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Case fans

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What fan spped is best?

Total: 17 votes (2 blank votes)

  • 1300
  • 47 %
  • 1600
  • 20 %
  • 1900
  • 34 %
March 21, 2007 9:11:35 AM

I was looking to add some cases fans, and looking on Newegg, I narrowed it down to Scythe Minebea. They had 3 models, all 120mm. The difference was the speed which changed the amount of air flow. I think speeds were 1100, 1600, and 1900. Which air flow is better? lower speed and quieter, or more air, higher speed and noise? Or maybe the fastest one and a fan controller so you can tune it?

Thanks for the input

Edit: added brand name edit changed low speed

More about : case fans

March 21, 2007 10:09:47 AM

umm, what brand is that?

I personally use Scythe S-FLEX (tier F - rated 1600 rpm) with fan controllers.
That gives me great flexibility, coz I can make em spin anywhere between 600 and 1600rpm. And, they're practically noiseless, while moving a lot of air.
Well, to be frank - they don't get up to 1600rpm, not when there's anything in the way of the air they suck in. The max I can get out of them is 1400.

Scythe Minibea are from the same price range (and roughly the same noise level) (circa 18 bucks) but the most powerful version offers 1900rpm insteead of 1600, and 75cfm.
March 21, 2007 10:29:01 AM

No offense. My friend always thought speed was everything until I showed him CFM. You should focus on CFM & maybe dba if that's your concern. The higher the CFM, the more air is moved. The highe the dba, the louder it is.
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March 21, 2007 11:05:23 AM

I would suggest the 1600 or 1900RPM and a fanmate speed controller so you can run the fans slower when you want like ZozZoz.

The benefit of getting the slower fans is that they may have blade designs better optimised for slower rotation/lower CFM, so they may be quieter when operating at 800RPM than a fan rated for 1900RPM slowed to the same 800RPM. Still, you get flexibility to tune things yourself by buying the faster fans and turning them down yourself. Monitor your temperatures for full-load minimum 15 minute CPU usage tests, and find a sweet spot where your fans deliver the cooling you need at the lowest possible noise.

I think the brand you picked is very popular, though I've never used it. I recently (yesterday) received a couple silenx fans, and they're nice and quiet for the air they push.
March 21, 2007 11:11:35 AM

Quote:
I was looking to add some cases fans, and looking on Newegg, I narrowed it down to Scythe Minebea. They had 3 models, all 120mm. The difference was the speed which changed the amount of air flow. I think speeds were 1300, 1600, and 1900. Which air flow is better? lower speed and quieter, or more air, higher speed and noise? Or maybe the fastest one and a fan controller so you can tune it?

Thanks for the input

Edit: added brand name


I agree with the guy who posted above, you should be concerned about CFM/dB rather than RPM...

80mm fan is louder than an 120mm fan that spins slower and moves more air. The reason why is because of the greater surface area. 120mm fans do not have to spin fast to move a lot of air.

If I could use a 120mm fan for my cpu I would.
March 21, 2007 1:12:09 PM

The ratio stay nearly the same

1100 41.3 cfm 18.0 dba
1600 63.6 cfm 27.0 dba
1900 75.9 cfm 31.0 dba
March 21, 2007 2:51:14 PM

Ok, it's all about the cfm, the resulting noise for a given level of cfm, and then the rpm that's needed to achieve that cfm. Read that again, that is key.

The end result you want is higher airflow. Period. Now, to get a higher airflow, you need a bigger fan and/or higher rpm's. But with higher rpm's usually comes higher noise. So, it's a question of balancing the airflow with the noise. Some people want minimum noise, some want maximum airflow.

Maximum airflow = Silverstone FM121 (110 cfm, it's a beast)
Minimum noise = Noctua 120mm @ 800rpm

Balance of airflow and noise = Noctua 120mm @ 1200 rpm. These put some very good air and are absolutely silent. Better than S-Flex, better than Nexus. But for some people they want even more airflow...which is fine, but the fans won't be quiet anymore.

So, what do you want:
-high airflow and don't care about noise? Silverstone
-low noise and don't care much about airflow? Noctua, Nexus
-low noise and good airflow? Noctua

Lastly, if you want better control over airflow vs noise, then get a fan controller. You can adjust the voltage/rpm's to achieve what you consider to be a balance. That level is different for everyone, depending on what matters more to them: noise or airflow. So you just pick the range that works for you.

BUT, if you want quiet and airflow, you don't need a fan controller for the Noctua 120mm @ 1200 rpm fans.....they're already dead silent so no need to adjust them down to make quiet.......you won't even hear the whoosh of air at their top speed ;) 
March 21, 2007 3:32:22 PM

Quote:
Ok, it's all about the cfm, the resulting noise for a given level of cfm, and then the rpm that's needed to achieve that cfm. Read that again, that is key.

