Can't Touch This! A Comparison of 46 CPU Coolers

Fan Speed - 2850 RPM To 6700 RPM

High fan speeds automatically produce a higher noise level.

The chart above lists the fan speeds for all the coolers. The bars lined with yellow indicate the 25 new cooler models. The fans on the Swiftech MC370-0A and the Global Win FNP50 continue to spin the fastest at 6700 RPM. As we did during the last test, we measured fan speed using a stroboscope and checked these readings against readings we took using a sensor on the motherboard. However, this second method of measuring fan speed is often somewhat imprecise, resulting in discrepancies of at least 10 percent. The passively designed Zalman coolers, which only cool tolerably well when combined with the active fan, have the lowest fan speeds. The victor from the last test, Noise Control's Silverado, continues to have a relatively low fan speed of 3300 RPM. The two Global Win coolers (CAK 38 and WBK 38) rely on the new Pabst fans that are designed to burn some serious rubber at 6000 RPM. The majority of the remaining coolers tested have an average fan speed of 4000 RPM.

Measurement procedure - We used a stroboscope to measure the fan speeds of all the fans.