Nearly everyone has their own take on addressable RGB fans and Lian Li isn’t any different. They have their Bora Digital fans already, but all the way back at the start of the year at CES they did tease another design. That was their Uni Fan design and today is finally the day, the Lian Li Uni Fan SL 120 is available and today I’m going to check them out. They have a completely different look from the Bora fans, going with something closer to a traditional design with a square design but beyond the shape nothing else is traditional at all, they dropped the light rings for what I would call brows at the top and bottom of the fan which are on the front and back as well and all of the fans lock together and share their lighting and fan controls through the connection for a cleaner installation. This is something I complained about when I took a look at Corsairs QL series of fans, so I’m excited to see how the SL 120’s work.

Product Name: Lian Li Uni Fan SL 120

Review Sample Provided by: Lian Li

Written by: Wes Compton

Amazon Affiliate Link: HERE

 

 

Specifications

Fan Quantity

Available in Single or Triple packs

Color Options

White and Black

Fan Dimensions

122.8 x 122.4 x 25 mm

Rated Voltage

DC 12V (FAN) & 5V (LED)

Fan Speed

800-1900 RPM

Air Pressure

2.54 mmH2O (Maximum)

Airflow

58.54 CFM (Maximum)

Acoustic Noise

17 – 31 dB

Locked Current

>= 0.5mA

Bearing Type

Fluid Dynamic Bearing

Start-UP Voltage

DC 6.0V

Unput Current

0.18A (FAN) / 0.6A (LED)

Input Power

3.5 Watts

 

 


Photos and Features

So Lian Li was kind enough to send over both the black and white versions of the Uni Fan SL 120 and as far as the packaging goes they were both the same with just the photo on the front being different along with the label down in the bottom right corner. The 3 packs have three fans in the picture and Lian Li didn’t go crazy with their branding, keeping their logo smaller than the model name even. They highlight the 2-year warranty up in the top right corner along with the number of fans in the pack which is 3. Around on the back, the fan colors are different again and I love the information they provide. You get a full specification listing as well as a list of everything included inside. The photos have the fan as well as the fan and LED controller. They also have a feature list and the link to the software is written out there as well.

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Inside the box on both boxes, all three fans come wrapped in bubble wrap. Ours came with three small bags of fan mounting screws as well as the main connection adapter/wire in the box. Then with everything else in an accessories box. I did later get a new set of accessory boxes for both kits due to a potential issue with that cable on pre-production samples and it shipped later in the accessories box so I think normally everything will come boxed up. The connection cable or as they call it on the box, the Uni Fan adapter cable is the only wiring that comes from the fans and you can see that both cables are sleeved with the adapter end having a color-matched slide on clip with six connections on the back for the push pins on the fans. As for the cables, one is a traditional PWM fan header and the other is a three-pin addressable LED plug. Which if you are following is 7 total cables but we know the fan adapter only touches with 6. I’m guessing ground is shared.

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Now for the rest of the accessories which all came in the box. The main controller comes sealed up in a static protective bag that you will have to rip open to get at. There are two double-sided sticky tape mounts giving you a backup if you need to remount or move it later. Then for cables, you get a SATA power cable, a USB cable, a long addressable RGB adapter cable, and a splitter for the RGB. Basically, you can use a USB connection with Lian Li’s software or you can tie into your motherboard or other lighting controller using the standard RGB connections. The splitter is there in case you only have one motherboard header and it is in use.

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As for the controller, it is a relatively small black box with the Lian Li branding in it. On top, I initially thought it had four buttons but they are clips where you can hook up four sets of fans. You can see on both sides there are two sets of connections per side. This gets you a fan plug and a 3 pin addressable LED header which is the one that requires the clip seen on top. Then at the top end, this is where you hook up the three main connections. You have one SATA power plug, one USB plug, and then the three-pin is the addressable LED cable to tie in with your motherboard lighting. The back of the controller also has an indent that fits the included mounting tape perfectly. I have the highlight what stands out about this controller though, with Corsairs QL fans their controller has six plugs total, but they are only the LED plugs. You are left to deal with the fan connections when running a lot of fans, which some may like but others will have trouble finding enough connections on their motherboard. The other big thing is that with Corsair each plug was for one fan, each of these can be tied in with a set of fans.

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As for the fans, remember Lian Li did send both black and white models. But I am going to focus on the white fans when looking at features. The light color makes things easier to see. So like I said earlier, the Uni Fans are available in a single pack or a triple pack which is what I have here. All three of the fans are exactly the same and none of them come with any cabling. It’s amazing for taking pictures, wires are always a pain.

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So they have a 7 blade fan design and with both the black and white fans they went with solid color blades matching the rest of the fan. Not a translucent design like a lot of other fans have been going with. In the center is a machined center with the Lian Li logo which goes perfectly with the machined accents which are at the top and bottom of the fan. The white fan has light grey rubber feet on each corner where the black fans have black feet. The overall shape is a traditional square but the housing does have a nice angled area that helps feed air into the fan on the sides. At the top and bottom, they used that space to put the brow like translucent strips in that help diffuse the addressable RGB lighting behind them. The front and back both have these same lighting strips and like what Corsair did with their QL series the diffusers are also visible from the top and bottom of the fan so you can see them even when installed against a radiator or case. Speaking of which, they have the fans listed at 58.54 CFM at full speed with 2.54 mm H2O of pressure making them viable with water cooling. The Corsair QL series fans do have more static pressure at 3.0 mm and 63 CFM but this is still enough to get the job done.

