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The Best 120mm Case Fan

In search of one of the best 120mm case fan? You’ve come to the correct place!

When looking for case followers, one of the widespread sizes you will come across is 120mm. These are used on just about all the things inside a pc, from chassis consumption and exhaust to radiators and heatsinks. They are out there in many various flavors- RGB, single colour, PWM, and so forth. And to make things much more complicated, you will have static strain optimized fans in addition to airflow optimized fans. Which one do you have to get? In any case, there are several manufacturers and model strains to select from even when you already know that you’re in search of a 120mm case fan. Depending on which part of your case the fan will probably be mounted on, in addition to the presence of different fans in your case, you will have to slender down your options.

First you will need to determine whether or not you need a static strain or airflow optimized fan. How to try this? Properly, it’s truly fairly simple- look across the area during which this fan will probably be mounted. Is it on the chassis with none airflow impeding objects close by? If there are not any air filters round it, or any exhausting drive cages within the neighborhood, you want an airflow optimized fan.

If the fan must draw air by means of a filter or push air by way of onerous drive cages, you need a static strain optimized fan. And if the fan is being used on any kind of cooling system, whether or not it’s a radiator for a water loop or heatsink for a tower cooler, you all the time need to get a static strain optimized fan. When you determine which sort of 120mm fan you want, it is time to take a look at the bearing. Bearing reliability and worth increases within the following order- Sleeve bearing, Ball bearing, Hydraulic bearing, SSO2 bearing, and Magnetic levitation bearing.

The costlier bearings last more and run quieter. Talking of quiet, you now have to verify the fan for noise ranges. Noctua and beQuiet make some superb silent 120mm followers for gaming PCs. Finally, you look for aesthetics- fan colour, RGB, and so forth.

Without further ado, listed here are our contenders for the most effective 120mm case fan:

Overview:

Buy a pack of four, and also you cowl all the airflow on your whole pc for beneath 20 bucks. Take into account that these aren’t meant for any highly effective gaming PCs, and are principally for price range techniques the place the CPU or graphics card aren’t spitting out much warmth.
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Features:

The cause these case followers are so low cost is as a result of they haven’t any further features or PWM control- they’re just designed to suck air in and blow it out the from the opposite aspect, that’s it. No fancy RGB lighting, not even single colour LEDs. There are not any anti-vibration mounts or rubber padding on the corners, so be prepared to listen to a little bit of rattle in your case in the event you don’t mount them securely. But as long as you employ the offered screws and secure these followers properly to the case, there ought to be little or no noise… at the least originally of their lifespan since these are sleeve bearing followers.

Sleeve bearings are the most cost effective sort of bearing, and although they come in numerous flavors the overall rule with them is that they start out quiet and progressively get louder with time. Additionally they have a shorter lifespan in comparison with ball bearing fans and may die abruptly after working nice for years. We don’t advocate these fans for instances with numerous stuff inside akin to exhausting drive cages, air filters, or water cooling loops. They generate respectable airflow at 38.2 CFM, and the noise degree is definitely surprisingly low- simply 22 dBA which isn’t a lot louder than a whisper. The fundamental cause for the low noise degree is the velocity at which these fans spin- they are voltage managed and have a gentle velocity of 1200 rpm. You possibly can plug them into Four-pin headers in your motherboard, but you will not management the velocity with PWM.

Execs:

  • Okay when it comes to airflow, at 38.2 CFM
  • Extraordinarily low cost, you get a 4- pack for underneath 20 bucks
  • No software program to mess with, no fan curve to set since these are regular DC followers and don’t have PWM velocity control
  • You possibly can management up to eight of these with only one fan header, using the Silverstone fan hub

Cons:

  • Starting voltage is 7V DC, which suggests you’ve a really limited rpm vary for velocity control by way of voltage manipulation (as is the case with most 3 pin followers)
  • No rubber anti-vibration mounts on the corners

Corsair LL Series LL120 RGB 120mm Dual Light Loop RGB LED PWM Fan 3 Fan Pack with Lighting Node Pro

Overview:

Are you okay with sacrificing a bit of little bit of airflow performance in return for the perfect RGB lighting attainable? Properly then, take a look at the Corsair LL120 RGB 120mm fans. These are barely weaker when it comes to airflow when compared to AF120 fans however still pack sufficient cooling performance to handle a beefy gaming PC, and look awesome whereas doing it.
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Options:

The Corsair LL120 RGB was designed with one function in mind- present the perfect RGB lighting of any fan in all the pc business. Performance took a backseat consequently, which suggests the common AF120 fans beat out the rather more expensive LL120 RGB followers regardless that both are 120mm models. The cause for this decreased airflow efficiency is the LEDs- this fan has more LEDs than some other fan out there. Commonplace LED fans use Four models, which may be positioned in a hoop across the body of the fan, or installed immediately into the rotor hub which offers a much more uniform lighting. But with the LL120 RGB fan, Corsair took things to the acute and used 16 RGB LEDs for each fan. These LEDs are put in in two separate lighting loops for max colour penetration across all the cross part of the fan, and every LED is individually customizable which leads to hundreds of distinctive lighting profiles.

