Corsair branded fans are not a new thing, not really. The Hydro series coolers all came with Corsair fans, the only problem was their mantra with those fans were "just make the coolers work" considering the users ears and mental state didn't seem to be ever taken in to consideration and its pretty much the main reason why most people left those fans in the box and replaced them almost instantly.
So recently when we were testing some other fans on the H100 we got told by Corsair to expect some 'special' fans from them very soon, instantly we thought they wont be very good or you'll need a mortgage to pay for them. So finally a couple weeks ago the assorted pack of SP120, AF120 quiet & performance editions plus a AF140 quiet edition landed at the OC3D offices. Now knowing that we had tested the H100 on a 3960X recently with a couple of different fans we thought this would be the ideal set up to test the new Corsair fans on and put them up against their toughest competition the Noctua NF-F12.
|SP120 High Performance Edition||SP120 Quiet Edition|
|Size||120mm x 25mm|
|Operating Voltage||7V – 12V|
|Performance at 12V|
|Airflow||62.74 CFM||37.85 CFM|
|Static Pressure||3.1 mm/H20||1.29 mm/H20|
|Sound Level||35 dBA||23 dBA|
|Speed||2350 RPM||1450 RPM|
|Power Draw||0.18 A||0.08 A|
|AF120 Performance Edition||AF120 Quiet Edition|
|Size||120mm x 25mm|
|Operating Voltage||7V – 12V|
|Performance at 12V|
|Airflow||63.47 CFM||39.88 CFM|
|Static Pressure||1.1 mm/H20||.5 mm/H20|
|Sound Level||30 dBA||21 dBA|
|Speed||1650 RPM||1100 RPM|
|Power Draw||0.13 A||0.08 A|
Head over the page for a look at the fans in our test system.
Its worth pointing out at this point that the SP fans and the AF fans do look slightly different, the easiest way for us to explain is the SP's have 7 fat blades (far right) and the AF's have the thinner curvier blades (far left 120 centre 140)
So the eagle eyed among you may have spotted if you didn't already know that the outer rings of the fans can be replaced, these rings are indeed included with the fans and surprisingly not an additional cost option. Each fan comes with white blue and red rings so the basic colours for matching your rig are covered but considering you will have spares there's nothing stopping some paint being thrown around for all those modders out there.
Before we show you the fans in our test rig we thought we would show you a couple of photos with the different colour rings being used from the Corsair Website.
We have been using a range of the fans in a Corsair 500R with a H100 taking care of cooling, be sure to head over the page to see the full rig specs and how we tested them.
These tests were not carried out on our normal 'heat sink test rig' because we wanted to use them in a real world environment for at least two weeks to get a real feel for them. Luckily we have tested the H100 recently on a 3960X so we also have some results to compare too.
Corsair SP120 Quiet Edition
Asus P9 X79 Pro
16GB Corsair Memory
Windows 7 Ultimate x64
For the testing on these fans we followed the procedure we used previously when testing fans on the H100. We set up the 3960X to a 4.6GHz overclock with 1.425v which to be fair is the upper end of over clocks with these chips and also because of the high voltage create a massive amount of heat. We allowed the system to idle for 30 minutes to allow temperates to level out and then ran Prime95 on the "maximum heat maximum stress" setting for a further 30 minutes. After 30 minutes we take the maximum temperatures from each of the cores and take an average, by removing the ambient temperature of the room that then gives us our delta temperature.
We don't want to end up repeating ourselves in the conclusion so the thing to take away from this graph is that the standard Corsair fans are insanely loud and the NF-F12's are £18.49 ~EACH~ but lets move on to the next page and get things wrapped up.
So when we heard Corsair were going to be releasing some new fans we instantly thought that they would either cost a small fortune or just be rebrands that didn't really work that well / be loud. So talking about price they are £11.99 for any of the 120mm fans and surprisingly you can buy them as bundled pairs for £18.49. Quite a discount for buying a pair when you think about it and perfect considering all the Corsair cases and hydro coolers you can easily use two of each fan. This also means that two SP120's are the same price as a SINGLE Noctua NF-F12.
Talking of the Nf-F12 all I ever hear is how people hate the colouring, well the SP and AF fans all have the same basic neutral design with 3 customisable rings that come bundled with the fans, this means they will pretty much suit any rig and if you are hand with a spray can you could easily customise your own. The fact the SP (static pressure for heat sinks and radiators) and the AF (airflow fans for cases) have the same basic design means you can spec your system with fans designed for that job and still have a rig that will look like it all matches. No compromises needed anywhere. Master stroke!
So far we have heard nothing bad price and aesthetics are all good in our books so lets move on to the final point, Performance. How did they fair? Well the standard Corsair fans win but they will make you deaf or mad maybe both, just depends which comes along first. Second place is the NF-F12's but they do cost a mint and a great deal of you don't like the colouring. 3rd place in performance terms are where the SP120's fall in our graph, 1.5c warmer than the Noctuas and .5c cooler than the scythe GT's. The strange thing is that we would say the Corsairs are actually the quietest fans on test here today. Yes thats right quieter than the Noctuas!
So to recap on the SP120 Quiet Edition you can buy a pair for the same price as one NF-F12, they have a neutral design with customisable rings to fit in with pretty much any system. They do run a degree or two warmer than the Noctua but actually end up being quieter, and you can also get matching fans designed to work as case air flow fans.
Talking of the AF fans we ran the AF120 QE's at 12v throughout all of the tests and were very surprised quite how much air they move compared to the minimal noise levels, these too are awesome. Its hard to test a case fan much further than this but considering we ran them at 12v and still rate them as a high performing quiet fan should be quite some statement.
So as said at the beginning considering we didn't exactly have great hopes for these fans we have been well and truly left in shock quite how well these perform. Admittedly they were not the coolest fan when tested on our H100 and there wasn't much in it when compared to the NF-F12 and they are very well priced. They were also quite surprisingly the quietest fan on test here today. With everything considered we can only give the Corsair Air Series Fans the OC3D Gold Award.
Thanks to Corsair for the fans we tested here today, you can discuss your thoughts on the review in the OC3D Forums.