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Static pressure vs airflow fans – is there a real difference?

We are often told by online pundits that you have to use a static pressure fan for your heatsink or radiator, and that you have to use an airflow fan to intake or exhaust air from your chassis. In another fact-finding mission, I want to find out if the first claim is true – does it really matter if you want to put an airflow fan on your heatsink, not a static pressure model?

Following on from my last article where I looked at whether push vs pull vs push/pull makes a difference, today we are looking at static pressure fans vs airflow fans. Specifically, I will be using Corsair’s SP120 and AF120 models, as these are very popular fans and have clearly defined characteristics (SP for static pressure, AF for airflow). Read on for the testing methodology, the all-important results as well as a final discussion of the data.

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