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Scythe GlideStream, Slip Stream XT, and Grand Flex Fans

Scythe’s new extensive lineup of fans attempts to continue their legacy of acoustic excellence. Our 2013 Scythe roundup.

Scythe GlideStream, Slip Stream XT, and Grand Flex Fans

October 1, 2013 by Lawrence Lee

While Scythe’s North American distribution is still in abeyance, its global business seems to go on as usual, with new products like the Mugen 4 and Ashura heatsinks. A key ingredient in Scythe’s coolers both past and present has been acoustically superb fans. The new GlideStream series now shipping with their newer cooling solutions follows in the footsteps of the Slip Stream family, providing a smooth sounding experience right out of the box. For noise conscious enthusiasts, this gives them a leg up on most of the competition.

The GlideStream 120/140 is part of a new lineup of fans along with the Slip Stream 140XT and Grand Flex. These models have very different designs, and its likely each is suited for a specific application, though Scythe has not made any usage recommendations, i.e. whether one line is better than the other as a case fan, a heatsink fan, or a radiator fan.


The 7 Scythe fans tested in today’s roundup.

Like their predecessors, each fan model is available in wide variety of speeds but they are now more easily differentiated by color-coding on the packaging. A large assortment was sent to us from Scythe, but only the seven pictured above were picked for testing. They were chosen based on how well they represented the other models in their respective families, based on their acoustics at various speeds.

Two samples of each model were provided. More often than not, each pair would have differing sounds, so the more pleasant of the two samples was used for testing. Any acoustic inconsistencies between the samples, which were mostly minor or only noticeable at close proximity, were noted. It’s not a perfect process but with the limited sample size, we felt this was the best way to proceed.

The following is a summary of our current fan testing methodology; for more information as to our reasoning behind all this, it’s described in great detail in our last fan roundup.

THE TEST HARDWARE

  • i7-1366 CPU die simulator with embedded T-type Thermocouple wire
    A generous contribution from Thermalright. It can handle up to 150W,
    but its heat distribution is somewhat more even than a typical CPU. The
    main thing is that it gets hot enough, with extreme consistency, and there
    are no worries about a CPU or motherboard breaking down.
  • Thermalright Archon heatsink — It’s a good performer like most Thermalright
    CPU heatsinks, and it can fit very large fans. It is also quite responsive
    to the size of fan used due to its big mating surface area for the fan. Given
    the same RPM, for example, a 140mm fan always results in lower temperature
    than a 120mm fan. For a fan test platform, this is as it should be.
  • Mastech
    6030D
    DC Regulated Power supply, 0-64V/3A — It heats up the
    CPU die simulator with power up to 137W.
  • For Voltage fan speed control, we use a custom built 0~12 VDC Regulated
    Voltage Fan Controller
    — The same one used for years and years. It is
    sometimes used for PWM fans when the lowest test speed is not achievable on
    the PWM fan controller.
  • For PWM fan speed control, Fan Xpert 2 utility in Asus P8Z77-V Pro motherboard — A great board to work with to test fans. You’ll appreciate the detailed data summary it generates. It also incorporates a voltage regulation circuit for its non-CPU 4-pin headers, which allows 3-pin non-PWM fans to be analyzed using its auto-tune function, and to run the entire test on the fan when appropriate. It has too conservative a definition of "safe starting speed", which prevents many 3-pin fans from running at very low (but still safe) speeds.
  • Kanomax 6803 Vane Anemometer
    — ±1% accuracy rating, which is believable. This is by far the most
    accurate of the handful that we’ve acquired over the years. Ironically, it
    is used not as a primary tool, however, but a secondary one as we’re not concerned
    about airflow per se, but its thermal effects in a cooling system.
  • Mannix DT8852 Dual Input Thermometer (K, J or T Thermocouple input) —
    Supposedly 0.1% accurate. This is to monitor the temperature of the CPU
    die and the ambient air ~6" in front of the fan intake
  • High accuracy general purpose Multimeter
  • Guangzhou Landtek Instruments Scroboscope DT2350P (primary tachometer) — This is supposed to be accurate to 0.1%.
  • Laser digital tachometer by Neiko Tools USA (alternate tachometer) — This is supposed to have 0.05% accuracy, but I don’t trust it as much as the strobe, it requires a reflective tape to be stuck on a blade, often gives false readings (like 9687 RPM when measuring a fan spinning at ~700 RPM)) and doesn’t work well with light colored fins.
  • SPCR hemi-anechoic chamber
    and audio analysis system.

