Best 120mm Fans?
The Deepcool MF120S fans are an improved version of the award-winning MF120 fans, with the addition of PC connectivity and control. They feature a frameless design made of aluminum alloy, double-layered blades, and RGB lighting. The fans come with a range of accessories, including a fan hub and PWM extension cables. The fans have good thermal performance but produce high noise levels, which can be controlled using the included Low Noise Adapter cable. A pack of 3 MF120S fans is priced at $89.99 on Amazon
Performance - 9/10
Build Quality - 9/10
Looks - 9/10
Value - 9/10
- Good Performance
- Solid Build Quality
- Looks and RGB
- High Noise
- Limited Control Options
Deepcool was founded in 1996, with its headquarters in Beijing, with a focus on providing the best and most personalized thermal solutions for customers around the world. When it comes to enthusiast-grade PC components, Deepcool is a well-established and recognized brand that is gaining more popularity. The company is focused on providing better thermal solutions in the form of air and liquid coolers.
Their Captain Ex is a high-end AIO CPU Cooler that has form and function in a single package. Deepcool has seen more success with their Castle and Fryzen CPU Coolers, and they are catching up with the trend for sure.
The company offers PC Chassis, Power supplies, Case Fans, Laptop Coolers, desks for PC, and Lighting solutions. Gamer Storm is the brand of Deepcool under which enthusiast-grade PC Components are offered to the market. Tri-Stellar, Quad-Stellar, Genome/II, and New Ark 90 are some of the popular and highly customizable PC Chassis in the market.
We have earlier reviewed the Deepcool MF120 when they were launched. The design of the MF120 is one of its kind and is truly a remarkable idea. Today, we will be taking a look at the MF120S. The basic or core design and the product are still the same, but the MF120S is not dependent upon the dedicated controller, which can only be controlled and operated using the smartphone, as is the case with the MF120s.
Deepcool is clearly a company that is taking feedback seriously and working on it for further design modifications. While the MF120s were taken quite positively by the users, there was a general feeling that these fans should have been operated/controlled right from the PC by using the motherboard. Well, MF120S does exactly that.
We have the same beautiful frameless design based on a seamless all-in-one skeleton frame made of 100% aluminum alloy, but this time, the user can connect the power and LED cables to the motherboard or another controller source.
They have built-in 16.7M true color digital RGB lighting, which can now be controlled using a motherboard lighting header or a dedicated controller, which has been bundled in the pack.
The pack has 3 fans and a controller along with a plethora of accessories, including a 5-port RGB LED hub and a new design 4-port fan hub. The MF120 fans won the iF 2018 Design award, and MF120S is continuing the SAGA of the MF120s.
|Fan Dimensions||120×120×26 mm|
|Net Weight||478 g|
|Fan Speed||500~2000 RPM±10%|
|Fan Airflow||45.4 CFM|
|Fan Air Pressure||1.67 mmAq|
|Fan Noise||≤33.4 dB(A)|
|Fan Speed (with LSP)||400~1500 RPM±10%|
|Fan Airflow (with LSP)||37.1 CFM|
|Fan Air Pressure (with LSP)||0.79 mmAq|
|Fan Noise (with LSP)||≤26 dB(A)|
|Fan Connector||4-pin PWM|
|Bearing Type||Hydro Bearing|
|Fan Rated Voltage||12 VDC|
|Fan Rated Current||0.17 A|
|Fan Power Consumption||2 W|
|LED Type||Addressable RGB LED|
|LED Rated Voltage||5 VDC|
|LED Rated Current||0.76 A|
|LED Power Consumption||3.8 W|
Packaging and Unboxing
The packing of these fans is oddly strange but equally lovely. The paperboard box is placed inside a transparent container box. The front side is showing one fan on the top. GamerStorm brand name and logo are printed on the top left side of the flapper cover. MF120S is printed below the GamerStorm brand name.
The speed range of the fans is printed below the model information. The lighting solution is compatible with leading motherboard manufacturers’ onboard lighting headers. The pack has 3 fans.
The backside has full length printed cover. The GamerStorm brand name and logo are printed on the top. Salient features are printed in 6 languages on the left side. The specifications are printed in the tabular format on the right side.
We have a total of 4 boxes inside the packing box. Three are containing the fans and one is the accessory box.
