PC Components

The great radiator fan test (140 mm)

All-in-one water cooling systems, or AIO for short, were still a niche in the enthusiast sector until a few years ago, and custom water cooling systems were a nerdy speciality. However, this has changed in the meantime and you can find radiators in modern computers more and more often. Accordingly, the relevance of fans that do their job as quietly as possible yet efficiently on the radiators is increasing. We have collected a larger number of 140 mm fans here and tested them against each other in the radiator fan test.

The fans in the test

Image Fan name Rotation speed
Warranty in years
RGB connector
Price
Arctic F14 PWM PST Arctic F14 PWM PST (Rev. 5) 1350 6 € 71.18 * (set of 5)
€ 21.29 * (single)
Arctic P14 PWM 140mm Fan Arctic P14 PWM 1800 6 € 31.11 * (set of 5)
€ 7.46 * (single)
Arctic P14 PWM PST ARGB 140mm Fan Arctic P14 PWM PST A-RGB 1900 6 Standard ARGB € 44.79 * (set of 3)
€ 18.93 * (single)
be quiet! Light Wings 140mm PWM be quiet! Light Wings 140mm PWM 1500 3 Standard ARGB € 67.63 * (set of 3)
€ 29.78 * (single)
be quiet! Pure Wings 140mm pwm be quiet! Pure Wings 2 140mm PWM 1000 3 € 25.49 *
be quiet! Shadow Wings 140mm PWM be quiet! Shadow Wings 2 140mm PWM 900 3 € 20.51 * (black)
€ 15.90 * (white)
be quiet! Silent Wings 3 140mm fan Be quiet!
Silent Wings 3 140mm High-Speed
1600 3 € 27.90 *
be quiet! Silent Wings Pro 4 140mm fan be quiet!
Silent Wings Pro 4 140mm
2400 5 € 36.48 *
Corsair AF140 Elite Fan Corsair AF140 Elite 1600 5 € 19.90 *
Corsair AF140 RGB Elite Fan Corsair
iCue AF140 RGB Elite
1700 5 Owner (Corsair iCue) € 68.45 *
Corsair QL140 RGB Fan Corsair
iCue QL140 RGB
1250 2 Owner (Corsair iCue) € 41.33 * (black)
€ 43.90 * (white)
Corsair SP140 RGB Fan Corsair
iCue SP140 RGB Elite
1200 2 Owner (Corsair iCue) € 47.95 * (set of 2, black)
€ 23.15 * (single, white)
ENDORFY Fluctus 140 PWM Fan ENDORFY
Fluctus 140 PWM ARGB
1800 6 Standard ARGB € 16.99 *
Inter-Tech Argus RS14 RGB 140mm fan Inter-Tech
Argus RS-14
1200 2 Proprietary with adapter to standard ARGB in the set € 32.32 * (set of 3)
Noctua NF-A14 PWM 140mm fan Noctua NF-A14 1500 6 € 27.90 * (brown)
€ 29.90 * (Chromax Black)
Noctua NF-A14 industrialPPC-3000 PWM 140mm fan Noctua NF-A14 industrialPPC-3000 PWM 3000 6 € 35.96 *
Noctua NF-P14 redux-1500 PWM 140mm fan Noctua NF-P14 redux 1500 6 € 17.90 *
NZXT F140 RGB Fan NZXT F140 RGB 1800 2 Owner (NZXT Cam) € 28.99 * (black)
€ 28.99 * (white)
Xilence Performance C 140mm PWM Fan Xilence
XPF140.R.PWM
1500 2 € 4.77 *

Test system

For the radiator fan test, Arctic provided us with the Liquid Freezer II 280 Rev. 7. The Arctic Liquid Freezer is well suited for this test for several reasons:

  • With its high thickness of 38 mm, it increases the resistance compared to regular AIOs with about 25 mm. This also emphasizes the difference in performance of the fans.
  • With its integrated fan splitter, it makes our test easier with simpler wiring for frequent fan changes.
  • His relatively low price for an AIO of € 90.67 * makes it accessible to many buyers. It is therefore widely used and represents a good reference point.

The cooler is used on an AMD Ryzen 9 5950X, which draws between 150 and 160 watts (CPU Package Power) when loaded with Cinebench at a 4.20-Ghz all-core overclock (1.15V peak core voltage), depending on the temperature. The cooler sits in the front of the Fractal Design Pop XL Air. The only case fans used are one each of be quiet! Silent Wings Pro 4 in 120 mm (rear top) and 140 mm (rear), which have as little impact as possible on the test result on an established low speed (120 mm: 800 RPM / 140 mm: 500 RPM).