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The edge view going around the Uni Fans tells us a lot. The top and bottom have those real aluminum machined accents which I like. But with those, you can also see how they made room to see the lighting on both sides of the fan. This is important because with addressable LEDs you can change both sides to do different things. Then the side edges are where the fans get their unique cableless design which has a 6 pin spring-loaded connection on one side and on the other a small PCB for the pins to contact. Then one side has grooves cut into it and the other has T shaped pins that slide in the groves locking the fans together.

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Speaking of together, here is what they look like when linked. You get a three-pack but according to Lian Li, you can run up to four together in a series that covers just about any case on the market. The all-white with the light grey is a great look as well. I wish we had these back when I did our Fridge build.

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Here is a look at how the adapter cables hooks on to the fans. Just like how you lock the fans together, you slide and latch the adapter on to one half of the side. It is a small detail but white cables would have looked amazing with the white fans.

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Now with the black Uni Fan, the RGB brow is a lot more visible. Overall the contrast between the two fans is cool and if you ended up doing a black and white build you could even mix them up doing every other fan for a unique look.

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Lighting and Software

A big part of what Lian Li has going with the Uni Fans (beyond the cableless design) is their lighting, and when it comes to lighting software becomes extremely important unless you plan on running it all off of your motherboards software which these are capable of. I was really curious to see what Lian Li ended up going with for software as this is an area where Corsair has pulled ahead of some of the other competitors. Well, the software for the Uni Fans isn’t as complex but even at first glance, it is good looking. I like the blue and green theme. So up top, you have the option to bypass everything and use your motherboard software. Next to that you can save and load previous lighting profiles. You can’t just flip between different profiles which most other fans have as an option. The main page assumes you have four fans hooked up in each series and as you can see I had both our white and black fans hooked up so we end up with four pictures of fans. The top two are the front and the bottom two are the back LEDs. It would be nice if it said this specifically, but you can tell because the back LEDs don’t have fan speeds listed below them.

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So on the bottom left you have a drop-down where you can adjust all of the fan speeds. You can adjust for the group that you have selected or click apply to all to send the updated fan speed to them all. Running PWM is the normal mode but they do have quiet and high-speed modes that are also CPU temperature dependent. Then you have full speed and manual modes which are a set and forget. There isn’t a big fan profile option or anything like that, but they do cover most options.

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The drop-down menu is the same layout you get for the lighting as well and they give you a long list of light effect options. A few like runway sync will sync the effect across all of your fans. Meaning in this case that the light runs around the front, then the back, then to the front of the next set of fans, and so on. If you set the runway option and apply to all, all four sets of lights (front and back on two sets of fans) will have the light running around at the same time matching each other. All of the options do have mode customization options when can all be seen in the bottom right section. You can change the direction and speed for some effects and others you set the colors that are used or in the case of the static lighting you pick the colors overall. The one area where Corsair stands out in comparison is that you can program individual fans where here you are setting things by the fan group so setting each fan to its own color isn’t possible without using the animated effects.

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Now with the software out of the way I wanted to show what the lighting looks like on both the black and white Uni Fans looks like and the brow LED strips look amazing when lit up. The diffusers do a good job of not making individual LEDs visible, all you can see during the effects is a slow transition.

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Interestingly enough, when you look at the black Uni Fans all locked together what really stood out to me is that they look like a video card. This is partially because there aren’t any extra wires between the fans. But also because the lighting brows also really match the design used on a few cards like Zotacs designs. Which tells me that those video cards would look amazing paired up with the Uni Fans.

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The front and back LEDs might be complete overkill in some builds, but I’m glad they made them visible from the side profile so you can see at least put the back LEDs to use when they are mounted to a radiator for example.

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Overall

Like I said at the start, nearly every company has their own variation on RGB fans as well as addressable RGB fans. Only a few brands and designs stand out. Some because of their software control (Corsair) and others for their unique designs. The Uni Fans from Lian Li without a doubt fall under the unique design category although I was impressed with at least some of their software. The software could use a few tweaks though with details like showing what is the front and the back of the fans and maybe being able to control individual LEDs or fans over just doing the fans mounted together.

But it’s the ability to link the fans together which is what makes the Uni Fans so cool. I’ve always been into wire management, keeping my builds clean. With the last set of Corsair fans, I used it was a complete mess of wires with two per fan and some needing to be plugged into the motherboard an others into the controller. Here you have just two wires going to the controller from a full set of fans. Not only are there no wires between fans at all, but they didn’t just link up the lighting, they did the PWM fan headers as well. So you can hide the controller behind your motherboard and have a clean build. The build construction was surprisingly good as well, with Lian Li even including machined aluminum accents in true Lian Li fashion. Which by the way look amazing on both the black and white models.

Of course, pricing is always an issue when it comes to addressable RGB fan kits like this. The Corsair QL series for example will run a crazy $139.99. That makes the MSRP of $79.99 for a three-pack of Uni Fans a lot more palatable. Not to mention at least right now they are discounted $10 at Newegg if you preorder. Adding a fourth fan or running just one will run you $24.99. Again, that isn’t cheap. But it is at least not far away from the highest-end non-RGB fans and not more than some of the main components of your build. Overall the Uni Fans have been impressive, and are a cheat code to cleaning up your wiring and making the build itself easier.

fv5tophonors

Live Pricing: HERE

 

 

Author Bio
garfi3ld
Author: garfi3ldWebsite: http://lanoc.org
Editor-in-chief
You might call him obsessed or just a hardcore geek. Wes's obsession with gaming hardware and gadgets isn't anything new, he could be found taking things apart even as a child. When not poking around in PC's he can be found playing League of Legends, Awesomenauts, or Civilization 5 or watching a wide variety of TV shows and Movies. A car guy at heart, the same things that draw him into tweaking cars apply when building good looking fast computers. If you are interested in writing for Wes here at LanOC you can reach out to him directly using our contact form.

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