Fan Roundup #7: Antec, be quiet!, Corsair, GELID, Noiseblocker, SilverStone

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Corsair Air SP120 Quiet Edition

The "SP" stands for static pressure, something sought after in watercooling circles. High static pressure is required to push air through the densely packed coils found in the radiators of water cooling systems. This fan naturally ships with many of Corsair's Hydro series of self-contained liquid CPU coolers. Given the enthusiast undertones, there is no low speed variant; the Quiet Edition spins at 1,450 RPM while the Performance Edition is rated for a whopping 2,350 RPM. The SP120 ships in the exact same package and housing as the AF120, except the box and default ring color is blue rather red.

Compared to the AF120, the SP120 has substantially larger fins with very little empty space between them. The more substantial blades seem to necessitate the presence of a bigger motor.

Specifications: Corsair Air SP120
Manufacturer Corsair Power Rating Perf: 3.0 W
Quiet: 1.08 W
Model Number Perf: CO-9050008-WW
Quiet: CO-9050006-WW
Airflow Rating Perf: 62.47 CFM
Quiet: 37.85 W
Bearing Type Hydraulic Speed Rating Perf: 2,350 RPM
Quiet: 1,450 RPM
Frame Size 120 x 120 x 25 mm Noise Rating Perf: 35 dBA
Quiet: 23 dBA
Hub Size 47 mm Header Type 3-pin
Blade Diameter 113 mm Fan Mounts Screws
Cable Length 30 cm Weight 160 g
Corner Type Open Number of Samples 2
Starting Voltage < 4.0 V Retail Availability Yes
Additional notes:

This is the screen capture of Fan Xpert 2's auto-analysis of the Corsair Air SP120 Quiet Edition.

Acoustic analysis of the Corsair Air SP120 Quiet Edition.

SPCR Test Results: Corsair Air SP120 Quiet Edition
Fan Speed (RPM)
Thermal Rise (°C)
Airflow in/out (FPM)

SP120 Quiet Edition is another poor sounding offering from Corsair. Compared to the AF120 series, it was lower pitch in general, producing a more dry sound like the bearings lacked lubrication. It was also the only fan in our roundup that we felt really had a vibration issues, sounding better grasped tightly in our hands than in our foam stand. Buzzing was evident at 1,400 and 1,000 RPM and it hummed at lower speeds, fading as the fan slowed.

The SP120 Quiet Edition came in a dual pack as well and we ended up testing the better sounding of the two; the other was generally buzzier with a slight but distinct tone at full speed, and increased bearing chatter at 1,100 RPM. With such a limited sample size it's hard to guess exactly what you're going to get.

We also had two samples of the Performance Edition of the SP120 but we deemed both to be poor candidates for a quiet system and unworthy of a full test run-down. A cursory examination revealed an odd little flutter (as if the motor was slightly off balance) at 1,500 RPM not present in the Quiet Edition, and at 900 RPM it had more pronounced tonal elements.

Despite being designed for radiators, the SP120 Quiet Edition handled our heatsink-based test rather well, putting up numbers on par with the AF120's except at lower speeds. There was a sizable spike in thermal rise going from 900 to 700 RPM making it less suitable for low airflow cooling.

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