At the front of the case, the radiator is attached for two reasons. On the one hand, this makes it easier to change the fans because no components inside get in the way. On the other hand, the front grille adds as resistance that has to be overcome.

Little disclaimer

Admittedly, this cooler also has a previously unconsidered problem in the test, which definitely has an impact on our test results: The pump is controlled along with the fans. This has an impact on both the volume measurement (which negatively affects the volume results for slower spinning fans, and thus their performance results in the 31 dB(A) test) and the performance for high performance fans (which can affect the temperature results for the heavily down regulated fans). Due to the widespread use of the cooler and the significant differences in performance even with similarly fast fans, the measurement results remain valid, but this should still be considered when interpreting the results.

Test procedure

For a constant result, the system is heated up with Cinebench for 10 minutes and then a measurement is taken in the duration of one minute. The room temperature is subtracted from the measured result to exclude this variable as well. This difference is given as a delta in Kelvin.

Durchlauf in Cinebench R23
The processor cooler is heated up by a high load in Cinebench R23 until the temperature is measured after 10 minutes.

This test is repeated three times per fan. Once at 800 rpm, because this is a speed that each of the 140 mm fans can definitely reach. The second test is performed at a uniform volume development. This run shows which fan offers the highest performance in an almost inaudible state. This test may well be influenced by the fact that some fans become louder in interaction with the front grille of the case than in a pure push configuration without additional resistance. In other words, fans in the front of the case will be louder and have more resistance than when the radiator is used in the top of the case. The last test is performed at full speed.

Test with 800 RPM

The radiator fan test at 800 RPM is performed because any of the fans can reach this speed. Moreover, this speed is often close to the sweet spot of performance and noise. This list is sorted by temperature delta. If the temperature delta is identical, the lower noise wins. The purpose of this test is to determine the highest efficiency of a fan.

wdt_ID Name Lautstärke (dB(A)) Temperaturdelta in Kelvin
1 Corsair iCue SP140 RGB Elite 34,70 39,10
2 Corsair AF140 Elite 32,40 39,60
3 Arctic F14 PWM PST 35,10 39,60
4 Noctua NF-P14s redux-1500 PWM 35,50 39,70
5 Noctua NF-A14 PWM 35,10 39,80
6 Corsair iCue AF140 RGB Elite 31,20 40,60
7 Noctua NF-A14 industrialPPC-3000 36,90 40,80
8 be quiet! Pure Wings 2 140mm PWM 35,50 40,90
9 Arctic P14 PWM 31,20 41,00
10 be quiet! Light Wings 140mm PWM 31,00 41,10
11 Sharkoon SilentStorm 140 PWM RGB 32,90 41,20
12 Xilence XPF140.R.PWM 35,50 41,40
13 ENDORFY Fluctus 140 PWM ARGB 31,80 41,50
14 be quiet! Silent Wings 3 140mm High-Speed 32,90 42,10
15 Arctic P14 PWM PST ARGB 31,80 42,20
17 Lian Li Uni Fan AL140 V2 31,00 42,70
18 be quiet! Shadow Wings 2 140mm PWM 31,80 42,70
19 Thermaltake TOUGHFAN 14 RGB 31,00 42,90
20 be quiet! Silent Wings Pro 4 140mm 31,20 43,20
24 NZXT F140 RGB 32,40 43,30
26 Corsair iCue QL140 RGB 31,80 44,30
27 Inter-Tech Argus RS-14 31,20 45,00
Name Lautstärke (dB(A)) Temperaturdelta in Kelvin

Analysis of speed efficiency

Corsair takes the top spot in the 800 RPM range with two fans in this radiator fan test. The SP140 RGB Elite are not exactly the quietest fans in the comparison, but they perform well. The Corsair AF140 Elite are close behind, but do the job more quietly. The RGB version of the AF140 is even quieter and is only a few places behind. Unexpectedly, the Arctic F140s beat out Noctua for third place, and while not exactly quiet, they do play within the measurement tolerance range of the Noctua NF-A14 and NF-P14s redux-1500 in terms of performance and volume. The Noctua NF-A14 industrialPPC are louder and slightly weaker than the cheaper standard model in this range.

The strongest RGB fans in the test are the two Corsair fans SP140 RGB and AF140 RGB Elite. The strongest non-proprietary RGB fan model in this test is the be quiet! Light Wings 140mm, followed by the ENDORFY Fluctus 140 PWM ARGB.

