Corsair LL120 RGB LED Fan Triple Pack

When it comes to releasing relevant, high quality computer peripherals that feature RGB lighting, Corsair has cemented themselves as one of the best in the industry, with a solid lineup of RGB-capable products constantly being released. Corsair began life as a cache memory manufacturer in 1994 and later expanded into the high performance DDR memory industry, competing with companies like Mushkin, OCZ and others. Corsair is still a respected DRAM manufacturer and even has a lineup of RGB DDR4 memory available, but they have also expanded into other territories with amazing success. Today, you will find many PC enthusiasts whose rigs feature Corsair AIO coolers, cases, fans, keyboards, memory, power supplies and more. I have been using Corsair components for over sixteen years, beginning with a set of their DDR memory on an AMD Thunderbird build, so seeing their expansion into a powerhouse peripheral manufacturer has been interesting. Corsair LL120 and LL140 RGB fans

The LL120 and LL140 RGB LED Fans are the latest in a long line of RGB capable products from Corsair

  When I began covering the industry in 2000, windowed side panels and cold cathode lighting were considered cutting edge PC modifications. It seems like in just a blink of an eye, we went from boring beige peripherals to a point where RGB LED lighting has hit almost every PC peripheral and component possible, from keyboards and mice, all the way to mouse pads and case fans. There are even 80+ Titanium rated RGB power supplies available. RGB lighting on PC accessories and components seems to be an undeniable trend that isn't going away anytime soon, especially now that the top motherboard manufacturers are integrating RGB lighting into their boards, along with headers for RGB LED strips. With the RGB trend continuing upward, it only makes sense that Corsair would continue to invest heavily in developing new products in the arena that they helped grow. So far, Corsair has produced two successful lines of RGB fan in their HD and SP series, which are both designed with specific functionality in mind. The Corsair HD series of fans are my personal favorite series of RGB fan, as they offer good performance on radiators thanks to a decent static pressure rating (2.25 mmH20), while offering good airflow (54.4 CFM) and relatively quiet operation (18-30 dBA, depending on RPM, specs taken from the HD120). Featuring four center mounted LED's for a more subtle lighting effect, the SP series are also good, but are aimed towards more budget-oriented consumers who want to bask in glorious RGB without burning their wallets too badly. [gallery ids="198746,198745,198747,198750"] Today, we are looking at Corsair's latest entry into the RGB fan market, the LL120 RGB case fan, which were shipped in a Triple Pack ($119.99 shipped) that includes the Corsair Lighting Node Pro, sans LED light strips.   Corsair LL120 - Frosted Fan Blades The LL RGB fans feature semi-translucent, frosted fan blades and have 16 total RGB LED's, with twelve in the front outer loop that surrounds the blades and four in the hub of the fan. While the Corsair LL RGB series fans don't feature the static pressure rating of the HD series fans, their design has them suited well for quiet operation at even maximum RPM (24.8 dBA at 1500 RPM on the LL120 RGB), while the dual LED rings with sixteen total RGB LED's give the LL RGB series the ability to deliver some new transitional lighting effects that previously released RGB fans aren't capable of. The LL RGB series of fans compete with the NZXT AER RGB ($76.65 on Amazon for a set of three, requires the $53 HUE+ controller to work), which feature an outer LED lighting ring with 8 RGB LED's and are capable of various light effects, but do not have lighting from the hub of the fan. Right now, I would consider Corsair and NZXT the two top companies when it comes to producing functional, good looking RGB case fans. Thermaltake and others also have RGB fans available, but the best overall build quality, lighting effects and control software currently comes from Corsair and NZXT. Let's take a look at the LL120 RGB LED Triple Fan Kit and the included Corsair Lighting Node Pro components, next.

Corsair LL120 RGB LED Fan Triple Pack - A Closer Look and Corsair Lighting Node Pro

