It's funny, when I did the first 120mm radiator fan roundup two months ago, I wasn't expecting quite the response it got. It was an interesting exercise that seemed worth sharing with the rest of you, and as it turned out, I was mostly right. What I wasn't prepared for was the avalanche of responses from both you and from vendors about the fans that were tested, or more appropriately, the fans that weren't tested. It was obvious there needed to be another run of fans, and that's just what I've done.

Ten new contenders; some pulled from my own stock, one pulled from retail, and some graciously and generously sent by vendors. The results from these fans will be added to what will wind up being absolutely massive comparison charts. There's an entrant from Scythe, Noctua's gold standard NF-F12, the Enermax Magma, and even a couple contenders from Cooler Master and Rosewill. Is there something available that's a better choice for Corsair's H80 120mm radiator, or are the stock fans still the most well-rounded option?

A lot of testing went into this round. Results are still comparable with the older results (and they most definitely will be compared with the older results), but the batch of fans I have available now are an even more eclectic blend. I'll tell you now that there are some results that turned out pretty much as expected, but some surprises and hidden gems here too.

Before we go on it's worth getting a refresher on the previous article. While the next page has the testing methodology again in its entirety, all but the most fundamental information on the original eight fans I tested with will be omitted for the sake of brevity.

Testing Methodology
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  • Finally - Monday, October 22, 2012 - link

    Here is the latest Fan roundup (number sixteen!) of Summer 2012:

    I found the cooling performance to be irrelevant.
    As long as you have 3 fans in your case (1 for the CPU, 1 at the front and 1 in the back), temperatures tend to stay in the green all the time.

    Sure, I could crank them all up to max RPM, but the few extra degrees I would gain are not worth the increase in noise...
  • DanNeely - Monday, October 22, 2012 - link

    The main reason for water cooling instead of using an air cooler is to push your CPU to near the redline. In that area a few degrees of additional cooling do matter.
  • Finally - Monday, October 22, 2012 - link

    You are preaching to the wrong crowd. I like my PC undervolted, cool and QUIET.
  • TeXWiller - Monday, October 22, 2012 - link

    <quote>some of the European brand fans seem to cost more than two times as much in the US</quote>Those Noctua fans are expensive everywhere. Of course, add the VAT to the prices in Europe. Noctua promises really high MTBF numbers and long waranties compared to most other manufacturers. I personally have been using those lower end Papst fans for some time already. A fan with 80000 hour MTBF is apparently more durable than a hard drive with 800000 hour MTBF. ;)
  • tty4 - Monday, October 22, 2012 - link

    The prices in Europe usually include taxes, the Noctua is ~18EUR online (in Germany), which is about 24USD, which already includes 20% sales tax. So the price in the US should be more like 20USD, while is seems to be 30USD, which is a rather large price difference.
  • DanNeely - Monday, October 22, 2012 - link

    Instead of trying to match up noise/performance numbers from two bar graphs could you do a noise vs temperature scatterplot?
  • maximumGPU - Monday, October 22, 2012 - link

    I second that, It would be so much more useful!
  • Dustin Sklavos - Monday, October 22, 2012 - link a really good idea...and I'm ashamed of myself for not having thought of it. Not for this review (I'm seriously backlogged and we have a boatload of stuff coming in), but that's exactly what I've been looking for for my case reviews.
  • DanNeely - Monday, October 22, 2012 - link

    Are the numbers available in textual form anywhere? I'd like to throw them into a spreadsheet to get the plot myself; but would prefer not to have to type them in manually.
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    Ok, I typed everything into Excel; and after the usual inordinate amount of fighting (to include a detour fighting with Google's spreadsheet too) managed to get a temperature vs noise plot. I'm not really happy about its legability, but with most of the points packed into a fairly narrow area of the graph it's really not practical to try and put labels next to each point.

    If anyone wants to try and make a better chart, here's the raw data too:

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