Cooling Best low-profile 120mm case fans?

TheInternal

Trash Compacter
Original poster
May 27, 2016
53
13
Howdy!

Well, I have the Node 202 version of my system built, but the GPU is hitting 83C when doing prolonged stress tests and throttling in my new STRIX 1080 when in manufacturer's OC mode and fans auto max at 50%.

I'm thinking getting a 120 mm fan or two in the GPU compartment would help with temps.

Anyone have any suggestions or experience with low-profile 120mm fans? "Good enough" heat dissipation while being super quiet takes priority over great cooling and loud.

Thanks!
 

IntoxicatedPuma

Customizer of Titles
SFFn Staff
Feb 26, 2016
992
1,272
I used the Silverstone FN121/FW123 (i think those numbers are right) and they're pretty decent but sometimes they feel a bit loud. They're 15mm thick.
 

K888D

SFF Guru
Lazer3D
Feb 23, 2016
1,483
2,970
www.lazer3d.com
I used the Silverstone FN121/FW123 (i think those numbers are right) and they're pretty decent but sometimes they feel a bit loud. They're 15mm thick.
The Silverstone slim fans can run silent at idle speeds, but most of them have a scraping noise at low speeds which is much louder than the fan itself. they also have a high max rpm which can get very loud.

Akasa also do a good slim fan which can run nice and quiet if you get the settings right, they are also quieter than the Silverstone at max speed, but its difficult to match it up to a motherboard which can get it running at low RPM's, by default the PWM of the Akasa fan is set high and it seems to idle above 900 rpm so its quite audible (this is with Gigabyte motherboards). But if you can get it running at its minimum 600 rpm its very quiet, I think some motherboards such as the Asus boards can use different voltages to match your fan and control fan speeds better. Akasa fan below:

https://www.scan.co.uk/products/120mm-akasa-ak-fn078-slim-fan-designed-for-htpc-or-slim-system

Noctua are currently developing a slim 120mm fan, not sure when it is due to be released though.

BeQuiet don't have any slim 120mm fans, that I am aware of, but their 25mm thick fans are very quiet, especially if you go for the low rpm versions. If you can fit a 25mm fan and your on a budget then the Fractal Silent Series R3 fans are extremely quiet even up to full rpm.

Thermalright do some slim fans, but from my experience they aren't particularly quiet.

Prolimatech have a slim 120mm and 140mm slim fan, I've been using the 140mm recently, although its quieter than the equivalent Thermalright fan its not completely silent at idle speeds, this is running at around 600rpm, but the airflow is good even at this rpm. It is fairly quiet at full rpm as well considering how much air it pushes when maxed out.

I've not got any experience with the Scythe 120mm slim fans, but I've used their 100mm Kaja Jyu Slim, it was OK but not silent.

Gelid have this slim fan, not sure if its any good:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Gelid-Slim...id=1469520290&sr=8-18&keywords=120mm+slim+fan

Thermaltake have recently released a slim 120mm and 140mm fan called the Luna, they are marketing it as a quiet fan, not sure if its actually any good, but I will be trying it out soon hopefully:

http://www.thermaltake.com/products-model.aspx?id=C_00002614

Deepcool do a 20mm thick fan, if you wanted to shave off 5mm, they say it provides the same amount of air as a 25mm thick fan (ignore the description which states its 10mm thick):

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00KJF1ZM8/ref=olp_product_details?_encoding=UTF8&me=
 

Phuncz

Lord of the Boards
SFFn Staff
May 9, 2015
5,810
4,895
Howdy!

Well, I have the Node 202 version of my system built, but the GPU is hitting 83C when doing prolonged stress tests and throttling in my new STRIX 1080 when in manufacturer's OC mode and fans auto max at 50%.

I'm thinking getting a 120 mm fan or two in the GPU compartment would help with temps.
Your GPU already has three fans and is sitting close to the outside of the case, so it should be able to function without issue. But you said you have the fans limited ? Well there's your problem. The reference GTX 1080 was regularly throttling when used longer than a few minutes because it's cooling was limited. By either lifting the thermal limit or fan duty limit, you can alleviate that.

It's an issue rarely shown in reviews: how long a card can keep it's max performance up, because most reviewers just let the benchmark run for a minute or two and afterwards provide the time to cool down. This is ofcourse not indicative of a real use-case, but it's what people focus on and what is optimized towards. "Yay 1600MHz boost clocks for a few minutes". What you can also do if you're rendering more frames than your screen can display, is using frame rate limiting or V-Sync.

You should also put the Node 202 upright, or else the GPU might be starved for fresh air.
 

EdZ

Virtual Realist
May 11, 2015
1,578
2,107
After the issue with the initial 290/290x BIOS fan settings, the more reputable review sites have been checking steady-state performance (generally as clock speed over time when running an intensive game) along with the normal frame-time benchmarking, and power draw testing.
 

Phuncz

Lord of the Boards
SFFn Staff
May 9, 2015
5,810
4,895
Yeah indeed, the reference R9 290(X) cards did have this prominently, although it could be remedied too by allowing the fan a higher max duty cycle. The thermal target couldn't really be raised on those cards since the temperature target was already at 95°C by default...

Even though I haven't checked all the reviews, but I don't remember TechPowerUp, Anandtech or PCPerspective doing these or atleast not regularly, I regard them as reputable personally.