Corsair ML120 PRO LED 120mm PWM Premium Fan Review – The Magnetic Levitation Fan
Test Setup and Performance
I installed two Corsair ML120 PRO LED fans on the radiator of the Cryorig A40 Ultimate AOI CPU cooler. The rest of the Corsair ML120 fans where installed on the casing as an exhaust. Unfortunately, the In Win 805 chassis wasn’t quite as accommodating when it comes to airflow as it has limited air intake entrance and only a single 120mm fan for exhaust. I have to put the radiator out so that the fans will have enough room to suck in air and push the heat away from the radiator. Below are the rest of the system’s specifications.
Motherboard: Gigabyte Z170X Gaming 7
Processor: Intel Core i7-6700K
CPU Cooler: Cryorig A40 Ultimate All-in-One
Memory: Corsair Vengeance LED DDR4-3200MHz 32GB (4x8GB)
Graphics card: Galax GTX 1080 HOF 8GB
Storage Drives: Zotac Sonix 480GB NVMe SSD, OCZ RD400 512GB PCIe M.e NVMe SSD
Power Supply: FSP Aurum PT 1000W
Chassis: In Win 805
Corsair ML120 PRO LED Fans Cooling Performance
Like I said earlier, I installed two Corsair ML120 PRO LED fans on the radiator of the Cryorig A40 Ultimate AIO CPU cooler, with its radiator sticking out of the chassis. Below are two images; on the first (top) screenshot the fans are controlled via PWM, while on the 2nd (bottom) screenshot the fans are set to run at maximum speed. In both scenarios, the CPU is running at idle to light load only, that’s why the fan speed that is controlled via PWM is only running at below 1000 RPM.
Notice that by increasing the fan speed to maximum speed, the temperature only improved just a tiny bit. This only means that increasing the fan speed higher is unnecessary while in light load situations, not to mention you will experience a nosier fan operation. The scenario on the image below is quite different. The fans are still controlled via PWM, but the CPU is stressed at 100% via AIDA64 stress test. The fans ran at almost 100% speed and noise becomes noticeably audible compared to when it was running at lower RPM.
I included a video below to show to you the different noise levels, comparing the fan speed at 600 RPM vs 2350 RPM.
Corsair ML120 PRO LED Fans Noise Level
The Corsair ML120 PRO LED fans should be silent in theory thanks to its Magnetic Levitation technology. But not matter how good the technology is applied, a fan will still produce a certain amount of noise due to various factors like the air passing through the fan blades or when it hits the fins of a radiator. If you use the ML120 PRO LED fan as purely an air intake or exhaust without any barriers or obstruction on both sides of the fan, it will perform noticeably quieter compared to when it is installed on a radiator. On the video below, I installed two ML120 fans on the radiator of the A40 Ultimate, notice how the noise change from 600 RPM up to 2350 RPM. That’s the controllable range provided by the Gigabyte SIV App.
Price and Availability
The Corsair ML120 PRO LED PWM MagLev fans are now available and come in four different variants; white, blue, red and black (non-LED). There’s also the ML140 PRO LED which is the 140mm variant of the fan series. It also comes with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $27.99 for the 120mm LED versions and $24.99 for the non-LED version. The ML140 140mm version is priced a little bit higher at MSRP $30.99 for the LED version and $28.99 for the non-LED version. These MagLev fans are back with a long 5 year warranty. For the latest pricing and availability, you may check them via the links below.
Corsair ML120 PRO LED Fan Review: Conclusion
Corsair never fails to impress us, whether it’s a primary component like DDR memory, or a cooling fan to cool your system or CPU cooler. The Corsair ML120 PRO LED 120mm PWM MagLev fan is truly an impressive cooling fan. It offers great cooling performance at lower noise levels and at the same time provides a decent amount of illumination. These fans are also pretty solid and well-built, not to mention quite expensive as well. But these are premium fans and you do get what you pay for – which is quality and performance.
The ability to control varying fan speeds from 400 RPM up to 2400 PRM is a great way to balance your system’s cooling performance and noise levels. The colored corner caps add highlights to the fan and the rubber dampers helps suppress noise. And let’s not forget the magnetic levitation technology and custom rotor design, providing lower noise at higher performance and offers a balance between high static pressure and high airflow. These are just some of the good points about the Corsair ML120 fans. In my opinion, the LEDs that are positioned from the center of the fan looks better compared to previous fans where the LEDs are placed on the four corners of the frame. Aesthetically speaking, it’s more pleasing and doesn’t look obnoxious.
I don’t find any negative things to point out about the ML series, price could be a con for some; however using 8 LED or a circular LED strip with a light diffuser may look better since the light will glow or illuminate from the center then outwards in an evenly manner. I’m not sure if RGB variants will come out soon, but RGB versions of the ML series would be a welcomed addition as well (specially that nowadays, RGB is everywhere).
Finally the Corsair ML120 PRO LED MagLev fans are no doubt one of the best fans released this year, in terms of cooling performance, noise level and aesthetics. If you like how these fans look and how they perform, consider them on top of your list.