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Amazing ARGB Fans for Lian Li PC-O11 Dynamic Cases

Updated: Dec 27, 2020



Introduction

Thermalright has really brought something to the RGB fans market that will be the want for many PC builders especially the ones that are building in the PC-O11 case. The reason for that being they can display the fans in its full RGB glory even when the fans are set as intake; no more seeing the backside of the fans and losing some or most of the RBG lighting like most RGB fans in the market.


Here is my YouTube video link: Amazing RGB Fans


How do they achieve this?

They do by having one skew of the same model fans to have "reverse" fan blades. Therefore, instead of blowing air from the front to the back these fans can do the opposite pull in air from the back and blow out to the front.


These fans are the TL-C12S and the TL-C12R-S.


The TL-C12S is the normal fan blade model that is pretty similar to any other fans in the market, while the TL-C12R-S is the reverse fan blade model which makes them unique in the ARGB fans sector. Both fans are 4-pin PWM and 3-pin ARGB fans, which allows a user to control both fan speed and RGB lighting from the motherboard directly, reducing the need for a proprietary controller.


I just happened to know about these fans after some extensive research. Thermalright could have done a better job in marketing these fans, it's just too scarce and focused on the Asian market where already there is intense marketing of cheap RBG fans. These fans are not cheaply made by any scale as I will detail later in this blog, so they could have easily done a good job in marketing these fans in the western market and I'm pretty sure they would become a trendsetter and get a lot of sales, which would be followed by named brands like corsair, cooler master, etc. copying this and implementing in their own line of ARGB fans.


Now let's move on to the unboxing of these fans.


Unboxing

The packaging of these fans is pretty normal, I wouldn't say it is cheaply packaged as it does the basic job right of protecting the fans but they could have done a better job in the print on the packaging which looks like it's been print on a cheap printer. If they want to have any chance of increasing their sales in the western market they need to update this.



On the back of both fans, we can see the specification of each. Most of the specifications of the two models are the same notably the Max Fan Speed of 1500 rpm and Max Fan noise of <25.6 dBA except that the TL-C12S (normal fan blade) has better Max Airflow of 66.17CFM compared to 58CFM in the TL-C12R-S. Another thing to note here is that the Max Static Pressure of 1.53mm however remains the same making them both worthy of being used on radiators also. Both fans Fluid Dynamic Bearing Fans which in theory should make these fans last longer before failure. According to their website, both these fans have a Mean Time To Failure (MTTF) of 60,000 hours, which is pretty decent. To put it in understandable terms, these fans on average lasts for about 7 years if run 24x7 or a whopping 20.5 years if ran for 8hours every day. So it's quite understandable why they are warranty 3 years, in comparison Corsair only warranty's most of their fans for 2 years.


The Contents

Both fans have the same contents/accessories that come in the box. There is an inner thicker white box inside the cheap printed box I mentioned earlier. Opening it up we first have a Quick Info sheet of paper containing details of the fans and an image representation of the airflow through the fans. Then we have the SATA powered ARGB controller that can be used to control the lighting of the fans, this is also useful for those people whose motherboard does not have a 3-pin ARGB header. The controller has 3 buttons, B for changing color mostly, M for changing the lighting mode, and S for changing the speed and in some modes the brightness. Then we have the 3-way PWM fan splitter cable, silicone screws/mounts, and the normal steel screws. It's quite interesting why they have included these silicone screws when there are already anti-vibration mounts on the fan body, but I guess it's for those who need that extra assurance that there is no vibration noise from these fans.


The Fans

These fans are built similar, except for the fact that they have different fan blade designs. The one on the right is the TL-C12S, which has the normal fan blades while the one on the left is the TL-C12R-S, which has the reverse fan blades. Both the fans are well built, the plastic quality here is quite good, not the kind one usually expects from a Chinese brand. I'd even say the build quality and looks (without RGB) come close to the well-regarded Noctua Fans.

As shown in the above images the airflow for the TL-C12R-S (reverse fan blade) is from the back to front, while for the TL-C12S airflow is from the front to the back like any other normal fan.

The fans have the same cables coming out of it. First, we have the 4-pin PWM cable that is sleeved and has shirk wraps at both ends to increase durability. However, the 3-pin ARGB cable is simple cabling. One thing to note here that the 3-pin cable also has a daisy chain port, this can be used to daisy chain the ARGB signal from one fan to the next. This is quite a nice addition as this reduces the need for having an ARGB hub or ARGB splitter cables. I will talk in more detail about this in the next section.


