Since Corsair has been in the chassis and cooling game for a while now, it only makes sense to leap into their own brand of fans. With fans there are three important things to consider for your purchases. One is obviously the air flow through the fan. Typically more is better for most uses. The second thing to consider is static pressure or can the fan "push" the CFM it is rated for or does it flounder when placed against a cooler or radiator. The last bit to consider is the noise levels. While most users looking to extreme cooling on a cooler or in a case, don't seem to care if fans are loud, there is an ever growing user base that prefer almost absolute silence from their builds.
With Corsair's move to fans, they also realized that the market is varied and all users are not created equal. This is why there is a total of five variations in the Air Series that I am about to be discussing in depth. Corsair is offering Quiet fans in 120mm and 140mm flavors, as well as Performance versions and even High Performance fans in 120mm frames. The care package I received has at least one of each variety, while most come in the "Twin Packs" that gives you two fans in one total package. Whether you buy them as single or doubles is up to you, but let's cover the fan options available.
The Corsair fans we are taking a look at come in two groups. The first grouping is the AF or Air Flow series that offers the AF120 Performance Edition, the AF120 Quiet Edition and the AF140 Quiet Edition for those looking for a more average fan for everyday usage. For those of you looking for something with a little more, Corsair also offers another grouping of fans. These fans are the SP Series and these fans deliver more Static Pressure for dense fin arrangements or even radiator cooling. This group consists of the SP120 High Performance Edition and the SP120 Quiet Edition fans.
In today's review we will be looking at all five selections to see just what Corsair brings with this really well balanced group of fans that should allow anyone in need of fans the right solution to their cooling needs.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
First let's cover the AF140 Quiet Edition. As the chart shows the AF140 can deliver 67.8CFM of airflow, but they only have 0.84 mmH2O of static pressure. With 12V applied to this fan you should be turning at near 1150 RPM delivering 24 dBA worth of noise into the environment.
For the AF120 Performance Edition you are now looking at a 120mm fan that delivers 63.47 CFM when it is spinning at 1650 RPM. With slightly better static pressure of 1.1 mmH20 over the AF140 QE, the noise levels peek a bit higher at 30 dBA.
For the AF120 Quiet Edition, things get toned back from the AF120 counterpart. Here you get a fan capable of only 39.88 CFM with 21 dBA of noise level. Powering the AF120 QE fans to 12V you will see the fans spinning at 1100 RPM with a lowered static pressure of 0.5 mmH20.
Al l of the fans I just listed will come with a black frame housing the hub with either nine or 11 thin blades on them. That goes for both the 140mm fans and the 120mm fans. Making them easily distinguishable between these and the competition, all fans in the Air Series have a removable colored ring on them with two extras in the box for customization to match your build. These rings come in red, blue and white so you can color coordinate or go with a patriotic theme for a custom look. While the blade geometry offers the best in flow versus noise, Corsair also takes the mounting into concern, as this is where a lot of fans creek or rattle. For all of the Air Flow Series of fans, the corners have rubber inserts in the frames corners that offer an isolated mounting to anything including wire fan mounts on coolers.
In the Static Pressure versions of the Air Flow Fans things have changed. Both fans here have much larger blades on the fan and there are only seven of them to force air and pressure through the fan. While the AF models are designed for maximum air flow with little to no air pressure with the ultra thin blades, this design is reminiscent of a Delta fan and the SP series needs bigger, fatter blades to offer static pressure levels right up there with some of the best offerings out on the market.
More specifically the SP120 High Performance fans offer the best specs on all of the Corsair charts. This fan spins at 2350 RPM delivering 62.74 CFM. Offering the highest static pressure level of 3.1mmH20 and being rated at 35 dBA is pretty impressive. To put that into perspective, that is more CFM and static pressure than a Noctua fan, but with a touch more noise.
The SP120 Quiet Edition fans still offer more static pressure than any of the AF fans. This fan will deliver 1.29 mmH20 of pressure and 37.85 CFM. When you power this fan with 12V you will be spinning at 1450 RPM and tolerating only 23 dBA of noise from this fan.
Availability of the Air Flow Series of fans from Corsair is quite high. Just about anywhere you can find Corsair products you will find the new fans as well. Looking around I found that Newegg is right in the middle of pricing, but pay attention closely. It seems that if you are buying singles or one fan at a time, they are going to set you back $19.99 per fan, whether it be the AF140 or any of the four 120mm versions. The much better offering is to buy these fans in the "Twin Packs" that Corsair offers. These packs are being sold for $29.99 dropping five dollars off each.
To be real honest, $15 a fan is nothing these days. It seems the going rate for high-end fans is closer to the $20 mark to get exactly what you want and with the selection being offered here, Corsair wants to be the answer to anyone's buying needs in cooling and at this price, I think that is very feasible for them to do.
Corsair Air Series AF140 Quiet Edition Fan
The AF140 QE comes in a red and black package that shows you everything you need to know right on the front, in plain sight. While the left side is offering a look at the fan inside the box, the red band on the right carries the name of the fan, speed and noise level, along with the three year warranty icon at the bottom left.