THE TEST PROCEDURE

Our die simulator is heated up to maximum capacity and fans are strapped on and run at a variety of predetermined speeds. We record airflow, noise, and temperature rise, that is the difference between ambient temperature and the temperature of an object under thermal load. Better cooling results in lower temperature rise; worse cooling results in higher temperature rise. In this case, the ambient is the temperature of the air 6" in front of the fan, and the thermal load temperature is that of the CPU die simulator.

The fans are tested at top speed and 1500, 1100, 900, 700, and 550 RPM if possible (most fans can hit at least three or four of these speeds, giving us a nice cross-section for comparison). Long experience has shown that neither noise nor cooling is affected by changes in fan speed that are lower than ~50 RPM. We did not sweat to make the targets exactly, but they were always better than 50 RPM within target, as measured by the stroboscope.

Using RPM has an important, practical advantage: For
most computer users, RPM is the fan/cooling data that is most readily accessible,
and controllable
. Almost every fan in computerland these days offers
RPM data output, and every motherboard has the ability to monitor it. If you
set the speed of your selected fan at one of our test points, you know exactly
what noise level (within a decibel or so) will obtain. There are many ways to
adjust fan speed: Most motherboards are equipped with speed controllers for
their fan headers, and monitor fan speeds for any standard 3-pin fans or 4-pin
PWM fans, and the RPM can be displayed right on the desktop using any number
of fan and/or thermal utilities.

Scythe GlideStream 140

Specifications: Scythe GlideStream 140
Manufacturer Scythe Power Rating 4.2 W
Model Number SY1425HB12M Airflow Rating 84.5 CFM
Bearing Type Sleeve Speed Rating 1200 RPM
Frame Size 140 x 140 x 25 mm Noise Rating 29.5 dBA
Hub Size 40 mm Header Type 3-pin w/ molex adapter
Blade Diameter 129 mm Fan Mounts Screws
Cable Length 50 cm Weight 140 g
Starting Voltage 3.0~3.5 V Number of Samples 2
Corner Type Open Retail Availability Yes

Extras: 20 cm molex adapter with 30 cm 3-pin RPM sensor cable, dampened mounting holes

We kick things off with the GlideStream series, which shares many of the same basic elements of the acclaimed Slip Stream line. It has a multitude of long, thin blades, struts curving in the opposite direction to produce a desirable intersecting angle with the fan’s trailing edges, and a very small hub to limit the size of the dead spot at the center.

The 140 mm GlideStream is available in speeds of 800, 1200, and 1600 RPM as well as a single 1300 RPM PWM model. We only received samples of the 800 RPM "L" and 1200 RPM "M" variants. After a cursory comparison, we ended up going with the "M" model as it produced roughly the same sound as the "L" except it didn’t click as much when both were set to equivalent speeds. The extra rotational speed also makes it more versatile.

The limited sample size didn’t give us good idea of consistency/quality. One of the "L" samples was slightly clickier than the other, while the two "M" samples sounded identical.


The 140 mm GlideStream has a rounded octagonal/square frame and 120 mm mounting holes for compatibility purposes. Along with the grooved blades are ridges running along the exterior of the casing.

The rubber dampers provide soft mounting points and increase the thickness of the fan slightly to make for a tighter fit.


A head-on shot of the GlideStream 140 "M". Compared to the Slip Stream, the GlideStream’s blades are twisted more aggressively near the base. Also, the tips of the leading edges have an unusual concave shape.

This is the screen capture of Fan Xpert 2’s auto-analysis of the Scythe GlideStream 140 "M".

