The thing that wins us over is usually performance. Other things such as size, price and compatibility may limit our focus, but even those restrictions typically leave us with a number of products to choose from. We recently made such a decision with a case that had enough minor issues to turn our mid-sized build into a mid-scale headache. The funny thing is, a potential solution was in our hands all along:
|InWin Mercury AM120S (triple pack) Manufacturer Ratings
|120 x 120 x 20 mm
|400 – 2000 +/- 10% RPM
|2.72 mm / H2O
|17 – 29 dB(A) (ea)
|2ea PWM/ARGB Extensions, ARGB controller, #6-12 x 24mm screws
Get it at Amazon
(click for availability)
Slim fans exist to solve a problem, and our problem was was a case in which the radiator spacing was too tight in both the horizontal (offset) and vertical (mounting space) directions to fit our slightly-oversized CLC radiator, and by slight we mean 4mm. A zero gap at 4mm meant that even a perfectly-matched AIO cooler would have prevented our EPS12V power cables from wrapping over the top of our motherboard. But what if we could have made our cooler just a hair thinner than that?
At 20mm-thick, InWin’s Mercury AM120S is five millimeters thinner than an ordinary AIO cooler’s 120mm fans. Better still, this part number IW-FN-AM120S-3PK is a pack of three as the part number implies That means that we could have used use these fans to fit an enormous 360mm-radiator AIO into our “problem” case.
InWin even includes a set of 24-mm long screws for mounting them to a radiator, a set of rubber pads to damp vibrations at the corners, and an ARGB controller for those who don’t have all of the features built into that repeatedly-mentioned high-value case.
And that takes us back to the beginning of this conversation: How do they perform?
|Cooler Master MasterBox TD500 Mesh
|AMD Ryzen 7 3700X: 8 cores/ 16 threads, 32MB L3 Cache
O/C to 4.20 GHz (42x 100 MHz) at 1.3625 V Core
|MSI X570 Ace: AMD X570, Socket AM4
|T-Force Vulcan Z TLZGD416G3200HC16CDC0 DDR4-3200
|Gigabyte GeForce RTX 2070 Gaming OC 8G: GeForce RTX 2070
1815 MHz GPU, GDDR6-14000, Maximum Fan When Listed
|Toshiba OCZ RD400 256GB NVMe SSD
|Integrated HD Audio
|Integrated Gigabit Networking
|Cooler Master XG 750 Plus Platinum: Fully modular, 80Plus Platinum
|Prime95 Version 30.7 Torture Test, Small FFTs
|Galaxy CM-140 SPL Meter: Tested at 1/4 m, corrected to 1 m (-12 dB)
To answer the question of performance, we put these fans on the cooler used in our case evaluations. That cooler’s stock fans make up the test baseline, while a second set of recently-reviewed fans puts available competitors into the mix.
Surprisingly, InWin’s Mercury AM120S so-called “slimline” fans drop our CPU temperature by around 1° compared to both the stock fans for the cooler and the Ageras 12 replacement fans.
Mercury AM120S outperform the entire pack when it comes to cooling our voltage regulator, though this is more likely due to their slightly different alignment with the motherboard’s voltage regulator heat sinks.
The most surprising part of all is that Mercury AM120S 20mm-thick fans are as effective at cooling our radiators as our 25mm-thick samples, while also being a little quieter. Noise levels are close enough to the Ageras 12 samples that the difference isn’t likely to matter to most buyers, but both aftermarket fans do a great job of embarrassing the stock fan’s noise output. These numbers refer to our entire cooling system, which in each configuration includes two (not one or three) fans.
Despite being 20% thinner than the 25mm fans we compared, InWin’s Mercury AM120S fans cooled our radiator slightly better and at slightly lower noise. That’s good enough to make it an option for anyone facing the kinds of build issues we had in our recent case review, leaving the fan kit’s high price as the primary reason not to it to fix so cheap a case. Hmm.
|InWin Mercury AM120S
|Better cooling and lower noise make the IW-FN-AM120S-3PK kit an excellent solution for those who need its slimmer profile, but the few dollars added for its extra components could keep it out of the hands of budget builders.
Get it at Amazon
(click for availability)
Though the kit’s $35 to $40 price might be a little out of reach for budget builders who are trying to solve a budget-building problem, InWin’s Mercury AM120S still astounds us with its combination of better performance factors and reduced profile.