Introduction

Fractal Design is a leading designer and manufacturer of premium PC hardware including cases, cooling, power supplies, and accessories. Fractal Design was established in 2007 and ever since they have come out being among the major manufacturers of high-end PC components. They are based in Gothenburg and with offices in the US as well as Taiwan, Fractal Design has gained a global reputation for innovative design, elegant aesthetics, and solid build quality. Fractal Design products are available in over 45 countries worldwide and are still growing. The Define R2 was the turning point for the manufacturer as that chassis gained the reputation and trust that is now a hallmark of the Fractal Design.

In this content, we will be taking a look at the new 180mm fan from Fractal Design named Prisma AL18. The salient features of this fan are:

  • Massive 180 x 38 mm RGB fan that yields remarkably high airflow while remaining very quiet
  • Twelve individually addressable hub-mounted RGB LEDs
  • Specially designed fan blades and outer ring produce an exceptionally uniform glow
  • LLS (Long Life Sleeve) bearings provide silent operation with a long lifespan
  • Integrated vibration-damping corners made from high-quality synthetic rubber
  • Trip Wire technology introduces a micro-turbulent layer for enhanced blade efficiency
  • Aerodynamic stator struts with embedded wiring reduce noise and turbulence
  • Chainable RGB cables simplify wiring and make the most of available connections
  • PWM control with a wide 300-1200 RPM speed range ideal for radiators
  • Black sleeved power cables offer an extra touch of style
  • ASUS AURA, Gigabyte Fusion, MSI Mystic Light and ASRock Polychrome support
  • Adjust R1 RGB controller (sold separately) enables physical control of colors and effects
  • Fits standard 180 mm fan mounts with 165 x 165 mm screw hole pattern

Item:                     Prisma AL 18 [Pack of two]

Manufacturer:  Fractal Design

Pricing:                

USD 69.99 NewEgg Pricing
GBP 59.99 SCAN UK Pricing

 

Specifications

 

Packaging and Unboxing

We are taking a look at the two fans pack. They are shipped inside a paperboard packing box.

Prisma AL18 box front

This is an ARGB computer fan in 180mm size. There are two fans in the pack.

The specifications of the fan are printed here. The fan is using 165x165mm mounting hole pattern.

Fractal branding is on the opening cover of the packing box.

We can see a bunch of cables and the accessories containers.

Following are included in the box:

  • 2x Prisma AL18 RGB Fan
  • 8x Fan Screws
  • 8x extra-long Screws for the radiator

The extra-long length of the screws makes sense since these fans have a thickness of 38mm.

Closer Look

It is time to take a look at the fans. Here is what Fractal Design is saying about these fans, “The Prisma AL-18 is a powerful 180 mm ARGB fan that packs a mean punch in the airflow department. Massive blades, stout 38 mm thickness, and wide 300-1200 RPM range with PWM control allow the AL-18 to yield remarkably high airflow while remaining exceptionally quiet.”

Prisma AL18 front view

The fan has a dimension of 180x180x38mm. We have a screw hole pattern of 165x165mm which would allow for maximum compatibility with the PC Cases in the market using this hole pattern. The Prisma AL18 PWM fans have a black color ring design frame. There are 7 blades. The diameter of the center is relatively larger than the standard fans which are obvious as it houses 12x ARGB LEDs. The blades are opaque white to transfuse some vivid RGB lighting. The center has a Fractal Design branding.

There is a Fractal branding on the side of the frame of the fan. We can see that we have two shaded rings here. The mainframe has a black color whereas there is opaque white color on the top part running across the entire circle. This creates a vibrant RGB lighting show on the frame as well.

There are two arrow symbols on the side of the frame. These are there to help the user identifying the direction of the airflow and the direction in which the blades will spin.

Each mounting corner has a cut-to-design anti-vibration pad which is in the black color. These are made from high-quality synthetic rubber.

Prisma AL18

There is a 4-arms assembly on the backside holding the fan motor and blades to the frame. One of the arms has an inset. The wires are routed through this inset area. Two catchers in opposite direction stop the wires from falling. There is a Fractal branded sticker in the center. The fan is designed in Sweden and made in China.

These fans are using LLS (Long Life Sleeve) bearings which provide silent operation with a long lifespan They have an MTTF of 90,000 hours.

These fans have a 4-pin PWM connector on the black color sleeved cable. The cable has a massive length of 1000mm. There is no socket connector on these fans which would mean we can’t connect two fans together in a daisy chain.

The second cable coming out of the fan is a 3-pin 5V ARGB cable with a 3-pin connector as well as a header. This design would allow the user to daisy chain the fans for neat cable management. This would also remove the requirement of a dedicated RGB controller hub. The use of standard connectors would make these fans compatible with any control source using a 3-pin, 5V ARGB interface.

