ID-Cooling SF-12025-RGB Trio Fan Kit

ID-Cooling is a relatively new company that our readers may not have heard of before, first debuting at Computex 2013, but their parent company has been doing OEM cooling design and supplying major manufacturers like Cisco, Huawai, Lenovo and more for years. Legit Reviews was contacted by ID-Cooling during CES 2018 and asked if we would like to cover their products, which are aimed at the value PC enthusiast segment. We always like to bring our readers coverage of products that may be of interest, so we had ID-Cooling send over their latest fans, the SF-12025-RGB Trio Kit. ID-Cooling RGB Trio - Budget RGB Fan Kit Known players in the PC enthusiast industry like Corsair and NZXT already offer a variety of high quality RGB fans, but these offerings tend to be on the more expensive side of the value spectrum and require controller boxes paired with proprietary software to run properly. Don't get me wrong, I like my Corsair LL and ML RGB series fans that can be controlled through Corsair Link, but those cost over $30 per fan and require a Corsair Lighting Node Pro, putting them in a premium price category that many users simply can't afford to invest in. By the time you load out your system with three Corsair LL or ML series fans, you're spending over $100. If you're building a basic gaming system on a few hundred dollar budget, a load out of fans that cost 20% of the system makes little to no sense. Does that mean that users on tight budgets should be excluded from the glorious world that is RGB fans? Not necessarily. ID-Cooling RGB Trio 120MM Fans The ID-Cooling SF-12025-RGB Trio Fan Kit takes a break from the expensive RGB party and brings consumers a set of three 120MM RGB fans with remote control capabilities, all for under $45 shipped. Along with offering compatibility with the popular motherboard RGB control software on the market like Asus Aura Sync and Gigabyte RGB Fusion, the SF-12025-RGB Trio Fan Kit also includes a remote control and compact receiver to allow for wireless control over your PC fan lighting. Does the ID-Cooling 120MM RGB Trio kit bring great value to users looking for some decent performing fans with RGB lighting, or does ID-Cooling try to reach too hard with their value proposition and fall flat?

ID-Cooling 120MM RGB Trio Fan Kit Specifications

  Fan Dimension  120×120×25mm(PWM) x3PCS
  Weight  150g
  Rated Voltage  12VDC
  Operating Voltage  10.8~13.2VDC
  Starting Voltage  7VDC
  Rated Current  0.25±10%A
  Power Input  3W
  Bearing Type  Hydraulic Bearing
  Fan Speed  700~1800±10%RPM
  Max. Air Pressure  1.82mm H2O
  Max. Air Flow  74.5CFM
  Noise  18~35.2dB(A)
The ID-Cooling 120MM SF-12025-RGB fans have been specified to operate in the 700-1800 RPM range, topping out at 74.5 CFM with a 35.2 dbA noise rating. The static pressure rating of the ID-Cooling SF-12025-RGB fans is 1.82mm H2O, which isn't an extremely high rating, but respectable enough that these fans should be acceptable for use on radiators in non-extreme applications. ID-Cooling states that the SF-12025-RGB Trio utilizes a hydraulic bearing, which tend to perform better than their sleeve and ball counterparts, though bearing quality can vary and the type of bearing isn't an automatic indicator of quality.

