In this article, you will find the best Case/Heatsink/Radiator Fan Picks. It took us months of testing to create these lists, and since we plan on testing all cooling fans available on today’s market, expect these lists to be updated frequently.
|2 November 2023||Initial article|
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Basic stuff you should be aware of: Fan P-Q Curve
Every fan, whether DC or AC-powered regardless of its dimensions, has a characteristic curve called P-Q. This curve shows the correlation between the fan’s airflow and its static pressure. With the letter “P,” we describe static pressure, and with “Q,” airflow.
When we refer to a fan’s airflow, we speak about the total amount of air the fan pushes/produces per unit of time. Airflow is usually measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM). Fan manufacturers provide a fan’s CFM in an open environment, without any obstacles in front of it, and this plays a huge role, as you will soon find out through my reviews. When there is no resistance in front of a fan, its airflow is maximum, but this is not the case for most fans, especially the ones used in heatsinks and AIO radiators. Mostly, the fans that are used in chassis don’t face significant resistance.
The maximum static pressure is the fan’s wind pressure in a fully enclosed channel. Static pressure is the air pressure the fan can produce in an enclosure. Static pressure is measured in Pascals (Pa), inches of water (inH2O), or millimeters of water (mmAq). I will use the last.
The most important thing you must know is that the fan will not simultaneously output maximum airflow and static pressure values. Airflow and static pressure have a negative correlation. When airflow increases, static pressure decreases, and when static pressure increases, airflow decreases.
Both airflow and static pressure have to do with airflow resistance, called impedance. When parts block the fan’s airflow, we have impedance, so to find out the complete P-Q curves of a fan, we have to be somehow able to simulate this impedance. Some users use custom-made filters or AIO radiators, but these techniques only simulate a single impedance scenario, so they cannot offer complete P-Q curves. The only way to get the entire P-Q curve of a fan is to have variable impedance, which is what an instrument like the LW-9266 does, based on established measuring standards and with full calibration reports.
An interesting article about P-Q curves. It will take you less than five minutes to read, but you will learn some interesting stuff, including the “knee of the curve”!