Corsair AF and SP Series Fan ReviewWaco -
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Testing: Corsair SP120
Testing the Corsair SP120 series fans requires a slightly different approach as opposed to the AF-series fans. Because they are intended to be run on heat sinks I'll be running them through an hour long gauntlet of Prime95 small FFTs followed by an hour-long cool-down period for both stock and overclocked configurations on the Noctua NH-U12P SE. The stock Noctua fans will be used for comparison. The room temperature was maintained at 25 °C for testing.
- Processor: Core i7 2600K @Stock and 4.4 GHz 100 x 44
- CPU Cooling: Noctua NH-U12P SE 1366
- Motherboard: GIGABYTE Z68AP-D3
- Memory: Mushkin 993997 Redline PC3-17000 9-11-10-28 16 GB
- Video Card: XFX HD 7970
- PSU: Antec TruePower New TP-750
- Hard Drive: Corsair Force GT 240 GB
- Optical Drive: N/A
- OS: Windows 7 Pro 64-Bit SP1
- Case: Corsair Obsidian 650D
- Stock Noctua
At stock speeds there's not much to talk about as the CPU simply doesn't put out enough heat to stress this heat sink even with slow speed fans. The big thing to note here is that the SP120 Quiet Edition keeps the CPU just as cool as the Noctua fans while being noticeably more quiet. Things heat up when pushed to 4.4GHz though, as the contenders separate into their respective performance categories. Unfortunately the Corsair SP120 Quiet Edition simply doesn't move enough air to keep things cool at full load for long periods of time with temperatures busting over the 80 °C mark. The stock Noctua fans pull up in second place for overclocked load at 75 °C and the Corsair SP120 High Performance Edition really pulls a lead at 70 °C.
An improvement of 5 °C over the admittedly good Noctua fans is a great result, but what is the cost? Well, Corsair didn't put the "High" in High Performance Edition for no reason… the faster RPM of the SP120 fans is clearly audible when running full speed. It emits a somewhat nasal whine that, while not terribly loud, is irritating in a quiet room. The included low-noise adapter does bring the noise down quite a bit but the temperatures fall right in line with the stock Noctua fans at that point.