The Best 120mm/140mm Case Fan Shootout: Arctic vs. Blacknoise, Noctua & Scythe

By Ari Altman | Published July 13, 2020 | Updated July 13, 2020


We’ve published over a dozen cooler shootouts over the years, and people have always been interested in them, but it turns out there’s another related topic that gets people even more excited, and that is fan shootouts! Our first, focused on radiator fans, and our second looked at 120mm case fans, and both were big hits. So we’ve followed those up with the biggest, boldest fan test of all: a 120mm/140mm case fan shootout! This was no easy task, and we consulted with multiple fan manufacturers regarding the test methodology for our roundup. We also used previous tests to weed out the fans that just couldn’t make the cut, because given our highly-involved testing methodology, including fans that weren’t worth testing, was, well, not worth doing. In the end, we think we’ve put together some pretty interesting benchmarks, as well as audio samples, for our shootout.

It’s with great pleasure that we share our Best 120mm/140mm Case Fan Shootout. Thanks to Arctic, Blacknoise, Noctua, and Scythe for submitting samples for this review.

The Test

Our test bench consisted of an AMD Ryzen 7 3700X CPU, using a Scythe Fuma 2 CPU Cooler, mounted in a be quiet! Pure Base 500DX Case. Here’s the full lineup of competitors, with prices noted:

  1. Arctic P12 PWM ($9)
  2. Arctic P14 PWM ($11)
  3. Blacknoise NB-eLoop B12-PS 1500RPM ($30)
  4. Blacknoise NB-eLoop B14-PS 1200RPM ($31)
  5. Noctua NF-S12A ($23)
  6. Noctua NF-A14 ($26)
  7. Scythe Kaze Flex 120 PWM ($14)
  8. Scythe Kaze Flex 140 PWM ($16)

As with all of our reviews at this point and going forward, this review appears exclusively on YouTube, which you can see below. Not only do we show you what comes in the box and share some impressive benchmarks, but we give you a good look at each cooler as well!

Don’t forget to like the video and subscribe to our YouTube channel to get in on all our content as soon as it goes live!

Final Thoughts

Here’s the full list of winners:

  1. BEST OVERALL 140MM FAN: Scythe Kaze Flex 140 PWM ($14) – this fan is simply an airflow monster, beating every other fan in the roundup. And based on our testing, as well as it works in the front of a system, it’s actually even better as an exhaust, so if you’re just looking for a single fan for the rear of your system, it deserves your attention.
  2. BEST PRICE/PERFORMANCE: Arctic P14 PWM PST 5-Pack ($31) – When this insane 5-pack is actually in stock, it’s an absolute must-buy if you want to get more than two fans. The P14 is also equally good for both case and cooler use, unlike any of the other fans in this roundup.
  3. BEST FRONT INTAKE FAN: BlackNoise NB-eLoop B14PS ($31) – If you are willing to upgrade all of the fans in the front of your case to this unique air-channeling fan, you will be rewarded with amazing performance. You must pair these fans up, however, as their airflow is so tightly focused that using just one in the front of a case is not recommended. You really need at least two, and you need to be willing to pay the high price! But here’s some good news for those who are also looking for an aesthetic upgrade: this fan is also available in an ARGB version!

As always, check out our PC Case and Fan Buyer’s Guide, updated quarterly, for all our latest recommendations.

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