Noctua NF-A14 and BitFenix Spectre Review

By September 10, 2015September 14th, 2015Uncategorized
broken NZXT radiator fans

The Explosion

As you can tell from the photo, this project didn’t have a great beginning.. What started out as a horrible incident turned into an amazing learning experience. The horrible incident? Imagine pieces of plastic fan blades flying out of a computer case at a velocity capable of chipping paint. Yeah… The Kraken is a great CPU cooler. The fans? They’re not so great.

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Noctua fans on NSXT rad

Noctua

Noctua came up in a lot of searches and the YouTube community loves them. They’re designed in Austria, and everything from the box to the design shows it. The attention to detail is obscene. These things are extremely sturdy, beautiful, and quiet. There’s little rubber bumper thingies on the edges, plus special mounting screws, and the fans themselves are well sealed. When I say quiet, I mean really quiet. My Macbook is louder than these things at max speed (I’m not using their low-noise adapter since it diminishes air flow).

They were highly recommended and had excellent stats so I grabbed a pair… then another… and another. I now have 6 of these fans in my case in combination with the 4 Bit Fenix fans (more on that below).

The beautiful setup I have for CPU cooling is 4 140mm Noctua fans in push-pull configuration on a Kraken X60. My temps like to hang out around 25 degrees Celsius. That’s pretty sweet. What’s even sweeter is that under load the temperatures spike way less than they do with my old air cooling. I could bore you with numbers, but that’d just be bragging.

No, these are not the static pressure version which would be truly appropriate for the radiator. This was intentional. I like to use the same fans across the entire case because it makes swapping them out easier. Plus, in push-pull configuration the variances in pressure are mitigated by the added fans.

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BitFenix

After the scary experience with the 140mm NZXT fans, I was kind of wary of the 200mm fans as well. Replacing them however was a bit more complicated. There are not many options for 200mm PC fans, and 200mm does not always mean 200mm.  It’s about as frustrating as shopping for jeans.

What I finally found were these BitFenix Spectre Pro LED 200mm fans. They’re a great quiet match for the Noctuas. Larger fans spin slower, which always helps with noise, but a cheap fan ends up wobbly. BitFenix quality has been amazing. They offer multiple mounting points and strong frames, so mounting was a breeze. The LED lighting is bright and nicely spread.

Had I found these first, I may have actually chosen the 140mm version of these over the Noctuas. I’m a sucker for LED lighting.

Want to know more? Leave a comment below.

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