The fan velocity might be managed seamlessly via a variety of 900 rpm (600 to 1500), because of PWM. Once you buy this pack of 3 LL120 RGB followers, you additionally get Lighting Node Professional RGB controller module which lets you join all of your RGB fans and LED strips to at least one central hub that’s then managed by means of the Corsair iCUE software program. You’ll be able to effortlessly customise lighting profiles and select from hundreds of attainable mixtures. One factor we love concerning the LL120 RGB followers is how quiet they are, which is partly because of the low rpm. The fan blades are designed to generate good airflow while also staying underneath 25 dBA of noise.

Execs:

  • The greatest RGB lighting available on the market, with 16 unbiased RGB LEDs arranged across the fan in two separate lighting zones (one on the inside circle of the frame, and one other on the fan hub)
  • Hydraulic bearings for low noise and lengthy life
  • Optimized to deliver a nice stability between static strain and airflow (43.25 CFM and 1.61mm H20 of airflow and static strain respectively)
  • Fan velocity and lighting managed via PWM
  • This pack of 3 followers also includes a Lighting Node Professional RGB controller hub

Cons:

  • In trade for the superb lightshow, you sacrifice a little bit of cooling performance (it’s nonetheless very powerful compared to a mean 120mm case fan)
  • Very expensive

Thermaltake Riing 12 High Static Pressure Circular Ring Red LED Case/Radiator Fan with Anti-Vibration Mounting System Triple Pack Cooling CL-F055-PL12RE-A

Overview:

Do you need a pack of three fans in your 360mm radiator? Are you a fan of excessive performance and low noise? Nicely, Thermaltake has your again with their static strain optimized Riing 12 LED followers. These can be found in Four totally different colors- purple, white, blue, and white. However if you need each attainable shade in your gaming PC case, take a look at the RGB version of those followers which additionally comes with a RGB controller made by Thermaltake.
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Options:

The rubber anti-vibration mounts and unique fan blade design permit this fan to spin quietly at speeds as much as 1500 RPM. It makes use of a hydraulic bearing identical to all the opposite premium case fans out there, and this ensures low noise together with longer lifetimes. The Riing 12 LED fan has a life expectancy of around 40,000 hours at operating temperatures of 25°C. It offers actually good static strain (2.01mm H20), together with respectable airflow numbers (40.6 CFM). Word that this Thermaltake fan outperforms the flashy Corsair LL120 RGB fans, both when it comes to airflow and static strain. And it does so while operating quieter than the Corsair LL120 fans- 24.6 dBA vs 24.eight dBA. Not that your ears will discover a zero.2 dBA distinction in noise ranges, however it’s value noting that this fan costs much lower than the LL120 RGB.

And if that isn’t quiet enough for you, you possibly can connect the low noise cable which adds further resistance to additional scale back noise ranges down to only 18.7 dBA. It does so by reducing fan speeds right down to 1000 rpm from 1500. This fan doesn’t have a Four-pin connector, which suggests it depends on voltage control to vary velocity. More often than not it’s going to run at full velocity, until your motherboard helps voltage based mostly fan velocity control for 3- pin followers via the BIOS.

The RGB version of this fan is a totally totally different beast- while the Corsair LL120 had 12 individually addressable RGB LEDs, each Riing 12 RGB fans is provided with a whopping 30 RGB LEDs. These 30 individually addressable LEDs are spread across 3 totally different lighting zones- Entrance, Middle, and Back. And you may control them by means of the TT RGB Plus software on your desktop, or their telephone app for Apple and Android units. The triple pack of RGB fans additionally comes with a controller hub identical to the Corsair LL120 fan pack, however this can be a completely totally different sort of controller. It lets you connect up to 5 RGB units and might be controlled with Amazon Alexa. So you’ll be able to change the color and brightness on your Thermaltake Riing 12 RGB followers by talking to an Amazon Alexa gadget. Aren’t these followers super cool?