On the side of the box, Corsair shows how the color rings pop off the fans so you can customize them. It also covers the rubber corner pieces to isolate the fans and the last image covers the color choices of rings that ship with each fan.
On the back there is a brief explanation of what makes the AF140 special against the other offerings shown at the very bottom. There is also a full specs chart offered that covers every aspect about the fan included in this package. Off to the right the fan explanation is repeated in five other languages.
Inside the fan fit snugly in a cardboard insert. Under the fan you will find the paperwork and extra color rings, while in the thicker folded end of the inner packaging, there is other hardware to be found as well.
Here are the three plastic rings all together to show you the options you have to accent the fans to match the build. There is nothing that says these fans need the rings to function, so all black is a color choice I guess too.
There is the typical "stop" pamphlet and a product guide for all the Corsair goodies you may not own yet. The baggie found in the thick end of the inner packaging offers a step-down resistor to allow you to swap 12V power down to 7V and a set of four case mounting screws to mount this to a chassis.
I swapped out the red ring for a white one and set the fan up so you could see the eleven ultra thin blades of the AF140.
The rubber inserts in the corners offer you a way to isolate the fans from whatever they are attached to. I like that they didn't close off the corners either, so if you need to insert screws through the sides for certain installations, it is still possible with these fans.
The support frame for the fans doesn't change much from any other fan, but it offers so much room for the air to flow through easily without too much disturbance allowing the specs that Corsair shows the AF140 to have.
Corsair Air Series AF120 Quiet Edition Fans
Packaging for the AF120 QE fan looks much like that we saw for the AF140. The most obvious is that this is a slightly smaller package and that this shows it is a 120mm fan capable of 1100 RPM and 21 dBA. Of course this has a three year warranty as well.
From the side you can see a rig with these fans applied and that we have now moved into the "twin packs" Corsair sent me. As far as the information goes, this is the same as what we find on the front.
The twin packs open up to expose one of the fans while giving you another view of them in a chassis along with the three features in the images at the bottom.
The back offers a few words explaining the AF120 series, repeated five times in other languages, with a specifications chart to show you what separates the AF120 QE over other fans in the series.
Since this is a twin pack you get six color rings, three for each fan.
You also get two full sets of the product guides, the "Stop" literature and the pair of hardware bags with screws and low voltage adapters.
I stacked the fans to try to give you a couple different angles to see the isolation material that Corsair stuffs into each corner of the fans.
Since I didn't show it last time, there are holes in each corner of the fans to accept tabs from the color rings. There are pretty easy to get out and swap, but secure enough that operational speeds of the fans will not vibrate them loose.
We have stepped down from the 11 blades of the AF140 to now nine blades in the AF120 QE. The ultra thin blades still allow for good air movement, but little on the end of static pressure.
Another thing I have been checking along the way is whether or not all of the part numbers found on the manufactures sticker do in fact match the packaging. This way I can be sure I am testing the right products as well as being sure there wasn't any mix-ups at the factory.
Corsair Air Series SP120 Quiet Edition Fans
Moving into light blue and black packaging now for the Quiet Edition of the SP120 helps you discern from the two parts of the series. Surprisingly, the static pressure isn't listed right on the front with the RPM and 23 dBA noise rating.
If you look at the CPU cooler you can see the SP120 mounted to it in the build image while the bottom shows the same three specifications as the front does.
Splitting the packaging open again shows the SP120 insides the chassis on the AIO radiator with three features of the fan in the images that run across the bottom. On the right you get a look at an oddly plain seven blade fan with really wide blades.
On the back Corsair tells you that the wide blades are what brings in the higher levels of static pressure and where you may want to use them. Even though this is a quiet solution, the SP120 QE has a higher static pressure rating that all of the AF120 and AF140 fans.
To simplify things I only grabbed one of the hardware kits. Here you get the three color rings, the paperwork and the bag of screws with the low voltage adapter in it. You do get two sets like this in this twin pack.
Once I removed both fans I realized I have two different designs. Connecting and running them, I verified the RPMs and the flow seemed on point in the testing. Other than the hub difference around the hydraulic bearing in the SP series and the lack of stickers, I can't really say what happened here.
The fan with the blue ring on it even lacks the manufacturer sticker on the fan frame. As for the other fan, it corresponds to the model number on the box.
Even on this side of the fan with the individual numbers applied to the fan frames, both numbers are a match. I am assuming there was either a last minute design change to the ribbed hub or I got a test fan that wasn't meant to be in the retail packaging.
Corsair Air Series SP120 High Performance Fans
The front if the SP120 High Performance fan shows the seven blade fan through the cut away. It also shows at the bottom right corner that this fan means business with 2350 RPM and 35 dBA of noise at that speed.
As you can see by the chassis image, the SP120 HP fan is a great solution for the Hydro Series coolers or anywhere you need a lot of strong air flow to cool a component.
