Thermaltake CT120 ARGB Review

Test setup and results …

The test system with which we determined the following measured values comprises the following components.

Motherboard ASRock B650E Taichi mit M.2 PCIe 4.0 x4 Interface
SSD Crucial P5 Plus 1TB M.2 PCIe 4.0 NVMe-1.4 CT1000P5PSSD8
CPU AMD Ryzen 5 7600X
RAM 2x 16GB DDR5-5600 from Crucial
PSU Cooler Master V750 Gold
Graphics card AMD Radeon RX6800XT
Case Fractal Design North
Cooler Arctic Liquid Freezer II 360
Operating system Windows 11 – Version 21H2

Volume …

We determine the volume at a distance of 50cm from the front of the case. This corresponds to a setup with a PC standing on the desk. We set the case fans to 30%, because our measuring device does not show any further noise reduction below that, which is the starting point for the volume measurement of the CT120 ARGB fans. With this measurement method, we can determine the influence of the volume on the overall system. The following volume data always refers to the entire test system and not to the CT120 ARGB fans alone. Besides the test fans, two 140mm fans and three 120mm fans are installed in the case. The fans of the graphics card and the power supply were not in use during the test.

All case parts were closed during the volume measurements in order to correspond to a practical operation. We determined the following noise levels at different fan speeds with 3 CT120 ARGB fans in the case front on the 360mm radiator, whereby the case fans always ran at 30% PWM.

PWM Speed Volume
5% 530 rpm 32dBA
20% 530 rpm 32dBA
25% 570 rpm 32dBA
30% 700 rpm 32dBA
40% 920 rpm 33dBA
50% 1140 rpm 34dBA
60% 1350 rpm 35dBA
70% 1500 rpm 36dBA
80% 1700 rpm 43dBA*
90% 1875 rpm 42dBA
100% 2040 rpm 44dBA

The fan accelerates to full speed once. The whistling sound with 785Hz at 80% PWM can be heard in the meantime. At the end of the Thermaltake CT120 ARGB video there is also a sound sample of the fan from start to full speed.

Considering the short distance and the basic noise level of 32dBA, we can attest the CT120 ARGB fans from Thermaltake an average noise development, which is common for 120mm fans with 2000 rpm. Except for a very small speed range at 80% PWM, only a steady whisper or noise can be heard from the fans. But at exactly 80%, a quiet whistling sound is added, but you can easily bypass it with an appropriate fan control if you find the sound annoying. The fans did not produce any unpleasant droning noises or vibrations at any speed. The fans also provided enough power to overcome the drag of the 38mm thick radiator, as the fan speed never dropped below the manufacturer’s specification.

Cooling capacity …

To determine the cooling performance, we use the Cinebench R23 benchmark to simulate a high utilization of the processor under almost real circumstances without stressing the CPU abnormally high like the Prime 95 Small FFT test would do. The following readings were taken for the CPU temperature with the various fan speeds at a room temperature of 23°C.

PWM Speed CPU Temp.
25% 570 rpm 82°C
30% 700 rpm 81°C
40% 920 rpm 80°C
50% 1140 rpm 79°C
60% 1350 rpm 78,5%
70% 1500 rpm 78°C
80% 1700 rpm 77,5°C
90% 1875 rpm 77°C
100% 2040 rpm 77°C

Our measured values show that the CT120 ARGB fans offer excellent cooling performance. They practically reach the same values as the original fans of the 360mm AIO water cooling system. At a relatively quiet 70% PWM, they almost reach the maximum cooling performance on the 7600X processor, which had to dissipate about 112W of power during the test. Even at 40% PWM, where the noise of the fans barely differs from the base volume of the test system, the Thermaltake fans already provide enough cooling for a fully loaded AMD Ryzen 7600X processor with PBO overclocking and a Curve Optimizer offset of -10 on all cores. At 70% PWM, the sweet spot of volume and cooling performance is on our test system, as the last degree of CPU temperature comes at the price of significantly higher noise.

Thermaltake CT120 ARGB Lighting …