The newly launched NZXT F120 120 mm RGB case fan enters the upper-range fan market with a rather confidently chosen MSRP of 27.99 Euros and yet cleverly stays below the psychologically so important 30 Euros mark. The 140 mm version for 29.99 Euros still manages that, but at least the smaller fan is still below that. However, this price is quite an announcement, because NZXT fans have not been on most PC buyers’ wish lists so far. With the F120, NZXT now wants to get into the upper echelon and, of course, get a piece of the pie. Today’s test will show whether and how that succeeds (if).
From my point of view, the biggest question mark from the factory is the fact that the fans are equipped with a proprietary RGB connector and only run on a special controller / hub. Here, NZXT regrettably goes the same way as Corsair, only to establish the in-house CAM software exclusively. A controller is included in the double pack, but it is not the usual simple control via the motherboard. So you won’t get anywhere without CAM software. This is a pity, because a mixed operation with similar software is actually impossible, because otherwise, with a bit of bad luck, the sensor loops collide or redundantly load the system.
Those who use other NZXT products will certainly be happy to tolerate this, but an AIO from MSI, RAM from Corsair, a graphics card from Sapphire and fans from NZXT will probably never become friends. Thankfully, a suitable case from NZXT comes with the controller, and if you’re re-equipping, you’ll have to consider the RGB anyway and then only buy from NZXT for the rest of the components. System recognized? This can go well, but it doesn’t have to. But from the hoped-for acceptance back to the product.
The new fan is exactly within the norm with its 25 mm thickness, which of course makes it more comparable in the end, especially since the rest of the design also tends to follow current trends and does not reveal any daring design stunts at first glance either. On the contrary, everything looks as expected and usual, and the whole (in this case white) fan looks like a monolithic block. However, a total of 7 very wide rotor blades will have to turn a little faster to compensate for the reduced inner diameter of the frame due to the illuminated ring. But we will get to that.
The translucent light ring houses the 18 individually controllable RGB LEDs, the rotor is unlit. The connection is made as usual via a 4-pin PWM connector and the proprietary RGB connector. So please don’t use force or windy cheap adapters to beat the RGB headers of the motherboards, that will definitely go wrong. The cable herding of the two ribbon cables is also solved analogously to most other fans and thus doesn’t pose an obstacle.
Surprisingly, a hydrodynamic plain bearing (which seems useful) is used. More would have been possible at this price, but we have seen (and heard) worse for more money. The measurements will show later that the bearing can keep up quite well.
Everything is supported by a white frame that does not hide any secrets visually at first glance. The PWM-controlled fan manages a measured speed range of about 500 to up to 1800 rpm and does without a fan stop. Thus, the fan does not turn off during PWM control, but this is definitely not a problem due to the minimal noise level. The fan is delivered together with the four M5 screws. The decoupling to the case is done via rubber sleeves that were pressed into each of the four holes. Since the end protrude, this works quite neatly even with the M5 screws.
The gaps of 3.2 to a maximum of 3.3 mm between the rotor and frame are good and the surface finish is even very good. The power consumption of 1.79 watts (measurement) for the fan (without RGB) is pleasantly low at full speed. But I’ll get to all the details in a moment, because especially PWM-controlled, these fans are pretty neat.
|Form factor||120 mm|
|RGB||aRGB (outer ring)|
|Weight in g||205|
|min. speed||500 rpm|
|max. speed||1800 rpm|
|Volume flow m3/h||85.25|
|Flow rate CFM||50.18|
|static pressure mmH2O||2.7|
|Sound pressure dBA||27.5 dBA|
|Life Time hrs||60.000|
On the next page you will first see how and what we test and why. Understanding the details is incredibly important in order to be able to objectively classify the results later. The differences between many models are more in the details and the best fan for all situations can hardly exist. There is a certain optimum in every situation and, of course, good all-rounders. But they usually have their price. However, if you are planning very specifically with 60 mm radiators, for example, you might be able to save money by choosing the best model for your intended use, which might not perform so well as a case fan. And vice versa, of course.Specs F-Series RGB