Deepcool MF120 Frameless Fans Review

This Can’t Possibly Work…

When I first saw the MF120, I thought it looked great. That said, I immediately thought the design from Deepcool would lack any serious airflow. Not that I cared. I’d gladly take a cool looking fan over a high performing one if my system was staying cool enough anyways. The frameless design certainly looks awesome.

However, the time came for me to review these guys. I set out to do my lighting video, something I typically do first, and was surprised at how much air I could feel coming off the back of these guys. Furthermore, the flow felt oddly focused. I decided to see if anyone had done some reviews. What I found astonished me. Apparently these fans had crazy cooling performance! I had to answer the question for myself, and the time has come to share my discovery. First, let’s take a look at a statement from Deepcool and give a huge thank you for sending out the sample.

Deepcool Logo GamerStorm Logo

 

 

We founded Deepcool with the mission of providing the best and  personalized thermal solutions for customers around the world. Deepcool was first established 1996 with its headquarters in Beijing and factory facilities in Shen Zhen that produced coolers and cooling accessories for desktops and servers. In response to rapid advancements in the PC sector Deepcool further expanded into AIO liquid cooling products, chassis, and power supplies.

Packaging and Accessories

The MF120 box is clearly designed for shelf display. The packaging isn’t designed to be shipping safe by itself, but the fans where placed in a separate shipping box so protection isn’t a worry. The design looks good, but it lacks the quality feel that a cardboard box has. This is nothing more than a very minor nitpick, but plastic doesn’t seem to match the quality of a great computer component.

The accessories in this kit are through the roof. Deepcool didn’t skimp on giving a builder plenty of options for these fans. For starters, the inclusion of that fan hub is excellent. It has 4 ports and runs off a single fan header connection. The other awesome feature is an addressable RGB hub. This can take the signal from one header and split it to 5 devices. This one does require additional power through a SATA connection, but is extremely helpful for matching the lighting of the fans to other components if necessary.

Deepcool MF120 Frameless Fan Paint Peel

Another important accessory is the mounting hardware. The design requires special screws for radiators, which Deepcool includes. Finally, the kit includes some LNAs for good measure to avoid having to set custom fan curves. There was one issue I ran into though. The MF120s have a small plastic film on the front logo to protect the paint. Unfortunately, the glue is too sticky and actually peeled specs off the front of the logo as well. If you look closely in the image above, the light is bleeding through where it isn’t supposed to.

MF120 Closer Look

The magic behind the frameless design seems to center around the double blade fin design. Apparently, the blades can focus the airflow for better static pressure and airflow. In theory, it sounds like a great idea. However, without a frame to help focus the airflow from dispersing to much around the edges one would think the static pressure would be bad. Hold on to that thought because we’re going to address that head on shortly.

Let’s talk about the “frame.” Okay, technically the fans have a frame. The difference is merely that the frame does not encompass the blades. For sake of consistency though, we’ll call this frame a bracket. As such, the bracket is solid metal. I can’t stress how much this adds to the quality feel of the fan. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. The MF120 is a high quality design that would look excellent in aluminum cases. Also, the blades are removable for easy cleaning. Not that the open design would make cleaning hard anyways.

MF120 RGB Lighting

While I mentioned the RGB splitter, I glossed over the addressable RGB controller during the accessories section. If you don’t have an appropriate lighting controller in the form of a motherboard header or external device, no problem. The included device is tiny, and has a solid number of lighting options. The center button will change the speed of the lighting cycle in a simple loop. After that, the plus and minus button change the various lighting effects in the corresponding direction.

As usual, I prefer not to show off lighting effects with pictures. The video above is linked at the time when I start the lighting portion of the fan overview on my channel. Now that we have the finer details out of the way, let’s find out if these fans can do what they need to do, or just look pretty.

Testing Results

Deepcool MF120 Frameless Fans Test

I’ll be honest. I completely assumed that these fan would fail at airflow. I didn’t really plan to do a legit airflow test. That said, the airflow I felt coming from the back of the fans during my lighting video was much stronger than I imagined. I looked up some reviews and saw chart topping performance. If this was true, I had to know. As a result, I took the best test I could think of. I attached the three fans to a radiator and did some CPU cooling tests!

  • Ryzen 2700X
  • Aorus X470 Gaming 7
  • Enermax LIQFusion 360

Deepcool MF120 Frameless Fan Test Results

Can these fans top a performance chart? Yes they can! But there is a cost for that. It turns out the MF120s can be really loud at full speed. My initial thought was that the RPM max was around 2500. At only 2000, the noise level was more than I could be happy with. Using an approximate 46 dB limit (give or take a dB), I found the percentage that would let me run the temperature test. At 70%, there is additional cooling to be had. However, the RPMs at this speed were around 1400-1500. That’s where the Squa RGB fans max at.

This tells us that noise levels aren’t terribly bad in RPM comparison. The cooling is surprisingly, extremely competitive. This isn’t a raw airflow test, but a determination of static pressure as well. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but the MF120s are great radiator or case fans. Who would have guessed? Needless to say, if we opened up fans to full bore, they would top that chart at that point. However, I like the noise limiting factor since I feel like that is a more accurate comparison of performance.

Conclusion

The one thing I didn’t understand was why the noise level was like it was. The fan had almost a growl to it, and not in a damaged kind of way either. It was almost intimidating, but better suited to a motorcycle than a PC fan. If the noise is due to the motor or bearing used, I imagine this can improve over time. On the other hand, if the metal frame or double blade fin design are the culprits, the extra noise may be unavoidable.

The performance was…. I’m sorry. I just can’t resist it anymore. The performance was FAN-tastic! The lack of a traditional frame was no issue at all for the MF120. Also, this allows Deepcool to use a high quality metal material for the bracket. These fans are truly impressive, and they have great RGB lighting to boot. This combination of performance and aesthetics make these fans a great addition to any use in a PC build. As a result, we happily award the Deepcool MF120 Frameless Fans the Great Performance and Great Style awards.

HWHounds Great Performance Award HWHounds Great Style Award

 

 

 

 

There is one other area we have to address with these fans. While pricing is slightly better since the the smart controller isn’t included with the MF120S kit, $90 for fans is still pretty steep. I do think these fans are worth the price due to quality, but they certainly aren’t a value proposition. Check out the links below for more info though, especially if the price isn’t your primary concern.

Deepcool MF120S Product Page

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