Introduction

Deepcool was founded in 1996 with its headquarters in Beijing with the focus on providing best and personalized thermal solutions for the customers around the world. When it comes to the enthusiast grade PC components, Deepcool is a well-established and recognized brand which is gaining more popularity. The company is focused on providing better thermal solutions in the form of the air and liquid coolers. Their Castle 240 RGB is a new high-end AIO CPU Cooler that has form and function in a single package. The company is offering PC Chassis, Power supplies, Case Fans, Laptop Coolers, desks for PC, Lighting solution. Gamer Storm is the brand of Deepcool under which enthusiast grade PC Components are offered to the market. Tri-Stellar, Quad-Stellar, Genome/II, New Ark 90 are some of their popular and highly customizable PC Chassis in the market.

Deepcool has recently released their new RGB fans at Computex, 2018. These are addressable RGB fans named under CF series. Fans are available in 120mm and 140mm sizes with a single fan pack and 3 fans pack for 120mm and 2 fans pack for 140mm. These fans are marketed as PC Chassis fan and CPU Cooler Fan. We have received a 3 120mm fans pack and 2 140mm fans pack for the review and for an RGB build. Each fan houses 12 individually controllable RGB LEDs inside the hub for some vivid and immersive lighting effects. Being an addressable RGB LEDs, they have +5V type three pin connector and come pre-equipped with a controller and motherboard sync cables. A PWM fan hub is also included which may not be available with single fan pack.

  • Item:                              CF120/140 RGB Fans
  • Manufacturer:                DEEPCOOL
  • Price:                              CF120: $21.99
    • CF120 3-in-1: $54.99
    • CF140: $24.99
    • CF140 2-in-1: $49.99 [at the time of the review]

Specifications

Packaging and Unboxing

Fans come inside a cardboard box in blue/black colors combination. Following lines are for the CF120 fans. The front side of the box has a Deepcool brand logo on the top left side. There is a picture of the fan in the main section and it is illuminated in multiple colors at a time to signify the addressable RGB lighting. Asus AURA Sync compatibility label is printed on the left side below the picture. These fans are compatible with almost all motherboards with +5V addressable/Digital RGB lighting headers. Just make sure to match the pin format. Salient features and specs are printed at the bottom along with contents of the box mentioned with the help of diagrams. The left side of the box has Deepcool has a brand logo printed on the top left side. CF120 is printed below the branding. RGB LED Fan is printed below the model of the fan. Salient feature highlights of the fans are mentioned in the information label format at the bottom. The backside of the box has a Deepcool brand logo printed on the top left side and model of the fan on the right side. There is a picture of the fan printed below the branding followed by the specifications of the fan. Salient feature highlights are printed in bullet format below the picture. Two diagrams are printed at the bottom showing the top and front view of the fan. The right side of the box has a blue color background. There is a Deepcool brand logo printed on the top left side. CF120 is printed below the branding. Part No is printed above the Serial no sticker printed on the bottom right side. Fans are made in China. The top cover is in the black color background. Opening the box will show a white color accessories box placed on top.

These lines are for the CF140. The front side of the box is identical to what we saw on the CF120. The left side of the box has a Deepcool brand logo printed in the center followed by salient features highlighted in label format like addressable RGB, motherboard control, PWM control etc. The backside of the box is identical to what we saw on the CF120 box. The right side is also identical. The top cover and inside covers are also same. When we opened the box, we found a similar packing style as we saw on the CF120s. There is an accessories box of white color placed on top of the fans.

 

Accessories

Following are included in the box:

  • 12x M3 Black Screws [For 3-in-1 CF120]
  • 8x M3 black Screws [For 2-in-1 CF140]
  • 1x 4-port PWM Fan Hub
  • An RGB Controller
  • 1x RGB Extension Cable A
  • 1x RGB Extension Cable B
  • 1x RGB Extension Header
  • 1x Cable Tie
  • 1x Adhesive

 

Closer Look

The CF series of the addressable RGB LED fans are new from the Deepcool and were introduced during the Computex, 2018 in June. They are available in two sizes of 120mm and 140mm. As of now, these are available in four packing. A single fan pack for 120mm and 140mm. A 3-in-1 for CF120 and a 2-in-1 for CF140. These fans can be used as PC Case fans and for CPU coolers. We will be testing the 120mm fans for thermal performance. Unfortunately, we don’t have any 280mm AIO at the moment for the 140mm fans testing hence the thermal performance of the CF140 is not possible at this time on our test bench. Let’s take a look at the design of these fans.

