Introduction

AeroCool Advanced Technologies (AAT) was founded in 2001. Aerocool is known for their innovative designs as they were the first company to introduce the U-Shape heat pipe design for the CPU Coolers which now has almost become a norm in air cooling. Similarly, they were the first company to introduce the double-bay front panel controllers. Today, Aerocool is among the market leaders in the “Gaming Market”. Their product lines include Gaming Chassis, PC Cooling, Power Supply units, Gaming peripherals, gaming furniture, accessories to name a few. Aerocool is not a new name to me. I bought their DS series fans back in 2014 or so when I was doing my X99 build on Rampage V Extreme and these fans exceeded my expectation from them.

Aerocool has sent us their new Orbit RC A-LED RGB fans for the review. These fans feature a dual ring for some vivid and brilliant lighting effects. This trend is catching up these days with more and more manufacturers rolling out dual rings based lighting solution on the fans with double or triple level lighting. Orbit RC is 3 fans pack with a controller. Single fan edition is also available with the name Orbit. These fans have curved fan blades which help in an effective direct airflow and maximizing the air pressure. One key feature of these fans is the silent cooling solution. They have indeed delivered on the silent operations but a bit of a compromise. We will cover this aspect in detail in the Testing section below. These fans have addressable RGB lighting solution with some 200 lighting modes to choose. What is more to them? They include RGB Sync cable that would enable the user to connect these fans to the RGB lighting headers on the motherboards to color coordinate the lighting of the PC. The included controller is operated using an RF-based remote control.

  • Product:              Orbit RC
  • Manufacturer:     Aerocool
  • Category:            Cooling
  • Price:                  $49.90 [At the time of the review]

Specifications

Packaging and Unboxing

The fans come in a standard cardboard box in black color. The front side of the box has AeroCool brand logo and name printed on the top right. There is a picture of a fan in the middle with multiple colors to signify the A-LED lighting. Remote control’s picture is on the left side. Orbit RC is printed at the bottom. 12CM Computer Fan x3| Remote Control x1 is printed at the bottom. The backside of the box has Orbit RC printed on the top left side. AeroCool brand name and logo are printed on the top right side. The pictures of the fans and a remote control are printed in the middle. There is a tabular format specification printed table at the bottom. The fans are made in China. Salient features of the fans are printed in 12 different languages on the left and right sides. The bottom side of the box has Orbit RC printed in the white color enlarged font in the center. The top of the box has RGB Lighting logo printed on the upper side and Orbit RC printed on the lower side. There is a catcher in the middle. Opening the box will show another white color box containing a white color accessory box and three fans.

 

Contents

Aerocool has provided the following in the box:

  • 1x Velcro Strap
  • 12x screws
  • 4x black Zip Ties
  • User Guide
  • 3x Fans
  • Remote Control
  • Controller Cable
  • Sync Cable

The user manual needs further refinement as it is sheets of printed papers stapled. I have yet to see any such design from any other manufacturer. Though setting up fans is simple but still, the manual should cover every aspect of it which is not present. I have given feedback to AeroCool in this regard.

Closer look

I will start with what Aerocool is saying about these fans “Orbit RC Comes with 3 x Orbit fans and 1 x Remote Control. Equipped with RGB LED Dual Ring Lighting. Access 16.8 million colors with RGB 3-Pin using remote control, Core Hub, or Addressable RGB motherboard (ASUS Aura, MSI’s Mystic Light Sync). 120mm fan equipped with anti-vibration pads, curved fan blades for maximum cooling performance, and detachable fan blades for convenient maintenance.”

The Orbit RC is a 3 fans pack with a controller. These are new fans from Aerocool featuring addressable RGB lighting. The dimension of a fan is 120x120x25mm. These fans are rated at 1200 RPM at 12VDC. They are not PWM fans and have 3-pin power connector. AeroCool has also provided Molex connector that will allow the users to connect these fans directly to the PSU. Each Molex connector is pre-attached to the power cable coming out of the fans. Starting voltage of these fans is 7V. Their rated current is 0.17A. These fans are using Hydraulic bearings and are rated at 60000 hrs MTBF. The air pressure is rated at 1.15mmH₂O. Airflow is rated at 55.9CFM. Fans’ noise level is rated at 14.1 dBA.

