Hey, some time ago I was wondering, why you always read reviews about radiators but never about what drives them: the fans on it. This is why I created this review which should help me found out if fans have a significant amount of influence on the cooling performance of a radiator and if it does, which fan you should buy. Test System: AMD Phenom II 1055T@stock ASRock 890GX Extreme3@stock 2x2 GB G.Skill Eco DDR3-1600 7-8-7-24 Sapphire ATI Radeon HD5870@stock G.Skill Falcon II 64GB Samsung F1 1000GB Asus Xonar DX Antec Truepower New 650W Lian Li PC-A05 2x Noiseblocker Multiframe S1, 1x Noiseblocker BlackSilentPro PK1 as case fans Watercooling components: Watercool Heatkiller 3.0 LT Anfi-Tec UPC Slim Alphacool HF14 Smartmotion EK Waterblocks EK-FC5870 EK Waterblocks EK-Multioption Reservoir 250 Rev. 2 Watercool Silentstar Single Classic Laing DDC, Zern top, Watercool ProBox, Noise Destructor@around 85l/h Tygon 11,2/8mm on TFC-screw-on-fittings EK Waterblocks 120 Radiator with 2xScythe Ultra Kaze 1000 for support Alphacool Heatmaster Phobya G-Changer 140 Test procedure: The radiator will be equipped with the fan to be tested, the raffs will be set to the value of interest (500, 750 and 1000 rpm) and I put full load on the system by using prime95 and furmark simultaneously. After 30 minutes, I note the temperature of the water to be able to deduce the power of the mounted fan. As some fans were not able to reach either 500 or 1000rpm, only the value at 750 rpm will be implied in the end results. I will also test every fan for grinding sounds in every position and my subjective impression of the general noise of the fans at 7V and 12V. The room temperatures were between 18 and 22°C, so no extreme values here. The end result is made out of the following values: 40% - Performance 10% - Build quality 10% - Included accessories 10% - Grinding noises 10% - Noise 20% - Price BeQuiet SilentWings USC BQT T14025-LF RPM: 1000* Wattage: 1.08 W* Noise: 16 dB(A)* Air movement: 102.7m³/h* Starting voltage: 3.5V* Fan blades: 9 (*=untested values by the manufacturer) Scope of delivery: 1x BeQuiet SilentWings USC BQT T14025-LF 4x Decoupling mounting thorns 1x 3-Pin to 4-Pin, 12V 1x 3-Pin to 4-Pin, 7V Price: 14.14€ The German company BeQuiet’s high end model comes with three years warranty and, as a case fan, isn’t really meant to be used on radiators. This is why it can’t really compete with other competitors when it comes to performance, especially because of the frame, which isn’t completely closed. The fan makes a very solid, very high quality and very adult impression. In contrast to the usual, closed frame, BeQuiet chose to use decoupling, slightly flexible spacers, which proved to be very annoying when mounting the fan on a radiator: the M3-screws used could only be pushed through there with a lot of effort. I wasn’t able to see any optical issues with the quality, only the grey spacers weren’t that high quality; then there’s also a slight deduction of points for the slightly sharp edges on the blades. I was very surprised by the quality of the bearing: no grinding sounds what so ever, in no position. The fan also scores big when it comes to noise – 85% of the highest possible score. More points would only have been available in the 12V-mode, but luckily fans on radiators are usually quieted down by some sort of controller. Sadly, the fan doesn’t perform as well when it comes to real cooling. In the three runs it could only achieve a difference of 11.3, 13 resp. 14.3K, which was the worst result in this test. Because of the rather high price and the performance, this BeQuiet can only achieve 75% overall rating, even though it got better points in other areas. This is enough for a very good 4th place for a fan, that I wouldn’t have expected to be that good. Enermax T.B.Silence UCTB14 RPM: 750* Wattage: 1.80W* Noise: 15 dB(A)* Air movement: 77.13m³/h* Sarting voltage: unknown Fan blades: 7 (*=untested values by the manufacturer) Scope of delivery: 1x Enermax T.B.Silence UCTB14 4x Fan screws 1x 3-Pin to 4-Pin, 12V Price: 7.37€ A surprisingly cheap fan, that sadly doesn’t make a secret of its price. Already when unpacking, you can immediately see that this is none of the high quality, high price Enermax top quality-fans, but a fan for entry level users. This also shows in the build quality: it scores 60 out of 100 because of sharp edges, a lot of scratches in the frame and in the blades, which are supposed to be black but have a slight greenish touch. Another big deficit of this fan is the bearing – grinding sounds in every position that couldn’t be dealt with. In contrast to the bearing, the motor itself was very quiet, almost inaudible. 