For the ordinary computer user, understanding case fans is generally not an important consideration. The average load placed on the CPU of a standard computer is rarely enough to create a sufficient amount of heat that a powerful fan is necessary. But for avid gamers enjoying hours on end lost in a virtual world, nothing can cause more heartache and grief than having their computer seize up and overheat due to lack of a powerful enough case fan.
When it comes time to create the ultimate gaming rig, most people focus on the exciting parts – wide-screen monitors, powerful graphics cards, overclocked CPUs, RAM, and other expensive components. But all of those mean nothing if your computer suddenly seizes due to overheating. Not only will valuable data be lost, but the joy of being immersed in a game will come crashing to a halt. That’s why truly dedicated gamers take the time to invest in the best case fan possible. One with a powerful 120mm fan, they can be sure that nothing will interrupt their digital fun.
Important Considerations When Buying a Case Fan
All of the case fans reviewed in this article are of the 120mm size, referring to the outside measurements of the fan. As 120 millimeters is the largest possible fan that can fit inside of a standard PC case, what distinguishes a truly great fan from a simply good fan is not the size but other factors, including:
The color of the fan case and/or its blades have no impact on its ability to efficiently cool your computer core, but most professional gamers enjoy making their tower look aesthetically pleasing.
Again, having built-in LED lights to illuminate your case fan when in use won’t affect how well it keeps your CPU cooled, but the right kind of lights will add a truly mesmerizing look to your computer.
Noise Level –
In order to spin fast enough to keep air flowing across hot computer components, a fan is going to generate some noise.
But advances in case fan technology now perform wonders in reducing the noise output of the fan. What matters most is that you can hear what’s going on in your game, not the fan! Noise output is measured in decibels, commonly abbreviated as dBA.
Airflow Speed –
Usually measured in CFM or cubic feet per minute, referring to the volume of air that the fan will push across red hot computer components. While CFM is not the sole metric to judge how well a fan will keep your computer cool, it is certainly an important aspect to consider.
Blade Design –
Quality case fans will work to circulate air more evenly, pulling in cool air from outside the computer while simultaneously exhausting hot air from inside the computer in the best possible way to keep your computer running as cool as possible. Some fan manufacturers list the static pressure that their fans generate, referring to the balance between intake and exhaust.
Anti-Vibration Engineering –
A fan spinning at high speed is naturally going to cause some amount of vibration. Over time, this can lead to the fan becoming loose, working less efficiently, and causing noise. The highest quality case fans use anti-vibration designs in order to keep fans working silently and efficiently for years.
This acronym stands for pulse width modulation, an important component of modern computers that allows you to change how much voltage (and therefore power) is sent to the fan. Many of the best fans on the market today can be further regulated by the PWM controller on the computer.
120mm Case Fans Comparison Guide
Our Review of The Best 120mm Case Fans for 2018
After carefully assessing all of the 120mm case fans on the market today, we’ve come up with what we feel are the 10 best models that will keep even the hardest-working gaming PC running cool.
With an elegant two-tone color design, the Noctua NF-F12 uses a special seven-blade impeller design to powerfully cool down computers without generating a lot of noise. Using the company’s proprietary SSO bearing design, the Noctua NF-F12 is incredibly stable. And the silicone anti-vibration pads of the Noctua NF-F12 help ensure that this fan will stay firmly in place. The Noctua NF-F12 also comes with a low noise, high performance adapter to reduce the fan speed from 1500 RPM to 1200 RPM using your computer’s PWM controller.
Elegant two-tone brown and tan design
Low noise throttle for quieter operation
Generates 54 CFM of cool air
The Corsair AF120 is a case fan that not only looks great but also performs great too! The case fan comes in a variety of LED colors and provides you with high-volume cooling of your PC. The exceptional cooling feature allows the gamer to play for hours and hours without the worry of over heating the PC components. The ultra thin blades on the AF120 allows the fan to be super quiet, reduces noise levels from vibrations and efficiently cools down the computer.
LED light options are vast. You can get any color imaginable, from blue to red and yellow to purple. They even come with no light at all. They are sold in pairs or singles, so you can mix and match colors if you wish.
The Corsair Air Series AF120 in my opinion is one of the best 120mm case fans on the market in terms of value for money.
Fan Size 120mm x 25mm
Noise (dBA) 25.2 dBA
Airflow (CFM) 52.19 CFM
Static Pressure (mm/H2O) 0.75 mm/H2O
Power Draw (at +12V) .40 A, 1500RPM
Designed with a crystal clear case and fan blades, the Rocksoul DCF-104120BL looks like something out of the future. But the Rocksoul DCF-104120BL delivers up to 64 CFM using a fan speed of 1800 RPM to keep even the hardest-working computer cores efficiently cooled. The Rocksoul DCF-104120BL generates just 25 dBA when operating, allowing you to focus on your game, not the roaring of the fan. Using a built-in LED, the Rocksoul DCF-104120BL can be instantly transformed to a bright red or bright red color.
