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Soultribunal February 19, 2010 08:32 PM

SoulTribunal's High Performance Fan Review

The Lowly case fan. Since the dawn of the modern computer era these overworked and often overlooked components have kept our hardware stable, cool and operational. What is usually last on the list for most PC builders, cooling fans are commonly given only a passing thought yet their usefulness has never changed. What has evolved is a silent cadre of modern workhorses that although serving the same purpose vary in enough ways that they warrant an in-depth look.
Today we will be looking at 4 advanced and unique fans that fall under the high performance catagory and in a sense pay some tribute to the unsung heros that make up a Modern PC.

The four fans in question and in no particular order are:

Yate Loon YL-D12SH-124UB High Performance LED Fan

SilenX iXtrema Pro Series LED Fan

Gelid Wing12 PL LED Fan

Coolermaster R4 High Performance LED Fan

As well in my testing I will be using a Coolermaster Standard Case Fan Rated for a nominal 33 CFM as a baseline comparison.

Test Setup and Methodology
All fans were tested in a climate controlled room that is kept at a balmy (brrrrrrr!) 17 Degrees, +/- 1 Degree. Relative humidity in the room was maintained at 5% (according to my Honeywell Climate Centre).

The Test Computer:

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 810 2.6GHz
Motherboard: ASUS M4A785TD-V EVO
RAM: Crucial 4x1GB 1333MHz
Powersupply: Silverstone Strider Plus 750W
Graphics: PNY XL8R 9800GX2, XFX GTS250 Core Edition
Case: CoolerMaster Elite 310 Blue
CPU Cooler: Spire Thermax HDT (Heatpipe Direct Touch)
Case Cooling: 1 x Coolermaster R4 Front Intake, 1 x Coolermaster R4 Intake Mounted in 5.25" Scythe Kama Bay, 1 Coolermaster R4 Mounted in the Exaust.
For the Purposes of this Test I removed the Side Panel Fan as its proximity to the Spire Cooler would have given inaccurate results.

Tools of the Trade

Stress testing the CPU fell on Prime95 running Small FFT's for approximately 30min. Idle temperatures were obtained after all background programs finished loading with Windows and then allowed an additional 5min to stabilize.
Temperature measurement was a combined effort between CoreTemp and Everest Ultimate Edition. RPM information was obtained by using a 3-pin adapter with an RPM passthrough cable attached to the Primary Motherboard Fan Header and then measured as well using Everest.

Without further delay let us have a closer look at each of the Test Subjects.

Soultribunal February 19, 2010 08:32 PM


Gelid Solutions although being a newcomer in the PC accessories and Cooling Solutions Market has already made a name for itself among enthusiasts.
Their Wing Series of Fans are known for being both Quiet and Effective, blending the lines of sound vs performance seamlessly.

The Fan


At a glance we see Gelid has kept with their common Theme of a Black Housing with Coloured Fins. What has changed with this latest Fan in their arsenal is the addition of white LED's which futher compliment the already imposing design. Another point to notice is Gelids Choice to use a 9 bladed design and include little 'winglets' on the leading edges of each blade. Let us see if this design has merit when put to the test.

The Stats

Model: WING 12 PL (FN-FW12PL-18)

Size: 120x120x25mm
Volts: 12v
Rated CFM: 75.6
Rated RPM: 1800
Rated DBA: 26.8

Installed And Running



Oh Yes, that is one Sexy looking Fan. And if you look closely at the installed picture you can see the 'winglets' mentioned Earlier.

The Results


Measured RPM: 1989

This looks to be a good Start for Gelid, with a 9 Degree Delta between idle to load the Gelid Does a very good Job at keeping things cool.

Soultribunal February 19, 2010 08:33 PM


SilenX is a Company that strives on Silent Computer Experience. Largely unheard of in enthusiast circles SilenX has a wide and varied selection of Cooling solutions that are available at most retailers online.

The Fan


Opting for a more traditional approach we see SilenX has chosen a 7 Bladed Design, which is a typical approach really. However looking closely we see that not only is the Fan Hub smaller than normal but their Fan Blades exhibit a very Agressive sweeping pitch. Hopefully this will Aid in its Performance.

The Stats

Model: IXP-74-14B

Size: 120x120x25mm
Volts: 12v
Rated CFM: 72.0
Rated RPM: 1400
Rated DBA: 14.0

Installed and Running



Right away we can see that SilenX has placed their LED's in the centre Hub as opposed to the outside ring. Although it still casts a menacing Glow when in operation.

The Results


Measured RPM: 1395

Very good Results as well. It seems that SilenX is living up to its name for Performance.

Soultribunal February 19, 2010 08:34 PM


If there is one name that stands out more than most in the industry, it would be Coolermaster. With innovative designs for Cases and Coolers alike it is not suprising to see well build performance fans too. After all, its all in their name.

The Fan


Featuring 9 Tightly spaced Blades the R4 is a fan that means buisness. Although lacking the winglets of the Gelid, and Size of the SilenX these Fins have a very tapered and well thought out setup that should allow this Fan to scoop ample amounts of air and fire it through.

The Stats

Model: R4-L2R-20AC-GP

Size: 120x120x25mm
Volts: 12v
Rated CFM: 69.0
Rated RPM: 2000
Rated DBA: 19

Installed and Running



Alas this was the one Fan that I had to take a picture with the Flash on while it was running. Due to the nature of the LED's which shine on the blades from around the Fan Housing it was too dark for a good picture to turn out. That being said for those who like LED fans but don't want blazing lights that distract, the R4 really has that angle covered.

The Results


Measured RPM: 1840

Are we starting to see a Pattern here? It looks like once again we have very similar numbers with only slight variations between models.

