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Corsair SP120 RGB Elite fans vs QL120 fans vs others (for O11 Dynamic XL + H150i)


Matteo2000
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Hi all,

 

I'm building a new PC in a Lian Li O11 Dynamic XL case.

 

I've gone for the H150i Elite Capellix AIO CPU cooler which uses custom ML120 fans with higher RPMs than standard ML120s and 8 LEDs instead of four.

 

I'm looking for the best case fans to complement the case and the AIO cooler. I was naturally drawn to the ML120s, but the retail versions are older now, have lower speeds and only 4 LEDs (and I saw a Corsair rep saying in one post that they're not the best version of the MLs). That leaves the QL120, the LL120, or the new SP120 RGB Elites, which have switched from DC to PWM and have 8 LEDs, which matches the custom Cappelix ML120s.

 

Can anyone advise if the SP120 RGB Elites would make for the best case fans? They're not super expensive and I'm happy to pay more for QL120s or retail ML120s (or any other suggestion - although I'd prefer RGB if possible) if I thought they had significantly better performance, but I'm not confident that they do!

 

Thanks in advance.

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A ML120-RGB maxes out around 1600 rpm. A non-RGB ML-120 Pro maxes out at 2400 rpm. Otherwise it is the same blade and frame which means the results are exactly the same at 1500 rpm and lower. This means the 2400 rpm version is only "better" if you are willing to push those 2000+ rpm speeds. For most users attaining the highest possible fan speed is not on the list of things to do.

 

You should choose your RGB fan based on their lighting and appearance. Differences in actual cooling performance are small and hard to distinguish. You did not mention what CPU you are planning to use, but even with a high watt model the difference between 3xQL120 and 3xML120 on the radiator might be 1.5C at like speeds. That's a fairly small trade-off for to get the lighting you want. Case fans are likely to be even less influential. It is very difficult to make noticeable changes in ambient temperature if the speeds remain the same. If you intend to actually run a fan at 2400 rpm, then that is a different matter. Aside from that, you sometimes get fans that have the exact right airflow angle to strike a temperature sensitive piece of hardware, like m.2 drives or RAM. Those are instances where one fan may have a clear cooling benefit over another, but it is very difficult to predict and extremely case and locations specific.

 

Given the side profile of the O11, I would recommend you look at the QL fans. Their rings are visible from the side and very prominent if you are using top/bottom radiators. I use a 'false' 25mm shroud on the bottom of mine to prop them up so I can see the side, just like the top. Given the multitude of ways you can arrange an O11, the QL makes a lot of sense so you don't need to worry about fan orientation. You'll have at least 6-9 fans. Airflow is not going to be a problem.

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Hi c-attack,

 

That's very helpful advice, thank you.

 

As for the CPU, I have a Ryzen 9 5900X. I probably won't try to overclock it this time around (unless I try to get the fclk up to 1800 mhz to match the RAM) but I know they run relatively hot even at stock settings.

 

I think you're right that I'll be disappointed with the look of the SP120s. The QL120 three pack was discounted on Amazon today so I just bought some. I'm not sure I'm going to be comfortable putting them on the AIO radiator, as I know their static pressure isn't amazing. So here's my current plan - please tell me if it's crazy.

 

Bottom: 3 x QL120 intake

Side: H150i Capellix AIO as an intake, in a push/pull configuration, with the default ML120s hidden at the back and 3x QL120s visible on the inside of the case.

Back: 1 x QL120 exhaust

Top: 3x QL120 exhaust.

 

I have two questions:

1. Will wiring be a nightmare? I think I'll need one or two PWM hubs for the QL120s to plug into the Commander Core. Does this make sense?

2. Is it okay to have the CPU AIO as a side intake? I know Hardware Cannucks did a test and showed that you get better GPU temps with the AIO as an exhaust at the top, but I don't think there's room for a push/pull at the top without it eating into the interior of the case.

 

Thank you!

 

Matt

Edited by Matteo2000
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You are completely fine running 3xQL120 on the radiator. I run 6 on two radiators for my 2080 Ti and 10900K. It works very well for my typical 500W combined wattages, or 250W per radiator. You are unlikely to make to 250W even overclocked unless running a deliberate max torture test. The limit on any of the Ryzen CPUs (or Intel) is going to be CPU temperature resulting from the voltage level, not runaway heat build up because you can't dissipate heat from the radiator. Right now, the cooler is not the limiting factor for most people and the benefit of using a 360mm is you don't have to worry about fan choice.

 

1) The wiring is always difficult, especially the first time. The good news is the O11 is pretty easy with a slightly larger back side and no overly long runs like in the really big cases. I think you are better off than most people.

 

 

2) No, I like your set-up and it is what I would recommend. Side intake is the best placement for the O11 XL. The bottom can be a problem for AIO units because it places the block as the highest point, but more so the bottom mesh seems to offer a fair amount of air resistance. When I run a 360mm radiator on the bottom as intake, the results seem to be underwhelming given it has cooler air entering from underneath. Putting it up top will place it in the GPU heat zone. At a minimum, that will cost you 3-4C in coolant/CPU temp right from the go. Even at an idle state, I can see a 3C difference in air temp from the bottom of the case to the top and the radiator and its fluid will take on the local temp. It's always case and use dependent whether intake/exhaust and which location is best, but for the O11 with an air cooled GPU, side intake is the best.

 

You probably will not need the extra set of fans on the 360mm, but you will have them and they can be added/removed to back side there in moments. That is the radiator I use for fan testing because it is so easy to take fans on/off and connect them to the PWM repeat sitting right underneath it.

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Hi c-attack,

 

Thank you again for the advice, it's been really helpful and I have a lot more confidence now to push on with the build. I'm sure you're right about heat dissipation, it's more of a psychological block as to using QL120s on the radiator as to a genuine concern that they won't be sufficient for my daily needs.

 

7 QL120s arrived in the post this morning (lol), as well as a 10 port Arctic PWM hub so I should be good to go. I just need to make the time to put everything together.

 

I really like your suggestion of how easy it is to test the radiator in the side position with and without the ML120s on the back. I'll try both and see how the results come out. Let me know if you'd like me to update you with temp numbers when it's all done. I'm hoping that having the ML120s on the back side will allow me to run all the radiator fans at lower RPMs, to minimise noise, but we'll have to see if that's how it works in practice.

 

Matt

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