Corsair ML Pro 140 and 120
Introduction – LED LED Everywhere
LED lights inside your computer was a privilege only the rich kids had. From there on, LED lighting became an almost-fad like phenomenon. They don’t add any necessary performance gain or value, they just consume more power and they’re expensive. Yet, almost every peripheral and component manufacturer has started aggressively advertising their new LED motherboards, LED cabinets, LED headphones (?), LED graphics cards, LED keyboards (which are rather cool), LED mice, you name it. LED’s were only supposed to be restricted to your monitors, but oh well…
LED lights in case fans and cooler fans isn’t much of a new concept really. The LED “for aesthetics only” lighting was used for the first time in fans. Now, you have the excellent ASUS X99 RAMPAGE V Edition 10 motherboard, which has a whopping FIFTEEN RGB LED lights for aesthetic purpose only, on it. It’s all showbiz in the PC building world baby! But it all started from the fan. The fans have been rocking LEDs only for show since before any other peripheral.
Corsair has been pretty much the forerunner in paving the way for LED peripherals and components. Have you seen their excellent RGB Strafe keyboard? You’ll then know what I’m talking about. Oh and if you use Corsair’s Harpoon RGB mouse and RGB headset too, you can actually synchronise the lighting of all three peripherals together. Yes, that is a thing in today’s day and age. But it doesn’t stop here, for Corsair has launched their new series of fans, the ML PRO 120 and ML PRO 140.
Wingardium Leviosa – Magnetic Levitation
It’s not friction. It’s reality.
Wait a minute. The LED lights on the ML PRO fans aren’t even a headlining feature. Its something else. Something unique and something like I have never seen or heard before in the PC building game. Two words my friends. “Magnetic. Levitation.”
Yes. Levitation baby. This is what these fans are. What this means is, they use electromagnetic charge in a certain direction to rotate the fans. This means, the blade assembly never touches the core centre of the fan. This is somewhat similar to how magnetic levitation trains work. The core and the blade assembly, both have inbuilt magnets. Electricity is passed to the core, which gives it a magnetic charge facing a pole. The opposite poles of the blade assembly then cause the blades to rotate, using that electromagnetic charge. The higher the charge, the faster the rotation.
This technology has a whole lot of benefits. First and foremost, theoretically, they should be able to last a lifetime because of no friction between the surfaces of the fan assembly and the core/motor, since there is no physical contact when the fans are rotating. It sounds magical, doesn’t it. Second, is the removal of noise that a generic fan motor would generate, and the noise that the rotation of blades would generate in a normal fan due to physical contact. The Corsair ML fans seem to bring in what seems to be pretty much the future technology for fans.
Corsair ML PRO 120 and 140
Corsair sent me these fans in unopened retail packaging. Both the boxes are attractive, and are on the heavier side, in comparison to other case fans. Opening the boxes, unveils gorgeous Corsair ML PRO fans. You also get four screws, a pair of zip ties and warranty information in the package.
Corsair teamed up with Fan manufacturer Sunon for this one. The fans are built well, look great, and feel really sturdy, one of the best we have seen. Corsair spent a lot of time in perfecting the design of the ML PRO fans. Most high end fans use thin plastic casing, but Corsair uses a thicker, rubberised casing for the ML PRO fans. These don’t bend, nor do they budge. The four corners use anti-vibration rubber dampers. The coloured corner caps are replaceable, and Corsair claims that they will be launching caps of various colours. The 4-pin PWM connector cable is about half a meter long. This is again, one of the longest cables I’ve seen on a case fan. This gives you good cable routing options, and you won’t be running in the problem of your fan cable not reaching its intended port.
The Corsair ML PRO 120 and 140, both support PWM control, and have a massive operating range of 400 – 2,400 RPM for the ML120 and 200 – 2,000 RPM for the ML140. The fans are built pretty well too. They feel rock solid and heavy to hold, much heavier than generic fans. They’re definitely more rigid than other fans. The fans have a square frame, not a round one like most fans. You can use the ML PRO fans as a case fan, a radiator or a heatsink, depending on the mounting options available. Although, these fans are really meant to be placed in the front of the cabinet, because that is where you show-off the sexy LEDs.
The sticker placed in the centre of the fans show its power rating, which says “12V DC 0.276A”. This means it requires power of 0.276 Amperes (3.3W) to drive it. There is a much cheaper, non-LED version of the ML PRO fan, which has an even lower power rating of 0.202A. In real life scenarios, the ML PRO LED fans draw power of 0.188A (2.26W), as reported by ThermalBench. Most motherboard fan headers should be able to provide this much power to the ML PRO fans.
The cables are soldered to the motor well. There is a small cable management hook to divert the cable to outside of the fan frame. These cables are flat in design, making them easy to bend and fit through small holes in the cabinet.
