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The name "Coolink" isn't one that is particularly familiar to hardware enthusiasts, especially considering it is mostly available within the European market. Fortunately, name recognition or not, the company has been manufacturing specialty computer cooling products in the OEM sector since 1996; well before companies like Thermaltake and Zalman entered the market in 1999. Not only does Taiwan's Coolink (or, rather, "Kolink International Corporation") have plenty of experience, but they are actually 50% of the industry's most highly regarded company. It turns out that Noctua is actually a joint venture between Kolink and the Austrian "Rascom Computer Distribution GmbH". With so much experience and a stable research & development platform, it will be exciting to see how Coolink's SWiF2 1201 fan performs against other, common case cooling solutions - both in terms of performance, noise, and cost. We will also be taking a look at the 120P, marketed as a silent, but powerful CPU cooling fan. Unlike most fans within its market segment, it also has the ability to quietly operate at 1700 RPM - besting the traditional 1200 RPM seen in competing products. Hopefully, with such interesting technology and an affordable price point, the two Coolink products will make the grade during our extensive testing.
Specifications (1201; 120P):
• Size: 120x120x25 mm
• Speed: 1200; 800~1700 RPM
• Noise: 18.2; 8.5~27.1 dBA
• Airflow: 55.4; 35.6~75.1 CFM
• Connector: 3-pin header, 4-pin PWM header
• Warranty: 3 years
• Innovative 11-blade impeller design
• High-performance hydro-dynamic bearing
• Protective cable sleeving
• Includes anti-vibration bolts & screws
• Supports PWM fan speed control (120P)
• PWM y-split cable for connecting multiple PWM fans (120P)
Coolink's Product Page
Price: $14.95; $15.95 @ FrozenCPU
The packaging is really similar to what we've seen with Noctua products. The same sturdy, decorated cardboard and, albeit much larger, a propeller viewing window. Unlike Noctua's products, the color scheme isn't brown and beige, but instead a neon yellow and dark purple or black. Also gone are the cool fan schematic pictures; they are now replaced with more "hip" vector illustrations (or, more likely Photoshop brush presets). All of the same helpful information is immediately present on the front of each fan's packaging. In fact, I'd probably wager that, for the average consumer, the "at a glance" specifications are even easier to read than with the Noctua implementation. The only actual difference between the front of the 1201 and 120P boxes is that the 1201 box shows a fixed RPM whereas the 120P box displays a variable PWM graphic.
The only difference on the back of the packaging is that the 120P mentions including a PWM splitter; this is not included with the 1201. Reading the variable white and highlighter yellow font printed on dark purple backing makes for a bit of eyestrain. One thing is definitely certain about the packaging - if I thought the Noctua design stood out on shelves, this fan packaging will absolutely dominate. It would be pretty difficult to ignore a bright, practically screaming fan box while shopping for computer components. While I do realize Coolink's main market segment is European retail stores, I feel that they could cut a dollar or two off of the total cost by using simple packaging and removing the exotic fan colors. Maybe they feel like you are buying into a unique brand and that the distinct color scheme is part of the purchase? Whatever the justification, I certainly know that a consumer would rather have extra cash to spend on hardware - few want to pay $100+ for a set of computer fans.
Inside the Packaging:
Similar to Noctua's bundled accessories, Coolink includes both standard, metal fan mounting screws and silent, rubber grommets. Besides the highlighter color, the silent grommets are industry standard and mount very quickly. Also, the grommets are made out of highly flexible and sturdy rubber - a lot of the third-party grommets seem to be made out of rigid material that is prone to tearing or snapping. As previously mentioned, when purchasing the 120P fan, you can expect to see a PWM fan splitter included - a very welcomed accessory. If you are planning on running two PWM fans in a push-pull configuration on your CPU cooler and want the fan speeds to be synchronized for the same 4-pin header, this splitter is a valuable tool. Unlike what is seen in the Noctua packages, you won't be getting any 3-pin voltage regulating adapters for your 1201 fan; I doubt very much, however, that anyone will be disappointed by that fact. Most modern motherboards allow you to manually control 3-pin voltage.
The SWiF2 1201 & 120P Themselves:
Thankfully, Coolink didn't carry over the purple color to the actual fan. Instead, Coolink chose a nice, sturdy black frame. And, honestly, garish packaging aside, the highlighter yellow looks really cool in person (set against the black frame, that is). As strange as it sounds, I think that most consumers will definitely prefer the black and highlighter over the color scheme of other high-performance fans (like Noctua). They match most any case and easily coordinate with external equipment (like my KRK Rokit speakers). Compared to most other fans on the market with an average of seven blades, the SWiF2 units have an impressive eleven - this should allow the fans to move more air at a similar (or reduced) noise level. Most 120 mm fans measure in at 24 mm, these are a sturdy 25 mm, which make them well suited to radiator mounting. If you're in a tight case, you might want to confirm that you have the clearance space; as small as it is, sometime one millimeter can make a big difference. While I apologize for any unit confusion, I measured each fan to have a cable length of 16". This is plenty of length for most builds, but might cause issues in gigantic tower cases. I'd recommend a dedicated fan controller if you have one of those.
