[SOLVED] [SOLVED] Help Chosing New Case Fans (there are so many choices now)

Feb 28, 2019
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Hi All,

recently I have been looking to replace my case fans, being about 12 years old it's probably about time ahead of a full upgrade next year.

I currently have 5x120mm Arctic Cooling fans cooling a Cooler Master Cosmos case, 1 of them is on the CPU Heatsink (a Zalman CNPS10X). Would prefer 2 on there, but the ram is in the way and its set to suck air, not blow onto the heatsink. I like the fans as they are quiet, and the 'network' link means less hassle setting them up to be as quiet as possible while still ramping up only when under load.

The fans I have are the older 120mm variant of this.

Preferences:
  • Quiet (near silent) operation.
  • 2-Way mounting.
  • No RGB nonsense.
  • Fair price (around £10-15 or thereabouts)
Thanks,
Noki

Short of an specific model recommendation what should I be looking for, bearing type, number of blades and shape, that sort of thing?
 

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
Pretty hard to beat the Noctua NF-F12. Few more bucks each than what you wanted to pay, especially if you want the black version, but there are really no other fans except the Noctua NF-A12x25 (Which are significantly better) that compare in terms of airflow and noise level at any given equal RPM and decibel level.
 
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Karadjgne

Titan
Herald
Case Fan: ARCTIC - Arctic F12 PWM CO 74 CFM 120 mm Fan (£12.97 @ Scan.co.uk)
Case Fan: BitFenix - BFF-SCF-P12025KK-RP 51.3 CFM 120 mm Fan (£8.79 @ CCL Computers)
Case Fan: Noctua - NF-P12 redux-1700 PWM 70.75 CFM 120 mm Fan (£12.43 @ Amazon UK)
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available

With the way you have your cooler setup, I'd go with the Noctua P12 there, and use the Arctics at case fans.

Adding a second fan doesn't do much in the way of cooling, even the Noctua NH-D15S uses a single center fan and is only @ 3°C behind the NH-D15 with dual 140mm fans. The CM hyper212 plus, using front and rear fans is the same as the hyper212 evo.

Difference between a NF-F12 and NF-P12 Is the NF-F12 is a focused flow design. That means it's exhaust is directed almost 90°, which is great for anything behind it, but useless for stuff (like your heatsink) in front of it. The P12 has slightly better airflow, higher cfm. Works better in 'pull' than an F12.

And, as mentioned, the newly designed A12x25 is better still across most of the fan curve, the F12 having better static pressure at ultra low rpm, the S12 having better cfm at ultra high rpm. But anywhere in between, like 500rpm-1300rpm,the A12 beats any Noctua design currently.
 
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Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
I'm afraid this is the occasion where I'm going to have to ask you to back up those assertions with some proof. You know I specifically focus on cooling research and design when it comes to systems and read all I can of reviews, lab testing, etc., and nowhere can I recall any such thing such as what you are claiming in regard to those fans.

While the P12 redux does have a higher CFM AND a higher static pressure rating, it also runs at a higher RPM and has a 3db higher noise rating. Those redux fans also, if you've ever used them, and I have several on my bench, have a different "pitch" or "tone" if you will, that is not particularly as pleasant or unnoticeable as the newer Noctua fans.

All those Redux fans are based on older Noctua designs, hence the "redux", and the only reason that fan has a higher CFM and static pressure rating is because it also runs at 200rpm higher than the F12.

Even when in a pull configuration, static pressure is important if there is a significant static resistance either in front of or behind the fan. Only actual exhaust fans that are typically venting to a lower pressure environment have little use for a higher static pressure capability.

It is unlikely, at an equal RPM, which is what I stated earlier, that that P12 1700rpm Redux fan has the ability to "work better in "pull"" than the F12. I'd have to see test specific results of both fans at the same RPM to accept that conclusion.

https://www.assemblymag.com/articles/94875-growing-popularity-of-high-static-pressure-fans-blowers-in-smaller-applications
 

Karadjgne

Titan
Herald
https://aphnetworks.com/reviews/noctua_nf_f12_pwm_nf_f12_pwm

F12 in front of heatsink, P12 if behind it. And you won't get rpm specific results on anything as mobo's don't use rpm base, but duty cycle base. By default, the P12 will always spin a little faster than the F12 at the same duty % when comparing a 1500rpm fan to a 1700rpm fan. If comparing the F12 to the original P12 at 1300rpm, the P12 would always spin a hair slower.

I've used pretty much everything Noctua has for fans except for the A series, haven't built anything since they were introduced, but have read up on curves and performance charts, reviews etc of them. Especially the info put out by Noctua before they got graphic happy. But even on Noctua site, the P12 is slightly ahead in performance overall ratings, the F12 excelling in push, mainly due to the focus. The P12 has a broader output cone. However, that focus is only of any use to exhaust side of the fan, doesn't affect input in the slightest, but cfm does. Static pressure is also attributed to the exhaust, blade design, pitch, size affecting that. Not so much on input. Input is mostly affected by cfm. The more air moved through the fan, the greater the low pressure area in front of it.

