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200mm fan vs. 2x 120mm fans, what's best?

So I just ordered all my parts for a new rig, the case being the Cooler Master HAF 912 mid-tower. I'll post the complete list below for reference.
My question is: is it better to use two 120mm fans on the front and top of the case (four fans total plus the side and rear fan) or should I get a couple 200mm fans; one for the front and one for the top? What's the best for moving the most air efficiently and quietly?


The build is this:


Case: Cooler Master HAF 912 $50
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119233&Tpk=haf%20912

CPU: Intel Core i5 2500k $220
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115072

Motherboard: MSI Z68A-GD80 (G3) $200 after MIR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813130610

RAM: Corsair Vengeance 16GB DDR3 1600 $85
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820145347

GPU's: MSI GTX560ti HAWK in SLI $490 after MIR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127578

SSD: Crucial M4 64GB $100
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820148441

HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB $150
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822152185

PSU: Corsair Professional Series HX850 $125 after MIR and promo code
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139011

Heatsink/Fan: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO $35
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103099

DVD: ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS - OEM $20
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827135204

OS: Windows 7 Home premium $100

Total cost of build after mail-in rebates: $1,575


Thanks for suggestions and advice for case fan cooling. Merry Christmas!
15 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about 200mm 120mm fans what best
  1. if you want more silence than one 200mm fan is better.and if you want more airflow for a little more noise,2x120mm setup is better.
    i would suuggest coolermaster megaflow 200mm for single fan setup and coolermaster sickflow 120mm fans for dual fan setup.they are cheap,quiet and cool.
    i prefer 2x120mm fans for more efficient airflow and adjust the speed to maintain noise level.
  2. Best answer
    Although I don't have the HAF 912, I do have experience with both Cooler Master 200mm and 120mm fans.

    200mm: Quiet
    120mm: Powerful

    At full speed, 120mm fan can be pretty loud - I use a fan controller to set it at 1500 RPM when rig doesn't need it.

    I use the smaller fan to push through a water cooling radiator while all 200mm fans are for the case - therefore, I'd suggest a 200mm unless you need the 120mm fan to push through something that resists airflow.
  3. Thanks for the replies, guys. I took a look at those two fans and found:

    200mm: 110cfm, 19dBa
    120mm: 70cfm, 19dBa

    So per decibel the 200mm is clearly more efficient (5.78cfm/dBa vs. 3.68cfm/dBa). However, two 120mm's in tandem would equate something around 140cfm, 38dba. 140cfm vs 110cfm is a gain of ~27%. But obviously a gain of 2x the amount of noise as well.

    Seems like the 200mm is the way to go. I don't plan to use a radiator anytime soon. I just want to move a lot of air through my case. I think keeping the number of fans to a minimum is going to be a good idea, because as it is (using 200mm fans) I'll have:

    1 front case 200mm
    1 top case 200mm
    1 side case 120mm
    1 rear case 120mm
    1 cpu cooler 120mm
    4 gpu cooler fans 80mm ea.
    1 PSU fan 140mm

    10 fans total..
  4. Do yourself a favour and buy the LP Vengeance kit = way more hsf clearance
    CORSAIR Vengeance 16GB
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820233198
    Yeah i'd go with the 200mm CM MegaFlows.
    Build looks great btw!
  5. Thanks. Do you think I'll have an issue with the heat spreaders on the sticks I ordered?
  6. tisue001 said:
    Thanks. Do you think I'll have an issue with the heat spreaders on the sticks I ordered?


    It's such a common issue but no one seems to have a definite answer for that. It may vary on the motherboard.

    Play it safe - get the low profile version - it'll work just the same.
  7. tisue001 said:
    Thanks for the replies, guys. I took a look at those two fans and found:

    200mm: 110cfm, 19dBa
    120mm: 70cfm, 19dBa

    So per decibel the 200mm is clearly more efficient (5.78cfm/dBa vs. 3.68cfm/dBa). However, two 120mm's in tandem would equate something around 140cfm, 38dba. 140cfm vs 110cfm is a gain of ~27%. But obviously a gain of 2x the amount of noise as well.

    dB's (whether dBm, dBA, or dBW) do not work that way. The dB scale is logarithmic. An increase of 3 dB equals 2 times the output.

    Larger fans, provided they fit, are nearly always better.For a given speed, a larger fan can move more air. Or for a given airflow, they are quieter because they turn more slowly.
  8. tisue001 said:
    Thanks. Do you think I'll have an issue with the heat spreaders on the sticks I ordered?

    Yes absolutely!the closest dimm to the cpu socket will definitely be a problem with 52mm tall ram and an aftermarket heat sink.
    Guaranteed!
  9. Uh oh.. I've already ordered the parts. I'll have to wait and see if they're going to fit or not. If so, I suppose I can look into getting different heat spreaders for the sticks. Or maybe I'll be able to alleviate the conflict by positioning the hsf one way or another. Is there a better or not so good way of orienting the cpu hsf? I was thinking that I would face the broad side of the hsf up, so it would be parallel with the 200mm fan I'll put at the top of the case. But perhaps that won't work with the ram sticks...

    jsc - thanks for the insight. I know nothing about sound, so that was helpful.
  10. tisue001 said:
    Uh oh.. I've already ordered the parts. I'll have to wait and see if they're going to fit or not. If so, I suppose I can look into getting different heat spreaders for the sticks. Or maybe I'll be able to alleviate the conflict by positioning the hsf one way or another. Is there a better or not so good way of orienting the cpu hsf? I was thinking that I would face the broad side of the hsf up, so it would be parallel with the 200mm fan I'll put at the top of the case. But perhaps that won't work with the ram sticks...

    jsc - thanks for the insight. I know nothing about sound, so that was helpful.

    East/west hsf orientation generally yields the best cooling performance by utilizing front intake fan flow and the close proximity of the rear exhaust fan.
    The addition of top mounted exhaust is an added bonus.
    Worst case scenario is you'll have to position your cooler fan on the opposite side in pull position=if closests ram module makes mounting on the dimm side a problem.
  11. Best answer selected by tisue001.
  12. davcon said:
    Worst case scenario is you'll have to position your cooler fan on the opposite side in pull position=if closests ram module makes mounting on the dimm side a problem.


    Well I received my parts today! :bounce: :pt1cable: but I definitely have a conflict with the hsf and first memory slot with that tall ram cooler.. I've switched the fan to the other side of the heat sink for a pull configuration. Is this going to be as effective as a push configuration? Should I be worried about it not cooling the cpu as well like this? If so, I think my best possible solution would be to outfit the first ram stick with a different low-profile heat spreader, but it doesn't look like the spread that it came with wants to come off very easily.. Has putting a different heat spreader on a stick been done before? I don't want to ruin the ram trying to get the factory spreader off..

    Thanks!
  13. By the way get an Intel core i5 3570k. On newegg, it costs just as much as a 2500k, don't know why, so take advantage of it
  14. Solid_Snake3 said:
    By the way get an Intel core i5 3570k. On newegg, it costs just as much as a 2500k, don't know why, so take advantage of it


    Solid_Snake - thanks for the advice... but I built my computer nearly a year ago now; the 3570k wasn't even available then, and I'm in no position to need to upgrade already. Take a look at the dates of the previous posts.
  15. Have you upgraded yet?
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