Following are included in the box:
- 3x LED Fans
- 1x 4-port Fan Hub
- 1x 5-port LED Hub
- 1x ARGB Extension Cable A
- 1x ARGB Extension Cable B
- 1x ARGB Controller
- 3x 4-pin Low Noise Adapters
- 12x Rubber Buckles
- 12x Radiator Screws
The MF120S is an aluminum frameless RGB PC Case Fan which has already won the iF design award 2018. What is unique about these fans is that they don’t have any frame circulating the blades which the typical case fans have and is more like an industry standard.
All three fansHere are the unique features of the fans:
- Unique frameless design features a seamless all-in-one skeleton frame made with 100% Aluminum alloy.
- Two-layer blower blades designed for maximum efficiency and the suspended fan mounting offers a better-unrestricted airflow.
- Lighting system based on 16.7M true color LEDs, providing 36 interchangeable lighting modes.
- RGB effects controllable through both the included controller and specified motherboard. A 5-port RGB hub is included to make your RGB syncing easier.
- PWM control ready. With LSP function and 2 sets of included screws, MF 120S can perfectly serve as both case fan and radiator fan.
- WS2812B ADD-RGB LED is applied and the below 3pin ADD-RGB Headers are compatible for the device: 5V/D/G and 5V/D/NC/G, which is used for the mainstream M/B brands like ASUS, MSI, Gigabyte.
Let’s take a closer look at the fans and the controller and see what the hype is all about. The dimension of a fan is 120x120x26mm. Recently we have reviewed their TF120 which also has the same dimension. A standard 120mm fan has typically a 25mm height unless stated otherwise. This is second from the Deepcool with 26mm height. Here are the specifications:
|Sound Level||≤33.4 dBA|
|Speed with LSP**||400~1500± RPM|
|Sound Level||≤26 dBA|
|Air Pressure||0.79 mmAq|
|Bearing Type||Hydro Bearings|
|Power Consumption||2 W|
**LSP here means Low Noise Adapter. Deepcool has provided three LSP cables, each having a length of approximately 80 mm. The user is advised to connect each LSP cable directly to the fan’s 4-pin PWM cable before using any fan hub or splitter cable.
*Generally, you will find the air pressure in the unit of mmH₂O which stands for pressure in Millimeters of Water. mmAq above stands for the Millimeters of Aqua which is the same thing as mmH₂O.
Let’s take a look at the front side of the fan. We can see that there is no frame around the blades. The fans feature a seamless all-in-one skeleton frame made of 100% aluminum alloy. The fan is suspending from this unique frame. This will help in unrestricted airflow.
The front side has two arm frame design which is interconnected in the middle where the motor hub of the fan is. Each arm has a length of 113mm from top edge to edge. It is finished in silver color to signify the aluminum alloy made. The inner side of each arm has a diffusor on it with the RGB LEDs underneath. The diffusers are facing each other.
The top sides of the frame have angled edges where there is a straight line design in the middle. In the center, there is a black color plastic cover in a hexogen design. It has a GamerStorm brand logo which seems to have a bit of lighting effect when in action. Each edge has a 26mm depth with the corner mounts fully covered in a black color padding to avoid vibration sound. There is a 110mm gap between any two mounting holes.
The blades are double layered much like what we saw on the TF120 series fans from the Deepcool. This double layered approach increases efficiency. This design approach works in tandem with the suspended fan implementation to help in unrestricted airflow. Each fan has 9 blades. Overall build quality is good. Despite being suspended implementation there was no flex in the blades.
Each mounting hole is covered with anti-vibration black color pads. There is a black color sticker pasted on the motor hub. It has a GamerStorm brand logo printed in the white color. The diffusers are held with the aluminum body using a black color cover on the underside of each arm.
This is done to eliminate the spillover and have smooth color diffusion all over. The side with the aluminum arms facing you is the front side or the side from which the air will be in taken. The side with just blades and white color brand logo of the GamerStorm is the backside or the side from where the air will be pushed out.
Deepcool has provided 12x screws which are to be used to install these fans on the radiators. To install these fans on the chassis, use the supplied rubber buckles. Install the fans in the chassis such that the chassis frame is sandwiched between the rubber buckles and the fans.
The main difference between the MF120 and the MF120S is that the former has micro-USB port on one arm. The micro-USB cable is connected to the MF120 and the controller. Whereas on MF120S, now we have two cables (both flat) coming out of the fan from the same arm.
