Corsair HD120 & SP120 RGB LED Fans Review
Published: 2nd September 2016 | Source: Corsair | Price: |
Corsair HD120 & SP120 RGB LED Fans Review
When it comes to fans a lot has changed over the past few years, while the core designs have remained unchanged a lot of research and has gone into making them run quieter and with the maximum amount of airflow by making changes that are all but invisible to end users.
Today most gamers enjoy frequently changing several aspects of their system, especially the colour and external aesthetic of their PCs, with case modding, painting and other modifications becoming popular among most PC building communities. Now, the drive to make PC modding easier has resulted in a lot of companies changing their designs to more neutral aesthetic to take advantage of RGB LEDs, allowing your PC hardware to be coloured to best suit your desired aesthetic.
Now Corsair has decided to take the RGB craze to their fan technology, giving consumers the choice to change their fan colours at will and negate the need to release several different fans with different LED colours. Now with Corsair's new SP120 and HD120 series of RGB fans PC builders can change their PCs colour scheme between a wide range of colour options at the mere click of a button.
These new RGB illuminated fans come in two varieties, the budget-oriented SP120 LED fan with 3-pin fan power and the enthusiast-oriented HD120 RGB LED fan, which features rubber vibration dampers on each corner and full PWM fan speed control.
While the core design of both of these fans are similar both have some key differences, with the SP120 using 4 hub-mounted RGB LEDs and the HD120 using 12 frame-mounted RGB LEDs. Both of these fan typed can be controlled using Corsair three-button fan controller and 6-way RGB fan hub, but cannot be controlled through your PC or Corsair's own Link software package.
Colour wise these fans have 8 different modes, white, red, orange, yellow, green blue violet and an additional mode which cycles through all the colours. The controller also offers colour mode options like fade, static, flicker and breathing as well as more advanced Marquee and rainbow options on the more advanced HD120 series fans.
The LEDs and the fan motors are powered separately, with the LED connections being powered by Corsair's own RGB controller unit, which can be used to power up to 6 separate fans. This unit will then connect to Corsair's three-button controller to control your fan's colour, mode and mode speed.
One thing worth noting is that our HD120 review samples did run notably louder/faster when the LEDs were powered on, hinting that the power circuitry for both the lighting and the fan itself are not entirely separated.
Below is a table containing all of the relevant specification for Corsair's SP120 and HD120 fans, as well as the pricing and purchasable bundle options. These fans are purchasable separately, with a controller unit and in a 3-pack with a controller unit.
|Product||SP120 RGB||SP120 RGB +Controller||3X SP120 RGB +Controller||HD120 RGB||HD120 RGB +Controller||3x HD120 RGB +Controller|
|Connection cable||3-pin||3-pin||3-pin||4-pin PWM||4-pin PWM||4-pin PWM|
|Sound Level (dB)||26dB||26dB||26dB||18-30RPM||18-30RPM||18-30RPM|
|Bundled controller unit||No||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|
To say the least Corsair's HD120 and SP120 RGB fans have us impressed, but there is still a lot of room for improvement. We would like to see a different controller which could be used with Corsair's Link software suite, allowing the lighting of Corsair RGB fans to be linked with your other RGB peripherals.
At the price of £14.99 for the SP120 LED and £21.99 for the HD120 we can say that these fans do offer a lot of value. Yes, these fans are expensive but there are plenty of similarly priced models from competing manufacturers that do not offer RGB functionality or such low noise levels.
While a lot of PC gamers consider RGB functionality to be nothing but a gimmick you cannot deny that RGB functionality is an attractive party piece, giving your system a different edge at LAN, or even if it is just for showing off with photos on the forums.
RGB functionality will be a hit and miss feature with a lot of PC builders is undeniably a something that the community has been crying out for and Corsair has now brought it to their fans at a price that is reasonable if you consider how complex the design is. The only marginal issue with cable tidying freaks will be the propriety connector and the 'extra' set of cables to the controller. In a strange way, we actually look forward to communities answers and solutions to that one.
Corsair has done a great job, creating a product that can be called nothing but enthusiast grade. Yes, they do not offer anything revolutionary when it comes to performance but they have an aesthetic which simply cannot be achieved anywhere else. This is why we are awarding Corsair's HD120 and SP120 RGB LED fans with the OC3D Enthusiast Grade award.