The Ultimate Cooling Fan Grouptest 2012 Review

👤by Ed Hume Comments 📅31-07-12
Cooler Master Blade Master/Sickleflow, Coolink SwiF2 1201/120P

Cooler Master Blade Master

The Blade Master is another 120mm PWM fan, this time from Cooler Master. For a long time this was the fastest consumer grade computer PWM fan you could buy. It is the fan that came stock on Cooler Master’s famous Hyper 212 Plus CPU heatsink.

Cooler Master’s take on its Blade Master:
• Well-balanced cooling performance among fan airflow, air pressure and noise.
• Wide PWM fan speed range between 600 - 2000 R.P.M.
• Anti-vibration rubber pads around the edges to decrease noise.
• Distinguished blade shape for airflow improvement.

Product Page: Here

The wires are not sleeved. The fan comes with four 2mm thick triangular stick-on pads to reduce vibration. Model number is advertised as R4-BMBS-20PK-R0, but on the fan there are two sets of numbers -- A12025-20CB-4BP-C1 and FA7C1212ME-5BPNA -- that bear no relation to Cooler Master’s model number. The name ‘Cooler Master’ is stamped on one of the blades. Is it enough to cause some vibration? The fan does come with vibration pads, but does not seem excessively noisy even without them.

The PWM functions of the Blade Master were tested, using a grounded PWM wire for 0% PWM duty, and a Zalman PWM Mate to approximate 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% PWM duty. A quiet click can be heard a few inches away. To hear a faint click you must put your ear right up to the fan.

At 0 PWM duty, the Blade Master ran at 791 RPM with no clicking. At 25%, 840 RPM with very quiet clicking; at 50% 1293 RPM with fast quiet clicking; at 75% duty 1804 RPM with quiet clicking. At 100% the fan ran 2083 RPM with a tone, so if clicking was present it would not be heard.

Cooler Master Sickleflow 120:

The Sickleflow ‘R4’ is a much-recommended fan because of its performance. Most people know by now that the 19 dB specification for this 2000 RPM fan is at best a mistake, but one that has not been corrected. Nonetheless, the fan does not sound loud for its speed, and it does its job well.

Cooler Master lists the features:
• Light-brown transparent fan blades for better LED effect.
• Long life sleeve bearing for longer life expectancy.
• Strong air flow to fortify cooling efficiency.
• Silent operation as an excellent choice for case cooling.
• RoHS compliance for protecting the environment.

Product Page: Here

Model numbers are R4-L2R-20AC-GP for blue LED’s, R4-L2R-20AR-R1 for red, R4-L2R-20AG-R2 for green and R4-C2R-20AC-GP for no LED’s. On the label of the blue LED fan are the numbers A12025-20RB-3BN-F1 and DF12025 CF, which do not relate to a Cooler Master model number. The fan comes in a clear blister pack that also contains a Molex adapter.

Coolink SWiF2 120mm

Coolink sells the SWiF2 120mm in three models: the 800 rpm SWiF2 1200, the 1200 rpm SWiF2 1201 and the PWM SWiF2 120P. uses the 1700 rpm 120P as a standard comparator in testing CPU coolers (hint: that means it is a good fan).

Coolink says this:
Featuring an innovative, all new 11-blade impeller design that achieves vast improvements in airflow/noise efficiency, the SWiF2 120mm series combines outstanding quietness with excellent performance and a unique, exciting colour scheme. The new hydro-dynamic bearing ensures whisper quiet operation and even better longevity, which is reflected in an enhanced warranty time of 60 months. Now also available with support for PWM fan speed control, the SWiF2 series provides exceptional silent-performance and includes a full range of trusted Coolink quality fans, suitable for all applications inside your system.

• innovative 11-blade impeller design
• supports PWM fan speed control
• high-performance hydro-dynamic bearing
• protective cable sleeving
• incl. Anti-Vibration Bolts & Screws
• PWM y-split cable for connecting multiple PWM fans
• trusted Coolink quality

Product Page for SWiF2 1201 and 120P: Here

A quick inspection of the factory specs shows that the bottom range of the PWM fan corresponds to the same specs as the 800 rpm SWiF2 1200. So the SWiF2 120P was tested at 0% PWM duty to provide a proxy for the SWiF2 1200. Now you will know how well the SWiF2 1200 cools in addition to the 1201 and the 120P.

The ‘Anti-vibration Bolts & Screws‘ are only about 25mm (one inch) long, so they are too short to pull through; you must have access to the corners of the fan to use them. The cable ‘sleeving’ is black rubber tubing. The PWM Y-cable included with the 120P has the RPM reporting line going only to one arm of the Y -- that is a good thing: it prevents the motherboard from receiving more than one input and getting confused about the RPM.

The PWM functions of the SWiF2 120P were tested, using a grounded PWM wire for 0% PWM duty, and a Zalman PWM Mate to approximate 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% PWM duty. A quiet click can be heard a few inches away. To hear a faint click you must put your ear right up to the fan.

At 0% PWM duty the 120P ran at 762 RPM, producing quiet clicking; 25%: 770RPM and very quiet clicking; 50% 1169 RPM and fast quiet clicking. At 75% and 100% the fan ran at 1584 and 1662 RPM with no clicking.

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