Acoustic analysis of the Scythe GlideStream 140 "M".
SPCR Test Results: Scythe GlideStream 140-M
Fan Speed (RPM)
1250
1100
900
700
550
SPL (dBA@1m)
27~28
23
18
13
11
Thermal Rise (°C)
18
19
21
23
26
Airflow in/out (FPM)
640/910
540/780
290/390

The GlideStream 140 is one of the better sounding fans in this roundup. Above 1000 RPM it’s turbulent and slightly buzzy, while at 900 RPM it settles down, becoming mostly smooth with some droning. At lower speeds, it’s quiet and innocuous. Buzzing is evident at close proximity at all speeds but it should be imperceptible in most situations.

The measured airflow was surprisingly high, though as we’ve seen in the past, this didn’t translate into superb cooling performance. The numbers we observed were not particularly impressive for a 140 mm fan.

Scythe GlideStream 120

Specifications: Scythe GlideStream 120
Manufacturer Scythe Power Rating 1.32 / 2.04 W
Model Number SY1225HB12LM / SY1225HB12M-P Airflow Rating 54 / 73.39 CFM
Bearing Type Sleeve Speed Rating 1000 / 1300 RPM
Frame Size 120 x 120 x 25 mm Noise Rating 18.5 / 26.1 dBA
Hub Size 36 mm Header Type 3-pin / 4-pin with molex adapter
Blade Diameter 112 mm Fan Mounts Screws
Cable Length 50 cm Weight 120 g
Starting Voltage <3.0 / 3.5~4.0 V Number of Samples 2
Corner Type Open Retail Availability Yes

Extras: 20 cm molex adapter with 30 cm 3-pin RPM sensor cable, dampened mounting holes

The GlideStream 120 has nine models in total, seven 3-pin variants ranging from 600 to 2000 RPM in speed, and a couple of PWM versions which spin at 1300 and 1900 RPM. Scythe provided us with samples of the 600, 800, 1000, 1200, and 1300 RPM PWM models. Due to acoustic similarities, the 1000 RPM "LM" model was picked to represent itself and its lower speed brothers. The 1300 RPM PWM model was also tested as it, along with the 1200 RPM "M" model, has a more buzzy acoustic character.

Except for the "M" variant, all the 3-pin models seemed to have one sample that had worse acoustics than the other, typically characterized by a stronger clicking characteristic up close. The difference wasn’t enough to make us worry about the sound quality you’ll get from any given sample, but it is somewhat disconcerting to see this small variation throughout the entire line.


The GlideStream 120 is essentially the same as the bigger model, only in a more traditional 120 mm box frame.

A head on shot of the GlideStream 120"LM".

This is the screen capture of Fan Xpert 2’s auto-analysis of the Scythe GlideStream 120 "LM".

This is the screen capture of Fan Xpert 2’s auto-analysis of the Scythe GlideStream 120 "M-P".

Both the standard and PWM version of the fan have a very low starting and minimum speed. Below 500 RPM, almost all fans are inaudible at one meter’s distance — anything lower has little practical advantage.


Acoustic analysis of the Scythe GlideStream 120 "LM"
.

Acoustic analysis of the Scythe GlideStream 120 "M-P".

Given its higher rotational speed, at full blast, the PWM version sounds more turbulent. At ~1100 RPM, at close proximity, it emits a buzzing sound, while the 3-pin model produces a more audible low pitched hum. This difference is notable when the fans are both set to 900 RPM — the standard model exhibits a higher total peak at ~180 Hz. At lower speeds the 3-pin version continues to generate a dull hum though it’s not unpleasant and the 4-pin model has a tendency to click though it’s hard to make out from a distance. Overall, the PWM variant has a slight edge but both GlideStream 120s and the 140 are in the same ballpark.

SPCR Test Results: Scythe GlideStream 120-LM
Fan Speed (RPM)
1100
1050
900
700
550
SPL (dBA@1m)
N/A
17
14
11~12
11
Thermal Rise (°C)
N/A
21
23
26
30
Airflow in/out (FPM)
N/A
430/670
210/330
SPCR Test Results: Scythe GlideStream 120-M-P
Fan Speed (RPM)
1350
1100
900
700
550
SPL (dBA@1m)
23
17
13
11~12
11
Thermal Rise (°C)
19
21
23
28
30
Airflow in/out (FPM)
550/820
480/650
220/310

Despite these difference the measured noise level was similar for the two fans. Performance-wise they were very close as well, except for the PWM version holding a 2°C advantage at 700 RPM.

