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Best 140 mm fans for ultra quiet operation (700 RPM?) on a thin radiator?

What would you call the best fans for virtually inaudible operation on a thin (28-30 mm) liquid cooling radiator with 14-16 FPI?

I'm interested in the models that are the very best, but also in those that are best bang for buck in the middle price segment.

 

I assume that "virtually inaudible" will be 600-700 RPM. For example, my Noctua NF-A14 FLX are well audible at 700, but I hope to find a better fan than those.

P. S. A bit disappointed in the Noctua product and won't buy them again any time soon unless they come up with a new ground-breaking model.

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I'd get one of the two depending on what you want to pay:

 

  • Scythe Kaze Flex 140.
  • Noiseblocker NB-eLoop B14-2.

 

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I use the nf 14a I think it’s called. Also their industrial 2k variant. 
But recently got the Artic fans. 5 pack for 40usd. Perform great, all black too. But are 3 pin. 

Main RIg Corsair Air 540, I7 8700k, ASUS ROG Strix Z370-H, G.Skill TridentZ 16GB, EVGA 1080TI SC Black, EVGA 850 GQ, Acer xG270HU 2560x1440@144hz

 

Spare RIg Corsair Air 540, I7 4770K, Asus Maximus VI Extreme, G.Skill Ares 32Gb, EVGA 1080sc & 1060 SSC, Corsair CX850M, Acer KG251Q 1920x1080@240hz 

 

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3 pin is a plus for me. I don't trust PWM versions after buying EK Vardar PWM fans which made extra noise if you connect them to 3 pins instead of 4 - sold those in a hurry and won't buy anything from EK again. Apparently, the controller wasn't designed to properly handle total lack of the PWM signal.

 

Thanks for the recommendations. I've been thinking about NB e-loop fans as well because I have the 120 mm version on my 360 rad and they're excellent - inaudible at 800 RPM. But I wasn't sure they're actually the best for my scenario, and they're super expensive.

 

It's too bad it's hard to find any comparative fan reviews with measurements on a radiator (or at least a CPU cooler) and not just in free air. thermalbench.com used to do great objective reviews but they haven't been publishing for a while.

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Arctic P14. Cheap as hell,very good performers (among the best if not the best at low revs). The Noctua NF-A14 (Industrial PPC) are good but noisier and you just don't need anything above 1500 rpm obviously. Thin rads benefit less from higher rpms than thicker rads so the 500-1000rpm range is what you want. For the price of 2-3 Arctic P14 you can get 1 Noctua NF-A14.

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TY-147A SQ would be another great choice. 

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Found an interesting bunch of fan reviews:

http://thermalbench.com/2016/09/22/be-quiet-silent-wings-3-140-mm-fan/3/

http://thermalbench.com/2016/02/12/blacknoise-nb-eloop-b14-ps-and-b14-3-140mm-fans/3/

 

Basically, e-loop are great for low restriction flow and for super low noise; Silent Wings are great for restricted flow but their noise floor is a bit too high (they just can't spin slow enough). TY-147A SQ are good all around and for their price, but not the best in any category.

 

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On 10/21/2020 at 1:03 AM, bowrilla said:

Arctic P14. Cheap as hell,very good performers (among the best if not the best at low revs). The Noctua NF-A14 (Industrial PPC) are good but noisier and you just don't need anything above 1500 rpm obviously. Thin rads benefit less from higher rpms than thicker rads so the 500-1000rpm range is what you want. For the price of 2-3 Arctic P14 you can get 1 Noctua NF-A14.

What type of P14 are you talking about exactly? P14 / P14 PST (pressure optimized) / P14 PST CO (continuous operation)?

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ARCTIC P14 Value Pack - 140 mm Case Fan, Five Pack, Pressure-optimised

Main RIg Corsair Air 540, I7 8700k, ASUS ROG Strix Z370-H, G.Skill TridentZ 16GB, EVGA 1080TI SC Black, EVGA 850 GQ, Acer xG270HU 2560x1440@144hz

 

Spare RIg Corsair Air 540, I7 4770K, Asus Maximus VI Extreme, G.Skill Ares 32Gb, EVGA 1080sc & 1060 SSC, Corsair CX850M, Acer KG251Q 1920x1080@240hz 

 

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6 minutes ago, Mick Naughty said:

ARCTIC P14 Value Pack - 140 mm Case Fan, Five Pack, Pressure-optimised

Thank you.

