Corsair AF and SP Series Fan ReviewWaco - July 12, 2012
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Corsair AF140 Quiet Edition
Pulling the AF140 Quiet Edition out of the box is a simple matter and finally reveals just how these fans look. Corsair, at least in my opinion, has really come up with something special here. The AF140 has an 11-blade impeller designed for use in low-restriction installations and spins at 1,150 RPM pushing 67.8 CFM. Because Corsair has specifically designed this fan for use as a case fan it should yield higher airflow with lower noise than fans that try to fit all duties simultaneously. What's the expression… a jack of all trades is a master of none? It seems to apply in reverse here. You can also see what is included in the package: a short booklet detailing Corsair products available for purchase, the three trim rings (red, white, and blue), a set of fan screws, and an unlabeled fan speed adapter. The fan speed adapter drops the voltage down for even quieter operation.
Snapping out the colored trim rings couldn't be easier. Gentle pressure at one of the four corners pops out that corner. The other corners follow suit pretty easily as well. I imagine that these probably won't be swapped out that often after you've finished your build but it's nice to know that you can change them out in the future if your color tastes change. All of the fans in the Corsair Air Series share the same frame style built of black plastic with grey rubber inserts on each corner for noise isolation.
Corsair AF120 Quiet Edition and AF120 Performance Edition
Because these fans are so similar I took their picture side-by-side. On the left decked out in red is the AF120 Quiet Edition and on the right garbed in Corsair blue is the AF120 Performance Edition. Aside from the actual motor assembly under that Corsair logo these two fans are physically identical in every way. The Quiet edition runs at 1,100 RPM pushing 39.88 CFM while the Performance edition runs at 1,650 RPM and pushes 63.47 CFM. The same plastic frame and noise-isolating rubber mounts are here as is the specially designed 9-blade impeller for low-restriction environments. If you have a pile of these laying around you'll need to take a look at the sticker on the rear of the fan to determine the type (and even then, you'll need to look up the amperage for the motor or Google the model number). They're fairly easy to mix up if you're not paying close attention (or you haven't color-coded them like I have).
Looking around to the sides of the AF120 Performance Edition you can see the frame and noise-isolating mounts in their full glory. Unlike many mounting systems for "low noise" Corsair has not made these fans closed-corner. This is a great feature as it allows for mounting on essentially any case using nearly any mounting system. Many fans with closed ends can't be mounted using clip-mount systems found on some cases and heat sinks. Overall these are looking to be some pretty nice fans!
Corsair SP120 Quiet Edition and SP120 High Performance Edition
The last two pairs of fans are the two versions Corsair has designed specifically for use on heat sinks and radiators. The SP120 Quiet Edition (clad in red on the left) spins at 1,450 RPM and pushes 37.85 CFM while the SP120 High Performance Edition (with the blue ring on the right) rotates at 2,350 RPM while moving 62.74 CFM. The 7-blade design is wildly different than the Air Flow fans with much wider blades at a lower pitch. These fans should be ideal for those dense-finned heat sinks and radiators that cause many fans to drop flow down to nearly unusable levels because of all the air resistance. Thanks to the open-corner design, seen on all of the Air Flow series fans, you won't have any issues mounting these fans to whatever device you have in mind.
Installing a Corsair Air Flow series fan is as easy as installing any case or heat sink fan. The Corsair 650D will be home to the various fans during testing along with the rest of the test hardware. You can see the stock 220mm Corsair fan in the top of the case – this is the fan that was swapped out to test the Corsair AF-series fans.
The Corsair SP-series fans were tested on the Noctua NH-U12P SE against the stock pair of Noctua fans. As you can see in the pictures the stock mounting system for this heat sink would have been a challenge if the Corsair fans had closed corners. Thankfully they mounted right out without any hassle. I only show the SP120 High Performance Edition in the second picture, but don't fret, I did test the SP120 Quiet Edition as well. Now that the fans are all mounted up, let's see how they perform!