Zalman ZM-SF3 120mm Ultra Quiet Case Fan - Comparison and Testing

Article Index
Zalman ZM-SF3 120mm Ultra Quiet Case Fan
Comparison and Testing
Final Thoughts and Conclusion


Zalman ZM-SF3 Fan - Installation and Testing:

As I mentioned in the first page of this review, Zalman isn't the first company to try a different fin design and in this section we'll show you with some pictures how it compares to new fans from Noctua and Thermaltake (you can read our full review of these other fans here).

Zalman ZM-SF3 Fan - Comparison
Zalman ZM-SF3 Fan - Comparison


When comparing fins between the three fans you'll see that Zalman's is perhaps the most "extreme" design of the three. Both Thermaltake and Noctua have notched the end of the fans out while Zalman has added the Sharks fin which are supposed to reduce turbulence and thus reduce noise and vibrations.

Zalman ZM-SF3 Fan - Comparison
Zalman ZM-SF3 Fan - Comparison


The Winner?

It's tough to crown a winner as all 3 fans do things a tad bit differently and most of its going to come down do personal preference when deciding between the three. I'll post my quick thoughts on each fan below:


Thermaltake ISGC
Manual fan adjustment, you can set the speed anywhere between 800 and 1300 RPM. Only fan of the 3 that allows you to adjust the fan speed without having to install adapters and you can easily adjust speed while the fan is running.

Noctua NF-S12B FLX
Noctua included 2 fan adapters which allows you to set you fan speed at 600, 900 or 1200 RPM. Of the 3 fans the Noctua is able to spin the slowest and when all three are side by side appears to be the most quiet of the 3 (the Zalman goes down to 900 RPM and the Thermaltake goes down to 800 RPM) which makes sense because its spinning the slowest when all fans are set at their minimum speeds.

Zalman ZM-SF3
You can set you fan at either 900 or 1500 RPM. At full speed the Zalman ZM-SF3 feels like its probably pushing the most air (unfortunately Zalman does not include airflow stats on this fan we don't have the equipment to properly test airflow).

Unfortunately we can't really crown a winner, but all 3 have advantages and at the end of the day all 3 are pretty good choices so you can't really go wrong with either.