The open shot of the packaging is just like the rest of them, with a look at the second fan and the features shown at the bottom.
The same speech from the SP120 QE fans is given here, but the obvious difference is the values in the specs chart. I covered the high RPMs of the fan, but most notably here is the 3.1 mmH2O of static pressure that the SP120 HP fans bring to the table.
As with the rest of the fans, the SP120 HP fans are no exceptions when it comes to the hardware. There will be two of these ring groups of red, white and blue inserts. There are also two sets of the paperwork and you will get two bags for eight screws and two low voltage adapters.
It is nice to see that both of these fans match exactly, with both fans having the grooved hub covering the spindle and hydraulic bearing that these seven wide blades spin on.
The glamour shot of the rubber inserts on the SP120 HP fans is just like all the rest, so even at these high speeds there shouldn't be any rattling or chafing when these are applied to a case, cooler or radiator.
A look at the back of these frames show smooth edges that curve to the shape of the frame to allow air to glide smoothly in and out of the fan so that you can get the most out of the specs this fan is rated to accomplish.
Corsair Air Series AF120 Performance Edition Fans
Now it's back to the red packaging and the AF series for the last entry of the fans. Since we already saw a few quiet fans and only one performance model so far, I now bring you the AF120 Performance Edition.
As with the rest, the open side of the packaging shows the chassis for potential installation options and at the bottom shows the size, RPM and noise level just as we seen them on the front.
Along with the chassis image and feature close-up shots, you can see we have stepped away from the wide blades and back to the nine ultra thin blades again.
The story is the same across all of the AF fans, but these are the fans that offer the best CFM out of the AF series 120mm fans, on only slightly bested by the AF140. The nice thing about this fan is that you get a good amount of airflow, not too bad static pressure and the noise levels are kept low.
As with all the other twin packs, you get two complete sets like the one shown here. At this point I am pretty sure you know what is contained.
With blue rings on them now, the nine blade fans are ready for action. I must say after playing with five sets, these rings become second nature to remove and replace.
These also have the grey rubber inserts put on all four corners of the fan, so that none of the Air Series Fans will make any noises other than the sound of air through the blades.
Again the parts number is a match and we can conclude the look at the Corsair Air Series fans.
As a group the Corsair Air Series of fans will definitely cover any fan needs for any user. There are three variations on quiet fans with varying airflow, static pressure and noise levels to suit anyone looking to keep the peaceful silence in their rooms and for the guys who demand performance; there are two options available to you. Being able to customize the color, even if with just the leading edge of the fan frame is something that borders on genius, even if now it seems so simple. There is no other fan on the market that I know of that can swap from ASUS red, to GIGABYTE blue or even ECS white, just as three ideas. No matter the base color of a build, even if the rings contrast, the look of a build after is taken up a notch, even past LED fans in my mind. The subtle pop of color added from these fans is something I see a lot of people gravitating to. Covering every fan with rubber on the corners and supplying not only the screws, but a 7V adapter for the 3-pin powered fans is also included with each and every fan.
Individually, there are in my mind only three of the five fans I would really consider, although the AF 140 QE and AF120 QE have their places in some buyers minds. The three I feel are the stars of this group are the AF120 Performance fan and the SP120 in both the High Performance Edition and the SP120 Quiet Edition. Since pricing is within a few pennies across all five entrants, I would personally pass on the first two I listed for the later three and here is why. The SP120 HPE is pretty self-explanatory, it is by far the best performing fan offered and the 35 dBA rating is overstated as the fans aren't that loud with 12V applied. These will work for anything from case fans, coolers or radiators as they will drive near 70 CFM of air into the device with 3.1mmH20 of static pressure forcing its way through.
In second place I would bring up the SP120 Quiet Edition. With near silence, this fan may only deliver near 40 CFM, but the static pressure level offers every bit of that 37.85 CFM is getting used. This is also a good fan for those demanding silence for cases, coolers and radiators. That leaves us with the AF120 Performance Edition that offers 63.47 CFM and static pressure levels of 1.1mm H20. This is the fan I would choose if I wanted the best of all things considered. Even with slightly elevated noise levels, this fan would be a great solution for cases and coolers, but I would move to a SP model for radiator cooling.
With the fact that you can buy Air Series Fans just about anywhere and the descent pricing even if just buying one at a time, Corsair took a well-placed step into the aftermarket fan segment. With the single fan price of $19.99 and the twin pack pricing of $29.99 you are going to be hard pressed to find fans that will offer not only the specs that these fans offer, but can also deliver that "pop" that custom PC builders look for. Now we all know there are $5 fans out there and on the flip side there are fans that top $30 apiece as well. That in mind, to customize your selection for the various components that may require different levels of fans, you can mix and match between all of the Corsair solutions and keep a singularly unified look unlike most companies.
For these reasons I really can't see any reason for you not to look to Corsair with any and every build not just because of the coolers, cases, power supplies, memory, SSDs and peripherals sections, but now also for the Air Series Fans that bring a new look to chassis design.
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