Introduction

Today, we will be taking a look at the NZXT AER RGB120 with Hue+ Controller. Following the current RGB trend in the market, NZXT has released their AER fans which can also make use of their Hue+ Controller and CAM software to customise their lighting. The Hue+ was originally released as a LED lighting system for PC’s but can now also control the RGB effects on the NZXT AER RGB fans. Users looking to make use of the full potential of this product will need to download the NZXT CAM software which will allow the to pick the effects and colours they desire for their own customise looks. The AER RGB fans come in both 120mm and 140mm variants and can be purchased individually, in packs of two or three and with or without the Hue+ controller depending on your needs. Not only do they offer some pretty impressive RGB lighting, they also have multiple custom presets that will also change the effects of the lighting.

Starting off with the front of the box a and we can see two fans and a Hue+ controller as this is what’s inside the box. As you will notice one fan is showing off the RGB while the other is using a solid colour to show that is still possible as well.

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Onto the back of the box and there is a lot more going on here. Here, we have an image of the fans inside a case, a look at the “Countless possibilities”! the fans have to offer and even get a look at the Hue+ section of the CAM software for the AER RGB fans. There is also a full specifications list here for the Fans and Hue+.

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Even without the RGB lighting, the AER fans look rather nice! They definitely have a quality look to them as due the Hue+ controller.

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Also inside the box are mounting screws for both fans and the Hue+ Controller. You will also find a number of cables. Alongside the Power and USB cables, you will notice some cables say In or Out, these cables are the ones used to either connect the fans to the Hue+ or connect the fans to each other so you can make use of the RGB lighting. That’s right, not only do you have to plug the fans into a standard header or splitter, you also have to plug one into the Hue+ and then link the fans together to make sure the lighting effects pass through both fans. While this is understandable, it does mean quite a few extra wires that you will need to tidy up.

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Closer Look

As I said previously, even without the RGB lighting, the fans really do look quite nice. They feature a ring/circle around the blades to help control the lighting effects. It would be awesome if NZXT considered making this same fan, without LED but have the interchangeable colour rings like we have seen from other manufacturers. Aside from the lighting ring, the fan is completely black in colour.

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NZXT seems to like purple these days and in the centre of the back of the fan is a small sticker with a purple circle outlining it. Nothing too special going on here, we can see where the 4-pin PWM cable connects to the circuitry in the middle (behind the sticker) and that is about it.

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Straight out of the box and we have some anti-vibration measures already in place which is always a welcome feature!

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Now here comes the fun! As mentioned, not only do you have to connect the fans to a motherboard/splitter, but also to the Hue+ controller and each other. This is made possible by the in and out ports on one side of the fan.  This is where those different cables we saw come in hand. Please note that the cable to connect the fans to the Hue+ is different from the cable used to connect the fans together and they can not be interchanged.

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The lighting on the fans is amazing if that is your type of thing. Sadly my camera wasn’t the best at capturing the true colour but I tried to showcase it a bit.

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When you first set up the CAM software for the AER RGB, it’ll ask you what your favourite colour is and use this as a starting point for the customising of the lighting options.

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Once things get moving, not only can you use some of the cool presets found in the CAM software, you can also individually set the LEDs to the colour you want. There are 8 zones that can all be individually controlled via the software.

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When you get two of them together, it can become fun to mess about with the different settings and preset to see what you can come up with. Again, the colours do look much more vibrant in real life!

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Lighting Modes Preview

Performance and Software

Performance

To test the performance of the fans, I used a dB metre to measure sound output and also an anemometer to measure the actual wind flow that a single fan could produce. I used my motherboards BIOS to control the fan speeds for the below testing.

When set to low, the fan was spinning at 1040 RPM on average and output 39.1 dB while pushing out 118.1 FT/m of air.

When set to high, the fan was spinning at 1630 RPM on average and output 50.1 dB while pushing out 253.9 FT/m of air.

These readings are quite good and what is nice to see is that with a 50% boost in RPM, the fans only output an extra 25% dB while pushing out roughly an extra 110% of air using the anemometer to measure in FT/m. The added airflow from going from a lower to higher RPM is quite impressive on its own but not having much more noise output is what really does it for me. NZXT have created a well-rounded fan in the AER RGB and the addition of the RGB lighting alongside the performance is just the cherry on the cake.

Software

Controlling the AER RGB Fans via the CAM software is really easy once you get used to what is going on. Up top, we can see we have 2x fans plugged into channel 1. Below this we can see the purple sections around the fan blades, this lets you control the individual LEDs. We can also see that you can make use of two separate channels, each of which can control 5x fans of it own. Working our way down and this is where we get into the fun, the preset modes are a blast to play with and can give you an easy to customise template to help you get the desired effect you require. As seen in the video above the sections, the preset modes are quite nice and there is definitely quite a few to choose from.

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OK, so the CAM software does a lot more than just allow you to control the AER RGB fans. Through CAM, you can also control the standard Hue+ LEDs, Kraken coolers and more! CAM also monitors your hardware and can report real-time data so you can keep track of everything going on from GPU temps to hard drive usage.

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Final Thoughts

Performance

Not only are the NZXT AER fans nice to look at, they do also offer some pretty impressive performance. At lower speeds, they offer a significant amount of airflow while not outputting too much noise. Cranking those RPM’s up a bit and we get a much better output of air and while the noise output does raise, it’s not too ridiculous. As we saw, we had a 110% increase in airflow with only a 25% increase in noise when going from the lowest to the fastest speed settings. There is no denying that at full blast, the fans are audible but that can be said about any fans and is easily understandable. Also, most people hopefully won’t be running their fans at 100% so while the sound isn’t totally irrelevant, it’s not a massive factor.

Design

The design is what steals the show for the NZXT AER RGB fans. NZXT surely put a lot of thought and time into designing these fans and it shows. The fans look great with our without using the LEDs and the RGB system is great. While there are a few more wires than I would have hoped to see, to achieve the desired effect and being able to link the fans together as they have, something had to be done. More wires in a PC build is never a good thing but when the offer you what the AER RGB fans have to offer, we can make an exception and find a good way to hide them. Not only do the AER fans look great, they also perform very well which we must mention again as that also comes down to the overall design of the fans.

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Value

When contemplating the purchase of a product such as the AER RGB Fans, would you look for the cheapest option, or, the better-looking option? While there is no way to get around the rather large price tag of almost £77 for 2x 120mm fans and a lighting controller, there is also no denying the aesthetics they have and will add to your build. When buying something like this, cost usually takes a back seat to aesthetics and even at their given price, they don’t exactly represent bad value for money, they just are a bit pricey. When it all comes down to it, if you want them you will pay for them!

Enos Tech Design Award

Many thanks to NZXT for sending in their AER RGB fans and Hue+ controller for this review! 

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