It's really hard to put concrete proof to that, much of what I know I got from my father in law, who was a 'propeller man' in WWII, and knew more about props, fans, pitch, angles of rotation, degrees of angles according to length and weight etc than anyone I've ever met. And he passed some time ago.
 

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
I'll get back to you on that. I don't want to put this off topic anymore than I already did. We'll talk about it in another discussion when I have some free time and check a few things out. You get a pass for now. LOL :)
 
Feb 28, 2019
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Thanks!

Reading through what you've talked about I'm leaning towards getting 1x Noctua NF-F12 PWM (for the CPU) and 4x Noctua NF-P12 for the case (2 in and 2 out). The case annoyingly has a built in fan at the front I'd prefer to replace but seems to involve breaking things to get it out.

In terms of layout this is what I was thinking:



Red is the unchangeable Case fan.
Green are the new IN fans (P12).
Blue are the new OUT fans (P12).
Orange is the CPU fan (F12), with yellow being the other position blocked by the RAM.

I went with 3 INS and 2 OUTS to help with cleanliness (I've heard it helps to keep more dust out).

Note this photo (from the web) shows the top case fans mounted fully inside the chassis, however mine are mounted on the other side of the roof of the case as there is a special space for them in a panel above. Would I be better with Static pressure fans there since they have a metal grill on either side of the fans?

This image sort of illustrates it.

I assume I've done it right as the screw hole recesses are made for making the screws flush the way I have mounted them.

Is this layout good for me?
Should I go with 2x F12's instead for the top case fans with the extra 'filters'?


Thanks again,
Noki
 

Karadjgne

Titan
Herald
From the picture, that's a Cosmos S case. The front fan is attached to the lower hdd bays and is removable from the front. Bonus to the Cosmos S is its ability to field a 200mm intake on the side panel, and Noctua makes one. I'd do that ans change that top mount fan to exhaust instead. A lower rpm 200mm will move a ton of air inside and you'd be needing better exhaust to compensate.
 
Feb 28, 2019
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Yes I neglected the 'S' in my first post, remembered when I googled the image.

If I recall correctly I removed the large side fan as it was obstructed by my Zalman CPU cooler. Even if it does fit, that side of the case sits almost flush against a wall hence why I went with the front to back fan layout. I guess the shere size of the fan might negate that, plus there is at least 2cm of space.

I'll pull it out shortly a double check though, same with the front fan.

Thanks for the tip.
 

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
Yes, you can't have a tower cooler AND a side panel fan both, on that case. Well, on MOST cases for that matter.

Definitely you don't want ANY top or rear fans as intake. Flip that fan around, or the idea anyhow.

In 95% of use cases, you will always want front and bottom fans as intake, and top or rear fans as exhaust. There are a few exceptions to this, but they are not even necessarily exceptions I agree with, just ones that some choose to use such as top mounted radiators oriented as intake assemblies which basically either leaves only the rear fan location for use as an exhaust or the use of fan locations that should NEVER be used as exhaust, as exhaust.

Fans are always changeable, otherwise, if one fails you'd have to get a new case. Nobody is going to design like that, not even really bad companies. Front panel comes off, then you can remove the fan for replacement.

If it were ME, I'd mod that case to accept another front intake fan. I'm not sure I've ever seen a full tower case (At least not in a LONG time) that only supported a single front fan on any modern bottom mounted PSU design chassis unless the single fan was a 200mm. Granted, there is the side fan, but obviously that can't be used with any moderately tall tower cooler.

Looking more closely it looks like there is a bottom fan location IN ADDITION to the one for the power supply, that can be used for intake and if it will not interfere with anything like the PSU depending on how long your PSU is, I'd probably think about using that location to gain another intake fan.

Edit: I see you already planned to use that bottom location, so nevermind.
 

Karadjgne

Titan
Herald
Damn. This is a first. Top of the line, full tower flagship case (in its time) touted as perfect for high end builds and enthusiast class components, and a 154.9mm cpu clearance? What was CM thinking? Or is that with the included 200mm Fan mounted. I can't tell, CM has shut down the official pages, and no reviews state it.
Did find that there's ability to mount 3x fans on top though. And yes, as Darkbreeze mentioned, I'd figure out a way to get another fan in front.
 

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
If you remove the first couple of drive bays, including the one below and a few above the existing fan, you could easily mod that case to accept two 140mm fans in front. I get that not everybody is inclined or willing to do case mods though. It's a good case for it however as the rest of the case design is pretty decent for it's era.

It also seems there is a revised side panel door that either increases the height of the CPU cooler you can use or increases the size of what you can use if you use a side fan.


But as old as that case is it's pretty unlikely you'd find one anymore unless it was on Ebay used.
 

Karadjgne

Titan
Herald
That was actually a major topic of discussion on many of the posts I read, CM making a case, selling it (at the time) for $250 and a few short years later, there's no parts, upgrades or replacements to be had. Many complaints coming from second-hand buyers on eBay and other sources, who just wanted a complete case, or the missing hdd bays, or replacement wheels etc.

If (as it looks like) your case is still in great shape, complete etc, it might be worth it to sell it, and buy a new case, that isn't as big, has better cooling options, fits what you need and/or want out of it.
 