95% in this test when ignoring the grinding noises, this is the best score in this roundup. Mounted on the Phobya radiator, this Enermax doesn’t perform badly and offers temperature differences of 13K at 750 rpm and 14.1K at 500 rpm. With an end result of 67%, this Enermax fan comes in 6th. Nanoxia DX Series DX14-1200 RPM: 1200* Wattage: 1.82W* Noise: 22 dB(A)* Air movement: 89m³/h* Starting voltage: 4V Fan blades: 7 (*=untested values by the manufacturer) Scope of delivery: 1x Nanoxia DX Series DX14-1200 4x Decoulpers Price: 12.59€ This UV-active Nanoxia Fan comes in a simple blister box with four rather long rubber parts for decoupling. This sample was well made, only a few scratches and good edges helped it achieve 85% of the points for build quality. Sadly, there were quite a lot of grinding noises when blowing upwards and another, quieter noise when blowing horizontally. The noises of the motor were also rather annoying, especially at 12V, giving this fan 70% in this discipline. Still, Nanoxia appears to trust their fans, as they come with ten (!) years warranty. With a temperature difference of 12.2K at 750rpm and 11.6K at 1000rpm, this fan came in fifth in performance. I wasn’t able to run it at 500rpm. This fan is probably only an alternative for users, who want to go for the green look, because of its rather high price, the poor scope of delivery and the only average performance. Overall, it’s enough for a fifth place. Noiseblocker NB-BlackSilentFan XK2 RPM: 1100* Wattage: 2.90W* Noise: 21 dB(A)* Air movement: 77.00m³/h* Starting voltage: 5V* Fan blades: 7 (*=untested values by the manufacturer) Scope of delivery: 1x Noiseblocker NB-BlackSilentFan XK2 4x Fan screws Price: 9.62€ After a fan with green blades, here’s something completely different: a fan with blue blades! The entry model by Blacknoise also comes without a complex cardboard box or a lot of accessories to keep the price low. As expected, this “little” Noiseblocker is also very well made – it would have been very surprising, if Blacknoise wouldn’t stick to their usual high quality standards. This also shows in the bearing: only when blowing down you can hear a very quiet grinding sound, which will probably be drowned out by a pump. The general noise created by this fan is also very low – 90 out of 100 for the fan, which Blacknoise offers with three years of warranty. On the radiator, the BSF also performed pretty well and achieves temperaute differences of 10.7K, (500rpm), 11.6k (750rpm) and 13.9K (500rpm), the second best results in this roundup. The BlackSilentFan is a very solid fan and a good alternative to more pricey fans. Those who don’t care about few accessoiries and the blue blades, can get a good fan with this one. Endresult: 76%, third place! Noiseblocker NB-BlackSilentPRO PK2 RPM: 1200* Wattage: 1.08W* Noise: 22 dB(A)* Air movement: 93.00m³/h* Starting voltage: 4.5V* Fan blades: 7 (*=untested values by the manufacturer) Scope of delivery: 1x Noiseblocker NB-BlackSilentPRO PK2 4x Screws 4x Nuts 4x Silicone sockets 1x Siliconeframe "NB-SilentFrame" 1x extension 50cm 1x extension 20cm 1x "(((NB)))"-Case Badge Price: 11.90€ This fan was created in cooperation with the community of the German hardware-board “Hardwareluxx” and comes in a deep black color and a huge scope of delivery. Because of this very discreet appearance, this fan makes a good impression in both heavily modded system and neutral systems. Personally, I really like the understatement shown by this fan, that comes with a six years warranty. Whatever direction I turned the fan, I never got to hear any sort of grinding noises. The overall noise wasn’t bad, either – even at 12V you can’t hear more than the air moving, giving it 90% in the noise test. As mentioned before, there’s seldomly anything wrong with the build quality of these fans – the only thing that annoyed me on this flawless fan was the fact, that when you hold the fan up against a light, the “black” blades shimmer in a slight brown. I was also very satisfied with the included accessoiries, like the “NB-SilentFrame”, acting like a shroud