 

Since both (120mm and 140mm) fans have the same design, we will be discussing CF120 here will mention CF140 is there be any change. The front side of the fan shows 9 translucent blades. There is a black color sticker pasted on the hub with Deepcool brand logo printed on it. Looking closely at the blades, we can see four channels formed on each of the impellers. In addition to these, there are 8 cutouts on each of the 5 sub-sections of the blades on their bottom side. This design seems to be aiding in the better airflow. The overall design is square but looking closely from the front side, it seems like there is a circular frame in the center with the assembly and four mounting corners are attached to this circular frame. This is only an impression as the frame is a uni-body design. Each of the mounting corners has black color anti-vibration pads. There is an inward slope on each of the mounting corner side towards the inner circular frame. This may come in handy reducing drag and have better airflow across the edges. The slope area has a chrome black finish. Let’s take a look at the backside of the fan. Each mounting corer has same anti-vibration pad on it. There are 16 tips on the inward slope placed on four sides of the frame. It seems like this design will aid in better and focused airflow. Fan has a standard 4-arms assembly that is holding the impellers and motor. One of the arms has a latch that is holding the cables coming out of the hub. Cables are well placed and routed through this latch to the outer frame. There are two cables per fan. One is the 3-pin female RGB LED cable and the other is 4-pin PWM cable. They are flat cables. There is a sticker pasted on the hub. Deepcool brand name is printed on the top. The side from where the cables are coming out have two small arrows on it. These are to help the users in determining the direction of the airflow and the blades’ movement. Looking at the top side of the fan, we can see a mid-plate in the frame that has an angular side on each of the corners.

As for the specs, the CF120 has a dimension of 120x120x25mm. Its speed is rated at 500±200 ~ 1500±10% RPM. Airflow is rated at 56.5CFM. Its static pressure is rated at 1.63mmH₂O. Noise level is rated at 17.6 ~ 27 dB(A). Its rated voltage is 12VDC. Starting voltage is 7VDC. Operating voltage range is 10.8~13.2VDC. Rated current is 0.11A with an input power of 1.32W. The CF140 has dimension of 140x140x26mm. Its speed is rated at 500±200 ~ 1200±10% RPM. Airflow is rated at 64.13CFM. Its static pressure is rated at 1.09mmH₂O. Noise level is rated at 19.8 ~ 24 dB(A). Its rated voltage is 12VDC. Starting voltage is 7VDC. Operating voltage range is 10.8~13.2VDC. Rated current is 0.02±15% ~ 0.09±10%A with an input power of 1.08W. The fans are featuring Hydro Bearings.

 

As mentioned above the compelling case for these fans is the addressable RGB LED lighting on them. There are 12 individually controllable RGB LEDs per fan housed inside the hub. To control the RGB lighting, Deepcool has provided two possible ways. One is the bundled RGB Controller. It is SATA powered and has provision for up to 3 A-RGB devices connectivity. But possibilities are endless as Deepcool has provided an A-RGB Extension cable with 4 headers. Bringing it in to the equation, the user can connect up to 6 A-RGB devices to this controller. The controller has three buttons. The top button has + embossed on it. The bottom button has – embossed on it whereas the middle button has a dot symbol embossed on it. The top and bottom buttons are used to cycle through the 36 modes on these fans which is quite impressive. And if browsing through 36 modes using buttons seems cumbersome then the user can also connect these fans to the A-RGB enabled headers on the modern motherboards. These are compatible with Asus AURA Sync, Gigabyte Diffusion RGB, MSI Mystic Lighting, ASRock RGB etc. Not only that but Deepcool was taking every detail into account and they have provided two types of the A-RGB extension cables to ensure the compatibility with almost all motherboards pin format on the addressable lighting headers. Deepcool is using WS2812B ADD-RGB LED with pin formats of 5V/D/G and 5V/D/NC/G. The supplied extension cables are adhering to these pin formats. Be careful not to connect these connectors to the +12V RGB Lighting headers as that would simply fry the LEDs. These LEDs are rated at +5VDC. Their rated current is 0.48A with a rated power of 2.4W. The LED connector is 3-pin.