The end result you want is higher airflow. Period. Now, to get a higher airflow, you need a bigger fan and/or higher rpm's. But with higher rpm's usually comes higher noise. So, it's a question of balancing the airflow with the noise. Some people want minimum noise, some want maximum airflow.

Maximum airflow = Silverstone FM121 (110 cfm, it's a beast)
Minimum noise = Noctua 120mm @ 800rpm

Balance of airflow and noise = Noctua 120mm @ 1200 rpm. These put some very good air and are absolutely silent. Better than S-Flex, better than Nexus. But for some people they want even more airflow...which is fine, but the fans won't be quiet anymore.

So, what do you want:
-high airflow and don't care about noise? Silverstone
-low noise and don't care much about airflow? Noctua, Nexus
-low noise and good airflow? Noctua

Lastly, if you want better control over airflow vs noise, then get a fan controller. You can adjust the voltage/rpm's to achieve what you consider to be a balance. That level is different for everyone, depending on what matters more to them: noise or airflow. So you just pick the range that works for you.

BUT, if you want quiet and airflow, you don't need a fan controller for the Noctua 120mm @ 1200 rpm fans.....they're already dead silent so no need to adjust them down to make quiet.......you won't even hear the whoosh of air at their top speed ;) 


/agree
March 21, 2007 3:34:30 PM

I have to agree with the Noctua recommendation. Every review I've read has given stellar ratings. I would definately have gotten myself that brand if they made the size I needed.

As it is with the 92mm SilenX fan I'm using, I hear turbulence noise because my intake area has a high blockage factor. I'm going to be getting a reamer to remove a lot of material from my case.

If you're going to be buying premium fans like Noctua, make sure the fan you select has good bearings. I think the Noctua uses self-stabilised oil pressure bearings, which are rated for 150K hours. Below this is the sleeve bearings, and worst is ball. Ball bearings will make the most noise, and if you're building a system for silence, bearing noise may end up being the loudest factor.

So for the OP: what are you really looking for: maximum cooling or absolute silence or the best compromise between the two? Is this a media centre PC or a desktop? Going for absolute silence can take a bit of research. Premium case fans are part of the solution, as are good vibration dampeners and a good, quiet power supply. What CPU HSF are you using?
March 21, 2007 3:45:25 PM

Ya, I had to mod my Zalman 9500.....that sucker that was the loudest thing in my case :(  Ended up swapping an Antec Tri-cool 92mm fan. At least now it's better and I got it hooked up to my fan controller. But I'm still not terribly impressed. I'm trying to come up with a reason to justify the Noctua UH-12F to the wife ;) 

The Noctua fans are simply astounding. I've never seen better fans. But they do cost more, so be aware that top performance comes with a price. However, they are 2nd to none.

Then lastly, the PSU. If your CPU heatsink is quiet, and your case fans are quiet, then the last thing that will cause grief is the PSU. I built a system for a buddy that was nice and quiet except the PSU was a nightmare.....don't ask, I had no choice with the PSU, long story.......in any event, Seasonic the THE BEST for a quiet, efficient PSU. An absolute dream of a power supply. And what most people don't realize is that they don't cost that much more than a good regular PSU to begin with. Getting the Seasonic PSU and Noctua case fans were the best investment I've ever made. Couple those with an Antec P180 case and I've got a barnstormer of a system that is dead quiet. I love it.

Takes some planning and a bit of extra effort and a bit more money, but overall it's nice to not have to listen to a jet engine of a case sitting beside me ;) 
March 22, 2007 9:06:21 AM

so you both agree the Scythe Minebea might not be the best choice?
Newegg does not carry Noctua so choices or links? I have shopped a lot of places over the years
FYI I chose Scythe Ninja for the CPU cooler, again bad choice?
March 22, 2007 9:51:13 AM

Get this one instead. Good stuff. I use it on my rig.

FM122
March 22, 2007 1:36:15 PM

The 122 is a high-performance fan, but it's 38mm thick. So I suggested the FM121 because it's a standard 25mm thick. Better fit into standard case slots.
March 22, 2007 4:10:55 PM

Quote:
The 122 is a high-performance fan, but it's 38mm thick. So I suggested the FM121 because it's a standard 25mm thick. Better fit into standard case slots.


Yeah I have the FM121 also my first one actually. It's standard thickness so it will fit in any 120mm fan locations/fittings. The FM122 have better air pressure due to thicker blades and works great in places that you don't need to have concern with the thinkness.