Can be wired in a series with other fans
Transparent design and built-in red or blue LED colors
Generates 64 CFM of cool air
With a sleek all-black design, the Rosewill ROCF-13001 comes in a convenient four pack, giving professional gamers the option of wiring them in series or reserving extra fans in case of a problem. The Rosewill ROCF-13001 generates 38.2 CFM of cool air, but creates just 22 dBA of sound, meaning you won’t have to listen to the “jet engine takeoff” roar of an overworked fan. With a seven-blade design, the Rosewill ROCF-13001 does yeoman’s work in keeping your computer amply cooled.
Convenient 4-pack allows you to wire the fans in series
Sleek all-black design
Whisper quiet 22 dBA noise output
Cooler Master Sleeve Bearing 120mm Silent Fan for Computer Cases, CPU Coolers, and Radiators (Value 4-Pack)
Sold in a convenient four-pack, the Cooler Master generates an astonishingly quiet 19 dBA of noise when operating, virtually whisper quiet. The sturdy seven-blade design ensures a consistent flow of cool air into the hottest part of the computer while the rugged design ensures that the Cooler Master can deliver up to 30,000 hours of cooling. Despite its ultra silent operation, the Cooler Master spins at 1200 RPM to deliver a generous 44.73 CFM of cool air.
Convenient 4-pack allows you to wire the fans in series
Whisper quiet 19 dBA noise output
Generates 44.73 CFM of cool air
Using built-in LEDs, the Aigo fan allows you to cycle through all RGB colors with your choice of static, flash, or fade modes. The Aigo uses special rubber pads and a hydraulic bearing to reduce vibration without compromising air flow efficiency. The Aigo 3-pack allows you wire the fans in series or have a spare on hand even though they’re rated for up to 20,000 hours of efficient cooling. The Aigo fan generates 33 CFM while generating just 23.5 dBA of noise, allowing you to enjoy the sounds of your game instead of being distracted by the roar of a fan.
LEDs allow you to cycle through RGB colors
Convenient 3-pack allows you to wire the fans in series
Generates 33 CFM of cool air
With solid blue colored corners and built-in ice cool blue LED, the Corsair ML120 adds flair and style to any gaming computer. The fan speed of the Corsair ML120 can ramp up to 2,0000 RPM with a PWM controller to deliver precisely the right amount of cool air to the interior of your computer. The frosted translucent blades and custom rotor design allow this stylish fan to handle even the most stringent cooling designs.
Colored corners and built-in blue LEDs add unique flair
Controllable RPM creates between 16-37 dBA of noise
Generates up to 75 CFM of cool air
2 Pack Blue LED Case Fans – Reinforced Hydraulic Bearing with 120mm DC 15 LED Illuminating Cooling PC Computer.
This two-pack of fans from Viniuvi comes in your choice of blue, red, green, or white, including the corners, to give your gaming computer a stylish look. The Viniuvi ships with a screwdriver to make installation a snap, while the optional strobe effect allows you to create an intense ambiance while playing games. The Viniuvi uses a powerful nine-blade design to cool your computer while generating only 18.8 dBA of noise.
2-pack of fans allows you to wire them in series
Whisper quiet 18.8 dBA noise output
Ultra cool strobe LEDs add flair to the gaming experience
This two-pack of fans from CONISY comes in a wide range of different color combinations, including pink, red, blue, green, and white. The 100% copper core and special FDB bearings ensure that the CONISY fan delivers efficient cooling without excess noise, generating only 16 dBA at top speed. The CONISY come with both a three and four-pin connector, making it incredibly easy to install, and the turbine design is 30% more efficient than standard fan designs.
2-pack of fans allows you to wire them in series
Available in five different color designs
Produces just 16 dBA of noise
With black corners and a brightly colored LED center blade design in your choice of white, orange, blue, green, or red, the NZXT Technologies RF-FZ120-U1 fan delivers an astonishing maximum CFM of 83.6, cooling even the hardest-working computer components. Rated for up to 40,000 hours of cooling power, the NZXT RF-FZ120-U1 generates a maximum of 26.8 dBA at top speed, allowing you to focus on the sounds of the game instead of the fan.
Comes in your choice of five colors
Produces 26.8 dBA at top speed
Delivers up to 83.6 CFM of cool air
Asiahorse Solar Eclipse Hydraulic Bearing 120mm PWM fan 2PACK comes with Anti Vibration Rubber Pads(Blue)
This two-pack of fans from Asiahorse PC come in your choice of blue, gold, green, red, or white, allowing every gamer to create a unique lighting ambiance. This case fan is engineered with vibration-dampening silicone pads to help reduce noise, spinning at up to 1,8000 RPM to deliver cool air right where you need it the most. It generates just 24.6 dBA at top speed and delivers a powerful stream of 48.6 CFM to keep hard-working computers operating at exactly the right temperature.
2-pack of fans can be wired in series
Available in five bright LED colors
Delivers up to 48.6 CFM of cool air