Execs:

  • Great airflow and static strain
  • RGB version has 30 individually addressable LEDs, organized in 3 totally different lighting zones
  • Rubber padding on corners to lower vibration transfer from fan to case
  • Hydraulic bearing for much less noise and longer lifetime
  • Triple pack of RGB fans comes with a controller hub that accepts as much as 5 RGB units

Cons:

  • Regardless that the RGB version of the Riing 12 is best wanting and has more lights than the Corsair LL120 RGB fan, it performs barely worse in each airflow and static strain
  • No PWM velocity control on non RGB Riing 12 followers

Noctua NF-F12 PWM chromax.Black.swap Premium-Grade Quiet 120mm Fan

Overview:

Noctua had been getting plenty of criticism for the tasteless, industrial shade schemes on their followers. And not one of the Noctua followers have any sort of fancy lighting options since each single certainly one of them is designed to deliver most cooling performance whereas staying as quiet as attainable. Anything is deemed pointless. But they lastly caved in to the strain from critics and customers- did they embrace LED lighting? Nope, doesn’t look like we’ll ever get that. However hey, no less than we’ve removable corners that are available 6 totally different colors!
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Options:

That’s proper, the well-known Noctua NF- F12 static strain optimized fans now include rubber nook pads which might be removable and don’t appear to be dried up cattle dung. Gone are the boring industrial seems to be, we now have a black frame with black fan blades and… colored anti vibration pads? You get 4 pads for each one of the 6 totally different colors- pink, white, blue, black, inexperienced, and yellow. When it comes to efficiency, there isn’t actually much to say. Put up some other 120mm fan towards these, and the Noctua will win by a big margin. No different company has managed to duplicate Noctua’s spectacular stability between performance and low noise ranges. It’s a static strain optimized fan, which suggests it’s designed to be mounted on radiators, heatsinks, and behind mesh filters on PC case air intakes.

The static strain score for this fan is 2.61mm H20, which places it forward of each the Corsair LL120 RGB and Thermaltake Riing 12 RGB. Those followers might look cool, but this fan does actual work. But just because it’s static strain optimized, doesn’t mean this Noctua fan can’t generate airflow- it does, an entire 55 cubic ft of air per minute. Meaning it trounces both the Corsair LL120 RGB and Riing 12 RGB in the airflow division as nicely. And it does all of this whereas staying whisper quiet- at simply 22.Four dBA, the NF- F12 PWM Chromax is the quietest PWM static strain fan we now have ever seen. In case you buy the standard non- Chromax NF- F12 without the swappable nook pads, you additionally get a low noise adapter which reduces RPM from 1500 to 1200, further decreasing noise ranges right down to 18.6 dBA.

Execs:

  • 61mm H20 of static strain, makes this fan good for mounting on radiators, heatsinks, in front of drive cages and behind air filters
  • 55 CFM of airflow
  • Incredibly quiet, even underneath full load (1500 rpm max)
  • The common PWM version of the NF- F12 comes with a LN adapter which reduces velocity to 1200 rpm and noise right down to 18.6 dBA
  • SSO2 bearings which are higher than common hydraulic bearings, the rationale this fan has a MTTF of 150,000 hours while different fans last round 40,000 hours
  • Comes with a bunch of accessories- 4 swappable rubber corners for every of the 6 colours
  • The regular non- Chromax version of this fan comes with a low noise adapter

Cons:

  • Expensive, when you consider that this can be a single fan as an alternative of a pack
  • Even the Chromax edition with swappable rubber corner pads appears extremely boring and bland in comparison with most trendy LED fans (nevertheless it will get the job accomplished better than any of them)

Ceaselessly Asked Questions-

How do I do know if this fan will fit inside my PC Case?

Your case may have mounting spots for fans, often 120mm and 140mm on both the entrance as well as prime. This will differ relying on what sort of case you’re utilizing, for example a small type factor case in all probability isn’t going to help 280mm radiators on two totally different sides. Most instances which are mid towers will take 120 and 140mm fans, and there are some mid towers (older designs) which even settle for 200mm followers. The rear finish of the case, where all the motherboard I/O is situated will in all probability have a 120mm fan mount. You’ll be able to measure the fan mount from the center of 1 aspect to the middle of the other aspect, since all of them can be square formed.

When measuring a fan mount on the case or the dimensions of your fan, do not take a diagonal section. Don’t go nook to nook, as an alternative measure from one aspect to another (by way of the center of the aspect). For those who don’t have any measuring instruments at hand don’t worry- even the smallest of instances are designed to fit at the least 3 to 4 120mm followers. And should you want particular information on what measurement of followers your case helps and what number of of each sort it’s going to match, just check with the product page on the producer’s official website, or the field that your case came in.

How is fan velocity controlled?

Fan velocity in the previous days was constant- both it will be operating at full velocity (ON), or it will be at zero RPM (OFF). Ultimately, system builders and fanatics started to tweak around with their followers and made custom resistance cords that might patch onto the prevailing wires to scale back the amount of current or voltage being sent to the fan, this in turn would decelerate the fan and scale back its noise. The easiest fans use a 2-pin or 2-wire connection. Then we have now Three-pin fans which are also referred to as DC fans, and in these followers the third wire is what relays the velocity of the fan to your system. You’ll be able to search for Three-pin fan headers on your motherboard, and connect these fans to them.

