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Air Cooling FAQ

  • Whatís so special about these newfangled heatsinks with heat pipes?
    • A heat-pipe is a heat transfer mechanism that can transport large quantities of heat with a very small difference in temperature between the hot interfaces. A typical heat pipe consists of a sealed hollow tube. A thermo conductive metal such as copper or aluminum is used to make the tube. The pipe contains a relatively small quantity of a "working fluid" or coolant with the remainder of the pipe being filled with vapor of the working fluid. The heat transfer process is evaporative cooling (pseudo-phase-change). The liquid is under pressure and when heated, expands into vapor which absorbs energy due to the state-change. The vapor is cooled at the other end of the heat-pipe and condenses back into liquid. In other words, heat-pipes are Soooper sweet that everyone should have.

  • What direction should I point the air flow of my case fan or cpu cooler fan?
    • In regards to CPU Coolers, for most circumstances you want to direct the flow of air in a downward direction into your cpu coolers heatsink. In regards to cases, for most circumstances you want to use your front case fans to intake cool air and then use your rear case fans to exhaust the hot air generated by your cpu cooler's heatsink and other system components out the back of your case. You can tell what direction the case or heatsink fan will blow by pointing the fan in the same direction as the fan's label. Some fans even have an arrow indicating the direction of air flow on the side of the fan.

  • What does CFM refer to in regards to case fans?
    • CFM is an abbreviation for Cubic Feet per Minute which is a means to measure air flow. The higher the CFM figure, the more air the fan is moving. Typically the higher the CFM, the higher the dB.

  • Now I know what CFM means but what does dB refer to?
    • dB is a logarithmic measurement unit that describes a sound's relative loudness. In sound, decibels generally measure a scale from 0 (the threshold of hearing) to 120-140 dB (the threshold of pain). A 3dB difference equates to a doubling of power. A 10dB difference is required to double the subjective volume.

  • What is considered a noisy or quiet case fan?
    • Case fans with a db rating of around 30 db is generally considered to be bearable. Beyond the 30 db level is considered to be annoying unless of course your too busy cap'n fools in your favorite FPS shooter and donít notice. Itís all a matter of personal preference but a 27 db rating is considered the top end of the quiet range. Note that smaller fans such as 80mm case fans need to spin faster rate to generate the same airflow as larger fans, and are usually louder. We recommend using CPU heatsinks that use a 92mm or even better, a 120mm fan. Some manufacturers such as the Nexus Real Silent Case Fan Series or the Scythe S-Flex Series are known for being very quiet fans.

  • What are considered the highest CFM fans I can buy?
    Below is a list of fans we are aware of. If you know if others, please let us know.

    • 80mm: Vantec Tornado - 84.1 CFM @ 55.2dB
    • 92mm: Vantec Tornado - 119 CFM @ 56.4 dB
    • 120mm: Delta TFB1212GHE - 220 CFM @ 65 dB
    • 172mm: Delta FFB1748SHG - 450 CFM @ 74 dB

  • What are considered the most ultra silent fans I can buy?
    Below is a short list of quiet fans we recommend. For a full list of quiet 120mm, 92mm and 80mm fans, check our full line Here.

    • 80mm: Nexus Real Silent Fan SP802512L-03 - 20.2 CFM @ 17.6 dB
    • 92mm: Nexus Real Silent Fan DF1209SL-3 - 27 CFM @ 19.2 dB
    • 120mm: Scythe S-FLEX SFF21D Fan - 33.5 CFM @ 8.7 dB - WOW!
    • 120mm: Nexus Real Silent Fan D12SL-12 - 37 CFM @ 22.8 dB
    • 140mm: Aerocool Streamliner Fan - 54.7 CFM @ 19.6 dB