 

 

The overall design of these fans is quite appealing with curves and edges. It is hard to define if they are squarish or circular. The frame is in black color and quite rigid. Each fan has 9 blades which seem to be tinted in dark brown color. These edges are a curved design which would be helpful in directing airflow across the edges at the same time maintaining the maximum air pressure to overcome the resistance to the airflow and reducing the drag which would help in reducing the noise. There is a frosted white color ring on the top side of the frame with 10 LEDs in it. There are total 20 LEDs on both rings. The 10 LEDs help ensure the even lighting across the length of the ring without any spillover effect. The inner side of the frame has a black color surface across its length which is a must to ensure smooth lighting. Each mounting corner has an anti-vibration pad to reduce the noise generated due to the vibration. These pads are pasted on the corners and are in black color. The center of the fan has sticker pasted on it with Aerocool brand name and logo printed on it. I like the overall symmetry in the design elements. The rings on both sides are implemented on a downward slope. The backside of the fan shows that it is a 4-arms assembly. There is a sticker pasted on the motor hub. The left arm is widened as it has cables routed through it. There is a proper cutout on the outer frame from which the cables are exiting the frame. Rest of the design is identical to what we saw on the top side. Each fan has two cables to it. One is the 4-pin LED cable and the other is a 3-pin power cable. The length of the power cable is 421+49mm. The length of the LED cable is 478mm. Each side of the outer frame has a large sized rectangular design containing hexagons and polygons. I am not sure if this design has something to do with the frame’s integrity or just a design element to have symmetry. There are no airflow and blades spin directional arrows on the frame.

As these are addressable RGB LEDs so I was expecting a 3-pin LED connector but there is a 4-pin connector on these cables. The specifications of the fans are also showing it to be 3-pin LED connector. The controller cable and Sync Cable have 4-pin headers as well but only three of them are active hence we have 3-pin effective format. The actual pin format is not known and we are waiting for the input from the Aerocool on this aspect. Given the implementation, it seems like they are following 5V/D/NC/G pin format. Also, there is no mentioning of the LED types used in the fans. The controller can be connected to up to 3 A-LED RGB fans and is SATA powered. The controller cable has 500mm length on the SATA connector side and 205+102+102mm on the LED cables side. The controller itself is a smart design. The top of it has Aerocool brand name and logo printed in the white color. The RGB Sync cable has a length of 100+105+102mm length. It can be connected to the RGB lighting header of enabled motherboards and is fully compatible with Asus AURA Sync, RGB Fusion from Gigabyte, RGB LED from ASRock, Mystic Lighting from MSI. All the cables that I have mentioned above are flat design. If you would take a closer look at the 4-pin LED cable coming out from the fan, you will notice that three wires are in black sheet whereas one is in the brown shade. The 3 black ones are actually used for the LED power.

There is one more feature of these fans which will come real handy for the modders and for the cleaning of these fans. The blades can be taken off the frame. In order to remove the blades, hold the fans with top side down such as you are facing the backside of the fan. Place one thumb on the left side and the other thumb on the right side, Gently push the blades and it will pop off. To put them back them on, align the bearing with the hole in the middle of the rotor hub and push it in gently until you hear a click confirming that blades are securely attached.

It is time to take a look at the remote control before moving to the testing section. The remote has a black color frame. There are an AeroCool brand name and logo printed on the top left side. Surprisingly, the Power on/off button is in blue color not red. The second button on the top is to increase the brightness of the light. Speed – is used to reduce the speed of the vibrant lighting mode. Auto will make the fans cycling through all the color modes starting from the rainbow mode. Speed + will increase the speed of the vibrant lighting mode. The < button switches to the previous mode. The middle button is to reduce the brightness of the light. The > button switches to the next mode. The bottom section has 11 buttons for various modes. There is a red color button on the bottom right side with a Lock symbol on it. Press this button 3 times consecutively to lock/unlock this remote control to interact only with a given set of Orbit fans. These fans have 200 lighting modes and going through each would be hectic using the remote control. Motherboard connectivity would definitely be handy for some. Each fan has 16.8M colors available on the LED lighting solution and above all, it is addressable which makes this lighting solution that impressive. Multi-directional, RF remote control allows for quick and convenient access to the receiver from any position. Please note that these fans will not light up by themselves and require Orbit Remote Control (Included), Core Hub (Can be bought separately) or Addressable RGB motherboard headers to enable lighting and RGB functionality.

