Introduction

When it comes to the PC Components and the peripherals particularly the PC Chassis and the PC Cooling, the name of Cooler Master needs no introduction and they are among the top notch manufacturers. They carry the diverse lines of the products ranging from the power supply units, Chassis, air and water coolers, fans, keyboards, mouse, headsets etc.

Cooler Master Pakistan has sent us their MasterFan Pro 120 AF case fan for the review. The MasterFan Pro series is top of line from the Cooler Master. There are three types of the fans under this series. They are: –

  • Air Flow Edition
  • Air Pressure Edition
  • Air Balance

Each of these types provides specific cooling solution while all being fitted with multiple layers of Cooler Master’s exclusive noise reduction technology and adjustable speed profiles. Air Flow edition is recommended to be used on the rear and the top sides of the PC Chassis to ensure the maximum exhaust of the hot air in less time as these fans have high air flow ratings. Air Pressure are ideal for throwing concentrated air at shorter distance at the hot components or where there is a resistance to the airflow. They are suggested to be used at the front side of the PC Chassis. The Air Balance fans are an ideal mix of the static pressure and the air flow and are recommended for use on the CPU Coolers. We will take a closer look on the fan and test them out to measure their air flow, PWM Rage, acoustic performance and even thermal performance.

 

  • Item:                MasterFan Pro 120 Airflow
  • Manufacturer:  Cooler Master
  • Price:               PKR 1250/- [At the time of the review]
  • Availability:     Shing

Specification

Packaging and Unboxing

The fan comes in a cardboard box of charcoal color. The front side has a Cooler Master brand name and logo printed on the top left side. The picture of the fan is printed in the middle section. The model no of the fan is printed on the bottom left section. This is Air Flow edition.

The backside of the packing has the Cooler Master brand name and logo printed on the top left side. Salient features of the fan are printed in 8 different languages. This fan has pre-defined 3 profiles with preferred mix of speed and silence. Cooler Master has used exclusive technology which balances the spin, reducing the vibration and clicks. Safety feature is built-in which automatically stops the fan motor if jammed by any object.

The specifications of the fan are printed in the tabular format on the left bottom section. Serial No of the fan is pasted under the specification table. The UPC and EAN labels are printed on the bottom right side. The manufacturer’s contact info is printed on the bottom side.

The manufacturer’s contact info for various regions is printed on this side along with the online support link.

This side has the Cooler Master’s brand name and logo printed on the left side and the fan’s model info is printed on the right side.

This side has 120mm fan printed in 22 different languages.

The opening cover side has the Cooler Master brand name, logo and tag line printed in the white color in the center.

There is a flip cover on this packing box. On the left side of the flip cover there are two graphs. The upper graphs shows the Noise level of each of the built-in fan curve profiles’. It is measured in dBA and for handy comparison there are different environments printed on the bottom (Y-Axis) of the graph. The bottom graphs shows the relation between airflow and the air pressure of each of the fan curve profiles.

The right side of the flip cover has highlighted salient technologies being used in the fan like Jet-Inspired, Performance Profiles, and Smart Engine etc. There are two see through areas on this side from where the portions of the fan can be seen.

The fan is placed inside a brown color recycled cardboard container. The tap screws and the cable of the fan are hidden inside flip cover of the container.

Accessories

The Cooler Master has provided 4 tap screws to mount the fan inside the chassis. There is no other accessory or the user guide included.

Closer Look

The MasterFan Pro series has 3 different types of fans, including the airflow, air pressure and air balance. Each of these categories’ fans provide specific cooling solution while all being fitted with multiple layers of Cooler Master’s exclusive noise reduction technology and adjustable speed profiles. Let’s take a look at the Masterfan Pro 120 Airflow edition.

