As discussed earlier, we tested each of the CPU coolers with our case fans turned off and with all fans set to run with automatic motherboard PWM controls or at a fixed 1000RPM. But in truth, neither of these is the optimal method for cooling a system. Of course, you want airflow in the case beyond that provided by the CPU cooler, and ultimately, you probably want your fans to run at below 1000RPM if possible, especially when using large 140mm models.
Our case happens to be equipped with five 140mm fans, three being Phanteks' excellent PH-F140XP models, and two being Corsair's equally-impressive (and LED-equipped!) AF140 Quiet Edition fans. And it also just so happens that Reeven was kind enough to send us an extra sample of its Coldwing 14 Fan, which comes standard with the Ouranos. Like many tower coolers, the Ouranos can be equipped with dual fans, but we weren't going to take the bait and compare a dual-fan Ouranos directly to our other contenders, as it doesn't come with dual fans out of the box. But it did present us the opportunity to show our readers exactly what you can do when you consider cooling from a whole-system perspective. We strapped the second Coldwing 14 on, plugged in our five case fans, and set all seven of the fans now in the system to run at 600RPM. Could we achieve the lofty goal of higher performance and lower noise?
In these graphs, we'll just be listing out all our results using the Reeven Ouranos, which gives you an apples-to-apples comparison. As before, we start with idle numbers.
Well, this is what happens when you leave a box full of fans to do nothing but look pretty on your desk. Our system with a total of 7 fans isn't overly loud, but even with its fans running at just 600RPM, it still produces more noise than a single fan spun down to a low PWM-determined 750RPM. At least it's really cool, though!
This is the test that matters for people who are most interested in achieving a balance of noise and temperature in a system used for typical high-load applications. This, friends, is the true sweet spot we've been looking for. Ultra-low noise, ultra-low temperatures. That being said, our seven-fan system only ties our top result a few pages back, the Thermalright Macho Rev. B running in a PWM-controlled scenario with no case fans. So, it could be said that the average high-end user would best be served with a single, low-RPM 140mm fan strapped to a big cooler, and no other fans in their case. Perhaps. But what if you want to take a crack at bluescreen-defying antics once in a while?!?
My goodness, ain't that a thing of beauty? Ultra-low temperatures at an insanely-low noise level. Remember, you can't load your CPU any more heavily than we have in this test. And the system is literally running at a whisper-quiet level.
By the way, to set up a fan profile like the one we used above, you'll probably need to use Windows-based software. While some motherboard UEFI's may allow you to tailor your fan speeds by RPM, most just use presets based on certain PWM levels. It just so happens that our Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 6 motherboard comes with software (called System Information Viewer, or "SIV") that includes an optional fan profile that we believe is absolutely ideal for most users: a flat, fixed RPM curve to provide low-noise operation during most scenarios, with a jump at 70°C, the level at which you actually need to start paying attention to what's happening with your CPU. Below is a screenshot of what this curve looks like. If your software doesn't have this exact option, just set up a custom profile that replicates the curve. You'll be happy you did!