify the most optimal fan for a specific heatsink, or a pair of heatsinks. Heatsinks with high or low fin density will require fans with different specifications. Moreover, there are some other factors that should be taken into consideration when selecting the best fan for specific heatsinks. So, since we cannot cover all the popular heatsinks in one single article, we decided not to run a test like that at all this time.
The results of our today’s test show that there were no total losers among the reviewed 140 mm fans. Hopefully, we will see the same tendency in our upcoming 120 mm fan roundups. Nevertheless, we can split all today’s testing participants in three groups, such as: “nothing special”, “average and good” and “excellent”.
The first group includes a few not very successful models, namely: the rustling Evercool Red Scorpion, roaring Xigmatek Crystal 140 and … Noctua NF-P14 FLX. The latter fell into this group solely because of its super-high price and unjustified ambitions. While Evercool Red Scorpion is the cheapest of all and therefore can be excused for its not the best performance, and Xigmatek’s roaring can be forgiven due to beautiful LED lighting and high static pressure, then Noctua NF-P14 FLX has no excuse whatsoever. The fan designed by an entire institute of Austrian engineers with quite a few unique technologies should at least be among the leaders in airflow and noise. Unfortunately, we don’t see anything like that, so the verdict is - nothing special.
The second and largest group includes seven 140 mm fans: Noisеblocker NB-BlackSilentPRO PK-1/2/3, two Nanoxia DX-14, Revoltec AirGuard 140 and Deep Cool UF140. Although the latter is the most expensive fan of all, we would like to give it credit for smooth and soft operation and for unique anti-vibration layer on the frame. Noiseblocker and Nanoxia fans again prove up to the mark: I am sure that junior models will find their fans, as you can barely hear them at all even in total silence, not to mention against the background noise of a system case. We were surprised with the low noise and good airflow delivered by Revoltec AirGuard 140 at a very affordable price. Overall, we can recommend any fan from this group as a good choice.
However, if you are looking for the absolutely best 140mm fan in terms of noise-to-airflow ratio, then you should check out our leaders: Scythe Slip Stream 140, Thermalright TY-140 and Thermalright X-Silent 140. These fans not only create the largest airflow at the same level of noise as the other fans, but they are also cheaper than their competitors. Moreover, Slip Stream 140 and TY-140 can be installed into the slots designed for 120 mm fans, which makes them a universal solution. Although we would recommend the manufacturers to include some vibration-absorbing mounts with these fans and make the TY-140 power cable longer. Note, that X-Silent 140 doesn’t have any of these drawbacks.
Summing up the results of our today’s competition, we would like to award the three leaders - Scythe Slip Stream 140, Thermalright TY-140 and Thermalright X-Silent 140 – X-bit’s Recommended Buy title: