< BackJun 14, 2023
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Alphacool Core 120 4000RPM Review

Introduction

While the Core 120 2500 was mediocre, the 3000RPM version had at least some headroom. Now let's see if we can maximize it on that Front! Spinning at 4000RPM, the Core 120 4000 promises to be an absolute max performance beast! Let's see if it also won some points in the Noise-to-Performance compartment!

 

Positive

  • Incredibly affordable
  • Best in class 120x120x25mm Max Performance

Neutral

  • Requires cautious handling due to speed
  • Noise-to-Performance ratio could be better

Negative

  • Horribly Loud
  • No Screws included

 

What's in the Box?

Similarly to every other Alphacool Core, but unlike most Fans we had a look at before, Alphacool's Core 120 4000RPM 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 4000RPM
Size 120x120x25mm
Speed up to 4000RPM
Airflow up to 119.8CFM
Static Pressure up to 12.67mm/H2O
Noise < 49.5dbA
Connection 4-Pin PWM
Cable Length 300mm
Bearing Dual Ball 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 30cm long PWM cable to one of the available case fan headers on the motherboard and we are good to go. 

Appearance

 

Although it might appear as it is supposed to be, but the Alphacool Core 120 4000 shares very little similarities to the other two 120mm fans. 

Instead of the "up to today's standards " 9-Wing Fan design, we now went full-OEM.

 

 

The 4000RPM version comes with 7 very short but thick and just slightly bend wings.

This design definitely looks like it could be found inside a 20-year-old pre-build or a Server.

To make it clear, there is now no optical difference between the Fan and your average Mining-PC fan other than the fan's thickness and the fact that a reputable brand created it. 

 

 

The PWM cable got the same kind of optical downgrade. While other Core fans featured a 40cm long and "at least" black cable, the 4000RPM version comes with Ketchup-and-Mustard cables which are not even attached to each other. Truly a joyful experience to install.

 

 

The Fan frame also had some changes made, although it might look slightly more rudimentary, it serves the same purpose. It is strong enough to keep the Fan in place, and it comes with some reinforcement-implementations to give it some additional strength.

Benchmark

We tested Alphacool's new Core series 120mm fan spinning at max 4000RPM in our usual hybrid Case-almost-Heatsink benchmark machine.

 

 

Whilst letting the 4000RPM model spin at max speed, it managed to keep the CPU at a staggering 33.9°C above ambient. This positions it at the very top of our list, beating absolutely every 25mm thick 120mm fan we have tested so far. The only fans capable of performing even better are either bigger or close to twice as thick.

 

Lowering the fan speed by 10% decrements showed something truly surprising, the Noise-to-Performance ratio improved significantly due to the changed Fan-Wing design.

 

 

While the other two Core 120mm fans created some of the worst Noise-to-Performance ratios we have seen so far, the 4000RPM model did not end up as bad as we expected.

 

Keeping in mind that the fan is spinning incredibly fast, and therefore also incredibly loud, once it's spinning slower, it is actually surprisingly close to the ratio of a Phanteks T30, Noctua NF-F12 Industrial, or Be quiet! Silent Wings Pro 4.

Conclusion

Although it was truly unexpected, the 4000RPM version of Alphacool's Core 120 Lineup did not end up as the overall loudest fan we have ever seen.

 

 

However, even if that is the case, we still do not believe this is a very "smart" choice for your average Gaming PC Build. 

Even at its slowest speeds, the 4000RPM beast is incredibly loud and roughly matches what an Industrial-Style fan could do.

 

That being said, the Pricetag of this monster is still surprising, to say the least. At 7.99€, there is just a small hand full of fans we know of that can match that price, not even talking about matching this level of performance.

 

 

Although all of the above might be true, it is still a Fan for Industrial usage only. Servers, Render Farms, Mining Rigs, everything except a personal PC.

But for those use cases, the Core 120 4000RPM beats them all. Considering the price a Noctua Industrial fan comes at, it definitely would make sense to get a hand full of Core fans instead and just let them spin at slower speeds. Not only would this create a huge cost reduction, but even improve the overall cooling performance of the PC.

 

 

Keeping in mind the fan's actual use-case, we can definitely recommend the fan to those who are looking for the best of the best at the lowest possible price. Just not for Personal PCs.

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