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Best fans for radiators? I like the LL/QL look...


travisk82
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So I currently have 6x LL fans inside my Corsair 570x case. 3 are on the front of my 360mm rad for my cpu and 1 is on the front of the rad for my evga Hydro water cooler for my 2080ti. I have noticed though that if I use the LL fan for my GPU rad the temps get pretty high compared to the high powered EVGA fan that I have. I do want to keep the RGB ring that the LL/QL's have. Is there any alternative here? I wish corsair would make high powered static pressure fans with the LL/QL design to be used for radiators specifically. the front 3 fans on my case I really want the nice ring look but I really have no other alternative if I want optimal airflow to my rads. Anyone have any ideas?
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There is unfortunately a trade off when you want the LL/QL style of fans since the LED ring takes up a bit of space, and that trade off is lower static pressure values compared to fans such as the ML PRO fans.

 

My general recommendation is that as long as your temperature and noise levels are acceptable, then you do not need to worry to much. There is little difference in having your graphics card running at 50c and 70c as they normally run much, much hotter on stock air coolers.

 

You can always upgrade your fans to some ML PRO RGB (I used those in the attached build) but there is no arguing that the RGB effects on the LL/QL is much, much nicer.

PANA7896.thumb.jpg.31601939c95ce22f97cc87d744deea3d.jpg

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The funny part we tend to put really large radiators on our CPUs that might use 100W during gaming or mixed loads. Then the AIO hybrids have traditionally come with small 120mm single panels to handle the 300W from a GPU. Triple the power and 1/3 the surface area. You can see that is starting to change with the most recent 3000 series, even though they don't use that much more power than the prior series.

 

Regardless, fan choice becomes less relevant the more surface area you have (like the 360mm) and more relevant when you have a small frame like the single 120mm. So while you likely would see little change on the CPU coolant temp, you will see some differences between fans on the single. The last time I was running a 120mm hybrid on a Titan XP, the difference was about 4C between ML and HD fans.

 

You can swap in a single ML-Pro, although I would be tempted to see what they decide to do about the new ML-Elite (8 LEDs) that has a higher RPM range. The normal ML-RGB will stop at 1600 rpm. That's plenty when used in most applications, but this is the one use where you might want a higher end.

 

The easiest way to make immediate gains would be to do push-pull on the rear fan, either with the EVGA fan or any other. Push-pull with two mixed fans is likely better than any one single fan type, outside of some huge 50mm thick industrial model. The trick is how to manage the fan speeds so they are somewhat similar. I found the EVGA control somewhat arbitrary and got off that almost immediately. I starting using a Commander Pro to with a thermal sensor taped to the back to get exhaust readings from the 120mm. That will mimic the coolant temp in the radiator and provide steady, meaningful control. You can also use GPU temp is you prefer. Some motherboard also have a T-sensor onboard and any cheap 10K thermistor probe can get the same data. Regardless of the control method, two fans will eliminate any penalty for frame/blade design and the LL was clearly meant to be a general purpose fan, not heavy load radiator duty.

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What about the HD series? I have 3 LL's on my 360 rad and I just added a 120 Rad in the back of my 570x case with an SP fan for now while I wait for the HD 120 I ordered to get to me. I have 2 HD 140's I used on an AIO I had as exhaust in the case now. I have always wondered if replacing the LL's with HD's would be worth it, since my LL lighti0ng does not really match my HD's or LED Strips of Hydro X pump and CPU block.
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in my experience the HD were a big improvement in terms of air flow. They are not perfect.. they are noisy (but all of corsair lineup is), and still not stellar with rads, but the LL and QL are so bad they make the HD look really good ^^

The ML will be even better, but you'll have to consider if you want that amount of noise in your PC.

 

There is little difference in having your graphics card running at 50c and 70c as they normally run much, much hotter on stock air coolers.

 

uhm.. cards do run at 70 or even less on air coolers. If you have a waterblock that gets that high, it's worth cleaning it. if it's a GPU AIO, then yes it's fine.

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In terms of performance, the HD is in between the LL and ML. An HD120 is going to be slightly louder than a LL120 at the same speed. It likely makes little difference on the front 360mm radiator, but may be a couple of degrees better on the GPU. I generally like the HD fans, but if you decide you to use them, do it for aesthetic reasons and not the small performance gain. If you already have several HDs and are tired managing dual fan types, that would be another reason.
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In terms of performance, the HD is in between the LL and ML. An HD120 is going to be slightly louder than a LL120 at the same speed. It likely makes little difference on the front 360mm radiator, but may be a couple of degrees better on the GPU. I generally like the HD fans, but if you decide you to use them, do it for aesthetic reasons and not the small performance gain. If you already have several HDs and are tired managing dual fan types, that would be another reason.

 

I have 2 HD's on one RGB hub and 3 LL's on another. So it was either add another LL or another HD so I ordered the HD since it will be right there with the other 2 HD140's, they are top exhaust in the case and the HD120 will be an intake on the back for the 120mm rad back there. The 3 LL120's on are the 360 front rad and I already had them when I decided to go Hydro X.

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The 3 LL120's on are the 360 front rad and I already had them when I decided to go Hydro X.

