Unboxing and Overview
Cooler Master USA operates a web shop, however they do not have the fans listed on their website yet and as such I would think these are some of their first stock fans. Let us take a look at the product packaging then since I am unsure this came from their web shop services.
The fan packaging is fairly large and has a matte cover on the cardboard box for aesthetics and information alike. On the front is the company and product name along with an illustration of the fan itself. Looks like Cooler Master has gone with a rounded frame here, not a good start as such frames do not help seal the fan when up against radiators and they can take a 5-10% performance hit even compared to proper square frame designs. Let’s see if this design choice comes back to affect performance on the next page in a bit. On the back and sides are marketing features, technical specifications and contact information in multiple languages. There is also a flap on the front which reveals two more relevant sides of information and 2 blank sides as well which seems like an afterthought in packaging here. There are some neat things here though- the plastic windows are coupled with relevant information on the bearing, rotor, rubber inserts on the fan corners as well as how the 3 modes are selected by the end user- a switch on the back from what we can see here. Cooler Master has also provided P-Q curves for the 3 modes as well as noise data with context which is nice, but I test things myself to have a uniform, independent result anyway.
No secondary flaps or seals on the box, but there are cutouts in the inner blistery style inlay to help pull it out easily. This is a bare cardboard box, which does the job and overall there is better packaging and protection for the fan here than others. We get to see the fan right away here, and below it lie the accessories along with the fan cable. You get a set of 4 self tapping screws and that’s it. I am conflicted here as this is a fan that is marketed for a balance of applications as a radiator fan and also a case fan, and such might benefit from soft rubber mounting to use as a case fan. If the savings from the exclusion have been passed on to the customer, then that’s fine. On to the fan then:
I know a lot of readers will immediately start comparisons with the Nidec-Servo Gentle Typhoon here, and there is cause to do so. But there is no collaboration between Cooler Master and Nidec-Servo here, and this is not a Gentle Typhoon fan that has been re-branded. Case in point, look at the Swiftech Helix 120 and the Titan Kukri that resemble the Gentle Typhoon too but only in looks. The MasterFan Pro 120 AB adopts a black frame, translucent brown rotor color scheme which will go well with nearly all DIY builds. The rounded frame is indeed present here, and the rotor has 9 curved blades with a polished edge on each blade. There are rubber inserts on the corners to help dampen any vibrations transmitted to/from the radiator/case/heatsink and held in place by steel threads keeping it secure. The corners are open, so if you were so inclined you could purchase aftermarket soft rubber mounts to use with this as a case fan as well.
There is nothing on the front of the hub- no sticker or logo, just the translucent rotor carrying through. The hub itself is slightly bigger than average for 120 mm fans coming in at 1.68″, but not to the point where a shroud is a must have. As we saw before, there are 3 modes available on this fan and a small switch on the back helps select them. The fan was in S mode here out of the box, and a small, flat object is needed to move the switch to the other positions as of course it can’t extend past the surface of the hub itself. As such, there are 3 sets of specifications listed to cater to the 3 top speeds available. Power draw accordingly also increases as you go from S mode (0.84 W) to Q mode (1.8 W) to P mode (2.76 W), with these rated power draws quite less considering the speed ratings. In practice, the max operation power draw was 0.68 w, 1.26 W and 2.24 W respectively. The motor seems to be less efficient than the one used on the MasterFan Pro 120 AP that drew less power despite running faster, but we will see soon how the fan performs. There is a discrepancy here though. The fan sticker rates 0.4 A max current draw at max speed which translates to 4.8 W and does not match Cooler Master’s data sheet. In general, it is best to account for numbers on the fan hub rather than the product page, so account for 4.8 W each when working out power delivery for these fans. A powered PWM splitter may be best for multiple fans together.
The fan cable is 12″ long, and is a flat ribbon style which is then sleeved from the edge of the frame in a heatshrink style application. So not only is the wire insulation black, the heatshrink and fan header is all black too. They could have gone the Corsair route and leave the flat ribbon cable itself, but they went the extra step here and I appreciate it as I am sure many customers will too.
One more thing- the motor features a safety feature that stops the rotor if it detects an obstruction to rotation. In practice, as with the MasterFan Pro 120 AP, it works ok but not perfectly. I used a fan cable from another fan, as well as a pen to block the rotor. It worked well with the pen but kept trying to rotate with the fan cable in between for 4-5 seconds before stopping by which time the cable sleeving was shredded. I did this after performance testing of the fan so as to not have any effect.