OP you should make sure to have the space to fit the FM122 otherwise get the FM121 to be sure.
March 22, 2007 6:14:13 PM

Goto http://www.hardware.info/
Click "Case Fans"
Click "Click here to compare specifications, test results and prices of 67 case fans in our product database."
Click Tested since: change to All
Near the Compare Specs button, Click to select All fans
Click "Compare Specs"
See actual CFM and DB test results for 67 case fans!
You could copy and paste it to Excel

An idea I haven't tried yet. Put a standard 80mm fan in the rear of the bottom 2 DVD bays. It just fits and is in the perfect position to blow the CPU heat to the exhast fan. The top 2 DVD bays get the DVD reader and burner. This may enable all fans to run at low speed and still keep the CPU temp below 58C.
March 22, 2007 6:21:25 PM

Great link! That set is the start of something great. I hope it keeps growing. Specifically, I want to see Noctua and SilenX. I know SilenX aren't as good as they say, so how good are they really? (I'm happy with mine)
March 22, 2007 6:27:22 PM

SilenX do not even come close to matching their stated specifications....to achieve their stated specs it is virtually impossible....the laws of physics and the tested physical data to do not support their product claims. They are also rebadged. And to top it off, that company has engaged in blatant unethical marketing campaigns (that have been proven) in various respected forums by the company owner himself.

So, they resell other people's products at HUGE markups, their products don't do crap for what they claim, and they lie about their product information and call other acoustical experts liars so people will still think they're getting a good product.

I'm glad you like your SilenX, but I would NEVER recommend someone buy them, not only because of poor specifications, but also because of ethical considerations.


Noctua, Scythe, Nexus are all good fans. Of them, Noctua is the best. Costs a bit more, but you get the Ferrari of case fans ;) 
a b B Homebuilt system
March 22, 2007 6:50:58 PM

Quote:
Newegg does not carry Noctua so choices or links? I have shopped a lot of places over the years...

www.quietpcusa.com has Noctua fans in stock: link
$25 a fan ain't cheap though.
March 22, 2007 6:59:35 PM

$25 a fan?!?!? Are you kidding?

I paid $14 CAN, which is $12 US at directcanada.com. NCIX here has them too, a couple bucks more. I wouldn't pay $25 US either since I bought 4 of those fans. Sheesh.

$25 US is overpriced by alot. Why not at the Egg or ZZF? They're easily available here in Canada.......
March 22, 2007 7:22:47 PM

If only Noctua would make a 92mm fan. They have one on a CPU cooler, but I don't want to buy a HSF just for the fan!
March 22, 2007 7:25:40 PM

Silentpcreview rates these pretty high.
800 rpm
dead silent in my machine, or
1600 rpm
use with a speed controller.

apparently the Sony bearings are super quiet.
March 22, 2007 7:29:27 PM

As far as SilenX's rebranding, I haven't found a manufacturer that makes fans that look the same. I took a look at the SilenXusa site, and those fans are different than the ones I have (bought in Canada). Does the company make one series for the USA and a different one for everywhere else?

SilenX USA doesn't look very impressive.

SilenX are more hopeful.
March 22, 2007 7:40:57 PM

Yate Loon D12SL-12 is the best bang-for-the-buck for a decent low noise 120mm fan. The Yate Loon D12SL-12 and the Nexus D12SL-12 are the same fan, except the Nexus runs a few hundred rpms slower.

Why pay more than $3 for a quiet case fan when you don't have to?
March 22, 2007 10:48:58 PM

Yes, if only Noctua made 92mm fan :( 

Like I said, I've researched high and low for a long time over the past 8 months, and have tried a number of fans.......Noctua is my favorite. However, Nexus, Yate Loon, and Scythe all have very good fans too. Just because Noctua seems to be the best, does this mean those fans are not good? NO! They are very good fans, and when you factor in pricing, they might even be preferred in many instances.

If Noctua's aren't available or are too expensive, one of those other brands would be a very good purchase, and I wouldn't complain about any of them. Alot of people have those other brands of fans and are very satisfied.

So rdhook and utaka's suggestions are certainly good advice. It may end up coming down to availability and pricing. According to many experts, Noctua's are the best. However, the others are close behind and are often more affordable too. I'm sure just about anyone would be happy with any of those brands of fan.
March 22, 2007 11:19:54 PM

Yeah, the Noctua fans are really great, can't even hear them. However, I've found myself right at my temp limit after I replaced them all, I might have to put at least one high airflow fan back in. But currently the only thing I can hear in my PC is the video card fan.

I also got my Noctua fans for $12 each in Canada, I wonder why they're so much cheaper here, that's unusual. You could buy them here and have them shipped there. I had to get my Shin-etsu X23 from the States cause I couldn't get it here, many stores will ship cross border.
March 23, 2007 8:28:26 AM

Which Scythe model? Newegg has 3 lines, the Minebea or the S-Flex? They also have Kama Bay?
March 23, 2007 8:30:51 AM

Has to do with import laws. Noctua are made in Austria, and We staters can't get something because it is the best :x
March 23, 2007 1:45:52 PM

I belive the S-Flex models are the ones you want from my reading over at Silent PC.
a b B Homebuilt system
March 23, 2007 2:59:30 PM

Quote:
I belive the S-Flex models are the ones you want from my reading over at Silent PC.