  Corsair LL120 RGB Fan Technical Specifications        MSRP: Corsair LL120 RGB Triple Pack -Retail Box The Corsair LL120 RGB Led Triple Fan Kit ($119.99 USD) ships in a black box with yellow accents lining the sides and a rainbow line across the bottom. The box features a picture of three LL120 fans in action and Corsair branding throughout. Corsair did a great job of showing off the default RGB effect of the LL120 RGB with great detail in a way that should attract the eyes of customers in retail outlets. Corsair LL120 RGB Fan - Box Contents (Fans Not Pictured) Here you can see the full layout of components and accessories that come with the LL120 RGB Fan Triple Pack, minus the fans. Corsair includes screw sets for each of the fans, along with the necessary USB and RGB cables for the Lighting Node Pro and RGB Fan LED Hub. The various components for the Corsair LL120 RGB Fan Triple Pack were each packaged in simple cardboard boxes and arrived in excellent condition. Keep in mind that while Corsair lists the Lighting Node Pro as an included accessory, the LED strips that come with the retail version are not included with the LL fans because it would have increased the cost too much. You can buy compatible RGB LED strips separately from Corsair, though for $39.99 each. Also of note, only the LL120 RGB Fan Triple Pack ($119.99) and LL140 RGB Fan Twin Pack ($99) come with the Lighting Node Pro and RGB Fan LED Hub, which are absolutely necessary for the RGB LED's to work. Without the Lighting Node Pro and RGB Fan LED Hub, the LL RGB fans can still work as non-LED fans over a PWM fan connection, but that's just not any fun and defeats the purpose of getting these fans in the first place. It is wise of Corsair to sell fans without the additional hardware, as there are users who already have the Lighting Node Pro and LED RGB Fan Hub who don't need them and can save a few bucks by just buying the fans by themselves.   [gallery columns="2" ids="198818,198819"] The Corsair RGB Fan LED Hub has six four-pin inputs, allowing it to work with up to six Corsair RGB fans at a time. The Corsair RGB Fan LED Hub is compatible with all of the Corsair RGB fans that require Corsair Link, so you can mix LL, HD and SP series fans on the same hub. This comes in particularly handy for me, since I have some HD140 fans coming in for my radiator and I can easily drop them in and connect them to the hub without having to add any additional hardware to my rig. The 3 pin connector that is focused in the picture above on left connects the fan hub to the Corsair Lighting Node Pro, which is a necessary component that lets all of the fans communicate to the Corsair Link software via USB.   [gallery columns="2" ids="198822,198821"] The Corsair Lighting Node Pro ($49.99) is a compact black box that allows you to control up to four individually addressable RGB LED strips and up to six individually addressable RGB fans through the Corsair RGB Fan Hub. The Lighting Node Pro requires SATA power and interfaces with your PC through an internal USB connection. The SATA power cable on the Lighting Node Pro is 400 mm (17.32 inches) long, while the included USB cable is 375 mm (14.76 inches). I would suggest putting the Lighting Node Pro in a location central to all of your fans so that the cables don't have to route too far, leaving no room to hide them. The Lighting Node Pro features a Corsair Logo on top and a small reset button is located right above that logo. Corsair LL120 RGB Fan The Corsair LL120 fan has a black frame, with rubberized screw holes and rubber isolation tabs on the four corners to reduce noise. The LL series fan has a frosted blades, which should diffuse the RGB lighting more evenly than glossy plastic would. There is a Corsair sticker on the center blade of the fan and it looks okay, but I think a stamped or silkscreen logo would look better. Thankfully, Corsair put the sticker on straight, so there isn't any wobble when the fans are running. Corsair LL120 RGB - Rear The rear area of the LL120 RGB fan is fairly uneventful, with a Corsair sticker covering the rear of the hub. The same rubber isolation bumpers that are on the front are also on the rear of the LL120. The LED and fan cables run through a channel neatly through the side of the fan. Our sample had the sticker lifted slightly where the cables exited, but it was easy to flatten them and push the sticker back down. Hopefully this isn't an issue others will see, but it's easy enough to remedy. [gallery columns="2" ids="198807,198808"] The LL120 fans have two cables coming from them. One is a four-pin PWM fan header that can be installed on your motherboard for direct control. The other cable coming from the LL120 is to be wired directly to the Corsair Fan Hub, which connects to the Lighting Node Pro with a single cable connection. The Lighting Node Pro is able to communicate with each fan on the fan hub individually, as long as they have been installed in serial and no ports were skipped. If you break the chain, say by connecting fans to ports 1,2 and 4 instead of 1,2 and 3, the Lighting effects will not work and the chain will be broken. Let's take a look at our installation of the LL120 RGB Fan Triple Pack, next.