One is the 3-pin LED cable having a length of 437mm approximately and the other cable is the 4-pin PWM cable having a length of 337mm. These cables don’t have a fragile connection with the fan unlike what we observed in the MF120s.
The above is a picture of the fan in a standing position. It is hard to make these fans stand on their own due to lack of proper frame for the support. The finishing is top notch and angular surface really adds to the pleasing look and feel.
The Deepcool has enclosed a 4-port fan hub in the parcel which is really good on their part. This is a revamped version of the fan hub which is sleek and slim in design and looks that good in person. The ports are numbered as Fan 1 to Fan 4. GamerStorm is carved on the opposite side of the port numbering side.
The other side of the hub has a 3M adhesive tape to easily install the fan in the chassis. The hub has a 4-pin PWM cable measuring 392mm. They have also bundled a 4-pin PWM extension cable just in case. That cable has a length of 400mm.
Should a user wants to go push/pull setup on this unit, the 4-port fan hub will come handy as it will allow all the 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 port one is in white color to indicate that PWM signal from this will be used to regulate all the connected fans.
Now, it is time to take a look at the RGB lighting hardware that the Deepcool has provided with the unit. The 16.7M true color RGB flowing light system with 5 in-built effects (dynamic, static, breathing, comet, and fashion collision) has 36 interchangeable lighting modes are on this cooler.
As we have discussed above that addressable RGB LEDs are in the top portion of the block under the diffuser for which there is a 3-pin cable coming out of the pump housing. Due to the format of this cable, it can’t be connected directly on to the motherboard’s addressable RGB header. Deepcool has provided two solutions for that. One is the dedicated controller to control the addressable RGB lighting effects. The controller is SATA powered.
The length of the power cable is 400mm whereas the length of RGB cable is 370mm. The controller has 3 buttons on the top side of it. The top button has + printed on it and it is used to switch between different lighting modes. It has a toggle effect. The middle button is used to control the brightness. It will speed up/down the speed of the currently loaded mode and does not work on the static mode.
The bottom button has – printed on it and it is used to switch load the previous mode. There is one caveat that I can mention here when it comes to mounting this controller. Ideally, I would want it to be readily accessible to me so it should be available outside of the chassis which is definitely going to be an issue.
Alternatively, it can be installed in a place inside the chassis where accessibility can be of ease but for that, we still will have to open the side panel to access the controller.
This is not all as Deepcool has also bundled RGB hub which allows for up to 5 ARGB devices to be synced and color coordinated. That hub can be connected to the controller be it a dedicated one or the motherboard’s lighting header. The backside of the hub has two magnets on each end to make it more user-friendly they have also added 3M adhesive.
Deepcool has included an RGB Sync cable that can be connected on the addressable RGB enabled headers on the modern motherboards like AURA from Asus, Mystic Lighting from MSI, RGB Fusion from Gigabyte. Two types of RGB LED Extension cables supporting +5V/D//G and +5V/D/G are bundled so as every possible lighting solution format on the motherboards can be covered.
Deepcool is using WS2812B ADD-RGB LEDs on the CF120 and on the block of this cooler. It is clear that Deepcool has left no corner uncovered. Here are some technical data on the LEDs:
|LED Connector||3pin (+5V-D-G)|
|LED Control||Motherboard with addressable RGB header/ADD-RGB Controller|
Here are some pictures for your eye pleasure and we have made a video on the lighting effects.
I am only testing the thermal performance of these fans for which the following configuration is used:
- Asus Rampage V Edition 10
- Intel i7 6850k
- Corsair Vengeance RED LED 16GB @ 2666MHz
- Deepcool Captain 240 Pro
- Asus ROG Strix GeForce RTX 2080 O8G
- Samsung 840 EVO 250GB SSD
- WD Black 6TB
- Corsair AX1200i
Following software were used for testing and monitoring.
- Asus Real Bench v 2.44 [Intel]
- Real Temp GT v 3.70 [Intel]
The thermal paste being used on my test bench is the Noctua NT-H1 thermal paste. The use of the same thermal paste for all coolers will ensure the standardization and mitigate any performance benefit that may come using the supplied thermal paste. I have started testing the coolers with the bundled thermal paste as well. Here is the voltage and clock information:
|Clock (MHz)||Voltage (V)|
A minimum of 30 minutes run of Asus RealBench is made to stress the CPU. Thermals are monitored using the RealTemp software. Average temperature is calculated by summing up the individual core’s temperature and dividing it by 6. The ambient temperature is deducted from this average value to yield delta temperature.