Scythe Slip Stream 140XT

Specifications: Scythe Slip Stream 140XT
Manufacturer Scythe Power Rating 2.2 / 2.64 W
Model Number SM1425XT12M / SM1425XT12M-P Airflow Rating 65.2 / 69.93 CFM
Bearing Type Sleeve Speed Rating 1200 / 1300 RPM
Frame Size 140 x 140 x 25 mm (120 and 140 mm mounting holes) Noise Rating 23.2 / 23.2 dBA
Hub Size 40 mm Header Type 3-pin / 4-pin w/ molex adapter
Blade Diameter 128 mm Fan Mounts Screws, Isolators
Cable Length 50 cm Weight 180 / 190 g
Starting Voltage <3.0 / 5.0~5.5 V Number of Samples 2
Corner Type Open Retail Availability Yes

Extras: 20 cm molex adapter with 30 cm 3-pin RPM sensor cable, rubber isolators

The Slip Stream 140XT is a follow up to the Kaze Maru 2 (aka Slip Stream 140). The fan uses a standard square box frame and more traditionally shaped fan blades. The 140XT product page touts similar qualities as the GlideStream, a small hub, wide blades, and reduced air resistance.

There are five versions ranging from 500 to 1700 RPM. Scythe sent us samples of all but the fastest variant, and we settled on testing the 1200 RPM "M" and the only PWM model, the 1300 RPM "M-P". We found that "M" and 800 RPM "L" sounded practically identical while the "SL" with its 500 RPM speed had limited usefulness and both samples emitted a chuffing sound. At lower speeds, the PWM version’s acoustics started to differ enough to warrant testing it separately.

Our batch of 140XT’s also had a greater than average sample variation. Small differences in the level of clicking, chuffing, and humming were observed, with only the 500 RPM "SL" model samples sounding consistent with one each other.


The 140XT’s blades are almost identical to the 140, being very wide and gently cured. The casing offers both 120 and 140 mm mounting options.

Scythe claims that the 140XT also impedes airflow less, but rather than due to cutting grooves into the blades, they’ve removed portions of the frame. Much of the plastic at the center of each side has been taken out, leaving behind three ridges.

A head on shot of the Slip Stream 140XT "M".

This is the screen capture of Fan Xpert 2’s auto-analysis of the Scythe Slip Stream 140XT "M".

This is the screen capture of Fan Xpert 2’s auto-analysis of the Scythe Slip Stream 140XT "M-P".

According to our test motherboard, the PWM variant bottoms out at just over 600 RPM. The standard version has a slight advantage, able to get down below 500 RPM.


Acoustic analysis of the Scythe Slip Stream 140XT "M".

Acoustic analysis of the Scythe Slip Stream 140XT "M-P."

At high speeds, the two models share a similar acoustic profile dominated primarily by turbulence. Both emit an underlying buzzing as well which is stronger on the PWM version. At lower speeds, undesirable elements start to manifest themselves. At about 900 RPM the decreased airflow allows the 3-pin model’s buzzing to become more prominent, while the 4-pin model produces a high pitched tone while also generating a lower frequency hum. The tone is also more prevalent on voltage rather than PWM control. At 700 RPM, the 3-pin model develops similar problems, while the 4-pin model smoothens out with only a bit of clicking audible at close proximity.

SPCR Test Results: Scythe Slip Stream 140XT-M
Fan Speed (RPM)
1350
1100
900
700
550
SPL (dBA@1m)
27
22
17~18
13~14
11~12
Thermal Rise (°C)
17
18
20
23
26
Airflow in/out (FPM)
470/680
390/570
190/290
SPCR Test Results: Scythe Slip Stream 140XT-M-P
Fan Speed (RPM)
1450
1100
900
700
550
SPL (dBA@1m)
29
22
18
12~13
N/A
Thermal Rise (°C)
17
19
20
23
N/A
Airflow in/out (FPM)
540/790
400/590
N/A

The measured noise and thermal results were similar between the two models. The only real difference was a minor 1 dB edge for the PWM model at the 700 RPM, probably because most of its tonality vanishes at this level while the 3-pin model’s profile doesn’t clean up until about 550 RPM.

