What's the best 120mm case fan?

Written by Clive Webster

September 28, 2009 | 10:22

Tags: #120mm #aircooling #airflow #best #buy #case #cfm #compare #comparison #dba #fan #fans #guide #noise #rated #should-i #sound #tested #what

Companies: #bit-tech #test #which

120mm Fans, Page 3


Recom Yellow Blade RC-12025BY

UK price (at time of review): £5.21 (inc VAT)
US price (at time of review): NA
Recom appears to have something of a penchant for distinctive fans, as the suitably named Yellow Blade would have a hard time camouflaging itself in any situation. Despite spinning at 1,700rpm, it’s claimed to shift just 35.2cfm at 19dBA. In our tests, it moved 55cfm, although it was unpleasantly loud at 39.9dBA. Given that other 120mm fans can move more air at a lower noise level, the Yellow Blade is best left to admire itself in the mirror.

Revoltec RL039

UK price (at time of review): £3.47 (inc VAT)
US price (at time of review): NA
Like the other Revoltec fans in this Labs, the RL039 is ridiculously cheap, retailing for just £3.48 inc VAT. Revoltec claims that it can shift 51.4cfm at 23.94dBA while spinning at 1,200rpm, but in our tests, it only moved 30cfm at an audible, but not unpleasant 30dBA. Ultimately though, despite the RL039’s low price, it isn’t worth buying, as it’s very inefficient, having only a 1:1 cfm to dBA ratio.

What's the best 120mm case fan? 120mm Fan Reviews, Page 3
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Scythe Gentle Typhoon D1225C12B4AP-14

UK price (at time of review): £13.00 (inc VAT)
US price (at time of review): $17.99 (ex tax)
Gentle Typhoon sounds like a contradiction in terms to us, but according to Scythe, this 1,450rpm fan can shift 50.2cfm at just 21dbA. Of course, this wasn’t possible in the real world test, but even so, the Gentle Typhoon fared very well, with an airflow rating of 61cfm and a sound pressure reading of 28.6dBA. As such, it’s well worth considering a Gentle Typhoon or two for your PC.

Scythe S-Flex SFF21G

UK price (at time of review): £15.99 (inc VAT)
US price (at time of review): $14.99 (ex tax)
The S-Flex SFF21G is Scythe’s most expensive fan and, when spinning at 1,900rpm, is rated to produce 75cfm at 35dBA. Our test results exceed Scythe’s claims, as the SFF21G shifted 101cfm while emitting 41.3dBA, along with a prominent high-frequency tone and lots of air noise. So we can’t recommend it, despite its very high airflow.

Scythe Ultra Kaze DFS 123812L-2000

UK price (at time of review): £11.99 (inc VAT)
US price (at time of review): NA
The Scythe Ultra Kaze spins at a not-insignificant 2,000rpm, and as it’s a 38mm deep fan, claims to shift 87.63cfm at just 32.91dbA.This is a bold claim, and isn’t matched by our test figures, which show the Ultra Kaze to shift 101cfm while emitting 40.1dBA. The Ultra Kaze also emits a bizarre ensemble of three separate tones that clash together in an extremely irritating manner. Unless you live life wearing a pair of ear defenders, the Ultra Kaze isn’t worth buying.

Sharkoon Silent Eagle 1000 120mm

UK price (at time of review): £13.21 (inc VAT)
US price (at time of review): NA
The Sharkoon Silent Eagle 1000 is one of the oldest products in this test, having won an award in the July 2006 issue of our sister-mag Custom PC. The fan spins at 1,000rpm and is rated to produce 36.8cfm at 19dBA. Sharkoon’s claims are very close to what we found, as we measured its airflow as 36cfm and its sound pressure as 20.7dBA. This means that the Silent Eagle 1000 is still one of the best 120mm fans on the market, producing a comparatively large amount of airflow while emitting little noise.

Sunon Denki KDE1212PMS3-6A

UK price (at time of review): £4.54 (inc VAT)
US price (at time of review): NA
Sunon makes a huge range of industrial cooling fans, but few PC case fans. As a 38mm deep fan, the KDE1212PMS3-6A can shift a lot of air – 101cfm in our tests. But with a sound pressure reading of 48.6dBA and two prominent tones that clash with one another, this fan is best avoided.

Xilence Red Wing 120mm

UK price (at time of review): £6.84 (inc VAT)
US price (at time of review): $9.99 (ex tax)
The Xilence Red Wing spins at 1,300rpm and is rated to produce 44.71cfm at 20.5dBA. While our tests produced different results – an airflow reading of 36cfm and sound pressure reading of 26.9dBA – the Red Wing is still worth considering due to its reasonably powerful airflow and sub-30dBA sound pressure.

 UK Price (inc VAT)US Price (ex tax)AirflowSound QualityValueOverall
Recom Yellow Blade RC-12025BY£5.21NA5/108/108/107/10
Revoltec RL039£3.74NA6/107/108/107/10
Scythe Gentle Typhoon D1225C12B4AP-14£13.00$17.997/107/107/107/10
Scythe S-Flex SFF21G£15.99NA8/104/105/106/10
Scythe Ultra Kaze DFS123812L-2000£11.99NA8/105/106/106/10
Sharkoon Silent Eagle 1000 120mm£13.21NA6/109/107/108/10
Sunon Denki KDE1212PMS3-6A£4.54NA8/103/106/106/10
Xilence Red Wing 120mm£6.84$9.996/108/107/107/10
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