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58 minutes ago, marako said:

What type of P14 are you talking about exactly? P14 / P14 PST (pressure optimized) / P14 PST CO (continuous operation)?

The PST version means there's some built in splitter to chain the fans and to share the PWM signal. It's (to my knowledge) just a fancy expression for that. The CO version is meant for 24/7 usage. The P14 are pressure optimized, the F14 are not. P14 are all black, the F14 are black frame + white blades

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Here's another very interesting comparison (source). In this test Arctic P14 were the best at all speeds as a case fan and on a CPU cooler, but on a liquid cooling radiator their low-noise performance is unfortunately far from the best. Also, I'm disappointed in e-loop and Silent Wings 3 fans, I was sure one of these would be the best. And surprised by Noctual NF-A14, which I do have on my thin 280 mm radiator and I'm not too pleased with their noise (anything above 620 RPM is audible). But in this test A14 were among the best in the ultra low noise range.

 

Also, these Fractal Design GP-14 fans look interesting.

 

image.thumb.png.93942998c299979bd356712b75256d11.png

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Prolly best to buy them all and find out for yourself. 

Optimum Tech did a video on a few fans. May have been the 120mm versions I dont recall.

I know I couldnt hear my nf-a14's at low rpm. But I use low fpi rads for that exact reason, not the lowest but enough to work great and have low noise.

Main RIg Corsair Air 540, I7 8700k, ASUS ROG Strix Z370-H, G.Skill TridentZ 16GB, EVGA 1080TI SC Black, EVGA 850 GQ, Acer xG270HU 2560x1440@144hz

 

Spare RIg Corsair Air 540, I7 4770K, Asus Maximus VI Extreme, G.Skill Ares 32Gb, EVGA 1080sc & 1060 SSC, Corsair CX850M, Acer KG251Q 1920x1080@240hz 

 

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Could say screw the fans and use a copper coil.

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Corsair ML140 Pro are probably the best fans. Reason for that is that they use a magnetic levitation bearing. Meaning there is 0 friction when the fans spin... dead quiet.

 

Push a good amount of air aswell.

 

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On 10/20/2020 at 11:06 PM, VioletGiraffe said:

3 pin is a plus for me. I don't trust PWM versions after buying EK Vardar PWM fans which made extra noise if you connect them to 3 pins instead of 4 - sold those in a hurry and won't buy anything from EK again. Apparently, the controller wasn't designed to properly handle total lack of the PWM signal.

Plugging a 4-pin PWM fan to 3-pin hub, and complain the fan too loud and blame EK. Genius.

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Most PWM fans have no such problems and work just fine on 3-pin headers. If a fan does not properly handle open-circuit PWM line it's a design flaw. They could have fixed it with an internal pull-up or pull-down resistor on the PWM line.

They weren't stellar fans in terms of noise with proper 4-wire connection either.

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17 hours ago, VioletGiraffe said:

Most PWM fans have no such problems and work just fine on 3-pin headers. If a fan does not properly handle open-circuit PWM line it's a design flaw. They could have fixed it with an internal pull-up or pull-down resistor on the PWM line.

They weren't stellar fans in terms of noise with proper 4-wire connection either.

You aren't supposed to plug 4-pin PWM fan to 3-pin header, period.

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I don't believe it says that on the box anywhere, but whatever. That's why non-PWM fans are better, and I'm still dissatisfied with EK's engineering - because, as I said, it is quite possible to make a PWM fan support 3-pin connection flawlessly, they just didn't bother.

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On 10/20/2020 at 10:05 AM, VioletGiraffe said:

I assume that "virtually inaudible" will be 600-700 RPM. For example, my Noctua NF-A14 FLX are well audible at 700, but I hope to find a better fan than those.

P. S. A bit disappointed in the Noctua product and won't buy them again any time soon unless they come up with a new ground-breaking model.

Depends on the fan. Different models have different 'sweet spots' and comparing them with rpm is a bit arbitrary when performance is what should ultimately matter. Testing often normalizes for noise or temps.

Have you tried running lower rpm? I personally find NF-A14's very quiet around 550-600rpm. Are you using NF-A14's in push or pull? In pull, the fan blades can be too close to a dust filter or fins which can cause noise that wouldn't be present when fans are in push. 

 

If you wanted to look at fan roundups, there are some results here: https://linustechtips.com/main/topic/1261692-case-fan-review-sites/?do=findComment&comment=14150730

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