Three pin connectors can regulate fan velocity, however in a really crude and inefficient manner. They achieve this by regulating the quantity of voltage being sent to those fans. One of the issues with voltage based mostly velocity control is that fairly often the fan gained’t begin till you provide no less than 50% of its rated voltage, and this implies your fan will probably be actually noisy every time it begins up. The vary of velocity control can also be limited, and power is wasted. As compared, PWM or pulse width modulation based mostly fan velocity management uses digital pulses or alerts to regulate fan speeds far more effectively across a wider vary of RPM. PWM management leads to more power effectivity, much less noise, and permits the fans to run at extremely low speeds that are not attainable with voltage based mostly velocity management (many Three pin fans can’t go under 50 % RPM or they cease utterly). And with PWM, you may also control the RGB lighting in your fan. This is carried out by means of the motherboard, and you may select custom lighting results and watch them replace in your fan in real time.

Additionally it is essential to notice you could join a 3 pin fan to a Four pin header on your motherboard, it is going to still run. But since this is not a PWM fan, the motherboard won’t regulate its velocity and the fan will run at full RPM all the time which will increase noise levels and reduces fan lifetime. You’ll be able to management this by way of the BIOS in some motherboards, where they permit you to set the velocity on a Three pin fan regardless that it’s related with a Four pin header, this is accomplished by way of fan voltage control as an alternative of PWM.

Why are silent followers costlier?

Silent followers are designed with particular blade geometry and superior bearings. Additionally they have rubber pads on the corners to scale back vibration switch from the fan to the case. Some premium silent followers also come with rubber mounts that substitute the metallic screws. These rubber screws don’t safe the fan to the case in addition to an precise metallic screw, but they considerably scale back noise because even much less vibration is transferred to the case. One more reason why silent fans are costlier is the PWM velocity control- it requires a special IC inside the fan motor as well as a Four pin cable. There are quiet followers which are Three pin varieties, however they don’t seem to be as silent as PWM based mostly followers. There are some exceptions in fact, such as the Noctua fans which are available each DC as well as PWM versions. Noctua says that DC voltage control is superior in some elements, however they will get away with it because their followers are already engineered to be quieter than 90 % of all fans out there, PWM or not. Noctua additionally supplies ULN or ultra low noise adapters that are principally extension cords in your fan cables. These extensions carry resistors which lower the voltage flowing to the fan and scale back its velocity.

There are a pair choices for you. First, you’ll be able to but a PWM fan splitter cable resembling this one from eBoot. The cords are all good and braided, and you’ve got multiple shade options to select from to be able to match the theme of your gaming PC construct. Or, you will get a PWM fan hub. This fan hub from Rosewill is reasonable and permits you to connect 8 followers via just one Four- pin header on your motherboard. How does it work? Properly, the hub attracts energy instantly from your PSU so that you don’t have to fret concerning the motherboard getting starved. The velocity reading for all fans is offered by the one fan that is related to the shiny port. This one velocity studying is taken as the velocity of all followers and is transferred to the header in your motherboard. Then it takes the PWM management from your motherboard and transfers that signal to all PWM fans that are related in the hub.

So there are two cables going out of this hub- one to a SATA connector drawing energy from your PSU, and the second to your motherboard CPU fan control header. In case you connect a Three pin fan to this header, it can still work however you’ll be able to’t management its velocity. It can run at max RPM on a regular basis. And you can too function this fan hub with out plugging within the PWM cable, by simply connecting the SATA energy. This may even run the followers at maximum velocity on a regular basis, because the motherboard has no means of figuring out what velocity the followers are operating at, and there’s no signal going into the hub that tells the fans to decelerate.

Which One Should You Purchase?

If you would like a fan to suck in air via mesh filters, then push this air to the remainder of the system via drive cages, you’re on the lookout for a great static strain fan. And meaning you want the Noctua NF- F12 PWM which is quiet simply one of the best static strain fan available on the market. Not only is it unbelievably silent whereas operating, but the amount of static strain that it generates is unimaginable. This fan is ideal for PC case air intakes, water cooling radiators, and air cooler heatsinks.

However what in case you are more all for augmenting the aesthetics of your gaming PC construct? In that case (see what we did there?), you want the Corsair LL120 RGB followers. They arrive with a free RGB controller unit, and you may sync up all of the followers with other RGB lighting accessories in your case using the Corsair iCUE software program. In the event you own a Corsair gaming keyboard and mouse, you’ll be able to sync up the RGB lighting of your entire gaming setup.

We hope this in-depth assessment of the most effective 120mm case fans was helpful to you. When you’re constructing or upgrading your PC, we will help additional; take a look at our PC PARTS class for more in-depth articles on every PC part it is advisable to think about on your good build. Good luck together with your research, and completely satisfied constructing!