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Corsair Air Series AF120/140 High Airflow fans

September 21st, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

5 Stars
Corsair AF120 fans

When Corsair entered the PC enclosure market, they immediately needed to become better acquainted with cooling and fans. Even before enclosures, Corsair had PSU’s and CPU water coolers (with radiators), that required efficient cooling. With their newfound expertise in fans, Corsair developed and released the Air Series fans for gamers and enthusiasts.

PROS

  • Excellent cooling performance
  • Hydraulic bearing system
  • Good value in twin packs
  • Rubberized corners for vibration reduction
  • Looks great and includes three color rings

CONS

  • None

IN THE BOX
Inside the box, you’ll find the fan, four screws, a voltage step-down adapter, and three colored rings (red, white, and blue).

Corsair AF series box contents

FEATURES
One of the first things you’ll notice about the Air Series fans are the rubberized corners. The rubberized corners help reduce fan vibrations from spreading to the enclosure, thus reducing rattling and overall noise. It’s a brilliant design and much more elegant than trying to use silicone screws or pads.

Corsair AF series rubberized corner

Also unique to the Corsair Air Series fans are the colored rings that can be swapped out to match the interior of your case. They definitely add a little pizazz, without being gaudy. I for one, am ecstatic that Corsair chose not to include LEDs.

Corsair AF series side view

When choosing a fan, one of the first things you have to decide after size, is whether you want a ball bearing or sleeve bearing fan. Personally, I always chose sleeve bearing fans for quieter performance. While ball bearing fans tend to have longer lifespans, they’re noisier than sleeve bearing fans. What Corsair did, is to take a sleeve bearing and seal it with fluid. This hydraulic bearing system provides the primary benefit of a sleeve bearing type (low noise), while increasing lifespan.

PERFORMANCE
I tested the performance of the AF120 Performance Edition and Quiet Edition fans in a Corsair Vengeance C70 enclosure, running an Intel Core i5-2500K CPU, a Radeon HD 6870 GPU, a 2TB Western Digital Black HDD and a 240GB Patriot Pyro SE SSD. Using Prime95 to put a 100% load on all four cores, I measured the temperature of the stock case fans and compared it to the Air Series fans.

I used DeltaT measurements for temperature because I wasn’t able to reliably maintain a constant temperature in the room I tested in. It’s basically the difference between the measured CPU core temperatures and ambient temperature.

During 100% load, the true performance of the Air Series fans came into play. The Quiet Edition fans reduced the CPU temps by 2.5°C, over the stock fans, and the Performance Edition fans reduced temps by 3.5°C.

Corsair AF Series DeltaT Temps

I also used a sound pressure level meter to record the noise levels during idle and load times. The stock fans were about 1 dBA quieter than the Quiet Edition fans at idle and about 3 dBA quieter than the Performance Edition fans. During 100% load, the Quiet Edition fans were about .5 dBA quieter than the stock fans, while the Performance Edition fans were about 3 dBA louder.

Corsair AF Series noise

While not necessarily quieter than Corsair’s own stock case fans, the Air Series fans certainly outperformed the stock fans when it counted (100% load) and did it with a nominal increase in noise. It’s also worth mentioning that if you don’t need the extra performance, you can use the included voltage step-down adapter to reduce the noise levels further.

SPECS
[table]
,AF120 Performance Edition,AF120 Quiet Edition,AF140 Quiet Edition
Size,120mm x 25mm,120mm x 25mm, 140mm x 25mm
Voltage,7V – 12V,7V – 12V,7V – 12V
Airflow,63.47 CFM,39.88 CFM,67.8 CFM
Sound level,30 dBA,21 dBA,24 dBA
Speed,1650 RPM,1100 RPM,1150 RPM
Warranty,2 years,2 years,2 years
[/table]

CONCLUSION
The Corsair Air Series fans are well-engineered with a great balance of performance and noise and look cooler than any case fan I’ve ever seen. I highly recommend them.

AF120 Quiet Edition Twin Pack available from Amazon.com.
AF120 Performance Edition Twin Pack available from Amazon.com.
AF140 Quiet Edition Single Fan available from Amazon.com.

* Review samples provided by Corsair

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