 

You’re fine either way. You have 2 hubs so you can choose freely. Adding another HD to match the top makes sense. Also, in a combined multi-radiator loop the fan choice will be nowhere near as impactful as when trying to cool a GPU on a single 120 radiator. The more combined radiator length you have, the less fan design and fan speeds matter.

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You can swap in a single ML-Pro, although I would be tempted to see what they decide to do about the new ML-Elite (8 LEDs) that has a higher RPM range. The normal ML-RGB will stop at 1600 rpm. That's plenty when used in most applications, but this is the one use where you might want a higher end.

 

Would you say that three ML-RGBs will exert enough static pressure on a 360mm rad when used as part of a custom loop? I'm trying to plan one with two 360mm rads to cool VRM on a ROG Formula, GPU, and a 5900X. While I've got my eye on other brands' stuff too, that iCue integration would be nice. The HD120s even seem better than the ML120 RGBs, aside from the hydraulic bearings and noise. Unlike OP, I haven't bought the cooling stuff yet. I want to go Corsair here but I find it hard finding a compelling product.

 

A product manager said on Reddit that the Elite Capellix ML120-RGBs were not being planned to be made available for retail - only sold as spare parts, and that they'd appear in the webstore. To that end, scanning the webstore has yielded nothing for me. Shame, those fans could be much more compelling. *edit: this TechPowerUp review got them up to 2250 RPM in testing, and claims here they are spec'd for 2400.

Edited by MechPilot524
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Remember that the final peak static pressure value is RPM dependent. This is especially important on 120mm fans where most have this little lift at the end of the P-Q curve. It can make an 1800 rpm fan seem like it is a large improvement over a 1500 rpm fans. It likely is not and definitely not when you run them both at the same speed. There is little reason for most people to be running 1800 rpm on a multi-360mm radiator build.

 

Someone out there has probably done a radiator comparison with the Sickleflow and other fans on a radiator. However, without looking for one you can know the ML will be fare better just by looking at the blade. The CM fan has a medium to steep blade rake and 9 blades. That is a multi-purpose design, similar to QL and LL fans. The ML blade is flatter and there are fewer of them. That is the preferred geometry for high resistance or direct cooling. If you want to try and make a comparison, you can convert the 1800 rpm to 1500 rpm and take the fractional percentage of the static pressure value. 120mm fans aren't quite so linear like that, but it's all you can do. The other thing you can look at is the 2400 rpm version of the ML to give you an approximation of its curve along the range from 1600-2400 to make a comparison. [4.2 x (1800/2400)=3.15 projected at 1800 rpm]. However, once again the blade geometry is a dead giveaway and usually more telling that peak statistics. The ML also will be more efficient at lower speeds where you are likely to spend more time.

 

https://www.corsair.com/us/en/Categories/Products/Fans/Magnetic-Levitation-Fans/ml-pro-config/p/CO-9050040-WW#tab-tech-specs

 

I don't understand the the decision not to release the ML-Elite for retail purchase either. It addresses all the complaints people ever had with the original ML-RGB. Higher RPM limit. Enhanced lighting and more effects than a LL fan. It allows new Elite AIO owners to finish off their systems. It's a winner and an easy choice for a lot of people. The only thing I can figure is a back up on the production and they couldn't launch the new coolers and the fans separately at the same time. Guess we should all expect production and supply issues this year.

 

Regardless of everything above, I run my system on multiple 360s with a bunch of QLs. Coolant rise is the least of my issues. At 2x360 ML vs weak fan may not matter a lot. 1-2C at most. This is more critical when you have a high watt heat source on a small surface area radiator (Hybrid GPU on a 120mm cooler). With a 10900K and 2080 Ti, my load will ride around 500W.

Edited by c-attack
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Also take into account that the Corsair (Hardware Labs) radiators are super efficient, so they work really well with fans ran at low RPM.

When i got rid of my corsair cooling gear, i replaced all the HD120 with Vardar X3M fans, that have this long sweep profile like noctuas NF-A12 or Scythe Gentle Typhoons that are also popular on rads. The ML blade profile, although less extreme, leans towards that type, wider and flatter. I'm ready to bet it will have better static pressure than HDs at the same low RPM, and less noise too.

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Also take into account that the Corsair (Hardware Labs) radiators are super efficient, so they work really well with fans ran at low RPM.

When i got rid of my corsair cooling gear, i replaced all the HD120 with Vardar X3M fans, that have this long sweep profile like noctuas NF-A12 or Scythe Gentle Typhoons that are also popular on rads. The ML blade profile, although less extreme, leans towards that type, wider and flatter. I'm ready to bet it will have better static pressure than HDs at the same low RPM, and less noise too.

 

Do you mean they have high FPI? Or is there more to it than that? I just find it hard to justify $250 for six case fans, too - only 4 RGBs, weaker specs. Without RGB, the ML120 non-RGB seems competitive enough since they have a higher RPM limit.

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Corsair Hydro X radiators are moderate FPI, but the OEM is fairly well known for having very good low RPM performance in general. This thread was mostly written with those and the Corsair AIO radiators in mind (also medium FPI). If you were to take a custom radiator piece with a high ~24+ FPI or moderate FPI with extreme thickness, then fan design and fan speed become quite relevant again.

 

Yes, it would be a much more compelling if the ML-Elite was available. That would be a smoother looking 8 LEDs, the higher RPM, and the same extra preset lighting effects as the QL series.

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