The Lighting and Set-up

Looking at the above image of the fans set in my empty Lian Li PC-O11 PCMR Special Edition (First, apologies for the reflection of the curtain in the image. Second, stay tuned I will be giving my impressions on this particular Lian Li case) one might suppose I've set all the fans as exhaust, but it ain't. I have the bottom and the top fans set as intake and the top as exhaust, but thanks to these fans you can see the fan RBG lighting in its full glory. This is the reason why I am claiming that these are the fans that you need to get for your Lian Li case.

Each 3-pack came with a SATA powered ARGB controller, however, only one of these is required to power all 9 fans. Like I mentioned before these fans have the 3-pin ARGB has daisy chain port, therefore it was just a matter of daisy-chaining the ARGB port from one fan to the next, then finally terminating to either to one of the SATA-ARGB controller or directly to the 3-pin motherboard ARGB header.

When connected to the SATA-ARGB controller it provides 9 different lighting modes as standard.

  1. M button - Changes the Mode.

  2. B button - Changes the color of the LED in most modes.

  3. S button - Changes the speed of transitions in most modes, and changes the brightness in other modes.

Note: I made up these names as they haven't mentioned the names in any of their documentation so check the video to understand them. They are:-

  1. Rainbow

  2. Breathing

  3. Solid/Static

  4. Single Color Swap

  5. Dual Color Swap

  6. Dual Color Swap

  7. Dual Color Twist

  8. Chasing Lights

  9. Strobe

Powering up these fans however you will require to use the 1 to 3 PWM cable to power up each of the 3 fan groups and then connect the other end to the PWM headers available on the motherboard.


First Impressions Review

My test set-up is the Lian Li PC-O11 Dynamic Case (PCMR Special Edition), Seasonic Prime TX-750, and Noctua NA-FC1 (SATA powered PWM fan speed controller). I will be comparing the noise in this set-up to my Razer Blade 14 (2017) and use a noise monitor app to record the noise levels. It is not an apples to apples comparison, however, this will give a rough understanding of the noise levels.


Razer Blade (2017)

The Razer Blade even on idle has a bit of fan spinning, which results in an idle noise level of 39.4 dB . At full load, the fan noise is significantly more of 56.3 dB, and you might also notice the noise frequencies have a mid to high pitch, which results in a quite displeasing sound.


Thermalright Fans (in Lian Li case)

These Thermalright fans have the following noise when set in a case:

  1. 35.5 dB at approx. 500 rpm.

  2. 41.4 dB at approx. 1000 rpm.

  3. 51.9 dB at approx. 1500 rpm.

At the 500rpm, the fans are virtually silent in a normal environment.

Even at 1000rpm, the fans have an approximate sound level of the Razer blade at idle.

And at 1500rpm (max fan speed), the noise levels are much lower than the Razer Blade at max speed, 51.9dB compared to 56.3dB and the sound profile is much pleasing for the Thermalright due to the frequencies being the low pitch, giving it a strong breeze sound profile.


Here's an extensive review done by BYG BiliBili, they compared with many of the well-known brands, and here's a screenshot from this video that gives a final picture of the airflow and noise levels at speed normalized RPM of 1500rpm.

I marked the most famous Noctua NF-A12x25, which is known for being the best performing fan in the market right now. Comparing this TL-C12S with the Noctua, the Thermalright fans have much more airflow, but this comes at the cost of higher noise levels.

So, in my suggestion, it is more than enough to run these fans at 1000rpm to have low noise without sacrificing airflow and static pressure.

Here's a quick look at the airflow direction on the reverse fan blade TL-C12R-S fans. Like I mentioned before it pulls air from the back and pushes it out the front as you will be able to see the smoke from the incense stick getting pulled into the case.


Conclusion

The Thermalright Fans do have the performance and cool lighting effects that most custom PC builders are looking for, a fan that has opposite airflow enabling them to avoid setting up the fan facing backward and losing some of the RGB lightings in the process.

I bought these fans with my own hard-earned cash after some extensive research, here are some of the reviews I had a look at before I made my buying decision.

If you would like to buy one of these you can get them from this store AegirX MOD in AliExpress, I bought it from them along with some other items I'll be unboxing and giving some first impressions on later. This seller was quick to reply to my questions and was quite helpful. Here the affiliate link to the fans in this store:-

  1. Normal Fans - TL-C12S

  2. Reverse Fan Blade - TL-C12R-S

To conclude if you are looking for such types of fans then there's no need to look elsewhere these fans will meet your criteria at the same time they have good performance and are of good quality.


Here's the YouTube link to my videos:



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