120mm vs 140mm
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February 21, 2011, 09:09 PM
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While it's true that 140mm fans typically give better airflow/noise ratios than 120mm fans, those aren't the only two factors in deciding the optimum fan for the application. Airflow means nothing if the application requires static pressure or simply doesn't have the clearance for 140mm.
Modern computer fans typically come in 25mm thickness, with exotic ones coming in other thickness like 12mm and 38mm, which doesn't bode well for larger fans in terms of static pressure. There are very few 140mm fans out there that can match the static pressure of 120mm fans designed for high static applications.
There's also the size limitation of your typical rear case fan. In order to have room for a 140mm fan next to your i/o shield, you'd need a significantly wider case. Add the fact that the demand for cable room behind the motherboard tray is increasing for DIYers and you simply don't have any room for 140mm fans without getting well over 200mm in case width.
We might be seeing a large shift to 140mm fans in terms of exhaust for larger cases, but 120mm fans are going to stick around for quite some time, for reasons similar to why 80mm fans have stuck around so long. It's not a case of what fan is better, but what fan you need for a specific application.
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