REVIEW: GELID Wing12 Silent Fan

As complicated as making a choice of a heatsink, is the choice for the fan to couple that heatsink. Although generally, some heatsinks are already pre-packaged with fans, that doesn't limit the end-user from tweaking with the stock fan or even upgrading to a better one. When deciding, the major categories of prime concern being noise levels and the volume of air the fan can circulate (in cubic feet per minute or CFM).

Coming up with the choice of fans is even harder due to most hardware sites featuring heatsink performance rather than fans. Not as worse as it may seem, but the truth is -- fans are overlooked. Let us change that impression a bit by putting the GELID Wing12 Silent Fan in the limelight.

Fans do contribute to the system as a whole. And probably the most important aspect when making the choice is striking the balance between noise and performance. More often than not, performance has to be acceptable but at the cost of higher noise levels.

But just as heatsinks have evolved into what they are now, fans do too. When stumbling into the term "hydrowave bearing", what comes into mind is Panaflo. Panaflo fans have built a reputation due to that technology embedded in its fans and the proven performance it delivers. GELID attempts to do the same with its innovative nanoflux bearing (or NFB).

According to its product label:

NanoFlux Bearing (NFB) - Patented GELID's Nanoflux bearing incorporates a clever magnetic design, very high precision manufacturing and runs friction-free and operates noiseless. Electromagnetic fields are exploited to keep solid parts from touching. The load is carried by a magnetic field. The nanotechnology composite ensures lowest abrasion and extreme durability (MTTF 100,000 hours).

Compared to sleave and ball bearings the high precision self-lubricated material of GELID's Nanoflux bearing eliminates oil leakage. Additionally the impeller can be detached and this the fan blades can be cleaned easily and is even waterproof.

The fan is conceptualized with absolute silence in mind. Although the featured ratings of 0.22A 1500 RPM already indicate silent operations for a 120mm fan, it is further packaged with a fan speed control and rubber gromet fan mounts to absorb vibration. However minute, this attention to detail is vital.

It is not everyday you get to see a waterproof fan and the Wing12 is one. On the aethetics department, the fan blades are UV reactive. So if you got yourself a windowed case with UV cathode lamps this fan will add more bling bling to the rig. Judging from the look of the fan, the advertised high quality material composition is very evident.

Also, the fan impeller could easily be detached and replaced with an impeller of another color. The detachable impeller makes possible easier cleaning of the fins and the fan cage.

To test its performance, the Wing12 silent fan was mounted on a Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme (TRUE120) with an Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 overclocked to around 3GHz. With the same set-up, we pitted comparator fans against its performance.

To load the processor cores, the multi-threaded WinRAR benchmark was ran. And with only the heatsink fan spinning, temperature readouts were taken. See below for the results.

The fans performed according to their CFM ratings. With FM121 providing the best output of around 110CFM but at disturbing noise levels while the two silent competitors follow suit. GELID Wing12 proved to be slightly better than the AF12025. Although both fans were silent, when in operation the Wing12 was relatively quiet compared to the AF12025.

The Wing12 strikes the balance between performance and silent operations. In my opinion, the bundled fan speed control mechanism is no longer required as the fan is silent as it is. Without the bundled fan speed control the price could probably be shaved further making the fan more affordable. Perhaps another variant which has a higher speed and CFM rating can make use of that accessory.

It is interesting to see evolution of technology in the area of fans. GELID's Nanoflux bearing is a "newbie" but is up to the task and is certainly a step in the right direction. Factor in that technology together with the build quality, aesthetics, replaceable impeller, the balance between performance and silent operation -- the Wing12 Silent Fan has them. Definitely, the Wing12 silent fan is a powerful addition to a rig aimed at silence. It will, no doubt, pimp your rig!

Thanks to GELID solutions for sending us review samples of the Wing12 and Wing9 low speed silent fans.


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