Soultribunal February 19, 2010 08:34 PM


At last we come to the final contender in this case fan review. Yate Loon although mainly being an OEM supplier is very popular among system builders. Known for their build quality and practical yet functional designs, one could not have a fan review without them.

The Fan


Packaged in nothing more than a Plastic Bag with a Part Number the Yate Loon wastes no expense on fancy images and stats. It spends all of its resources in what we care about the most, the Fan. Probably one of those most traditional designs yet seen in this Review, we shall see if this unit has what it takes to be a contender.

The Stats

Model: YL-D12SH-124UB

Size: 120x120x25mm
Volts: 12v
Rated RPM: 2300
Rated CFM: 88
Rated DBA: 40

Installed and Running



A real eye catcher in a case that has Windowed Panel the YL really shines while it does its job. Worthy of mention it is also one of the loudest Fans tested thus Far.

The Results


Measured RPM: 2270

Despite being the Fastest Fan tested, and having the Highest rated CFM the venerable Yate Loon loses out to the others by a few degrees in performance.

Soultribunal February 19, 2010 08:34 PM


Human sound perception is varied and Unique. It is for this reason why I will only spend a brief moment talking about the noise levels of each Fan, because what maybe loud to one person could be considered quite Tolerable to another. Thus I will stick with a tried and true method for myself when it comes to sound.
A basic scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being quiet and 10 being what I myself consider loud.

Another Point worth mentioning is that Fan Noise depends as much on individual design as where we choose to use them. High Speed Fans mounted on dense heatsinks, poorly designed Fan Ports in Cases or Side Panels produce unique and sometimes loud situations. Thus this is only to be taken as a guideline and not an absolute.

CoolerMaster R4
- Has a distinct yet unobtrusive sound that blends in well with the background of an operational computer
Rating: 3

Gelid Wing12 PL
- Probably one of the quietest Fans in this shootout match between the other four.
Rating: 1

Yate Loon D12SH
- Naturally being one of the loudest due to both its high RPM and Older blade style, it is still well within my tolerances
Rating: 5

SilenX iXtremea
- Second only to the Gelid in terms of sound, the iXtremea loses one point for a faint yet distinct vibration sound
Rating: 2

Soultribunal February 19, 2010 08:34 PM


When tested with my CM Standard Case Fan rated for a mere 33CFM and 1300RPM I am presented with a good Baseline to compare these High performance Fans too.

CM Standard
Idle Temp: 27 Degrees
Load Temp: 46 Degrees
Peak Temp: 47 Degrees
Measured RPM: 1276

Looking back on the results we see that there is a definitve improvment between a standard OEM Case fan and those labeled 'High Performance'. The real question that remains is: Is it worth it?
Cost will probably be the final deciding factor for those of us who go with Aftermarket Solutions in both our Towers and CPU coolers. So let us take a look at what the actual Retail Cost is for these units.

Coolermaster R4: $8.99 CAD
Gelid Wing12 PL: $19.00 USD (MSRP) Offical Pricing on this Unit is still Unknown.
Yate Loon D12SH: $15.22 CAD
SilenX iXtremea: $17.74 CAD

Right there we can see where the final difference really is. For Price vs Performance the Coolermaster Unit is Unrivaled, as it is the cheapest yet right up there as a Top Tier real world Performer in terms of Cooling. As well it has a very good Static Pressure Rating making it ideal for Dense Heatsink and Radiator Duty.

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
Coolermaster R4

The Good
- Widely Available
- Good Price vs. Performance Ratio
- Ideal for those who Find Ultra Bright LED's Annoying
- Excellent Static Pressure

The Bad
- Lacking a FDB (Fluid Dynamic Bearing) brings into question Longevity
- High RPM translates into added vibration, may not be suited for every application

The Ugly
- Nothing

Gelid Wing12 PL

The Good
- Ultra Silent Operation
- Superb Performance
- FDB for longevity

The Bad
- Estimated $19USD could put this Fan out of the Market for a lot of Users
- Availability in the Canadian Market

The Ugly
- 4 Pin PWM connector and Lack of Included Adaptors could Frustrate Consumers who use 3Pin - 4 Pin Molex Connectors or Fan Controllers Lacking in PWM connections.

Yate Loon D12SH

The Good
- Highest Rated CFM makes for the Ideal Case Fan
- Widely Available
- Yate Loon Build Quality

The Bad
- Highest RPM Rating means Noise might Limit Some Users
- Above Average Cost
- Performance not up to Modern Fan Types Available

The Ugly
- For the Rare Few who Like a Well presented Package, getting a Fan in a plastic Bag may not be Ideal.

SilenX iXtremea
The Good
- Excellent Blade Design and Smaller Hub Maximize Airflow
- Near Silent Running Ideal for Quiet Computing Solutions
- LED's are neither obtrusive nor absent

The Bad
- Slight noticable Vibration could be problimatic

The Ugly
- Unit Cost

I hope that everyone Reading this has enjoyed it as much as I did writing it. Feel free to post questions/comments/suggestions or even Fans I should consider testing in the future below.

Best Regards,

Soultribunal February 20, 2010 12:13 AM

EDIT: Tables Fixed. Feel free to Comment.


Jackquelegs February 20, 2010 08:03 AM

R4s come through again :haha:

I personally dislike the Wing12s VERY much. The two that I have are clearly outshadowed by my many R4s in performance, and the wing12s aren't really cheap in particular :thumb:

Good review :thumb:

Toyoracer February 20, 2010 09:01 AM

Another well written review. Could you add the Arctic Cooling Arctic F12 Pro or PWM fan, no led but how does it rate with these fans?

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