Page 2 - A Closer Look - Hardware
Although fans are typically not thought of to be an aesthetic feature of a computer, the current trend of RGB is making its way to make everything in that way. The plastic frame of the fan is black in color with a small portion of translucent plastic forming a ring around the fan giving the “halo” design. The fan blades are also translucent, likewise to many other RGB fans, helping disperse light out, as we will see late on. The middle of the impeller is also translucent, but is mostly covered by a Cooler Master sticker. On the edges around the mounting holes, you can see the grey pads. These pads act as dampeners for the fan, reducing vibration noises the fan may make when mounted. Overall, we can see the design of the “halo” implied by the name of these fans in the ring on the frame.
Internally, the fan uses rifle bearings. These bearings are similar to sleeve bearings, but have a spiral groove in it that pumps fluid from a reservoir. This allows the fan to be mounted horizontally as the fluid being pumped lubricates the top of the shaft. This change allows the fan to operate at a lower noise level while having a longer lifespan compared to sleeve bearings. These fans should last about 160,000 hours. We will see how much noise this fan outputs when we test them later.
Taking a closer look at the fan blade, you can see some notable difference compared to other fans. The angle of the blades become more aggressive as it approaches the edge. There is a small gap in between each of the fins, having no overlapping fins. The angle each blade sits in comparison to the rotating middle is about 55 degrees. The curvature of the blades is on the more aggressive side. There is a total of nine blades on the impeller. The blades on this fan are quite smooth.
On the output side, five arms hold the fan at a less direct angle as seen in the image above. These arms will obstruct some air from passing through, but because the arms are fairly thin, we should have a near maximum amount of air flowing through the passage. The two cables on the Cooler Master MasterFan MF120 Halo are attached to the fan for two different purposes. The first one is a 4-pin PWM controlled header. The other cable is a 3-pin ARGB header created to control the RGB LEDs. These cables are approximately 420mm and 480mm in length in that respective order. This should be long enough to maneuver around most cases for a clean build as there is an included fan splitter, which adds about another 420mm. The cables are quite flexible, but they are not braided. A braided cable would be more desirable, but I personally do not see braided fan cables too often.
Looking at the specifications, we can see the maximum CFM or cubic feet per minute rating of the Cooler Master MasterFan MF120 Halo is 47.2 CFM. This is around average for a 120 mm fan. Air pressure is another important metric to evaluate the performance of a fan. In scenarios where there is a mesh or heatsink that obstructs airflow, the fan is required to have the strength to pump air through it. This strength is measured in mmH2O. The MasterFan MF120 Halo specifies about 1.6 mmH2O maximum. Note that these values are achieved by the fan spinning at about 1800 RPM, which is the fan’s maximum speed. Another important aspect of fans is their noise level, which is measured using dB, or decibels. The specifications state the minimum noise level is 6 dB, while the maximum noise level is 30 dB. Taking this into account, these fans can be considered pretty quiet for normal use.
Moving on to arguably the most important feature of this fan, the RGB LED subsystem. The Cooler Master MasterFan MF120 Halo has a heavy emphasis on its aesthetics. Because we received the three-pack version of the fans, we also received the Wired Addressable RGB Controller. When using this controller, there are six different lighting configurations: Rainbow spiral, breathing rainbow, static red, blue, and green, and off. This controller does not bring much versatility for the large range of colors the MasterFan MF120 Halo is capable of. Where the ARGB can truly shine is when the fans are connected directly to an ARGB header on your motherboard. When connected to the motherboard, the lighting configurations can be controlled through motherboard lighting software such as Aura Sync, Polychrome Sync, and Mystic Light Sync. Interestingly enough, the MasterFan MF120 Halo does not have its own dedicated software like many other Cooler Master products. I personally feel like there is a lot of missing potential for these fans as they are restricted to the lighting configurations of the motherboard manufacturer. I hope Cooler Master is able to come out with a software update that takes into account of the MasterFan MF120 Halo in the near future.
As for the lighting in the Cooler Master MasterFan MF120 Halo, there is a very well-spread amount of light throughout the fan blade and ring. There are 24 LEDs divided into the ring around the fan and in the center. This allows for the colors to be bright and vibrant at every part of the fan. Pictures do not do this fan justice; the lighting is beautiful and shines bright. Cooler Master did a really good job with the lighting up the MasterFan MF120 Halo.
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. A Closer Look - Hardware
3. Performance Tests