The header cable is sleeved in thick, rigid tubing. It's not as slim, or as stealthy as other sleeving setups, but it holds shape, doesn't tangle, and looks both sturdy and professional. And, again for the sake of iteration, the only difference between these two models is that the 120P has variable RPM through its 4-pin PWM connector. Both units feature the incredibly high-end hydrodynamic bearing. Most inexpensive fans come with a simple sleeve bearing; they are prone to growing louder with age, have a short lifespan, and are highly friction limited. The HDB used within the SWiF2 fans, while much more expensive to manufacture, should last 62.5% longer, remain turbulent free, and run silently, even at high RPM. I'm also happy to report that the SWiF2 does not include any LEDs - they really don't have a place in the cooling world.
This time around, testing was done a little differently. With my computer system and Corsair H50 radiator running outside of a case, I mounted each fan onto the radiator in a push configuration. I recorded the current ambient temperature, idle temperature, then ran the Prime95 burn-in tool on my Intel i7 920 D0 HT @ 3.8 GHz, 1.35v for five minutes. Using HWMonitor, I recorded the final temperature, after five minutes of Prime95, on core 0 for each load temperature. The delta temperature is a normalized value that represents the difference between the recorded value and the current ambient temperature - this helps remove bias when comparing temperatures recorded over a large time period. To help, here is the data that I recorded, unmodified, from my excel spreadsheet:
I compared the 1201 to a widely used and incredibly popular sleeve bearing "silent" fan from Cooler Master, the SI2. It is installed in Cooler Master equipment by default, but can be purchased in a four-pack for roughly 15 dollars at nearly any online or brick & mortar store. The 120P went up against the ubiquitous, stock Corsair CPU fan (the price listed is the usual second hand value). While I guarantee the temperature readings to be accurate, after we discuss those results I would like to briefly discuss my personally experience with noise levels. I do not have a decibel meter, so you will have to take me at my word.
Compared to the incredibly inexpensive Cooler Master SI2, the much more expensive Coolink SWiF2 1201 only runs one Celsius degree cooler during both idle and load testing (roughly 1.8 Fahrenheit degrees). Notice that I am putting degree after the temperature unit, this is because the value I am reporting is the difference in degrees between two absolute degree Celsius numbers - somewhat confusing, but it is standard notation nonetheless. The difference isn't tremendous and, at first glance, you might think that because the Coolink fan is only one decibel quieter and one Celsius degree cooler that it isn't worth the 265.8% price increase over the Cooler Master fan. Firstly, the Cooler Master fan must be purchased in a four pack at a total of $15.8. And, most importantly, the Cooler Master fans use incredibly inexpensive sleeve bearings - the lowest common denominator in cooling equipment. They have short lifespans and progressively get louder with constant usage. Ignoring the manufacturer provided decibel rating, with first hand usage, both fans can easily be considered quiet. With the Coolink 1201, however, I notice less turbulence and a smoother motor sound, making this fan truly "silent". If you're still not convinced given the similar performance and large price disparity, think about the importance of quality and its role in longevity - you don't want to have to replace your fans after a year or two of usage. I do, however, feel that, to remain competitive, Coolink should cut packaging and presentation costs, to help lower the overall price of the SWiF2 series.
It seemed only fair to compare the 120P to the infamous, stock Corsair fan. Both top out at the same RPM and use high-end bearings (ball for the Corsair and fluid for the SWiF2). I've had nothing but good times using the Corsair fan; it resembles most quality, but budget fans out on the market. It usually even resells for around $13.99; nearly the same price as a brand new SWiF2 fan. After multiple testing runs confirmed the results, it was found that, while the idle temperatures were exactly the same, the Coolink SWiF2 120P performed two Celsius degrees better than the Corsair 120 (3.6 Fahrenheit degrees). This is a pretty impressive difference, especially considering that the 120P's PWM feature allows it to easily, without motor noise run from 800~1700 RPM - something that the Corsair fan certainly can't do. Keeping in mind the fact that the decibel scale is logarithmic, the 120P easily out performs both the Corsair and most other CPU-based cooling fans. I honestly haven't heard of a fan that can remain quiet at 1700 RPM. It's certainly not silent, but compared to the Corsair fan, the only noise is a slight, but pleasant and smooth "whirring". With a thick case, unlike my thin, miniature Cooler Master "Elite" 341, you definitely won't be able to hear the fan. Another great feature of the 120P is how effortlessly it shifts speeds. A lot of fans temporarily create excess noise when changing RPM; the 120P certainly does not have this issue.
If you're looking to buy into a particular brand of fans, one that has nearly every measurement and type required, you'd be wise to take a close look at Coolink's SWiF2 series. The fans are definitely whisper quiet, perform relatively well, and, most importantly, should have a very long lifespan - thanks to the quality components used. The price is a reasonable starting point for users looking to get a quality cooling set and aren't willing to jump to $19.99 per fan and the color scheme is significantly better than other, more expensive products on the market. I'd definitely recommend checking out SWiF2 for your next build - especially if you are running water cooling.
Improvement in color scheme over Noctua parts
The 120P is a solid performer that has great CFM for radiator users
Both fans are very quiet and run smoothly
Needs more retail presence
Adequate accessory bundle
The 1201 should be priced a little lower
Thanks go to Coolink for the opportunity to take a look at the SWiF2 series!