ID-Cooling SF-12025-RGB Trio Fan Kit Unboxing

The ID-Cooling SF-12025-RGB Trio Kit ships in a black and orange box constructed from a fairly thin card stock. An image of several of the ID-Colling SF fans lined up in succession with different colors of lighting is on front of the box. [gallery size="medium" ids="203063,203064"] Logos noting support for popular motherboard RGB control programs that the RGB Trio Kit is compatible with are also on the box. A quick check of the rear of the ID-Cooling RGB Trio box reveals specifications for the fans in several different languages. ID-Cooling RGB Trio - Box Opened Opening the ID-Cooling SF-12025-RGB Trio Kit unveils four boxes, three of which each contain a fan, while the accessories for the fans are packaged in their own box, within separate bags. ID-Cooling RGB Trio - Manual An informative user guide is included with the ID-Cooling RGB Trio Kit, which includes illustrations and guides for installing the fans in different configurations. ID-Cooling SF-12025-RGB Trio - Controller The receiver and controller module for the SF-12025-RGB Trio Kit is compact and easy to install, only requiring a SATA power connection. The receiver control module isn't necessary if you are going to be controlling the ID-Cooling SF-12025-RGB fans directly from your motherboard, but even in those scenarios I can see users wanting to use the included remote control and receiver for quick and easy control of their lighting. The four pin connector of the receiver has been properly labeled for the 12V-G-R-B pins. ID-Cooling RGB Trio Fans - Remote The remote control that is included with the ID-Cooling SF-12025-RGB Trio Kit is small and compact, with the various functions spelled out on the face in an easy to read font.  The remote control only controls lighting function, RPM control is still handled by the motherboard or fan controller that you hook up the fans to. SF-12025-RGB Trio - RGB Cable Splitter ID-Cooling includes an RGB lighting cable with four female connectors so that each fan can connect directly to the controller or motherboard with a single connection, rather than requiring RGB headers for multiple fans. ID-Cooling RGB Trio Fan Splitter ID-Cooling includes a cable that will let customers use a single three-pin fan cable connection to power each of the SF-12025-RGB fans in the kit, as well. ID-Cooling RGB Trio - Fan Screws Rounding out the accessory kit, ID-Cooling includes both long and short screws so that the SF-12025-RGB fans can be mounted in exhaust or intake mode. ID-Cooling RGB Trio - Accessories ID-Cooling has done a good job of rounding out the accessories in their SF-12025-RGB Trio Kit, as it includes everything you're going to need to get started across a variety of systems, including those with motherboards without built-in LED headers. Let's take a closer look at the SF-12025-RGB fans, next.

ID-Cooling SF-12025-RGB Trio Fan Kit - A Closer Look

[gallery size="medium" ids="203077,203076"] The ID-Cooling SF-12025-RGB frame has pointed edges, with the sides of the frame sucked in and circling around the fan blades, giving the fan a compact look with minimal plastic. The top half of the fan has the plastic straightened with an ID-Cooling logo present, while the rest of the fan sees the edges rounded. [gallery size="medium" ids="203079,203078"] ID-Cooling has outfitted each corner of the SF-12025-RGB fans on both the front and rear with fairly substantial rubber isolation bumpers to help aid in vibration-induced noise reduction. The plastic that ID-Cooling used to construct the frame of the SF-12025-RGB fans is thin and doesn't inspire great confidence, as the corners started to flex and crack when just a slight bit of pressure was applied during installation into my case. ID Cooling RGB Trio Diffuse Material There is a piece of diffuse material to reflect the hub-mounted LED's of the ID-Cooling SF-12025-RGB fan. This piece of plastic is really thin and when I grabbed the fan initially I found that the material easily flexed into the fan blades. Doing a little bit more poking around, I found that the plastic diffuse material easily could be pulled away from the rest of the frame. I understand that these are value fans, but this material gives me a bit of cause for concern. Thankfully, the diffuse material doesn't have any load to support and isn't so flimsy that it causes issues during use, but the feel of the material doesn't inspire confidence. When considering the value aspect of the SF-12025-RGB Trio Fan Kit, the sacrifices made to material quality when compared to more expensive RGB fans are understandable. ID Cooling RGB Trio - Uneven Hub Sticker An ID-Cooling sticker is on the center of each fan hub and it is hard to tell by just looking, but this sticker isn't mounted perfectly, so the fan hub exhibits what appears to be a bit of wobble when the fans are running. When compared to my Corsair LL and ML fans, this issue isn't present because Corsair made sure to implement the stickers properly. Just spinning the blades of the ID-Cooling SF-12025-RGB fans, you can see quite a bit of wobble due to the sticker implementation not being perfect, in addition to any minor imperfections of the fan hub and bearing that may have already been present. SF RGB The 4-Pin PWM cable for the SF-12025-RGB fans is shy of a foot long and is covered in black sleeved cables, as is the male RGB connector, which has a sticker on it warning about orientation. The cable length of the ID-Cooling SF-12025-RGB fans should definitely be longer, as I can see placement in certain places of the case creating a wiring issue due to the short length of both cables. The rear of the SF-12025-RGB fans have the rubber isolation bumpers I referred to earlier and the cables come out neatly from a single channel, allowing the fan to be installed easily without the cables kinking behind it. A glimpse at the rear of the fan gives an overall idea at the build quality of the SF-12025-RGB fans, just look at the thin plastic that connects the hub to the fan frame.