In this test, the three fans with the wide RGB frame are lagging behind and thus have shorter fan blades. These are the NZXT F140 RGB, the Corsair QL140 RGB and the Argus RS-14. At least these models are rather quieter than most fans at the upper performance end of the test.

Test at 31 dB(A)

The radiator fan test at a uniform volume was chosen so that the volume is within the perception limit of the measuring device. At this volume, the fans are virtually inaudible. The speed is determined by the volume meter perceiving the first minimum deflection above the base noise of the system (especially the radiator pump). The purpose of this test is to find out the best inaudible performance.

wdt_ID Name Drehzahl (RPM) Temperaturdelta in Kelvin
1 be quiet! Light Wings 140mm PWM 800 41,10
2 Corsair iCue AF140 RGB Elite 750 41,90
3 ENDORFY Fluctus 140 PWM ARGB 720 42,50
4 Corsair AF140 Elite 690 42,60
5 Arctic P14 PWM 720 42,60
6 Lian Li Uni Fan AL140 V2 800 42,70
7 Thermaltake TOUGHFAN 14 RGB 800 42,90
8 Corsair iCue SP140 RGB Elite 610 43,10
9 be quiet! Shadow Wings 2 140mm PWM 760 43,50
10 Arctic P14 PWM PST ARGB 740 43,60
11 Arctic F14 PWM PST 630 44,00
12 Noctua NF-P14s redux-1500 PWM 600 44,10
13 be quiet! Silent Wings Pro 4 140mm 760 44,20
14 Sharkoon SilentStorm 140 PWM RGB 695 44,30
15 Noctua NF-A14 PWM 600 44,70
16 Corsair iCue QL140 RGB 750 45,10
18 NZXT F140 RGB 700 45,80
19 Inter-Tech Argus RS-14 720 46,70
21 be quiet! Silent Wings 3 140mm High-Speed 610 47,50
23 be quiet! Pure Wings 2 140mm PWM 570 47,50
25 Noctua NF-A14 industrialPPC-3000 470 50,50
Name Drehzahl (RPM) Temperaturdelta in Kelvin

Low volume radiator fan test results

Where the 800 RPM tests saw a lot of louder models take the top spot, this test pushes the volume down to the inaudible limit, which of course favors the quieter fans that don’t need to be turned down as far. At the top now sit three RGB fans at once, be quiet! Light Wings, the Corsair AF140 RGB Elite and the ENDORFY Fluctus 140 ARGB. They are followed by the Corsair AF140 Elite and Arctic P14, which perform equally well.

For once, the Argus RS-14 and Corsair QL140 hit a bit further up front, as they don’t need to be dialed down as far. Instead, we find the Noctua NF-A14 industrialPPC-3000 at the bottom, which had to be dialed down very far with a higher base noise than the regular variant. the be quiet! Silent Wings 3 High-Speed lose performance faster than other models due to the low speed and therefore also end up at the bottom.

The Xilence XPF140.R.PWM was excluded from the test because it cannot be reduced below a certain speed and thus cannot reach the targeted volume level.

Test with maximum power

The test at full speed shows the fan’s maximum potential. Here, the fans are simply set to full power. This gives you the highest possible performance of the fan when the volume is not relevant. The volume is still measured as a point of reference. However, it is sorted completely according to the reached temperature delta.

wdt_ID Name Drehzahl (RPM) Lautstärke (dB(A)) Temperaturdelta in Kelvin
1 Noctua NF-A14 industrialPPC-3000 2.670 67,10 32,30
2 be quiet! Silent Wings Pro 4 140mm 2.130 54,40 32,40
3 ENDORFY Fluctus 140 PWM ARGB 1.900 53,70 33,00
4 Corsair AF140 Elite 1.610 51,60 33,50
5 Corsair iCue AF140 RGB Elite 1.730 54,10 33,60
6 Arctic P14 PWM PST ARGB 1.780 48,30 34,00
7 Noctua NF-P14s redux-1500 PWM 1.500 53,40 34,00
8 Thermaltake TOUGHFAN 14 RGB 2.100 56,40 34,10
9 Arctic P14 PWM 1.610 47,20 34,40
10 be quiet! Light Wings 140mm PWM 1.440 42,80 34,50
11 Lian Li Uni Fan AL140 V2 1.600 46,80 34,50
12 Noctua NF-A14 PWM 1.440 51,50 34,70
13 NZXT F140 RGB 1.700 52,70 34,70
14 Arctic F14 PWM PST 1.290 48,10 34,80
15 be quiet! Silent Wings 3 140mm High-Speed 1.530 47,90 34,90
17 Corsair iCue SP140 RGB Elite 1.180 45,20 35,50
18 Xilence XPF140.R.PWM 1.350 49,60 35,50
19 Sharkoon SilentStorm 140 PWM RGB 1.320 46,60 36,20
20 Corsair iCue QL140 RGB 1.330 45,20 37,00
22 be quiet! Pure Wings 2 140mm PWM 890 37,20 39,60
24 Inter-Tech Argus RS-14 1.090 38,10 40,20
26 be quiet! Shadow Wings 2 140mm PWM 820 32,40 42,10
Name Drehzahl (RPM) Lautstärke (dB(A)) Temperaturdelta in Kelvin