Here are the specifications of the fans:

Prisma AL18 PWM RGB
Dimension 180x180x38mm
Rotational Speed 300~1200 RPM
Air Flow 43.1~146.8 CFM
Static Pressure 0.44~2.50 mmH₂O
Noise Level 14.9~37.4 dB(A)
Bearing LLS
MTTF 90,000 hours
Input Voltage 12V
Typical Input Power 4.2W
Max Input Current 0.35A
Starting Voltage 6V
LED Input Voltage 5V
LED Input Power 3.0W
LED Max Input Current 0.6A

 

RGB Lighting

The RGB lighting is among the key features here. The lighting on the blades and on the upper ring creates stunning and pleasant visuals. The fan has 12x ARGB LEDs to create some vivid visuals. Here are a few pictures of these fans in action:

 

Testing

The following test bench is used for checking the speed range and corresponding airflow: –

  • MSI MAG Z490 TOMAHAWK Motherboard
  • Intel i7 10700k [4.7GHz, 1.25V]
  • Fractal Design Lumen S36 RGB
  • T-Force NightHawk RGB 16GB @ 3200MHz
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 FE
  • Addlink S70 256GB NVMe SSD
  • bequiet! Straight Power 11 850W Platinum PSU
  • Open-air Test bench

The above plotting is showing the graph of three metrics (PWM Range, Speed, and Airflow) of the values shown in the table above.

The fan was making roughly 49 dBA sound at an ambient sound level of 33 dBA.

Conclusion

Fractal Design has recently launched the new case which has gained wide praise and popularity for its unprecedented high airflow design. Fractal designed two special purpose fans for this case. These are Dynamic X2 GP-18 PWM and Prisma AL18 PWM RGB fans. These fans have a dimension of 180x180x38mm. The thickness of the 38mm allows for sustained high levels of air pressure to ensure sufficient airflow for the case ventilation. The striking feature is the 165x165mm screw hole pattern of these fans. The Dynamic version is a black non-RGB version whereas the Prisma AL18 PWM is an ARGB fan that packs some stunning light show.

We have taken a look at Prisma AL18 PWM RGB fans in this content. We have a Torrent case as well so will definitely take a look at the Dynamic X GP-18 PWM fans as well. Those fans come pre-installed on the front of the case. The Prisma AL18 PWM fans have a 4-pin PWM connector to power the motor of the fan. The ARGB cables have a standard 3-pin connector as well header allowing the user to daisy chain these cables as well reducing the need for the dedicated RGB control box. The two-fans pack does not have a dedicated controller in it but it comes with 8x extra-long screws to install these fans on the radiator.

The Prisma AL18 PWM fan has a dimension of 180x180x38mm. The thickness of these fans is a whopping 38mm which in conjunction with a high static pressure of up to 2.50mm H₂O can generate and maintain high airflow. Speaking of airflow these fans are rated for a whopping 146.8 CFM max at 12VDC. The noise level is rated for a maximum of 37.4 dB(A).

Each fan has 7 opaque white color blades for a better transfusion of the RGB lighting. This is not it as the upper portion of the ring on the frame is also in the opaque white color for further augmentation of the lighting. The fan packs 12 ARGB LEDs. The Adjust R1 RGB controller (sold separately) enables physical control of colors and effects of these LEDs. The trailing edges of the blades have micro-turbulence stators to reduce air turbulence and enhance efficiency.

The frame has a ring design and mounting corners have cut-to-size anti-vibration pads. The fan’s RGB lighting is compatible with ASUS AURA SYNC, GIGABYTE RGB FUSION 2.0, MSI MYSTIC LIGHT SYNC, ASRock POLYCHROME SYNC, and RAZER CHROMA RGB. The use of standard connectors makes these fans compatible with the majority of the motherboards and external controllers. We have tested the lighting on the MSI MAG Z490 TOMAHAWK motherboard using Mystic Light Sync App and the fans were working perfectly fine with the app and were responding to the change in the color and mode. I appreciate the good lighting effect on these fans.

The Fractal Design Prisma AL18 PWM is listed at $69.99 (NewEgg pricing) and at £59.99 (SCAN UK pricing) at the time of the review for a pack of two fans. The fan packs good ratings when it comes to airflow and static pressure. They are designed to provide ample airflow in the PC case at lower noise output which would lift the game of high airflow in the PC cases. One of the main reasons their Torrent case has received so much praise is the custom-tailored Prisma AL18 PWM and Dynamic X GP-18 PWM fans. If your case can support fan mounts in a 165×165 pattern, then the Prisma AL18 PWM RGB and Dynamic X GP18 PWM (non-RGB, all black) are the fans to go with.

Thanks to the Fractal Design for sending the two fans pack of Prisma AL18 PWM RGB.