It appears that RGB has been in the market for so long that companies are starting to feel the need to up the ante, which is exactly what Corsair is doing with its new iCUE QL RGB PWM fans announced today. For the time being, the company is only announcing them in 120 and 140mm variants.
What’s special about these RGB-enabled fans is that they have not one, two or even three lighting zones. No, they have four lighting zones spanning over a grand total of 34 individually addressable RGB LEDs per fan. I don’t think my entire PC even has that many RGB LEDs in the entire build!
The lighting zones are located at the outer and inner rings of the fans on the front and exhaust sides. Corsair's goal here was to make accompanying systems "look great from all angles," its announcement said. The inner ring of the intake side of the fan also passes some light into the lightly translucent fan blades for added effect.
Thankfully, all this RGB craze seemingly hasn’t gone at the total expense of the PWM fans' performance. Corsair is still trying to ensure these units aren’t all too loud with built-in vibration dampers, PWM control and silent fan hubs. The 120mm units will run at up to 1,500 RPM while pushing up to 41.8 CFM of air, and the 140mm units are said to push up to 50.2CFM at 1,250 RPM. Corsair rates both at 18-26dBA through their RPM range, and although they aren't expected to perform at industry-leading silence levels, these are fairly respectable numbers (assuming Corsair's testing conditions were fair). They’ll go down to 525 and 550 RPM for the QL120 and QL140, respectively, so based on this information I wouldn’t concern yourself with excessive noise levels.
Corsair will sell the units in single-packs and in three-packs (120mm) or two-packs (140mm) with an included Corsair iCue Node CORE hub that allows you to connect up to six fans. They come with a two-year warranty, and the fans are rated to operate with a mean time between failure of 40,000 hours.
Corsair's color-crazy fans are currently available at Amazon starting at $44.99 for 120mm or $49.99 for 140mm. The 120mm three-pack is $139.99, and the 140mm two-pack is $119.99, but "temporarily out of stock."
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Niels Broekhuijsen is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He reviews cases, water cooling and pc builds.