ID-Cooling SF-12025-RGB Trio Fan Kit - In Use

The first thing I noticed when using the ID-Cooling SF-12025-RGB fans was that they were noticeably loud when they would spin at anything beyond 50% speed. With a rating of 35.2 dB, I wasn't expecting silence, but these ID-Cooling fans were coming in well above their rated noise output at 100% RPM, with a Mini Digital Sound Level Meter reading single fan at over 65 dB when installed on the rear of my MasterCase 5 from CoolerMaster. To compare, my Corsair LL 120 series fans won't get above 40 dB at 100% RPM, even when mounted on a radiator. [gallery ids="203089,203088,203087"] The lighting effects produced by the ID-Cooling SF-12025-RGB look very good, considering the price of the fans. The lighting isn't totally even and there is some hot-spotting, but the fans definitely have a unique visual appeal and for entry level RGB fans in the value segment, they get the job done. The included remote allows for a variety of effects, but static colors looked best, as the fade effects weren't totally smooth and even. The ID-Cooling SF-12025-RGB fan looks pretty good from behind, with the colors nicely diffused on the fan blades and giving a mist-like effect. While they are capable of fading and transitioning, the four hub-mounted LED's on the ID-Cooling SF-12025-RGB fans are linked and will always run the same color as each other, so dynamic effects that are possible on fans like the Corsair LL and ML series, like Rainbow Wave, just aren't going to be possible on the SF-12025-RGB Trio Fan kit. Overall, the ID-Cooling SF-12025-RGB fans are on the bottom end when considering their performance and noise level appeal, but the lighting effects are surprisingly decent, all things considered. If performance and noise level are top considerations, I would steer clear, but ID-Cooling has done a decent job with the lighting effects on these RGB fans, saving them from falling into a complete abyss of mediocrity. Let's wrap up this review on the next page and see how the ID-Cooling fans stack up to the competition.

ID-Cooling SF-12025-RGB Trio Fan Kit - Conclusion

Unfortunately, users who want a consistent, premium, high quality experience with their fans aren't going to be happy with the SF-12025-RGB Trio Fan Kit. I'm not being unfair when I call these fans cheap, they are just that. The diffuse plastic material ring is flimsy and can easily be pressed into the fan blades, which leads me to concerns over the material warping. The fan blades also use a thin plastic that seems to be of okay quality, but they definitely have a lower quality feel to them. Whether that is the case is probably unlikely and I doubt the plastic of the SF-12025-RGB Trio fans would cause any concern during the reasonable few of years of lifetime of the fan, I'd think the bearings would wear out before anything else. Finally, the sticker on the hub not being straight is going to straight up kill the deal for a lot of users.   For their negatives, not all is lost with the ID-Cooling SF-12025-RGB Trio Fan Kit. For just $35 for the set, these fans are capable of some really cool lighting effects, which is their saving grace. The remote implementation was done well and the kit included with the fans was well thought out and done properly. If you just want some cool looking RGB fans on the cheap and don't care so much about noise or airflow, these will be fine. RGB Trio - Rear If you want to spend as little as possible and just want some RGB fans with performance and build quality not major considerations, the ID-Cooling SF-12025-RGB Trio are available for just $34.99 shipped at Newegg in the base package, with the unit including remote control running $44.99 shipped. The ID-Cooling SF-12025-RGB fans can definitely move air and give you some cool lighting effects, but that's about the best I can say for them. I highly recommend that users who want a quality set of RGB fans that also offer good performance and build quality look into the AzzA Hurricane RGB Lite fan 3-pack, which are currently available at Newegg for $32.00 plus shipping. The AzzA Hurricane Lite RGB offers a remote control, along with very nicely diffused RGB effects on a fan with better overall build quality than what ID-Cooling is offering. I appreciate competition and think that ID-Cooling had the right intentions here, but there are some competing RGB fan kits that are just plain better, for similar money. Legit Bottom Line: The ID-Cooling SF-12025-RGB Trio Fan Kit is an inexpensive way to outfit a system build with RGB lighting, but the quality is lower than other brands and the noise levels are higher.