PC Components

Corsair AF Elite fan review – the leap to premium performance

Hardly any brand is as popular in the field of PC components as Corsair. Be it cases, power supplies, SSDs, RAM, coolers or fans – Corsair has it on offer. Accordingly, it stands out when new items are launched on the market. For example, Corsair launched the new AF series of fans in 2022. These are available both with and without RGB lighting. This Corsair AF Elite fan review is about the Corsair AF120 Elite and AF140 Elite without RGB lighting.

Specifications

Corsair AF120 Elite

Size 120 x 120 x 25 mm
Speed 400 – 1850 RPM
Max. Airflow 59.1 CFM
Max. static pressure 1.93 mm H2O
Bearing Liquid bearing
Guarantee 5 years
Price € 16.90 * (black)
€ 16.90 * (white)


Corsair AF140 Elite

Size 140 x 140 x 25 mm
Speed 400 – 1600 RPM
Max. Airflow 84.5 CFM
Max. static pressure 1.73 mm H2O
bearing Liquid bearing
Guarantee 5 years
Price € 19.90 * (black)

Packaging and scope of delivery

  • Fans are protected by two layers of cardboard
  • Catchy color scheme of the packaging
  • Fan screws are the only accessories

The box of the Corsair fans is in the typical colors of the company in black and yellow. A picture of the fan is printed on the front. The specifications are on the back. When you open the box, there is a yellow insert inside that provides additional protection for the fan. Pulling this out reveals the fan, while the cable is covered. There is also a pack of fan screws under the cover.

After the fans are unpacked, let’s move on to the Corsair AF Elite fan review.

Design and workmanship

  • Rugged case
  • Good design from the back
  • Thin cable is easy to install

The Corsair AF120 Elite and AF 140 Elite are fairly unobtrusive black (or white, depending on your color choice) fans with a Corsair logo stuck to the center. The fan housing of the Corsair AF fans looks quite sturdy and there are rubberized bearing surfaces in the corners. The cable has a regular 4-pin PWM connector.

Very successful is the appearance from the back. No disturbing texts, no disturbing cable. In short, nothing screams “here’s the back” except for the struts from the frame to the fan motor. But even these only slightly disturb the overall impression. Nice are accents on the side, like the Corsair lettering on one side. This can almost always be made visible or rotated out of sight as needed.

The cables of the Corsair AF Elite fans are kept thin and flat, making them easy and unobtrusive to run. They do not appear as high-quality as sheathed cables because of this. However, this does not reduce the practical function. And excess cable lengths are easier to tie together and hide.

Performance comparison

  • Uniform test scenarios
  • Many comparison fans
  • Temperature measurement as difference to room temperature

In the unified Corsair AF Elite fan test, we pit a larger number of fans against each other. And so the Corsair AF120 Elite are tested as case fans, as radiator fans and on the air cooler. The Corsair AF140 Elite at least as a case fan and as a radiator fan.

The case fan comparison takes place in the DeepCool CH510 Mesh Digital, in which both 120 mm fans and 140 mm fans can be used. Here, one fan is placed at the bottom front of the case and one at the back. The radiator fan test takes place on an Arctic Liquid Freezer II – the 240mm version for the 120mm fans and the 280mm version for the 140mm fans. These sit in the front of the Fractal Design Pop XL Air. This review of the Corsair AF Elite fans compares how the fans handle high resistance. For this, the 38mm thick radiator sits in the front of the case, so the fans have the front grille as a pull resistor as well as the radiator as a push resistor. Last up for the Corsair AF120 Elite is the review on the DeepCool AK400 air cooler.

In all tests, the fans are tested once each at 800 RPM (140mm fan) or 1100 RPM (120mm fan), once at a uniform 31 dB(A) and once at maximum power. All other fans in the system are determined at uniform speeds to rule out any influence from automatics. To also compensate for the influence of possibly changing room temperature, the delta is measured, i.e. the difference between room temperature and measured temperature.

Test as case fan

  • Ordinary performance
  • Head-to-head race with Noctua fans

The Corsair AF120 Elite do decently well when the fans are allowed to spin at a uniform 1100 RPM. Here they even narrowly beat the Noctua NF-A12x25, aside from the AF120’s minimally higher volume. The comparison between the Corsair AF140 Elite and the Noctua NF-A14 looks different when you run them at a uniform 800 RPM. Where performance is similar, the Corsair AF140 Elite are noticeably quieter than Noctua’s competition. The ENDORFY Fluctus 140 PWM ARGB perform very similarly.

Setting the fans to a uniformly low volume at the audible limit changes the ratio a bit. The Noctua NF-A12x25s narrowly pull ahead of the Corsair AF120 Elite in terms of performance. The Noctua NF-P12 redux-1700 PWM, the Xilence XPF120X.B.PWM and the be quiet! Light Wings 120mm place similarly. Overall, however, there are fans that perform better as 120mm case fans, such as the Cooler Master Mobius or the DeepCool FK120. Among the 140mm fans, the Corsair AF140 Elite snuggles within the measurement tolerance range of the Lian Li Uni Fan AL140 V2, the be quiet! Pure Wings 2, and the Noctua NF-A14 in terms of volume. They are beaten by the be quiet! Light Wings 140mm and various Arctic fans, such as the P14 and F14.