Scythe Grand Flex

Specifications: Scythe Grand Flex
Manufacturer Scythe Power Rating 2.4 / 5.4 W
Model Number SM1225GF12M / SM1225GF12SH-P Airflow Rating 61.1 / 96.8 CFM
Bearing Type Sealed Precision FDB Speed Rating 1600 / 2400 RPM
Frame Size 120 x 120 x 25 Noise Rating 28.5 / 39.5 dBA
Hub Size 48 mm Header Type 3-pin / 4-pin with molex adapter
Blade Diameter 112 mm Fan Mounts Screws, Isolators
Cable Length 50 cm Weight 170 g
Starting Voltage 3.0~3.5 / 5.5~6.0 V Number of Samples 2
Corner Type Open Retail Availability Yes

Extras: 20 cm molex adapter with 30 cm 3-pin RPM sensor cable, rubber isolators

The Grand Flex is easily the most interesting addition to Scythe’s lineup. It uses fluid bearings rather than sleeve, which Scythe claims has greater longevity and produces less noise (which begs the question why they aren’t used in all their fans). The large 48 mm hub and truly unusual blade design makes it seem like a follow-up to the Gentle Typhoon.

Available in just the 120 mm size, you can choose between 800, 1200, 1600, 2000, and 2400 (PWM) RPM models. Our sub-2000 RPM samples all sounded surprisingly similar when running at the same speeds but the PWM model had a clickiness at lower speeds that was completely absent in the 3-pin varieties. We decided to test both the 1600 and 2400 (PWM) RPM variants.

The Grand Flex appears to have the least amount of quality control issues. One of the 800 RPM "SL" had a dryer hum than the other and there was a minor pitch difference in the 2400 RPM PWM model but these minor inconsistencies were the only ones we could detect in the whole lot.


The fan is embedded in a traditional square casing with some modifications to the center of each side. Like the Slip Stream 140XT, ridges are present but they are shallower and a lip has been cut into the frame as well.

Near the motor, a piece of each blade has been cut and raised. This seems counterintuitive as they resemble the flaps on aircraft which are designed to create drag to slow it down for landings. There are also a couple of spikes on the struts above pointing toward them.

A head on shot of the Grand Flex. Each fan blade more closely resemble an axe than a wing.

This is the screen capture of Fan Xpert 2’s auto-analysis of the Scythe Grand Flex "M".

This is the screen capture of Fan Xpert 2’s auto-analysis of the Scythe Grand Flex "SH-P".

If you’re hoping to run at very low speeds, the 3-pin version of the Grand Flex has a definitive edge. It’s capable of spinning up at about 350 RPM while the PWM model bottoms out at approximately 600 RPM.


Acoustic analysis of the Scythe Grand Flex "M".

Acoustic analysis of the Scythe Grand Flex "SH-P".

At top speed, the PWM model puts out so much air that it’s difficult to ascertain its acoustics properties. At 1500 RPM, both fans are turbulent and buzzy and the 3-pin version sounds somewhat scratchy. At 1100 RPM, they fans begin to hum but the PWM model develops a more complex character. Its buzzing is less annoying but also begins to click at close proximity. At lower speeds, the 3-pin model mainly hums with the intensity dissipating with the speed, while the 4-pin model continues to click.

SPCR Test Results: Scythe Grand Flex-M
Fan Speed (RPM)
1500
1100
900
700
550
SPL (dBA@1m)
27~28
19~20
15
12
11~12
Thermal Rise (°C)
19
23
26
30
36
Airflow in/out (FPM)
490/370
350/290
180/150
SPCR Test Results: Scythe Grand Flex-SH-P
Fan Speed (RPM)
2500
1500
1100
900
700
SPL (dBA@1m)
40
27
18
14
12
Thermal Rise (°C)
14
18
21
25
31
Airflow in/out (FPM)
770/670
340/290

The Grand Flex is the only fan that exhibited any appreciable difference between the 3-pin and 4-pin models when it came to performance and measured noise. The PWM version was slightly ahead in both regards at 1500, 1100, and 900 RPM.

