Neoseeker : : : : Corsair AF and SP Series Fan Review

Corsair AF and SP Series Fan Review - PAGE 1

- Wednesday, August 8th, 2012 Like Share



Article Index

1.Introduction & Specifications:
2.Closer Look: The Fans
3.Testing Setup & Results
4.Conclusion



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Randome Aug 10, 12
I have 3 of the SP120 quiet edition. They all come with little diodes (or whatever those things are) that can be placed between the 3-pin on the fan and the 3-pin plug you're connecting it to. That little thing will slow them down, but I don't know by how much. I'm sure all versions of their fans come with those.

I haven't actually been able to turn them on yet. I'm still waiting for a fan controller and I don't want to use them before I get a controller. I'm going to keep 2 of my case fans with blue LEDs.


The difference between the fan blades is that the large number of small blades will move air faster, but that can't create all that much pressure. The bigger blades will create better pressure, but they'd have to spin a lot faster to move the same amount of air.

They have been tested by the experts at Corsair and by multiple people who've bought both types.

The SP fans are for radiators only. AF fans are for everything else. Somehow you shouldn't even use an AF fan as a radiator pull fan. I don't know how that is, but it has been tested.

I'm pretty sure that the only reason they didn't give those fans 4 pins is to make people buy more fan controllers. Extremely few people would ever buy one if these fans had 4 pins.

quote harbin91
How loud roughly, is 24dB and 31 dB? What are they equivalent to? I can hear the fans in my current PC (not too loud), but if I have sound coming out of my TV, then I cannot notice any noise from them.
My previous CPU cooler DBX-B is rated to be at 20 dB and it was as loud as a microwave oven. I mean like pretty loud.

dB is not what humans define as loudness.
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harbin Aug 9, 12
TBH I do really hope Corsair does a PWM version of both. If they did, then I'd probably have the fans set out, unless I saw something better elsewhere. If they did PWM fans, then I might even be tempted to get a fan controller fitted.

How loud roughly, is 24dB and 31 dB? What are they equivalent to? I can hear the fans in my current PC (not too loud), but if I have sound coming out of my TV, then I cannot notice any noise from them.

In the case of mine though (I plan on modding the case at some point) but at the moment, I have a Bitfenix Shinobi. Two fans are front of drive cages, with the bottom having two HDDs in front... so static pressure should be place on them, along with two static pressure fans on the heatsink (an NH-D12). The bottom fan and the rear exhaust fan (which has a heatsink placed just behind) should be pure CFM then, because air is currently being pushed towards it? Even then, how does that work with the case vents (those honeycomb meshing things that cover part of the hole, or with dust covers), would that restrict airflow enough to require SP fans instead of CFM fans? Might just be being pedantic about the whole thing.
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deeplove Aug 9, 12
Oh hell. So a fan controller is needed basically. Is that how some people have those Corsair water coolers with if they have these fans connected?
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hiigaran Aug 9, 12
without PWM or a fan controller, theres no way you are going to control it. BIOS and software settings will affect how the PWM works. wikipedia has a decent explanation on how PWM really works.
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deeplove Aug 9, 12
Question. How important is PWM if I were to get a pair of these? i know that they're not PWM fans but connecting them to the mobo and controlling them through bios, would it be a bad thing? i guess what would suck is that I would just have to go through the bios often just to adjust the speeds on them. which of course would be the inconvenient thing to do.
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Cryonicstate Aug 9, 12
hiigaran you are correct in that statement, every article I have read has stated the same thing, but then again we are not talking about lifting anything the fans are mounted to the case so we are talking about moving air. But yes if it was not attached and you cranked the rpm up with the fan laying on its back then yes we would have liftoff. lol "Maybe when I have some free time I can test that theory out"
You can read Corsair's blog regarding both the AF & SP series of fans,

Corsair Air Series Fans http://www.corsair.com/us/blog/introducing-corsair-air-series-fans[/link]
Air Series Fan Terminology and Testing http://www.corsair.com/us/blog/corsair-air-series-fan-terminology-and-testing[/link]
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deeplove Aug 9, 12
I'd like to read on that also. That completely changes the way I will look at fans especially when buying one.
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hiigaran Aug 9, 12
quote Cryonicstate
quote hiigaran
one thing ive never had a definite answer on...those fan blade thicknesses. you have the thinner ones with more blades, then the thicker ones with fewer blades. whats the performance difference? its always been something thats confused me with things like the shape of propellers on planes and ships, with them being so different.
Thin blades with a high pitch, angle or rake as some call it are designed to push more air, the fans with the wider blades and low pitch produce a higher static pressure. You can use a fan that has a low SP rating on a radiator with a low fpi count, but the more fpi you have the higher the SP rating you need to push the air through the radiator.
strange...every formula ive read would imply the opposite with thickness. as a blade gets thicker, it should produce more lift, given that every other factor remains the same, because theres more surface area for air to be deflected from.

you got some stuff i can read up on? now im really curious!
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Cryonicstate Aug 9, 12
quote harbin91
quote Cryonicstate
quote harbin91
On case fans, no PWM for me would be fine since I like my case fans to run maxed out all the time. Lack of PWM would kill it somewhat for me using it on the CPU.

