The 10 Best Rack Mount Fan Panels
This wiki has been updated 17 times since it was first published in October of 2017. When you're managing a lot of data, your server equipment will usually generate a lot of heat. This means that in order to keep it running properly, you're going to need a way to cool it down, and one of these rackmount fan panels will do just that. Here we've included a variety of models to help facilitate airflow anywhere from IT installations, to home theaters, to music studios and live venues. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
January 19, 2021:
These systems need to be durable enough to withstand long hours of daily use, and one brand, AC Infinity, dominates the market with its reliable range of products. With four of their items already on our list, they remain well represented here, so we added two very different units to our list in this latest update.
Firstly, the Rockville RRF4 was included, as this brand is fast becoming a recognized name in the audio-visual industry for its good value and quality. This item in particular boasts four high-powered fans in its thin enclosure, as well as a digital display, for a fraction of the price of many competitors' equivalent products.
Next up is the single-unit Ares Vision 6, which has six vertically-facing fans creating up to 250 cubic feet per minute of airflow within the rack unit. This is sufficient to create impressive results in larger installations such as server rooms, but can also be used in environments that require relative quiet, as its operating level falls below 44 weighted decibels, or around four times the volume of human breathing.
September 10, 2019:
Looking back over the previous ranking of this category, there were some issues that we wanted to clean up, particularly in the differentiation going on between intake and exhaust fans. Now, in an ideal setup, a rack would contain at least one intake fan near the bottom and an exhaust fan near the top, so as to create airflow from the cooler part of the room and provide a viable escape for any heat that your components generate (which naturally rises, as per the laws of thermodynamics). Unfortunately, this layout can't always be achieved, either for financial or practical purposes; the user may not be able to afford more than one fan at this time, or they might have limited space in their current rack. That necessitates a choice between intake and exhaust, and exhaust is the winner in just about every scenario you could create, as removing heat from your components takes precedence.
Now, there was one model of rack fan on our previous ranking that was an intake and another that was an exhaust from the exact same point in AC Infinity's lineup, the models separated by only a single letter. We removed the intake model and left the exhaust model, replacing that intake model with a smaller, quieter offering from AC Infinity, whose effectiveness, despite its size, earned it our number one slot.
Another important factor in this ranking was noise. If you're running an IT cabinet, this may be a little less of an issue, as it's likely located in a closet somewhere that a little added hum isn't going to bother anyone. For environments like home theaters or recording studios, however, quiet fans are a must, so we saw fit to remove the ProCool SL440B, which made a heck of a lot of noise considering the fact that it only took up one rack space with four small fans.
Atlas IED EFT6-4 This rather effective model is designed to live at the top of an open network setup, as it would either be completely useless in an enclosure or force you to make significant modifications to that enclosure's frame. Each of its four fans blows at 100 CFM, creating a significant amount of airflow. atlasied.com