Its extremely unusual design also apparently gave it a unique property. This is the only fan we’ve ever tested with a higher input than output airflow.

MP3 SOUND RECORDINGS

These recordings were made with a high
resolution, lab quality, digital recording system
inside SPCR’s
own 11 dBA ambient anechoic chamber
, then converted to LAME 128kbps
encoded MP3s. We’ve listened long and hard to ensure there is no audible degradation
from the original WAV files to these MP3s. They represent a quick snapshot of
what we heard during the review.

These recordings are intended to give you an idea of how the product sounds
in actual use — one meter is a reasonable typical distance between a computer
or computer component and your ear. The recording contains stretches of ambient
noise that you can use to judge the relative loudness of the subject. Be aware
that very quiet subjects may not be audible — if we couldn’t hear it from
one meter, chances are we couldn’t record it either!

The recording starts with 5 second segments of room ambiance, then the fan
at various levels. For the most realistic results, set the volume so that
the starting ambient level is just barely audible, then don’t change the volume
setting again.

  • Scythe GlideStream 140
    — 550 RPM (11 dBA@1m)
    — 700 RPM (13~14 dBA@1m)

    — 900 RPM (18 dBA@1m)
    — 1100 RPM (23 dBA@1m)

    — 1250 RPM (27~28 dBA@1m)

  • Scythe GlideStream 120
    — 550 RPM (11 dBA@1m)
    — 700 RPM (11~12 dBA@1m)
    — 900 RPM (14 dBA@1m)
    — 1050 RPM (17 dBA@1m)
  • Scythe GlideStream 120 (PWM)
    — 550 RPM (11 dBA@1m)
    — 700 RPM (11~12 dBA@1m)

    — 900 RPM (13 dBA@1m)
    — 1100 RPM (17 dBA@1m)

    — 1350 RPM (23 dBA@1m)

  • Scythe Slip Stream 140XT
    — 550 RPM (11~12 dBA@1m)
    — 700 RPM (13~14 dBA@1m)
    — 900 RPM (17~18 dBA@1m)
    — 1100 RPM (22 dBA@1m)
    — 1350 RPM (27 dBA@1m)
  • Scythe Grand Flex
    — 550 RPM (11~12 dBA@1m)
    — 700 RPM (12 dBA@1m)
    — 900 RPM (15 dBA@1m)
    — 1100 RPM (19~20 dBA@1m)
    — 1500 RPM (27~28 dBA@1m)
  • Scythe Grand Flex (PWM)
    — 700 RPM (12 dBA@1m)
    — 900 RPM (14 dBA@1m)
    — 1,100 RPM (18 dBA@1m)
    — 1,500 RPM (27 dBA@1m)
    — 2,500 RPM (40 dBA@1m)

COMPARISONS & FINAL THOUGHTS

The following table has been assembled indicating the temperature rise each fan produced at noise levels of 22 dBA@1m and below. The fans have been arranged loosely from best to worst from top to bottom.

140+ mm Fan Comparison: Thermal Rise (°C)
SPL (dBA @1m)
22
21
20
19
18
17
16
15
14
13
12
11
Antec TwoCool 140
19
21
23
Phanteks PH-F140HP/TS
18
19
22
25
Scythe Kaze Maru 2 Adj. VR
(Slip Stream 140)
18
19
22
Noctua NF-A14 FLX
18
20
23
Noctua NF-A15 PWM
18
20
23
Corsair AF140 Quiet
17
18
22
25
Scythe Slip Stream 140XT-MP
19
20
23
Scythe Slip Stream 140XT-M
18
20
23
26
Scythe GlideStream 140-M
21
23
26
Noctua NF-P14 FLX
21
23
27
Antec TrueQuiet 140
22
23
26
bequiet! Silent Wings 2 140
20
21
25
29
Thermalright TR-TY150
20
23
25
Xigmatek XAF-F1453
20
22
26
Xigmatek XLF-F1453
19
21
26
Green box indicates a win, blue box indicates second place.
120 mm Fan Comparison: Thermal Rise (°C)
SPL (dBA @1m)
22
21
20
19
18
17
16
15
14
13
12
11
Noiseblocker B12-2
             
