RGB Fan Final Thoughts
Although these fans are equipped with RGB LEDs, you don’t have the full control of all 16.7 million colors they’re capable of. Using the COLOR button on the controller, you can cycle white, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet, and a final selection that cycles among all the colors. The MODE button cycles through demo mode (all modes in sequence), static color, breathing, flicker, sequential, marquee, and rainbow effects. Last, the SPEED button controls the speed at which the non-static modes effects progress. Sure, the colors are limited, but the LEDs are very bright– easily visible in a daylight-lit room– and the available colors and effects should satisfy most users.
If you want more, you can add a Corsair Lighting Node Pro controller with four individually addressable RGB LED light strips ($59.99: Amazon | Newegg), and control and synchronize the effects between the fans and the LED strips. The repertoire of effects provides a lot of versatility, as you can select anything from a static color display to rapid strobing and cycling.
Using these fans will require more deliberation on your part, though: since each fan has two four-pin wires running from it, you’ll need to pay more attention to your cabling if you want to keep your rig’s internals looking neat. But that seems a small price to pay for the visual bling these fans will add.
Even at full speed, the fans seem pretty quiet, as befits their relatively modest CFM rating. Overall I have only two complaints: one, these fans use sleeve bearings rather than ball bearings, fluid dynamic bearings, or maglev bearings. While sleeve bearings are perfectly serviceable, they are the shortest-lived bearing type and give the cost of these fans I’d hoped for something better. Two, it would have been nice to have the full 16.7-million color RGB spectrum available, although I admit I have no idea how you could do this with a push-button controller.
Corsair HD120 RGB Kit Conclusion
The fans included in the Corsair HD120 RGB Three Fan kit are much more expensive than standard case fans, and their performance specifications are unexceptional. But nobody’s going to buy these just to push air around– that’s what no-name $5.00 black fans are for. Instead, you’ll buy them for the visual effects, and if that’s what you’re looking for then your money will be well-spent.
If I was disappointed with the sleeve bearings, the rest of the kit’s construction gave me no cause for concern. The fans and associated electronic hub and controller seem solidly built and well designed, and I found them easy to integrate into my system, with the total installation taking perhaps half and hour, most of that spent trying to get the fans to fit into the mounting shell used by my case. The ability to expand the system with synchronized RGB LED strips is a plus, too.
The Corsair HD120 RGB Three Fan kit is a great place to start if you want to give your system some more visual appeal. As of February 2017, the CO-9050067-WW kit sells online for $84.99 (Amazon | Newegg).
+ Brilliant LEDs provide lighting effects ranging from subtle to dramatic
+ Quiet performance
+ PWM control
+ Upgrade path with Corsair Lighting Node Pro and LED strips
– Very expensive for 120mm case fans
– Sleeve bearing construction seems déclassé at this price point
– Limited control over colors