Which is better for case cooling though? Static pressure or high airflow? Expensive for fans (or atleast seems expensive) but somewhat worth it. Would've been tempted to grab some Spectre Pros to match my case, but these are quite tempting aswell.

Hope they do a PWM version though for my CPU cooling. Assuming ofcourse that they'll fit in my cooler.
You would want to use the high flow, but first look at where you intend to place the fan. Will it be pushing air through a hard drive cage then you would want to use the static pressure fan.
So basically, static if there is an obstruction such as drive cages, but CFM if there isn't such as exhaust fans?
Yes sir!
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Cryonicstate Aug 9, 12
quote hiigaran
one thing ive never had a definite answer on...those fan blade thicknesses. you have the thinner ones with more blades, then the thicker ones with fewer blades. whats the performance difference? its always been something thats confused me with things like the shape of propellers on planes and ships, with them being so different.
Thin blades with a high pitch, angle or rake as some call it are designed to push more air, the fans with the wider blades and low pitch produce a higher static pressure. You can use a fan that has a low SP rating on a radiator with a low fpi count, but the more fpi you have the higher the SP rating you need to push the air through the radiator.
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harbin Aug 9, 12
quote Cryonicstate
quote harbin91
On case fans, no PWM for me would be fine since I like my case fans to run maxed out all the time. Lack of PWM would kill it somewhat for me using it on the CPU.

Which is better for case cooling though? Static pressure or high airflow? Expensive for fans (or atleast seems expensive) but somewhat worth it. Would've been tempted to grab some Spectre Pros to match my case, but these are quite tempting aswell.

Hope they do a PWM version though for my CPU cooling. Assuming ofcourse that they'll fit in my cooler.
You would want to use the high flow, but first look at where you intend to place the fan. Will it be pushing air through a hard drive cage then you would want to use the static pressure fan.
So basically, static if there is an obstruction such as drive cages, but CFM if there isn't such as exhaust fans?
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Cryonicstate Aug 9, 12
quote harbin91
On case fans, no PWM for me would be fine since I like my case fans to run maxed out all the time. Lack of PWM would kill it somewhat for me using it on the CPU.

Which is better for case cooling though? Static pressure or high airflow? Expensive for fans (or atleast seems expensive) but somewhat worth it. Would've been tempted to grab some Spectre Pros to match my case, but these are quite tempting aswell.

Hope they do a PWM version though for my CPU cooling. Assuming ofcourse that they'll fit in my cooler.
You would want to use the high flow, but first look at where you intend to place the fan. Will it be pushing air through a hard drive cage then you would want to use the static pressure fan.
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ashantiqua Aug 9, 12
quote ashantiqua
same with the CPU heatsink... what fans were on there, since config #3 has 2x AF120 PE on the CPU??
*same with the CPU heatsink... what fans used to be on the heatsink, since config #3 has 2x AF120 PE on the CPU??

quote ashantiqua
what i would want to know if what the cooling performance might be
*what i would want to know is what the cooling performance might be
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ashantiqua Aug 9, 12
'static pressure' series, eh?

very messy benchmark though! there are two "configuration #2"s, benchmark graphs have typos; hard to get legitimate info from it all.

quote neoseeker
Airflow Series:

Configuration #1: AF140 QE front of case as intake.

Configuration #2: AF140 QE front of case as intake, AF140 rear of case as exhaust.

Configuration #2: AF140 QE front of case an intake, AF140 rear of case as exhaust, AF120 QE x2 top of case as exhaust, AF120 PE push/pull setup on the processor cooler.
so... config 1 you put in an AF140 QE fan... what was in the case before? are you replacing a case fan with an AF140, or was there just no fan in the case to begin with? i mean, the difference between config 1 and config 3 is ~2 degrees, and its 1 fan vs 6 fans... so you gotta be replacing case fans. same with the CPU heatsink... what fans were on there, since config #3 has 2x AF120 PE on the CPU??

then theres the issue of the SP series fan benchmark... the config you have for the SP series is not equal to any of the AF series fan configs, so a 1:1 comparison isnt there. (SP config: 2x system fans, 2x CPU fans; the closest AF config is config 3 which has 4x system fans, 2x CPU fans)

im also confused about how the SP series actually differs from the AF series, not considering the CFM and dB range. i mean, somehow its better for placement where airflow is restricted, like through dust filters, a heatsink, HDD cluster, etc, yet theres no benchmark for it, no raw numbers. what i would want to know if what the cooling performance might be between a comparable SP fan vs AF fan cooling a HDD or something (even though the AF series has a larger diameter).

maybe im retarded, but i cant get any useful info from anything.
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