Since, we are taking a look at the 3-in-1 and 2-in-1 fan packs, Deepcool has bundled their 4-pin PWM fan hub as well in these packs. They were clearly thinking way ahead of what the user might need. Everything that a user could need is provided in the box. The Deepcool has enclosed a 4-port fan hub in the box as well. It allows up to four fans to be connected to this hub and then a single 4-pin PWM cable coming out of this hub can be connected to the motherboard’s fan header for speed regulation. This way we can be sure of having the same speed on all the fans. The hub is in the triangular shape. Deepcool has provided a 3M double sided tape for easy installation of the hub on the chassis. The top side of the hub has 4 headers. The left most one is in white color to indicate that PWM signal from this will be used to regulate all the connected fans. The cable length is 410mm approximately and to make life more easy, Deepcool has also provided a 4-pin PWM extension cable of approximately 391mm length. Bottom side is where the provided 3M sticker is to be pasted. This hub can be purchased separately at $9.99.

 RGB Lighting

We made a demo video on the RGB lighting effects on these fans when we reviewed the Castle 240 RGB CPU Cooler. Same effedeepccts are on the CF140. Though the video is not doing any justice on how good, immersive, and vivid these lighting effects are but still, this will give an insight of it. Also, some pictures are pasted below for your eye pleasure.

 

Testing

We have tested the CF120 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.

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. 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 Anenometer. The rated airflow value for CF120 is 56.5CFM and 64.13CFM for the CF140. In our testing, the airflow value comes to the 60 CFM for CF120 and 68CFM for the CF140 fans. Approximately all the fans were in the same range.

PWM Range

Next up, is the PWM range of the fan and the corresponding air flow values. The graphs are showing the range of the speeds on these fans and the airflow measure on each speed in that range. Maximum speed observed on the CF120 was 1530 RPM and 1230RPM for the CF140 which is validated one. The minimum speed observed was 750 for CF120 and 600 for CF140 which is within the error margin. Below 5V, the fans stopped spinning.

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. 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. 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 1.23°C between the Alphacool Eiswind 12 and the Deepcool CF120 with Eiswinds taking the lead. At 100% speed, there was a difference of 0.20°C between both fans with Eiswinds taking the lead. Both fans were neck-to-neck at full speed in this testing but at 50% of their speed, Eiswinds had upper hand.

Next, we overclocked the i7 6850k to the 4.3GHz. At 50% of the speed, the Deepcool CF120s were trailing behind the Alphacool Eiswind 12 with the margin of 1.12°C. At 100% speed, the Deepcool CF120s were trailing with the margin of 0.60°C. Fans on 100% speed were neck-to-neck against each other.

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 indicative of the acoustic performance but given our experience in testing the fans over time, we can say with confidence that these fans are near silent and even running 5 of them in the PC at higher speeds, it was a pleasing experience.

Conclusion

Deepcool showcased their new RGB fans during Computex, in June 2018. These are addressable RGB fans under CF class. Fans are available in two sizes in this category; 120mm and 140mm. At present, the fans are available in a single fan pack for both sizes, a 3-in-1 for CF120 and a 2-in-1 for CF140. These fans along with the Castle 240 RGB CPU Cooler were showcased together. In fact, the Castle 240 RGB cooler has enhanced version of the CF120 fans on it. Deepcool has sent us their 3-in-1 pack of CF120 and a 2-in-1 pack of CF140 fans for the review and for a RGB build.