Corsair LL120 RGB LED Fan Triple Pack -  Installation

  For my installation, I used the CoolerMaster MasterCase 5 Pro with tempered glass side panel. Installation proved very simple, as I was able to install the Corsair fan hub and Lighting Node Pro on the rear of the motherboard tray in an area that CoolerMaster designated for a fan controller. Since the CoolerMaster fan controller is included with the higher-end MasterCase Maker 5T and I have no intentions on ever getting it, the space on the rear of the motherboard for it was a perfect place to install the Lighting Node Pro, with the fan hub installed directly above it. The USB cable from the Lighting Node Pro was routed thru a hole under the motherboard that was right by the onboard USB connector. I was able to use two unused SATA power headers from the cable going to my HDD's to power the Lighting Node Pro and fan hub. LL120 RGB - Fan Header Install Installing the LL RGB fans was simple, as the cables were long enough to reach headers at the bottom of my motherboard all the way from the top of the case. The rear fan had a header right next to it and the cable was very easy to fold and tuck in between the chassis. Since the fan motor (12V) and RGB lighting (5V) run off of separate power sources, you can tune the fans for optimal noise levels and not have it affect your lighting, at all. In the past, this was an issue that affected LED fans, as the fans and LED's would both run on the fans 12V signal, which affected the lighting based on the amount of voltage applied to the fan. When I powered up the system the first time, everything worked, but my BIOS POST indicator gave me some weird issues. I double checked my connections after powering down the system and never had the issue, again. I am chalking up the anomaly to a loose connection, as securing the cables after powering down the system has seen the LL120 RGB Fan Triple Pack working flawlessly for the past several days. Corsair LL120 RGB - Installed in MasterCase 5Installation off the LL120 RGB LED Fan Triple Pack will vary depending on the case you use, but as long as you have areas to install 120 mm fans and enough area to install the Corsair Lighting Node Pro and fan hub, you'll be good to do. Both the fan and RGB cables are almost two feet long, so routing the fans to an appropriate motherboard header or fan hub and getting the LED wired to the fan hub should be a simple task for moderately experienced builder who is installing in a mid-tower case. I can see fan routing getting a little tricky in gigantic cases, but creative users should be able to find a centralized area for the fan hub to be installed so that every fan can have access. Corsair does make extension cables for their RGB connectors, so users with gargantuan cases aren't left in the dark.  

Corsair LL120 RGB LED Fan Triple Pack -  Corsair Link and Lighting Effects

The latest version of Corsair Link is v4.9.0.57 and it is fully compatible with the LL RGB fans. The software isn't capable of automatically recognizing which Corsair RGB product is installed, so you do have to select your specific fan, or tell the software if you're using an LED strip. During my testing, Corsair Link was very responsive and stable. All of the lighting modes worked well and I never experienced any crashes with the software. Corsair LL120 RGB Fan Triple Pack - Installed in MasterCase 5 Without Corsair Link installed on your system, the LL120 RGB fans will be stuck in the mode pictured above, which looks great, but the whole point to these fans is customization. Corsair Link saves the lighting profiles, so whenever the PC is in a situation where Corsair Link isn't running, the LL RGB fans will run at the default color setting. Corsair Link - Main Section The main section of Corsair Link has a very clean, simple layout, with a red and black theme. Per-core temperature and a voltage readout for the CPU are available, in addition to temperatures for storage drives and GPU's. Memory clock and timing information is also presented, though I am not sure if this section activates when non-Corsair DRAM is used. Most importantly for this review, the configuration section for Lighting Node Pro connected devices can be easily accessed by clicking the "Configure" button. The Corsair Link Software Corsair Link - Case Temperature Layout Before I get into the RGB adjustment section, I wanted to show off the temperature configuration section. The Corsair Link Software lets you put an image of your case in the software for a customized look and to give an accurate representation of which hardware it is monitoring. Here, we see the Link software monitoring the RPM of my various case fans, along with my GPU fan. You can drag the other temperatures over, but the screen will start to get cluttered. This is a really well thought out customization feature that Corsair has implemented. The Corsair Link Software Has a LOT of different RGB Modes for the LL fans Fourteen different RGB effects are available on the LL fans through the current Corsair Link software, with the HD fans supporting 12 modes. The new Arc, Heartbeat and Pong modes are only available on the LL RGB fan, which is also compatible with every RGB effect that the HD fans are. While most of the effects can be programmed to individual fans, there are some effects, like Sequential, that span the effect across the fans in order, for some really extreme, distracting RGB. I personally liked the Rainbow Wave and Marquee modes, as they both have an appealing look that didn't distract me from using my PC from behind the tempered glass panel of my MasterCase 5. [gallery size="medium" columns="2" ids="198828,198827"] When set to white, the Corsair LL120 RGB fans put out a nice, bright color that is as close to white as any RGB LED I've seen. While there is definitely still a blue spectrum to these fans, they look great when set to a static white to highlight your system. [gallery size="medium" columns="2" ids="198834,198835"] Static color modes can be set on each of the fans individually. Here, we have an excellent color of green that looks like glowing Kryptonite in person. Pictures cannot do these colors justice, the LL RGB fans have excellent, bright RGB that is uniform across the fan. [gallery columns="2" size="medium" ids="198862,198861"] The LL120 RGB fans do a very nice, consistent red that looks great. The crimson diffuses nicely across the fan blades to give a faint effect that looks like a thin red fog. [gallery columns="2" size="medium" ids="198842,198848"] While the RGB effect of the LL fans is brighter and more focused from the front where the LED's are located, these fans diffuse the light really well across their frosted blades for a nice, even look when the fans are viewed from the rear. The floating RGB that emits from the top of my case at night is really cool, without being too distracting. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hTlyKOdX4wM&feature=youtu.be I am not the best at making video and I don't have a professional setup for doing so, but I really wanted to be able to show our readers a few of the effects the LL RGB fans are capable of. For this video, I have recorded the LL120 RGB installed in my case and running in Color Pulse, Color Shift and my personal favorite, Marquee Mode. I was really happy with how easy it was to get the desired effects I wanted with a simple drop down menu. The Corsair Link Software worked great with the LL RGB fans, which offer amazing lighting effects. Let's get to my final thoughts on the Corsair LL RGB fans and where they stand against the competition.

