If there was one fan I have seen used in PC builds more than any other, it would be a Corsair SP120. It is a misleading statement though- the SP120 comes in several flavors (quiet edition, high performance edition, PWM controlled and voltage controlled) but they all look identical till you pay more attention. I suppose this is to Corsair’s credit then that the market recognition of these fans is so high. I had personally purchased 8 each of their SP120 quiet and high performance edition fans for a build in their Obsidian 900D before swapping over to a new case and different components altogether. There have been conflicting reports on performance and noise from a lot of people on these fans, so I figured what better way to know for myself than to put these through the same tests I have done with so many other fans before. Thanks to Hank from Performance PCs, we now have the chance to put the SP120 PWM QE on the test bed.
Let’s begin by taking a look at the specs courtesy the product page:
While this is a decent set of information, it’s still missing a few things I would like to see- bearing type, minimum advertised fan speed in RPM, MTBF (at a specified temperature), information on whether the power draw is including start up boost or during operation only and if operating this PWM fan from 7V-12V (as opposed to just 12V like most PWM fans) will have any effect on the longevity of the fan. The bearing type is mentioned in the features list as an “Advanced hydraulic bearing” which I assume is a fluid-dynamic bearing (FDB) and is good news. That warranty of just 2 years (~17,500 hours) does not make me so confident though, as FDB fans usually are rated for 100,000+ hours at 25 ºC before failure. I am also surprised Corsair isn’t leaving some leeway here with the rated fan speeds, as just about everyone else has a +/- 10-20% allowed deviation listed in the specs. Nonetheless, let’s now take a look at the fan on the next page.