Fitting it in
I wanted to fit the Corsair ML140 or ML120 on the CPU radiator, which is mounted on the top of the cabinet. The excellent Cooler Master MasterCase Pro cabinet offers all the mounting options you could think of. While I could fit the Corsair ML140 and ML120 on the top panel without any problems, it was unusable for me because I had to fit it upside down due to the opposite direction of airflow. Radiator fans always have to exhaust air, not intake air. This also meant that the gorgeous LEDs on the ML PROs had to be hidden. I could fit them on the back panel with ease too, but then again, why would you buy the LED fans if you just want to stash them behind your cabinet? So the front seemed the most suitable position to show off these fans, and, also the most functional. My system was sucking in enough air to keep the ambient temperature inside my cabinet cool, and was providing cool air to the CPU, GPU and the hard drives. So yes, the ML PRO fans are much suited for front panel placement.
Here are some pictures of how my rig looks after fitting the ML Pro fans.
Testing the ML120 and ML140’s performance
Here the specifications of the PC I’m using:
|CPU||Intel Core i5 6600K @ 3.90Ghz|
|Motherboard||Gigabyte GA-Z170X Gaming 3|
|RAM||G.Skill RipJaws DDR4 8GB x 2 @ 3000Mhz|
|Cooling||Antec Kuhler H100 Pro|
|SSD||SanDisk ExtremePro 240GB|
|Power Supply Unit||Seasonic X850|
|Monitor||ASUS ROG Swift PG278Q 2560x1400|
|OS||Windows 10 64-bit|
|Cabinet||CoolerMaster MasterCase Pro|
Since both the fans are PWM enabled, we could control the speed of their rotation. The ML140 has an operating range of 200 – 2000 RPM, while the ML120 stands at 400 – 2400 RPM. We achieved 1962 RPM at 100% PWM with the ML140, and 2354 RPM for the ML120. The lower operating ranges were calculated at 30% PWM. The ML140 and ML120 achieved 372 RPM and 431 RPM.
These values deviate about 10% give or take from Corsair’s official specifications, but overall, the PWM duty cycle performance is almost linear, to our satisfaction. These fans have a PWM-to-speed ratio that beats the competition, the Noctua NF-F12 and Silverstone SST-FM121. They respond quite well to PWM control, and if your motherboard has automatic fan speed optimisation, the ML PRO fans work almost perfectly.
I analysed the temperatures of my machine, and they were a good 3-4 degrees lower in idle mode, compared to the CoolerMaster case fans I was using. So the ML Pro fans definitely have better airflow and cooling.
Lets talk about the noise now. One of the main reasons Corsair went for magnetic levitation technology was to lower the bearing noise. And how quite a fan performs is eventually the main reason for its success, or its failure. You can make a fan as fast as you want, but if it is noisy, it will ruin your computing experience. We don’t have the right sound equipment to test the noise of the fans, so we will mention our perceived hearing impressions.
At idle levels, the fans were close to pin drop silent. Both the ML120 and ML140, working together, literally did not produce any perceivable sound. When under load, like playing Watch_Dogs2, there was a noticeable rise in sound, but it is still very less compared to other case fans.
First and foremost, the magnetic levitation technology on the ML PRO fans a mega win. This technology eliminates any scope of wear and tear in the bearings. As generic fans age, their wear and tear is evident, and their performance dips and noise increases. The chances of these problems to appear in the Corsair ML PRO fans is close to 0.
In the looks department, the Corsair ML PRO fans are hands down the most gorgeous case fans I have ever seen. They come in Red, Blue and White colours. All colours are very well defined and “out there.” If looks is your thing, these won’t disappoint. The fans produce colours in a way that will light up your entire case, regardless of what the external lighting is. The ML Pro fans are built very well, again, one of the best we’ve seen till date. They easily outclass the gazillion of case fan available in the market. They are sturdy and solid, and have anti-vibration friendly build.
Performance of the fans is right up there with the elite fans. The Corsar ML Pros have a wide operating range, ensuring optimal rpm from idle to medium to stress scenarios. Magnetic Levitation technology means that at 500-600 rpm, the fans were absolutely inaudible. That means, when you’re using your computer in medium stress scenarios, which makes up for the maximum cases, the fans will be absolutely silent.
As a product, Corsair has a winner in the ML PRO fans, no doubt. Now let us look at the pricing. The ML PRO LED cost ₹2199 and ₹2699 for the ML120 and ML140 fans. Corsair is offering twin packs for both the sizes at ₹2499 and ₹2799. The twin packs offer a considerable value advantage over buying single fans. Looking at the pricing, lets face it, you will be paying premium money for a case fan. But, the question is, is it worth it? iLLGaming says, HELL YES! At that price, you get a fan that will probably last you a lifetime, that looks great, cools great and is almost silent in most usage scenarios.
For people on a budget, Corsair is offering non-LED versions of ML PRO fans, at ₹1899 and ₹2399 for the ML120 and ML140 models.
These fans are great, and for that reason, we award it the “iLLGaming Editors Choice” Award.
+The best looking case fans
+Solid anti-vibration build quality
+Linear PWM response
+Quiet, even under medium stress scenarios
+Long life due to Magnetic Levitation technology
-None really. The price is justified