I'm trying to decide which cooler to get...
I'd get the Scythe S-FLEX SFF21F 120MM with the Ultra 120.
I would like to know how noisy this Ultra 120 can be with that fan, I know a lot of people have this setup.
I am concerned with cooling my CPU as best as possible but I also dont want a jet engine if you know what I mean. The Noctua cooler isn't as good at cooling the CPU but is rated very quiet and has a noise to performance ratio that is quite acceptable to me. It's also $30CDN cheaper.
Please, no comments like "Ultra 120 PWNS". I know that, but I want opinions on the noise to performance level compared to the Noctua NH-U12F (middle-high end cooling, low end noise).
I found this information @ Frosty Tech
Thermalright Ultra-120 Temp: 12.4 Noise: 53.7(120mm Martech D712025125Z2N fan) <-- how does it compare to the scythe?
Noctua NH-U12 Temp: 17.5 Noise: 45.4
If the Scythe produces even less noise, the 7Db difference could be even lower.. which would make a big difference in my decision.
The Ultra-120 will be as loud as the fan you put on it. From what I've heard, the Noctua 120mm are one of the most silent fans out on the market today, so it will beat out the Scythe in terms of noise/airflow ratio. However the Scythe isn't a slouch either. When undervolted it's almost as quiet as the Noctua. I suggest you check out silentpcreview.com for more info about quiet PC parts.
It's actually refreshing to see someone ask a heatsink question, giving specific requirements. Most people just ask "what's the best cooler for 775?", which of course depends on how you define "best". You're question is more to the point - you want an efficient cooler, at low noise levels. Of course you didn't mention which processor, which case you're using and how high you plan to overclock, but it's a start ...
MADSHRIMPS has a good roundup that should help you on this. First, the Ultra 120 doesn't come with a fan, so you have to add your own anyway, so in this review, he uses a Papst 4412 F/2GLL, which spins at roughly 1250-1300 rpm at full speed (12v), making roughly ~42-45cfm. You can listen to recordings of that fan (along with the Scythe S-Flex fans) at this link. Basically, this looks like an excellent fan for silent cooling. Note that the actual measured sound level will depend on how a person measures it (from what angle, how far away, etc). For purposes of the following, that fan comes in at 35bBA @ 50cm.
Ok, now on to the comparisons... first take a look at the chart on this page. In this chart has some loud HSFs in the top portion, with the quieter ones at the bottom.
- Near the top of that list, you'll find the Ultra 120 (67C)with that Papst fan installed - it really doesn't perform that well with quiet/slow fans.
- Moving down the list (better cooling), about 2/3rds to the bottom, you'll find the entry for the Noctua (62C) with it's own stock fan, at basically the same noise level.
- A few entries below there, you'll find the Scythe Infinity (60C) with it's own stock fan (a bit louder than the others and maybe 'noticable' at that level).
- Below there, you'll find both the Tuniq Tower (fan on low speed) and Scythe Ninja using the Papst fan, with both cooling to 59C.
- The final two entries (at 58C) are the ASUS Silent Square with it's not-so-silent fan and the Scythe Mine, with it's own stock fan, one tick of noise above the Papst fan.
So the real sleeper here is the Scythe Mine, which has a nice fan mounting mechanism (can attach any 25mm thick fan), is light weight, doesn't take up a ton of room (compared to the 120mm heatsinks - the Mine has a 100mm stoack fan) and can be found at bargain prices these days (sorry, I'm not familiar with CDN prices or online stores).
Just to see if the differences are caused by the fan in use, if you look at the following page, he also tested them all using the same Papst fan (or a similar air-flow Delta fan, for the 92mm heatsinks). The only notable changes to the above ordering is...
- the Tuniq picks up a bit of performance and now tops the list (erm.. bottom's it ).
- The Noctua picks up some performance (it's stock fan really does't push much air when there's some impedence) and moves ahead of the Infinity.
- The Ninja and Mine keep thier position at the top, with the Mine now cooling the VRM/PWM a bit better, using the excess air-flow off the sides (the 120mm fan is larger than the 100mm fins).
Note that all these tests were done on a hot-running Athlon 64 3200+ cpu @2420MHz 1.7v, making putting out about ~165W. Core 2 Duos start at about ~85W, Quads at ~125W, but bumping the voltage up in either case will cause that to rise quickly (A duo gets up over 100 pretty quick, but won't hit that 165W of the Athlon without some extreme overclocking).
In short, this review, along with his newer one are geared specifically towards people who want to see "quiet, yet efficient" cooling. He is currently working on the June update, which should be out next week sometime.