Corsair Reveals Magnetic Levitation Fans (Updated)

One of the most interesting parts of Corsair's suite tour during Computex 2016 was its new ML fan series, which feature magnetic levitation bearings. Thanks to the magnetic field that the combination of the fan's rotor and bearing creates, the fan's shaft doesn't come in contact with the bearing, so there is almost no friction.

This new bearing type was developed exclusively for Corsair, and it cost quite a bit, meaning that the new ML Pro 120/140 fans won't be affordable. Most likely, their price will be around $30, but we believe that the long MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures) of 200,000 hours justifies the cost. On top of that, the noise output is low, thanks to the zero bearing noise and the PWM signal that allows easy fan speed control.

Besides the plain versions, some will have LEDs (ML Pro 120/140 LED). 

ModelML 120 Pro (LED)
120mm x 25mm
Power Usage0.299A
Speed400 - 2400 RPM
Airflow12 - 75 CFM
Static Pressure0.2 - 4.2 mm-H2O
Sound Level16 - 37 dB(A)
Connection Cable4-Pin
Warranty5 years
ModelML 140 Pro (LED)
140mm x 25mm
Power Usage0.276A
Speed400 - 2000 RPM
Airflow20 - 100 CFM
Static Pressure0.2 - 3.0 mm-H2O
Sound Level16 - 37 dB(A)
Connection Cable4-Pin
Warranty5 years

As you can see from the table above, both fan versions have the same noise output. This sounds strange given that the ML120 Pro has a maximum speed of 2,400 RPM whereas the ML140 Pro spins 400 RPM slower. Another interesting fact is the wide operation range, with both fans having a low start-up speed of 400 RPM. (This was made possible thanks to the PWM control circuit.)

We would like to see the ML Pro fans used in various high-end Corsair products, including PSUs, in the near future. This would be a welcome upgrade because this new bearing type offers low noise output and increased reliability. Even some of the best FDB fans cannot reach such high MTBF periods.

RGB, Because It Was Inevitable

Besides the ML Pro models, Corsair also revealed the SP120 RGB and HD120 RGB lines, which feature high performance fans with customizable RGB lighting. The HD120 RGB fans will be offered with an optional lighting controller that has the ability to control up to six HD120 RGB fans. You will be able to buy either an HD120 RGB fan alone, or the fan along with the controller. There will be also a package with three fans plus the controller.

We noticed a white RM1000i unit, and Corsair's PR informed us that a special and numbered edition of one their PSUs will be released soon (meaning that it won't necessarily be an RM1000i according to updated information that we received from Corsair). Only a thousand white, special editions PSUs will be manufactured. We don't know yet if they will cost more than the corresponding standard model. Moreover, Corsair revealed custom sleeved cable kits for the RMi and RMx units, featuring filtering caps in the middle of the cables so they're easily hidden from view. So far, no other manufacturer that we're aware of offers custom sleeved cables with filtering caps.

Update, 6/3/16, 8:22am: Removed unclear reference to Corsair and the graphics card market.

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  • InvalidError
    Sunon has had MagLev bearing fans for several years already, not a new type of bearing, just new to Corsair-branded products.
  • digitalgriffin
    I agree. Magnetic containment bottle bearings are not new. Expensive, but not new.
  • stoned_ritual
    Corsair is the Apple of pc hardware companies.