Fan’s dimension is 120x120x25mm. Its rated voltage is 12V DC. The weight of the fan is 147gm. This fan has no LED lighting. Cooler Master provides 5 years warranty. This fan has 7 translucent blades. Each blade has a raised surface on the far end to build better air flow on the edges. The motor hub has a shiny black color cover around it while the top has same translucent cover as is on the blades. There is a glossy coating on each blade to reduce the resistance. The motor hub has 42mm diameter. The inner ring of the fan has shiny black surface. The middle section of the inner ring has raised surface as compared to its edges. The exterior of the ring has matte black color and from this side the middle portion is inset in the frame. The Cooler Master is using Silent Drive IC which smoothens the fan rotation to reduce fan clicks and vibration noise. The Cooler Master is using precision material in bearing and has highest life expectancy of 490,000 hr (MTTF). The build quality of the blades and frame is top notch.

Unlike most of the fans in the market, the mounting corners of the fan are bolted on the frame. They are made of the hard rubber material to absorb maximum vibration sound. This is further enhanced by using 4 rubber mounts on top of each from where the screws have to be passed through to mount the fan. These multiple layers is the Cooler Master’s exclusive noise reduction technology and it pays off when it comes to reducing the noise from the vibration. This also reduces the rattling noise.

On one side of the frame, there is a sticker pasted on it with the serial no of the fan printed. There are no arrow indicators on any side of the frame to guide the user about the airflow and blade spin directions.

The Cooler Master has used their most efficient air flow design to-date and it is based on Turboprop engines. Using this technology, the blades move more air with generating less noise. Each fan blade design was inspired by the design from modern aircraft.

Let’s take a look at the backside of the fan. There is a four arm assembly holding the fan motor hub and connecting it with the frame. The fan cable is sleeved and has a length of the approximately 300mm excluding the connector. It is 4-pin PWM connector.

There is a Cooler Master brand name logo on the top of the motor hub. The model no of MasterFan Pro 120 AF is printed under the brand logo. AF stands for the Air Flow. The fan is made in China.

On the bottom left side there is a slider button with markings of P, Q and S written on its left side. This is how the user can switch to the specific profile. Each profile has its own PWM range, static pressure and noise level. S stands of Silent Mode, Q stands for the Quiet Mode and P stands for the Performance mode. Quiet mode is like a Balanced Mode.

 

S Profile

Q Profile

P Profile

Speed (RPM)

650-1100 (±10%)

650-1550 (±10%)

650-1900 (±10%)

Air Flow (CFM)

48.8 (±10%)

72.4 (±10%)

84.5 (±10%)

Air Pressure (mmH₂O)

0.88 (±10%)

1.74 (±10%)

2.61 (±10%)

Noise (dBA)

6 – 20

6 – 30

6 – 36

Rated Current (A)

0.07

0.12

0.18

Power Consumption (W)

0.84

1.44

2.16

 

Testing

Though this fan is rated as air flow fan which the Cooler Master is recommending to use on the rear and the top side of the chassis for effective and efficient exhaust of the hot air, I put the fan for the thermal testing on the Thermaltake Water 3.0 Performer C 120mm CLC. Unfortunately, I don’t have any Cooler Master cooler for this testing.

I have checked the airflow on each of the profiles. Next, PWM range of the fan along with air flow reading against each point of the speed was checked. Next, thermal performance of the fan on each profile was checked along with the acoustics.

Perfect-prime WD9819 anenometer and the Fonseo Digital Sound Level Meter were used for the testing purpose. Both products are factory caliberated.

Airflow Testing

First, I tested the airflow on each of the fan curve profiles.

Under P mode there is a marginal difference of 0.59% between the rated and the tested air flow ratings. Under Q mode there is a difference of 4.6% between the rated and the tested air flow ratings. Under S mode there is a difference of 7.4% between the rated and the tested air flow ratings. All the values are within the ±10% of the rated margin.

PWM Range

Next up, is the PWM range of the fan and the corresponding air flow values

680 is the lowest RPM achieved on this fan which is above the 650 rated minimum RPM. The difference is 4.6% and within the ±10% of the rated margin. Maximum speed of the fan is 1950 RPM. Rated maximum speed if 1900 RPM. Difference is within the rated margin.