Analysis of peak performance results

Clearly – this test is largely based on a high speed. Accordingly, the slower and mostly quieter fans are found at the lower performance end, while it gets faster and tends to get louder towards the top. However, there are outliers in both directions. For example, the Xilence XPF140.R.PWM can be found relatively far down the list, which gets relatively loud despite the unconvincing performance. However, the Corsair QL140 and Argus RS-14 follow with larger gaps in terms of performance, along with the slower be-quiet! fans. While the general performance of the Xilence fans is not outstanding, they still sit much closer to the midfield (at the same performance level of the quieter Corsair SP140 RGB).

Unsurprisingly, the Noctua NF-A14 industrialPPC-3000 wins this test due to its raw power and high speed. Even though the noise level is really unpleasantly high. Significantly quieter and very close in terms of performance are the be quiet! Silent Wings Pro 4 140 mm in this test, which are clearly more effective in this case. The strongest RGB fan we have in this test is the ENDORFY Fluctus 140 ARGB, which is also not too far behind the be quiet! Silent Wings Pro 4. The Corsair AF140 in black and RGB also follow with strong results. The strongest fan that falls short of 50 dB(A) is the Arctic P14 ARGB.

The inexpensive Noctua NF-P14s redux-1500 beats the more expensive NF-A14 PWM in terms of performance, which is hardly surprising due to the pressure-optimized design. (On the subject of fan design, see: fan tutorial: things to know about fans in PCs) A largely identical performance to the NF-A14 PWM is achieved by the be quiet! Light Wings 140mm at a much lower noise level. Impressive.

The overall winners of the test

In the big radiator fan test, the results diverge further than in the parallel test of the case fans.

Overall, there are no complete outliers that should prevent a purchase if you like the fans design-wise. However, those who bought an AIO with working fans will hardly benefit from switching to the Xilence XPF140, the Corsair QL140 or the Argus RS-14.

In contrast, a winner (pair) crystallizes. Among the candidates in the test, the Corsair AF140 Elite in both the monochrome and RGB variants come out on top on average. These fans are found quite far ahead in each of the three tests and offer a wide speed range, high efficiency and low noise.

Corsair AF140 in black and RGB variants
In each of the tests, the Corsair AF140s come out far ahead, securing the best average scores.

In the RGB range, the ENDORFY Fluctus 140 ARGB and the be quiet! Light Wings 140mm PWM are also very solid performing fans, with the be quiet! being slightly quieter and the ENDORFY offering a slightly higher maximum output.

Also worth mentioning are the two variants of the Arctic P14, which score with a solid performance at a low volume – and that at a quite low price compared to the previously mentioned competition.

Noctua’s NF-P14s redux are also reasonably affordable and deliver a convincing performance, but land rather in the midfield in the overall comparison together with the NF-A14s. The age of the fan concepts becomes somewhat apparent here.

Conclusion

The overall winners of this test are the Corsair AF140 Elite in both the regular and RGB versions. These fans land in good places in all tests – they are quiet, efficient and also offer high overall performance.

In the RGB field, the Corsair iCue AF140 RGB Elite is also a winner. Those who don’t want to rely on the proprietary iCue system will find strong and quiet options in the be quiet! Light Wings 140mm PWM and the ENDORFY Fluctus 140 PWM ARGB. The Light Wings come with an illuminated frame here, while the Fluctus have illuminated fan blades.

In the budget range, the Arctic P14s do very solidly in the regular and ARGB variants and achieve very solid results at a relatively low volume despite their low price.

Simon Lüthje

I am co-founder of this blog and am very interested in everything that has to do with technology, but I also like to play games. I was born in Hamburg, but now I live in Bad Segeberg.

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All-in-one water cooling systems, or AIO for short, were still a niche in the enthusiast sector until a few years ago, and custom water cooling systems were a nerdy speciality. However, this has changed in the meantime and you can find radiators in modern computers more and more often. Accordingly, the relevance of fans that … (Weiterlesen...)

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