to improve the performance while also reducing vibrations. This performance is also what justifies the rather high price tag: While most fans in this roundup are very close together, this fan darts out and offers great temperature differences of 10.3k (1000rpm), 11.1K (750rpm) and 13.6k (500rpm). This gives the BlackSilentPRO an end result of 85% - a very deserved first place. Phobya Nano-G 14 Silent Waterproof RPM: 1000* Wattage: 2.40W* Noise: 25 dB(A)* Air movement: 97.20m³/h* Starting voltage: 7.0V* Fan blades: 11 (*=untested values by the manufacturer) Scope of delivery: 1x Phobya Nano-G 14 Silent Waterproof 1x Adapter 7V (via a resistor) Price: 11,09€ This Phobya fan comes with red fan blades and a solid, three-year long warranty perdiod. When you compare the Phobya and the Enermax fans though, you immediately see that they must have been made by the same company. The look very much the same and so it comes at now surprise that they pretty much the same. Just as it was with the Enermax fan, the build quality sadly isn’t the best: shard edges and a lot of scratches, especially in the frame. Nothing new in the grinding- and noise tests: grinding in all possible ways, only when blowing vertically it’s not as bad. It also was slightly louder than the Enermax because of ist higher rpm. In the test system, this Phobya fan achieved temperature differences of 11K, 12.5K and 14.4K at 1000, 750 and 500 rpm. Just as the fan by Nanoxia, this Phobya Nano-G appearars to be a fan for users, who require special colors for their system. With an end result of 64%, it’s only the ninth place for the Phobya. Revoltec AirGuard 140mm RPM: 1200* Wattage: 1.32W* Noise: 19.8 dB(A)* Air movement: 96.22m³/h* Starting voltage: unknown Fan blades: 7 (*=untested values by the manufacturer) Scope of delivery: 1x Revoltec AirGuard 140mm 4x Fan screws Price: 3.90€ With the tiny price of only 3.90€, the Revoltec AirGuard is the cheapest fan in this roundup. When looking at the price, you might think, that Revoltec tried to save costs whereever possible…but still, the build quality, while not being great, isn’t bad. All right, there are barely any accessoiries included and the box could need some more love, but I think that’s acceptable at less than 4€. This black fan perfectly well showed, that fans don’t have to be expensive. A rather quiet grinding noise in every position and around 70 out of 100 for the overall noise…nothing too bad. Still, the noise at 12V could be more quiet in my opinion. A big disadvantage for this fan is the lack of controlability – the manufacturer specifies it to run at 9-12V, but I could at least still start it at 7. The lowest rpm I could reach was 620. The results of the performance test were the most interesting to me, to be honest. Differences of 11K@1000rpm and 12.6K@750rpm was only enough for the next to last place. So, a fan for less than four Euros. Is it worth it? I don’t think so. All right, with the overall results of 79% it scores big – second place…but is it really meant to be there? The AirGuard is “okay” in all disciplines, not more and not less, it’s just carried by its price. If you really have nothing left to buy fans, this will be your choice. Sharkoon System Fan (Midrange) RPM: 1200* Wattage: 1.44W* Noise: 27 dB(A)* Air movement: 109.60m³/h* Starting voltage: unknown Fan blades: 11 (*=untested values by the manufacturer) Scope of delivery: 1x Sharkoon System Fan (Midrange) 4x Fan screws Price: 5,34€ The Sharkoon fan is as basic as it gets: a black fan with a Sharkoon symbol, no further writings concerning wattage or rpm, no sleeve, with a bag of screws in a reusable plastic bag. When I take a look at what other manufacturers can deliver with even less money, I was a bit disappointed. This disappointment only grew when looking at the build quality: I discovered a ton of scratches in the frame and seriously sharp fan blades (even though it’s a blade, it doesn’t have to be that sharp…). This fan also looks very disturbed while running; an imbalance of some degree is standard on fans, but this one’s really all over the place. This also results in a seriously bad grinding noise test result – it’s even audible over the 60/100 noise at 12V. Still, even though the fan didn’t score well till now, it wasn’t bad on the radiator: results of 10.7 (1000rpm) and 12.3K (750 rpm) are ok, while 500rpm couldn’t be reached. This