The world of PC fans has been somewhat stagnant for some time, both functionally and design, a reality that the Corsair iCUE QL have completely changed, thanks to the integration of a refined and very careful design which comes topped by a set of double lighting that achieves an impressive effect.

There is no doubt that the topic of RGB LED lighting is still a matter of personal taste, but with the countless customization possibilities offered by iCUE software Corsair can adapt it to any situation, and create a set of effects that can be easily switched between at any time.

The fans are an important part of any PC at a functional level, since they contribute to creating an air flow that allows us to put cold air inside our equipment and extract hot air, but they also have a great aesthetic weight. They are integrated into the most visible parts of the PC, and therefore must fit into the design and style that we have wanted to give our team. In this sense, Corsair iCUE QLs shine in their own light, and twice, as we will see in this article.

Thanks to Corsair Spain I have had the opportunity to test a fan kit Corsair iCUE QL in its 120 mm version (a pack of 140 mm), and in this article I want to share my impressions with you. They’re available in black and white, an important distinction for those who want to maintain a uniform color on their PC.

Corsair iCUE QL 120mm – First Look

The first surprising thing about Corsair iCUE QLs right out of the box is its exquisite design and build quality. Even with RGB LED lighting turned off, these fans make it clear, right from the start, that they have a top-notch finish and can add a touch of class and elegance to any chassis.

The pack we have received includes three Corsair iCUE QL 120mm fans in white and one Corsair Lightning Node Core, a fundamental peripheral to connect them and completely customize the lighting through iCUE. This means that we have everything we need to start enjoying the fans without having to add anything else, something very positive, since it means that we do not have to buy additional accessories.

Corsair iCUE QLs are made from a combination of plastic, rubber and aluminum, three materials that are used with great success to achieve an excellent quality finish. The fan blades are made of semi-transparent plastic that helps to enhance the effect of RGB LED lighting without affecting its cooling capacity at all. The Corsair logo is located on an aluminum plate located in the center, and on the outside of the fan we have a rubbery finish that reduces vibrations.

Its RGB LED lighting system is double and is integrated in the front and in the back, creating a unique and very colorful effect that we can completely customize through iCUE. In total sum 34 RGB LED lights spread over four different sections. For comparison purposes an iCUE SP120 and SP140 RGB PRO has 8 RGB LED lights, so the difference is clear.

The wiring is no mystery, as we find a pair of four-pin cables on each fan that come perfectly differentiated, as we see in the images. One of them is dedicated to RGB LED lighting (the one with the RGB HUB tag) and connects to the Lightning Node Core, and the other connects to the motherboard.

As for the Lightning Node Core we have a small «brain» that will allow us to connect and control the RGB LED lighting effects of a maximum of six fans. Its installation does not have any complications either, since it comes with a very simple anchoring system based on a sheet of double-sided adhesive which simplifies the whole process. The power is provided by a SATA connector and the synchronization is done through a USB connector to the motherboard.

We have completed this first look, so it is a good time to go over the key specs of Corsair iCUE QL 120mm fans. I also leave you a description of the 140 mm version.

Measurements: 120 mm x 120 mm x 25 mm.
Weight: 171 grams.
Hydraulic bearing system.
Turning speed: from 525 to 1,500 RPM (± 10%).
Air flow by static pressure.
34 customizable RGB LED lights spread over four zones.
Working voltage: 6V – 13.2V.
Average consumption: 0.30 A.
Static pressure: 1,55 mm-H2O.
Air flow of each fan: between 13.17 and 41.8 CFM.
Noise: 18 to 26 dBA.
Compatible with iCUE software.
Customizable turning speed from 30% to 100%.

Corsair ICUE QL 140mm:

Measurements: 140 mm x 140 mm x 25 mm.
Weight: 234 grams.
Hydraulic bearing system.
Turning speed: 550 to 1,250 RPM (± 10%).
Air flow by static pressure.
34 customizable RGB LED lights spread over four zones.
Working voltage: 6V – 13.2V.
Average consumption: 0.30 A.
Static pressure: 1,4 mm-H2O.
Air flow of each fan: between 20.99 and 50.2 CFM.
Noise: 18 to 26 dBA.
Compatible with iCUE software.
Customizable turning speed from 30% to 100%.