20
   
23
28
Scythe Gentle Typhoon AP12
                   
24
27
Scythe Slip Stream 120-M
     
21
     
23
     
26
Noiseblocker M12-S1
                   
25
29
Corsair AF120 Quiet
         
20
 
23
26
30
Scythe GlideStream 120-LM
         
21
   
23
 
26
Corsair AF120 Performance
       
20
   
23
 
26
 
Scythe Gentle Typhoon AP14
   
19
     
22
   
24
27
 
Scythe GlideStream 120-MP
         
21
     
23
28
Nexus Real Silent
       
22
     
24
 
26
33
Noiseblocker B12-PS
19
   
21
     
24
 
28
30
Corsair SP120 Quiet
   
21
       
22
 
29
bequiet! Silent Wings 2 120
       
22
   
25
27
Noiseblocker M12-S2
         
23
     
25
29
33
Scythe Grand Flex-SH-P
       
21
     
25
 
31
 
Scythe Grand Flex-M
   
23
     
26
   
30
 
Noiseblocker M12-P
         
22
   
25
 
31
 
GELID Wing 12
         
22
   
26
     
Antec TrueQuiet 120
     
24
     
26
   
29
34
Antec TrueQuiet 120 Pro
     
24
       
27
 
29
35
Antec TwoCool 120
         
22
 
26
 
31
34
SilverStone AP123
   
24
       
27
   
31
 
Green box indicates a win, blue box indicates second place.

Of the larger fans in this roundup, the Slip Stream 140XT came out ahead, claiming a minute victory over the GlideStream 140. That being said, the GlideStream has superior acoustics, with a smoother and more predictable and pleasant character. However, if you go purely by the numbers, they’re both average at best against competing 140 mm models.

The smaller GlideStream 120 puts up a much better fight, at least against members of its own size class. Only a couple of Corsair, Noiseblocker, and previous Scythe 120 mm models performed better. The GlideStream 120 lagged slightly behind the Gentle Typhoon and Slip Stream 120 at higher speeds and the older versions pulled well ahead at the ultra low 11~12 dBA@1m level.

Despite or because of all its unusual design elements, the Grand Flex was disappointing. Its cooling proficiency was as lackluster as its sound quality. There are plenty of fans that sound terrible and perform well or vice versa, but the Grand Flex falls is closer to the negative side of the spectrum on both accounts.

It’s always nice to see new fans built on fresh ideas but this latest crop of Scythe fans ultimately fails to improve on their predecessors. The top performer, the Slip Stream 140XT, doesn’t live up to the Slip Stream 140’s cooling efficiency. Similarly, the best sounding of the bunch, the GlideStream 120/140, falls short of the Slip Stream 120’s silky smooth profile. Still, in the grand scheme of things, the GlideStream 140 is a pretty good fan. It was only 2~3°C behind the top fan, the Phanteks PH-F140HP/TS which incidentally is also the only model ranked above the GlideStream that can boast having superior acoustics. Given the tightness of the temperature spread, we believe greater weight should be placed on how the fan sounds.

Great thanks to Thermalright
for sponsoring the CPU thermal simulator and the heatsink samples.
Thanks also to Scythe for supplying the fans used in this roundup.


Scythe GlideStream 120/140 is Recommended by SPCR

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SPCR Articles of Related Interest:

Second 140 mm Fan Roundup: Antec, bequiet!, Corsair, Scythe
First 140 mm Fan Roundup: Noctua, Phanteks, Xigmatek
Fan Roundup #7: Antec, bequiet!, Corsair, GELID, Noiseblocker, SilverStone
Fan Test System, SPCR 2010
Fan Test Methodology V.3
Anatomy of the Silent Fan
SPCR’s Recommended Fans

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