Corsair LL120 RGB LED Fan Triple Pack - Lighted Loops Of Beauty

Corsair LL120 RGB Triple Pack Retail Box - Branding I had an enjoyable experience installing and testing out the Corsair LL120 RGB Fan Triple Pack. The Corsair Link software was streamlined and worked great with the new LL RGB fans, never giving me any issues or crashing, despite the fans being brand new and only officially releasing at the time of this review being published. It's been over a year since I've used Corsair Link software and things have improved quite a bit over that time in terms of how stable the program is. I also didn't notice any high memory usage or CPU usage scenarios when using Corsair Link, which is something I was keen to look for, given the DPC latency issues I had when I last used the program. Corsair RGB LED Fans installed in MC5 w/GTX 1080 The RGB effects produced by the Corsair LL RGB fans are the best I've ever seen, allowing for some excellent customization options that aren't available with other fans. Corsair has done a great job of integrating the RGB LED's on the LL RGB fans, as they are properly spaced and have excellent transitional effects. With the Corsair HD RGB fans, you could see the LED and the lighting was super bright, but way less controlled than it is on the LL series. The frosted fan blades and lighting ring on the LL RGB diffuse the lighting so consistently across the entire fan and really add to the overall quality of the product. Corsair truly has produced the best looking RGB fans on the market with the LL RGB.

I was very pleased with the LL120 RGB fans in terms of their noise level and overall build quality. The fans all installed without issue and sat perfectly in their install locations, with the rubber isolation bumpers on the corners doing an excellent job of preventing vibration and keeping the fans rattle-free when they were running in the highest RPM range. I installed the three Corsair LL RGB fans as exhaust in my MasterCase 5 and there wasn't a noticeable increase in noise over my Corsair MagLev fans. Even when running at 1500 RPM, the LL RGB fans remained relatively quiet, though you could definitely hear the sound of air being moved at a rapid rate. The LL RGB are well built case fans, with quality components being used throughout and Corsair has made sure that they are ready for prime time.

Corsair LL120 RGB fan, visible through tempered glass Given the lower static pressure rating of the Corsair LL RGB fans compared to the Corsair HD RGB fans, I would still recommend the HD series fans for radiator installations. For exhaust fans and intake fan scenarios where the front of the fans will be visible, the LL RGB fans will be the best choice, as they offer an excellent combination of airflow and low noise operation, on top of the best RGB effects in the industry. I can see the logical progression from here being integrating Corsair MagLev fans with the dual RGB ring design we see in the LL fans, but those would probably cost quite a premium and we're already dealing with $35 fans, here. The Corsair LL120 RGB Fan Triple Pack really hits a solid value proposition when you consider the separate costs of the Lighting Node Pro and RGB LED Fan Hub. The LL120 RGB Fan Triple Pack kit costs $119.99, while a single LL120 RGB fan comes in at $34.99 MSRP, which means the cost of three fans alone is $105 and they don't come with the Lighting Node Pro or RGB LED Fan Hub. Comparatively, you will end up spending $130 on a Triple Pack of the NZXT AER RGB 120MM fans with a Hue+ controller, which is about $10 more than the cost of the Corsair LL120 RGB Triple Fan Pack. LL120 RGB In my opinion, consumers have two viable choices when it comes to quality RGB fans with ring lighting and software controlled effects, the Corsair LL RGB and NZXT AER RGB. While the NZXT AER RGB are great fans, they get left behind by the advanced dual zone RGB effects and excellent build quality provided by the Corsair LL RGB fans. If you want the best looking RGB fans available, along with a nice balance of airflow and low noise operation, the Corsair LL RGB fans are definitely the fans for you. The price of admission on the LL RGB fans isn't cheap, but once they are installed, get ready for fun, cool ride down the RGB highway. Legit Bottom Line: If you want amazing looking, quiet, well-built RGB fans that offer decent airflow and the ability to control them through intuitive, easy to use software, the Corsair LL120 RGB Fan Triple Pack is an excellent choice.