Corsair iCUE QL 120 mm: our experience

The assembly process is, as we have anticipated, very simple, although I recommend follow a specific order to make the steps even easier for you. As we have said, the Lightning Node Core comes with a double-sided adhesive sheet that will allow us to anchor it easily on the side of our tower, but that is the last thing we should do.

The first thing is decide where we are going to place the fans. Once we are clear we proceed to mount them with the included screws. When we have all the fans we should mentally locate where are the connections that we are going to use and the path that they have to travel the cables of each fan to reach them.

In this sense it is clear that the four-pin connectors that go to the Lightning Node Core have no greater mystery, we can easily locate them. The most complicated thing is position the four-pin power connectors of each of the Corsair iCUE QL 120 mm. Once we have these cables connected, we check the path of the Usb connector of the Lightning Node Core, we proceed to plug it in and do the same with the SATA connector.

Once we have all those connectors ready we should plug in RGB cables four-pin from each fan. We will have all the wiring connected, and we are ready to decide where we want to locate the Lightning Node Core. We have a lot of wiring to order, so you know, flanges and go.

When we have finished the assembly process we must install iCUE software, if we don’t already have it in our team. This tool will allow us to control RGB LED lighting of the fans (we can mount a maximum of six) and create very interesting custom effects.

Lightning Node Core

Corsair iCUE QL 120 mm with double illumination

Corsair ML 120 PRO RGB with unique lighting

In the attached screenshots you can see the differences between the Corsair iCUE QL 120mm, which as I said have double lighting (front and rear) and the Corsair iCUE SP 120 RGB Pro, which have unique lighting. It is a very important difference, especially in terms of intensity, lighting power and customization options, but we must not forget that the Corsair iCUE QL 120 mm have 34 RGB LED lightswhile the Corsair iCUE SP 120 RGB Pro add up 8 RGB LED lights.

The number of effects we can create thanks to iCUE software it’s almost infinite, and as we can see in the attached images the result is spectacular. The Corsair iCUE QL 120mm achieves a beautiful and distinctive effect that fits perfectly on any motherboard. I have it clear, they are the most attractive fans I have seen to date.

In terms of performance and noise they rank among the best in their range. They are very quiet operating at a spin speed of up to 75%, and create an almost perfect air flow that keeps the temperatures of any high-end configuration under control. I have tested them with my usual equipment, consisting of a Ryzen 7 1800X at 4 GHz, 32 GB of DDR4 Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB at 3,200 MHz (CL16), an RTX 2080 Super and three storage units; a 2 TB SSHD, a 960 GB Corsair Force Series MP510 NVMe PCIE SSD in M.2 format. and a 500 GB Samsung Evo 850 SSD.

Endnotes: much more than a pretty face

The Corsair iCUE QL attracts a lot of attention for their design and for their RGB LED lighting system. Once we have them mounted we realize that their appeal is even greater than we had imagined, thanks to the double RGB LED lighting system on the back and rear, but they also offer good performance while keeping noise level low.

In terms of build quality Corsair has made outstanding work, and the same can be said about the design and RGB LED lighting, which It is fully integrated into iCUE.

The inclusion of a Lightning Node Core in the pack of three fans is an excellent idea, since this peripheral is essential to be able to truly enjoy the Corsair iCUE QL. Without it we could not customize the lighting.

If we look for the maximum performance the Corsair ML 120 PRO RGB they are, without a doubt, the best option, but if we want prioritize design without sacrificing quiet operation or good air flow Don’t hesitate, Corsair iCUE QLs should be on your priority list.

The Corsair iCUE QL 120mm Three Fan Pack plus the Lightning Node Core is priced at 114.99 euroswhile the pack of two Corsair iCUE QL 140mm fans plus the Lightning Node Core costs 99.90 euros. If we want a loose unit the price will be 32.90 euros and 39.90 euros, respectively.

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SUMMARY

Corsair iCUE QLs are a marvel of design and build quality. Its double RGB LED lighting system will not leave anyone indifferent, but its values ​​are not limited to the aesthetic plane. They perform very well and run quietly. Its only “but” is the price, which is somewhat high.

Build quality10

Installation and configuration 9.5

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