First, the tests were run using the stock fans of the Deepcool Captain 240 Pro followed by the stress test runs using the MF120S on the Captain 240 Pro. The fans were set to run at their full speed and the pump of the cooler was also set to run at full speed. The MF120S were reaching 1980 RPM as reported in the BIOS and using LSP cable, they were doing 1502 RPM validating the rated speeds.
Here are the results.
Let’s take a look at the graphs.
On 3.6GHz, we have some impressive competition here as there was only a difference of 0.8°C between CF120 and MF120S which speaks for itself. Using the LSP cable there was an increase of temperature by 1.13°C. Heck impressive feat!
With overclocked 6850k to 4.3GHz at 1.350V, the MF120S were behind the CF120s by a margin of 1.24°C and with LSP cables they were behind the CF120s with a margin of 4°C. These fans pack some performance for sure.
I could not measure the sound level of the unit due to un-controllable environmental noises. Based on my experience with the fans and coolers testing, the fans on the cooler are very loud and are teasing.
There was a humming noise coming from them when mounted on the radiator. A custom fan curve can be helpful in case you are sitting too close to the PC or are a sound conscious person like me or better use an LSP cable.
The MF120S is the logical outcome of the Deepcool. They are based on the iF design Award 2018 winner MF120. The MF120 has no means of connecting and controlling the fans to the PC as they have their own control box, which can be controlled using a WiFi network on your smartphone. The restriction is speaking out for itself.
The MF120S are exactly the same fans with a few changes in the specifications table, but most importantly, they can be connected to the PC, whether it is to power them up or control the lighting. These fans feature the frameless design concept and have a seamless all-in-one body/frame made of 100% aluminum alloy.
The overall dimension of the fan is 120x120x26mm. These fans are rated at 12VDC. Their rated current is 0.17A with an input power of 2W. The fans are rated 500 ~ 2000±10% RPM. Maximum airflow on 12VDC is 45.4CFM. The noise level is ≤33.4 dB(A). The fans are using the Hydro Bearings.
The air pressure is listed at 1.67mmAq. Using a low noise adapter, the speed range is 400~1500 RPM with a sound level rating of ≤26dBA and air pressure of 0.79mmAq.
The MF120 comes in a pack of 3 fans with a plethora of accessories. The packaging presentation is spot on and is too good. The fan is suspended from this unique frame. This will help in unrestricted airflow. The front side has two arm frame design which is interconnected in the middle where the motor hub of the fan is. Each arm has a length of 113mm from top edge to edge.
It is finished in silver color to signify the aluminum alloy made. The inner side of each arm has a diffusor on it with the RGB LEDs underneath. There is a 110mm gap between any two mounting holes. This uni-body seamless design speaks for itself and gives these fans a stunning look.
The blades are double-layered, much like what we saw on the TF120 series fans from the Deepcool. This double-layered approach increases efficiency and gives more air pressure. This design approach works in tandem with the suspended fan implementation to help with unrestricted airflow. Each fan has 9 blades.
Overall build quality is bettered. Despite being suspended implementation, there was no flex in the blades. The Deepcool has provided 12x screws, which are to be used to install these fans on the radiators. To install these fans on the chassis, use the supplied rubber buckles.
The Deepcool has bundled a newly designed slim and sleek 4-port fan hub in the accessories, along with a PWM extension cable. They have also bundled three Low Noise Adapter cables which are supposed to be connected directly to the fans before hooking the fans to the power source. They have also included a 5-port LED hub with two ARGB extension cables, each with a different pin interface.
This is done to ensure the maximum compatibility with the motherboards’ lighting headers, as Gigabyte is using the 4-pin interface on their 5V lighting headers. This is not all, as Deepcool has also bundled the dedicated lighting controller, which is SATA powered. Think of any accessory; you name it, we will provide seems to be mega thinking at Deepcool.
A pack of 3 MF120S fans is listed at Amazon at $89.99 at the time of the review. We have tested the thermal performance of the Deepcool Captain 240 Pro using the MF120S, and they are right on the money. The only caveat is the high sound level which can be controlled either using the Low Noise Adapter cable or setting a custom fan curve.
We are thankful to Deepcool for giving us the opportunity to review their MF120S fans.
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