average performance helps the Sharkoon to still cling to the eigth place.If you’re looking a cheap fan, get the Revoltec instead and even save some money. Xigmatek Crystal 140 Blue LED Fan RPM: 1000* Wattage: 3.60W* Noise: <16 dB(A)* Air movement: 107.89m³/h* Starting voltage: unknown Fan blades: 7 (*=untested values by the manufacturer) Scope of delivery: 1x Xigmatek Crystal 140 Blue LED Fan 4x Fan screws 1x 3-Pin to 4-Pin, 12V Price: 10.80€ The Xigmatek Crystal is the only fan in this roundup to use LEDs for lighting. Blue LEDs on a transparent (seriously transparent, almost like glass) fan look pretty nice, but you can’t argue over taste. Even though you might sometimes think that manufacturers might use this as a shiny distraction over bad quality, this isn’t the case with the Xigmatek: The build quality is surprisingly good, the only annoying things are the slight differences in the surface of the blades – very well visible because of the acrylic glass. Sadly, again, the grinding is very audible, especially when blowing vertically. The overall noise is also quite disturbing, especially at 12V. No fan in this roundup was louder than the Xigmatek. Mounted on the radiator, the Xigmatek looks pretty good and still doesn’t perform badly: 10.6K, 11.9K and 14.2K were the achieved results, better than average. The Xigmatek Crystal is a fan that looks good. Sadly, this is probably the only thing it does – the overall noise is just unbearable. This fan is only an alternative for someone looking for a fan, that’s glowing blue – otherwise, just keep your distance. 66%, place 7. Yate Loon D14SL-12 RPM: 1000* Wattage: 6.00W* Noise: 21 dB(A)* Air movement: 74.77m³/h* Starting voltage: unknown Fan blades: 7 (*=untested values by the manufacturer) Scope of delivery: 1x Yate Loon D14SL-12 Price: 6.89€ Another “how basic can you go?”-fan. Yate Loon was able to be one of the big players with the D12SL-12 in the past years, but in the last time, a lot of people have discovered, that something was wrong with the D12SL-12 – it’s grinding now. It’s now up to me to find out if this is an issue with the D14SL-12, too. Let’s make it short: Yes, it is. The D14SL-12 has huge issues with the build quality – you can barely believe that you’re holding up a brand new fan when looking at the scratches, that are more like valleys. The overall impression I had till now of the “Loonie” was sadly only underlined in the following tests. Grinding in all positions and the motor was just as unloving, buzzing away at 12V, while running completely silent at 7V. It also doesn’t come with accessoiries, so no points to get there. On the radiator, the Loonie was at least able to keep some dignity and achievemend better than average results of 11.8 and 13.3K – especially interesting as this fan was the best when it comes to 500rpm. Third place for the performance. I think I should also mention that the fan comes with “1000rpm +- 10%” and really used that – it maxed out at 919RPM. Overall, this fan appears rather cheap and probably just like it’s little brother, the D12SL-12, there will be a lot of great fans made in the same factory…this sample just isn’t one of them. The LED lighted or the 2300rpm variants might be interesting for modders/benchers, but for 24/7 radiator use, avoid this fan at all cost. This is the tenth and last place with 63%. Conclusion: So, let’s see. The Noiseblocker NB-BlacksilentPRO by the German company Blacknoise is, in my opinion, the best choice for cooling a watercooling loop. There are a lot of alternatives, but even with a price that high, the BlackSilentPRO wins over all it’s competitors. Those who won’t pay almost 12€ for a fan, or who need a ton of fans, can just buy the Revoltec AirGuard instead. It offers outstanding value for money and is overall more than you’d expect. A good compromise between money and quality is the Noiseblocker NB-BlackSilentFan XK2. If you can do without that huge scope of delivery of the BlackSilentPRO, this might be a good alternative, even though the bearing isn’t quite that perfect. Temperature difference in K after performance at 750 rpm: Price in €: Overall result: I hope you hade the same amount of fun reading this roundup as I had making it. I also hope you now know what fan to be for your next radiator. -cake Thanks go out the the company Aquatuning for suppliing me with the samples used in this roundup.