The CF120 has a dimension of 120x120x25mm. Its speed is rated at 500±200 ~ 1500±10% RPM. Airflow is rated at 56.5CFM. Its static pressure is rated at 1.63mmH₂O. Noise level is rated at 17.6 ~ 27 dB(A). Its rated voltage is 12VDC. Starting voltage is 7VDC. Operating voltage range is 10.8~13.2VDC. Rated current is 0.11A with an input power of 1.32W. The CF140 has dimension of 140x140x26mm. Its speed is rated at 500±200 ~ 1200±10% RPM. Airflow is rated at 64.13CFM. Its static pressure is rated at 1.09mmH₂O. Noise level is rated at 19.8 ~ 24 dB(A). Its rated voltage is 12VDC. Starting voltage is 7VDC. Operating voltage range is 10.8~13.2VDC. Rated current is 0.02±15% ~ 0.09±10%A with an input power of 1.08W. The fans are featuring Hydro Bearings.

Each fan host 12 individually controllable RGB LEDs housed inside the hub to create a stunning, vivid lighting effect with 36 modes. Each fan has 9 impellers. Each impeller has 4 air channels for more directional airflow. Each impeller is in white translucent design to create the sublime lighting effect. Each mounting corner has an anti-vibration pad on it. The frame is in black color and it is square design. There is in an inward slope on the mounting sides going towards the inner circular frame. This could help with the better airflow. There is a sticker pasted on the hub with Deepcool brand logo printed on it. There is a 4-arms assembly on the backside. One of the arms has an extended portion with a latch. This is where the flat cables coming out of the hub are routed towards the frame of the fan. There is a cutout on the frame from where the cables are routed out. Each fan has two cables on it. One is the 4-pin PWM and the other is a 3-pin LED cable with female connector. There are two arrows on the frame’s side where the cables are coming out. These are to help the users with ease of identifying the direction of the airflow and the impellers’ rotational direction.

Each fan has 12 addressable RGB LEDs on it. These are WS2812B ADD-RGB LED with pin formats of 5V/D/G and 5V/D/NC/G. The supplied extension cables are adhering to these pin formats. Be careful not to connect these connectors to the +12V RGB Lighting headers as that would simply fry the LEDs. These LEDs are rated at +5VDC. Their rated current is 0.48A with a rated power of 2.4W. The LED connector is 3-pin. To control the RGB lighting, Deepcool has provided two possible ways. One is the bundled RGB Controller. It is SATA powered and has provision for up to 3 A-RGB devices connectivity. Deepcool has provided an A-RGB Extension cable with 4 headers. The controller has three buttons. The top button has + embossed on it. The bottom button has – embossed on it whereas the middle button has a dot symbol embossed on it. The top and bottom buttons are used to cycle through the 36 modes on these fans which is quite impressive. Middle button controls the speed of the lighting effect and brightness. User can also connect these fans to the A-RGB enabled headers on the modern motherboards. These are compatible with Asus AURA Sync, Gigabyte Diffusion RGB, MSI Mystic Lighting, ASRock RGB etc. Not only that but Deepcool was taking every detail into account and they have provided two types of the A-RGB extension cables to ensure the compatibility with almost all motherboards pin format on the addressable lighting headers.

The single pack of CF120 is rated at $21.99. Its 3-in-1 pack is rated at $54.99. The single pack of CF140 is rated at $24.99 and its 2-in-1 pack is rated at $49.99 at the time of the review. Pricing of a single fan seems high. But packs of 3 and 2 fans have a better pricing. The build quality of these fans is good as we would expect from Deepcool and given the plethora of accessories bundled in the parcel, these prices are lucrative. The CF120 fans have performed decent during our thermal testing. Their performance was neck-to-neck at full speed against the reference fans (Alphacool Eiswinds). The Speed Range and airflow ratings come out validated and within the margin of error. We are thankful to Deepcool for giving us the opportunity to review their CF120/140 addressable RGB fans.

Tech4Gamers Recommended Award