I have prepared a demo video on the lighting effects of these fans. Though it is not doing any justice but will still be able to give you an idea of the lighting effects.

Here are some pictures.

 

Testing

We have tested the Orbit RC fans on the Alphacool Eisbaer 360 which is a 360mm CLC. It is a standard on our test bench that we check the fans for their thermal performance. The other fans in the graph are Eiswind 12 from Alphacool, Corsair HD120, LL120 RGB Fans, Raijintek Iris 12 RGB, SilverStone fans, Noctua fans and Noiseblocker fans to name a few.

The Eiswind 12 fans operate on the 12V DC. They are 4-Pin PWM fans with the rated speed of the 55-1700 RPM with ±10%. Airflow rating is 63.85 CFM with the static pressure rating of the 1.66mmH₂O. Sound rating is 29 dBA per fan. The reason we are giving the brief rundown of the Eiswind 12 fans is that these are the stock fans of the Alphacool Eisbaer 360 and holds a reference point for the comparison.

Airflow Testing

We test the airflow of the fan without any resistant to the flow i.e there is no radiator or mesh between the fan using the PerfectPrime WD9819 Anemometer. The rated airflow value for Orbit RC is 55.9CFM. Unfortunately, all three fans failed to meet or exceed this number. The maximum that any of these fans achieved was 49.72 which is approximately 11% margin. As the margin of error is not mentioned in the specifications, it is difficult to gauge a reference but as most of the fans have ±10% of error margin, by taking this into consideration these fans have crossed the error of margin. Normally, if one fan would have produced such value, I would be ok with it but given that all three fans struggled it is strange enough.

Speed Range

As these fans have 3-pin connector hence I have tested them at various voltage levels to measure their speeds. One fan hit 1170 RPM max whereas the other two made it to 1200 RPM. The test was repeated three times; one with the 3-pin connector only, one with the Molex connector only and last with both connectors.

Thermal Testing

Thermal performance of the fan was tested on this test bench:

  • Intel i7 6850k
  • Asus Rampage V Edition 10
  • Ballistic Elite 4x4GB @ 3000MHz
  • Alphacool Eisbaer 360
  • Samsung 840 EVO 250GB
  • Corsair AX 1200i

Testing was performed on the Microsoft Windows 10 x64 Professional edition build version 1709. Noctua NT-H1 thermal paste was used. The fans were put on 50% and 100% of their speed. The pump of the CLC was put on 100% of the speed. Asus RealBench v1.44 was used to stress test the CPU. RealTemp was used to monitor the temperatures. First, the stress test was run on the stock clocks of 3.6GHz. at 1.16V VCore. XMP was loaded all the times. Reported temps are delta ones which are calculated by subtracting the average of each core’s maximum temps from the ambient temp. The benefit of using delta temps is that it covers the variation in the temperatures under uncontrolled environment. Next, the Chip is overclocked to 4.3GHz at 1.350V VCore. XMP is loaded as well. The stress test is run again using the same methodology as described above and delta temps are noted.

Here are the results.

At 50% of the rated speed, there was a difference of 1.97°C between the Alphacool Eiswind 12 and the AeroCool Orbit RC with Eiswinds clearly taking the lead. At 100% speed, there was a difference of 0.93°C between both fans with Eiswinds taking a marginal lead. These fans were struggling at half of their speed comparing to the Eiswinds but they were neck-to-neck with the Corsair LL120s which cost more than the Orbit RC.

