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Alphacool Core 120 2500RPM Review

Introduction

Alphacool's new Core series aims to disrupt the budget-oriented market. Equipped with nothing but performance, high speed, and an affordable price their 2500RPM model might become the ideal option for a quick build! Let's have a closer look! 

 

Positive

  • Incredibly affordable
  • "ok" Max Performance

Neutral

  •  

Negative

  • Horrible Noise-to-Performance ratio
  • No Screws included

 

What's in the Box?

Unlike most Fans we had a look at before, Alphacool's Core 120 series comes in the most OEM packaging possible.

Hidden inside a simple white box we will find the Fan and nothing but the Fan.

 

 

Therefore, BEWARE, there are not even screws included with this fan. For people building PCs on a regular basis, this may not be a huge issue as it's quite normal to accumulate a small mountain of regular fan screws over time. For first-time builders or people who only build PCs every few years, you might need to keep this in mind and get them beforehand. 

 

 

Other than the white color, the box is kept simple to a degree at which the sticker on the lower left corner is the only thing enabling your to keep the boxes apart.

Name Alphacool Core 120mm 2500RPM
Size 120x120x25mm
Speed up to 2500RPM
Airflow up to 72.63CFM
Static Pressure up to 2.42mm/H2O
Noise < 36.6dbA
Connection 4-Pin PWM
Cable Length 400mm
Bearing Hydraulic Bearing
Motor - unknown -
RGB - none -

Installation

 

Installing an Alphacool Core 120mm fan without any preparation might become quite an obstacle without any included screws.

However, once you got some, may it be because you have a dedicated bag full of them, or purchased them, installing the fan is as easy as it is for any other fan out there.

Position the fan, screw in the 4 screws, done.

 

 

To make the fan spin we just need to connect the 40cm long PWM cable to one of the available case fan headers on the motherboard and we are good to go. 

Appearance

Except for their speed, every part of an Alphacool Core fan tries to stay true to its name: Core.

There are no optical features, no rubberized corners, and nothing that could even remotely resemble a "feature-rich" fan. Truly a "Core" fan.

 

 

However, the frame needed some reinforcements due to the fans' incredibly fast 2500RPM speed.

 

 

To push the air out, Alphacool went with a 9- Fan Wing design. Though it is not an uncommon design approach, we do need to keep in mind that the wings are on the slightly-thin side, making them prone to breaking.

Benchmark

We tested Alphacool's new Core series 120mm fan spinning at max 2500RPM in our usual hybrid Case-almost-Heatsink benchmark machine.

 

 

Letting the Fan spin at its max 2500RPM allowed the CPU to cool down to 46°C above ambient. This positions it roughly in the center of all the fans we have tested so far.

The result is rather interesting considering their 2500RPM speed, but keeping in mind their true budget nature, and especially price, it does make sense. 

 

 

Lowering the Fans' speed by 10% decrements allowed us to create a Noise-to-Performance ratio, which does not look as good anymore.

Compared to other fans spinning at comparable max-speeds, the Core 120 2500RPM did not manage to come even close to them.

Compared to other budget-friendly options like the Arctic P12, the Core 120 2500RPM did not look particularly good as well.

 

Overall, the Noise-to-Performance ratio of the Core 120 2500RPM is one of the worst we have seen so far.

Conclusion

 

Although the Core 120 2500RPM fails utterly when comparing its Noise-to-Performance ratio to most other fans we have tested so far, it is still an incredibly interesting fan.

 

After all, the Core series does not seem to be aiming for the "high-optimization" market. Quite the opposite actually. It seems like the name has to be taken literally, Core. Everything about these fans is Core. Their design is kept as simple as possible, the frame reinforcements are kept to a strict minimum, there is no rubber on the fan at all, and we do not even get any included screws.

 

 

Although this might not sound like a great deal, there is one, performance overhead. Spinning at 2500RPM, this version of the Core fan can push the temps down quite a lot more compared to other fans in its price segment.

 

At 6.49€ (Alphacool's own shop), the Core 120 2500RPM is priced incredibly well.

 

 

Therefore, although it is not coming with the best noise-to-performance ratio, we believe that this particular fan has some interesting use cases. The first example would be somebody who aims to build a PC with "good" cooling, but whilst spending the absolute minimum. However, the user does need to keep in mind that he is losing quite a lot on the nose-to-performance front.

The other use case would be self-built servers or PCs that are not physically located in the room as the user. For these use cases, the Noise-to-Performance ratio becomes less important and the potential customer can solely focus on the incredibly good price-to-performance that this fan offers.

 

If you are included in one of these two potential buyer categories, then we can absolutely recommend the fan, however, for regular PCs, you might want to consider down-stepping on the Max-Performance front for a more 

balanced fan like an Arctic P12.

strumace
Introduction
What's in the Box?
Installation
Appearance
Benchmark
Conclusion
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