I currently have three S-Flex 1200 fans in my case. When they run at their full 1200rpm you can definitely hear them (not too loud though). However, all three throttle down to ~750-800rpm by the SmartFan controls on my motherboard and you can't hear them even if you put your ear right up next to them. I've never owned Noctua or Nexus to compare, but just thought I'd give my little testimony to the S-Flex series.
March 23, 2007 3:13:13 PM

Can't hear the Noctua as 1200 rpm at all. But it appears they are harder to find in the U.S. They're available and cheap here in Canada though.....less than half the price what US etailers are charging. ;) 

Nexus fans run at 1000 rpm, which seems to be on the cusp of the noise threshold.....so they're set to 1000, which would make them inaudible and maximize the airflow. Not as good as Noctua, but alot more affordable, and probably quieter than the S-Flex models.
March 28, 2007 3:03:47 PM

I did some listening to the SilenX fans (92 and 80mm) versus the fans that came with my LC13 case (Silverstone 92 and 60mm). Obviously, the 60mm fans were quite annoying, at a high pitch of 3000 RPM. The single 80mm SilenX replaced two of those, and it is much quieter.

The 92mm Silverstone I have is a lot stronger than the SilenX of the same size. I have the highest-CFM SilenX for the 92mm category, which runs at 1600 RPM. I believe the Silverstone is 2100 RPM. Freestanding, the Silverstone is definitely audible. You can hear noises which sound like the bearings to me, as well as the general whoosh of the air. Since the SilenX doesn't push as much air, there's less of a whooshing sound, but the bearings are so quiet I have to hold my ear up to the fan to hear them.

Next, I mounted the 92mm fan back at the intake for the case. I'd previously cut out a section where before there had only been little holes. You can see what I'm talking about through the fan in this picture:



Even with that section cut out, the hole is sized for an 80mm fan, while the mounting bracket holds a 92mm fan. Once the fan is mounted, I hear a lot more whooshing noise than when it's free-standing (or free-standing inside the plastic mounting bracket). It seems that the airflow is still restricted by the case design to the point of "starving" the fan. Too much restriction or back-pressure causes the airflow to separate from the blades, both greatly reducing blowing effectiveness and causing a lot of noise.

I'm planning to ream out the hole more to make it larger, and give it smoother edges than it has now. Hopefully this will reduce the noise a little, as I have very quiet components on order to replace my CPU HSF and PSU. This whooshing will be the loudest part of my system in a week's time.

Anyway, my point was to give a little personal review of the SilenX fan, because it seems the brand has been questionable in the past. To be sure, I have fans that look like the top picture, not the bottom.





So in my experience, the new SilenX fans are much quieter than the Silverstones, but blow a lot less air. Noctua would still be my top pick if you're using 120mm or 80mm sizes.
March 28, 2007 6:01:55 PM

Good info there, my fellow Canuck! ;) 

Thanks for the good reading, I'd be interested in a follow-up after you get the rest done in a week. If you post more pics, pull the camera back a bit so we can see the context and setup too.
March 28, 2007 6:18:35 PM

:) 

I've got to go get myself a good file. I'm seriously wishing I had a dremel, or even a reciprocating saw. The cut-out I did was done with a key-hole saw, and even that was too large to fit in the little holes (and my drill is too weak to bore larger holes). It took me about 3-4 hours of work to get that one section cut. What annoys me is that there is room for a 120mm fan in this chassis, but the initial design was for 80mm. Later it appears that they decided 80mm was too loud so they put in a 92mm mounting bracket (no mounting holes). I would get a 80-120mm fan adapter, but the 80mm mounting holes are already too close to the side of the case so a symmetrical adapter would conflict with the case. I suppose what I need is a friend with a sheet metal bender, either that or I should ask a friend in the industrial design department to make me a plastic piece.

None of the pics in my previous post were my own, by the way. I scrounged those from the net. But I should be able to post my own pics of the finished work when it's all done.

Also, in another thread about the LC13, someone told me that they've nicely fit a 120mm fan into their case. If they post pics, I might copy their work and fit in a Noctua.
March 28, 2007 6:48:09 PM

I have a Silverstone TJ09 case with 5 Silverstone FM121 in it. yes, I was so anal I replaced the middle intake fan of the TJ09 with a FM121 which was a pain to install but I'm not even going to go there. My case has some awesome airflow but it sounds like it's going to take off into orbit. I just added a Tuniq 120 into my case and I'm debating putting a FM121 in there as well but haven't read to make sure that was possible or that it wouldn't hamper anything. But to make a long story short make sure you use a fan controller with the FM121 if you get them they are crazy loud but damn do they push alot of air.
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