If volume is unimportant and you simply want the highest performance, the Corsair AF120 Elite remain in the performance range of the Noctua NF-P12 redux fans and are on par with the RGB version of the AF120 Elite fans. Here, the fans pull away with a particularly high speed. The Corsair AF140 Elite beat the Noctua NF-A14 noticeably here at a fairly similar volume and are roughly on par with the performance range of the be quiet! Silent Wings 3 High-Speed and the Arctic P14.

Overall, the Corsair AF Elite fans are solid as case fans, though they are not unbeatable top performers in this area.

Use as a radiator fan

  • High performance
  • In particular, the AF140

The Corsair AF120 Elite really perform very well on radiators. At a consistent 1100 RPM, they find themselves in the upper performance range, only narrowly beaten by the Noctua NF-A12x25. There are a few other fans, mainly pressure-optimized specialists, that are more powerful but get louder in the process. At a uniform volume, the trend intensifies and so the Corsair AF120 Elite are mainly beaten by the significantly more expensive Noctua NF-A12x25 and be quiet! Silent Wings Pro 4. Otherwise, only the cheaper Arctic P12, P12 ARGB and P12 Max as well as the DeepCool FK120 perform similarly. At maximum performance, the high-speed fans pull ahead and get extremely loud. The Corsair AF120 Elite play in a similar performance class here as the noticeably more expensive and louder Seasonic MagFlow 1225 PWM. The Noctua NF-A12x25 are better according to the measurement result, but the overall gap is small to irrelevant when you look at the price difference.

The Corsair AF140 Elite beat pretty much all other 140mm fans in the comparison test. At a uniform 800 RPM, performance is slightly better than the Noctua NF-A14s; however, the Corsair fans are noticeably quieter in the process. Only the Corsair iCue SP140 RGB Elite get better temperatures here, and even these are slightly louder than the AF140. Other fans of a similar trend – that is, similar performance at a higher volume, are the Noctua NF-P14s redux-1500 and the Arctic F14 PWM PST. Now when forced to low volume, the ENDORFY Fluctus 140, the Arctic P14, and the be quiet! Light Wings 140mm still jump into the top race, but otherwise the Corsair AF140 Elite struggles with the RGB version of itself. In the peak performance speed test, the particularly fast and loud fans pull ahead again, but the Corsair AF140 Elite follow very closely, getting pretty much as loud as the much slower Noctua NF-A14.

Performance of the AF120 Elite on the air cooler

  • Solid performance at a low volume
  • There are a few fans that perform better on air coolers nonetheless

In the Corsair AF Elite fan test on the DeepCool AK400 air cooler, a few new faces pass by performance-wise in the test at a uniform 1100 RPM, such as the Noiseblocker NB-eLoop X or the Noctua NF-S12A, but overall the field is very close in the upper performance range, so the Corsair AF120 Elite also performs very well while also being very quiet. However, with a consistent volume at the audible limit, a few fans still pass by that perform very quietly, like the MSI Silent Gale P12 or the Cooler Master Mobius 120. The Noctua NF-A12x25 and the be quiet! Silent Wings Pro 4 also perform better. With that said, Corsair’s AF series performs better on the air cooler than other Corsair fans.

In the high-performance area, the trend remains: the performance is quite very good, but there are fans that simply perform stronger. That said, the Corsair AF120 Elite remains similarly quiet as the DeepCool FK120, the Noctua NF-A12x25, and the ENDORFY Fluctus 120 PWM ARGB.

Conclusion

The Corsair AF Elite fans show themselves to be very strong fans in this review, with a good build quality at a thoroughly competitive price. The performance is close enough to the Noctua NF-A12x25 to be able to make the compromise with a clear conscience and save the noticeable premium on the Noctua models. And even within Corsair’s fan lineup, the Corsair AF Elite fans are at the top of the performance spectrum, always battling with the more expensive RGB version of the AF fans. The performance of the Corsair AF140 Elite on the radiator is particularly impressive. Thus, these fans give a very rounded overall picture and are thoroughly recommended.

 

Corsair AF Elite

Workmanship
Features
Performance
Noise level
Value for money

90/100

The Corsair AF Elite fans combine low noise with good performance, while not being too expensive and looking good from the front and back.

Simon Lüthje

I am co-founder of this blog and am very interested in everything that has to do with technology, but I also like to play games. I was born in Hamburg, but now I live in Bad Segeberg.

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Hardly any brand is as popular in the field of PC components as Corsair. Be it cases, power supplies, SSDs, RAM, coolers or fans – Corsair has it on offer. Accordingly, it stands out when new items are launched on the market. For example, Corsair launched the new AF series of fans in 2022. These … (Weiterlesen...)

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