Thermal Testing

The thermal performance of the fan was tested on this test bench:

  • Intel i7 6850k
  • Asus Rampage V Edition 10
  • Corsair Vengeance Red LED 4x8GB @ 2666MHz
  • Thermaltake Water 3.0 Performer C
  • Samsung 840 EVO 250GB
  • Corsair AX 1200i

Testing was performed on the Microsoft Windows 10 x64 Professional edition build version 1607. Noctua NT-H1 thermal paste was used. The fans were put on 100% of their speed. 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 with turbo boost of 38GHz and Turbo Boost II of 4.0GHz 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. Stress test is run again using the same methodology as described above and delta temps are noted.

Here are the results.

Under stress test on the stock clocks, the Cooler Master MasterFan Pro 120 AF takes a lead by 1.16°C on the stock Thermaltake fan. The temperatures under the Q and S profiles are warmer but still way within the thermal limit.

With 6850k overclocked to the 4.3GHz, the Thermaltake stock fan takes a lead by mere 0.83°C. The temperatures under the Q and the S profiles were still within the thermal limits though on S profile the maximum temperature on any core was 83°C (non-delta).

Acoustics

The Q profile delivers the better mix of the speed and the silence. The Thermaltake’s stock fan and the Cooler Master MasterFan Pro 120 AF under P profile have similar acoustic performance.

Conclusion

The MasterFan Pro series is top of line from the Cooler Master. There are three types of the fans under this series. They are: –

  • Air Flow Edition
  • Air Pressure Edition
  • Air Balance

Each of these types provides specific cooling solution while all being fitted with multiple layers of Cooler Master’s exclusive noise reduction technology and adjustable speed profiles. Air Flow edition is recommended to be used on the rear and the top sides of the PC Chassis to ensure the maximum exhaust of the hot air in less time as these fans have high air flow ratings. Air Pressure are ideal for throwing concentrated air at shorter distance at the hot components or where there is a resistance to the airflow. They are suggested to be used at the front side of the PC Chassis. The Air Balance fans are an ideal mix of the static pressure and the air flow and are recommended for use on the CPU Coolers.

The Cooler Master MasterFan Pro 120 AF is a non LED version. It has a focus on Air Flow hence it provides more air flow. The dimension of the fan is 120x120x25mm. Its rated voltage is 12V DC. The weight of the fan is 147gm. Cooler Master provides 5 years warranty. This fan has 7 translucent blades. Each blade has a raised surface on the far end to build better air flow on the edges. The motor hub has shiny black color cover around it while the top has same translucent cover as is on the blades. There is a glossy coating on each blade to reduce the resistance. The Cooler Master is using Silent Drive IC which smoothens the fan rotation to reduce fan clicks and vibration noise. The Cooler Master is using precision material in bearing and has highest life expectancy of 490,000 hr (MTTF).

The Cooler Master has used their most efficient air flow design to-date and it is based on Turboprop engines. Using this technology, the blades move more air with generating less noise. Each fan blade design was inspired by the design from modern aircraft.

These fans have three pre-defined fan curve profiles which can be switched to using the slider button located on the backside of the motor hub. Each profile has its own PWM range, static pressure and noise level. S stands of Silent Mode, Q stands for the Quiet Mode and P stands for the Performance mode. Quiet mode is like a Balanced Mode.

The price of the fan is PKR 1250/- which is almost at par with the Thermaltake’s famous Riing fan. Given the functionality that his fan offers, this is a decent price. Under my testing, the air flow readings are within the rated ±10% margin. Noise level is also within the rated ±10% margin. The thermal testing has shown that under the P profile mode, it was meeting or beating the stock fan provided with the Thermaltake Water 3.0 Performer C CLC. Q profile has been found to be given the better mix of the speed and the sound.

The only Con that I have observed in this fan is the location of the profiles switch slider button. It is located on the back side of the fan. Just imagine if you have installed these fans in the chassis in exhaust mode, in order to change the profile you may have to remove the fan (s) to do so. During my thermal testing, I had to take the fan off 5 times to complete my testing. Other than that, I have no Con to report.

Tech4Gamers Performance Award