Feb 28, 2019
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Back in the day I had and E-ATX board, it's nice to have that option going forward. I have been thinking about a new case during this discussion now that you mention it. My case is in good condition and I have all the original parts still. Looking on eBay it seems £80 +£40 for shipping is the going rate. Not sure how easy it is too sell given the bulk and weight shipping the thing.

Any case I replace it with would be almost as large probably, though having USB3.0 plumbed in would be nice. Plus a hole to access the CPU socket from the back without removing the whole main-board.

Been stuck on a coding bug all evening (my loops weren't looping and it was driving me loopy) but now that's fixed I'm going to power down and check the front fan and side panel. I remember there being plastic clips holding the fan on, with no way of removing without cutting them. Will confirm.

Thank you both for taking such a keen interest!

Leaning towards fans for now, planning on a bigger upgrade next year so maybe case can come along with whatever parts I buy, that way I can scale down. Fans are more universal.

I love this case though, it's a beast! Would be sad to let it go, though maybe the time has come...

If interested my case requirements would be:
  • Quiet above all
  • Simple design, nothing fancy, less is more in terms of looks
  • No tempered glass
  • No RBG
  • I have no HDD's just 2.5 inch SSD's will have no need for 3.5 inch bays
Have a any case recommendations that might sway me?
 
Feb 28, 2019
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OK, first off here are some images showing the CPU cooler in relation to the side panel and what the side panel fan looks like. When in place it sticks in out by around 2cm. This is enough to touch the CPU Cooler, I haven't tried closing it with it in but I don't think it will work.


 
Feb 28, 2019
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Front Fan clip image, you can see it is plastic. I have a new SSD coming later in the week and will look again at removing them. But I think they will be broken by removing them.

 

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
Pretty sure those retainers simply pull out of the hole they are stuck in. Much like these.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-qSq9P_NLI


The things you think are clips, are actually just the grills on the front of the fan. Which is weird because there really shouldn't BE any grills on the front of a fan that is installed IN a case unless it's covering the hole to keep things from the outside from getting into the fan like exhaust fan locations or modded cases.

And even if you break them, in the event they don't easily pull out or unscrew, it's not a big deal to use rubber screws like those in the video I linked to or actual fan screws to fasten them back where they need to go. They are not a big deal.
 

Karadjgne

Titan
Herald
Case recommendations kinda rely on the equipment, especially the mobo. Right now it's all ATX. Between the Intel 9900k and the upcoming 3000 series Ryzen, the HEDT cpus are having it rough unless you have a specific need for excessive amounts of ram, cores, pcie lanes. Ppl are even starting to look at full custom loops in mITX.

With enthusiast builds, serious lack of need for a monster case is gone. Almost nobody is running 2x sli/CF , never mind 3 or 4x sli/CF, with the advent of large capacity SSDs, the need for multiple hdd bays is gone, optical is pretty much dead, networking has advanced to the point where raid boxes/Nas are far better and easier to deal with than a monster case with 5-6 massive TB hdds internal in 1 case.

So even a mid sized ATX actually has more usable internal space and more commonly better performance than threadripper or Intels HEDT cpus.

Eatx is pretty much been relegated back into the hands of professionals and out of the house.

As far as an ATX case goes, my choice would be the Fractal Design Meshify C. It's simple, no TG, no RGB, one of the best airflow cases there is, quiet, hdd bays are removable, wiring is hidden beneath a psu shroud and decent quality. And far lighter than the Cosmos cases, and far smaller its large enough to also handle upto a 360mm aio, and any aircooler on the market.
 

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
I think the Fractal design Define R6 is the best all-around, one size fits ANY, air or water cooling case, whether with or without TG side panel, on the market at anything resembling a reasonable price.

It supports very tall air coolers, just about any kind of water cooling configuration you could possibly want to do, has exemplary cable management and storage mounting features, looks fantastic even though it is a somewhat understated, simple design aesthetically and doesn't try to have unnecessary fancy or exotic shapes or outlandish lighting.

It also supports everything from mini ITX to eATX form factor motherboards and multicard configurations.
 

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
Well, it's like the Jeep Renegade being classified as a compact car. Really? It's an SUV, how the hell is that "compact". There are very liberal rules, or none, when it comes to marketing and specifications for cases. There are cases that say they support eATX for example, but they only support SOME eATX sizes, not all, because those too can vary due to there not being a very rigid standard regarding what actually constitutes what.
 
Feb 28, 2019
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OK, thanks for all of your help!

I think I have decided on a new case, the Define R6 which looks really nice, GamersNexus said good things. And I think if I replace the CPU fan with a Noctua NF-F12 I'll be set for another decade or so.

Choose the Define over the Meshify as it still has the 5.25" bay, plus a bit more space for SSD's. I would prefer the front fans pull air directly through rather than from the sides as the case has one side against a wall but think this will be fine.

I'll keep the stock fans for now, maybe add one from the current case. I can always upgrade those down the road.

Thanks again for taking such and interest, you've both been a big help!

Thanks,
Noki
 
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