Next, we overclocked the i7 6850k to the 4.3GHz. At 50% of the speed, the Orbit RC were trailing behind the Alphacool Eiswind 12 with the margin of 3.22°C. At 100% speed, the Orbit RC were trailing with the margin of 1.26°C. Again, these fans have struggled against the Eiswind 12s at half of their speed. At full speed, this margin was reduced significantly. Again, these were neck-to-neck with the Corsair LL120s.

Acoustics

It is summer time here and there are certain environmental sounds that are beyond our control hence we are not measuring the acoustic performance using sound meter as it may not be an accurate indication of the acoustic performance but given our experience in testing the fans over time, we can say with confidence that these fans are silent and you have to be closer to them in order to hear them.

Conclusion

The Orbit RC is a new addition in the family of fans from Aerocool. These fans feature addressable RGB lighting effects with 200 modes of them. These fans are available in a single fan pack called Orbit which is without remote control and three fans pack with a remote control called Orbit RC. We have reviewed Orbit RC. The dimension of a fan is 120x120x25mm. These fans are rated at 1200 RPM at 12VDC. They are not PWM fans and have 3-pin power connector. AeroCool has also provided Molex connector that will allow the users to connect these fans directly to the PSU. Each Molex connector is pre-attached to the power cable coming out of the fans. Starting voltage of these fans is 7V. Their rated current is 0.17A. These fans are using Hydraulic bearings and are rated at 60000 hrs MTBF. The air pressure is rated at 1.15mmH₂O. Airflow is rated at 55.9CFM. Fans’ noise level is rated at 14.1 dBA. These fans have dual rings with each ring packing 10 addressable RGB LEDs to create even and vivid lighting effect on both sides of the fans making them ideal for use from either side. The overall lighting is evenly spread and there is no spillover or any impression of overly done lighting. Brightness control is a plus and out of the box brightness is not aggressive which suits my personal taste.

The frame design is bold and aggressive but quite appealing in person. Each fan has 9 blades which seem to be in the dark brown shade. There is no flex in the blades or the frame. Each mounting corner has a black color anti-vibration pad pasted on it. Each fan has two cables coming out of it. One is the 4-pin LED cable and the other is a 3-pin power cable. 3-pin power cable also has Molex connector attached to it. The specifications of the fans are mentioning the 3-pin LED connector which contradicts to the physically present 4-pin connector. There is no pin format mentioned on the packing or on the website. But it seems like these fans are following 5V/D/NC/G pin format. We have yet to hear from Aerocool on this aspect. Out of the box, these fans will not light up on their own but they need Orbit Controller (included in the 3 fans pack) or Core Hub (Can be bought separately) or Addressable RGB enabled headers on the motherboards. The included Orbit controller has provision for up to 3 addressable RGB fans and it is SATA powered. In order to control the lighting effects, there is a remote control based on RF wireless. Receive a range of the controller is 10m with the frequency of 433.92MHz. Cycling through 200 modes using 11 buttons on the remote control is cumbersome and definitely needs more buttons for this purpose better yet if you have Addressable RGB enabled motherboard to connect these fans to the motherboard.

We put these fans to cool the 140W TDP i7 6850k at 3.6GHz and 4.3GHz against other fans in the graph. These have struggled at half of their speed which is understandable and somewhat expected but they were neck-to-neck against the much expensive Corsair LL120s and if I were you I would run these fans at 100% of their speed at all the times for two reason: they are rated at 60000 hrs MTBF which would mean running them 24/7 at full speed would last them to 6.84 years which is quite impressive, and secondly they are rated at 14 dBA which would make them extremely silent at full speed. Strangely, these fans could not exceed the 49.72 CFM and this is the maximum that any of them achieved. One fan was doing 1170 RPM whereas the other two made it to the rated 1200RPM. These fans are rated at $49.90 at the time of the review which definitely is a buyer-friendly price tag given the excellent lighting effects with dual rings with the excellent noise level and with a decent performance. As these fans are rated at 14 dBA, there is a plenty of cushion for Aerocool to improve the overall performance by increasing the sound level. Aerocool is offering 1 year of warranty on these fans.

I am thankful to the Aerocool for giving the opportunity to review their Orbit RC RGB Fans.

Tech4Gamers Recommended Award

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