Thermalright TL-C12S ARGB Fan – Unboxing and Review

Thermalright TL-C12S ARGB Fan

The TL-C12 series is the latest cooling fans offered by Thermalright. There are three different versions. The C12 is the standard, non-RGB model, while the C12L is the one with 4-pin/12V non-addressable RGB. In this review, we will be checking out the C12S, which is equipped with 3-pin/5V ARGB lighting.


Thermalright TL-C12S
Dimension (mm)120x120x25
Weight (g)135
BearingFluid Dynamic Bearing
Fan Speed (RPM)1500
Airflow (CFM)66.17
Static Pressure (mmH2O)1.53
Fan Connector4-pin PWM
LED Connector3-Pin 5V
MTBF (Hours)60,000

The Thermalright TL-C12S is equipped with fluid dynamic bearing (FDB), that can spin up to 1500 RPM. The fan is advertised to create airflow of around 66.17 CFM and static pressure of 1.53 mmH2O. It uses a 3-pin 5V connector to power and control the onboard addressable RGB lighting.


Thermalright TL-C12S ARGB Fan

The Thermalright logo and model name are clearly shown on the front of the box. You can see the actual TL-C12S fan through the plastic window. There is a specification list at the back, with information like the fan speed and advertised airflow/static pressure performance.

Thermalright TL-C12S ARGB Fan

For accessories, four standard fan screws and four additional anti-vibration mounts are included.

Thermalright TL-C12S ARGB Fan

Thermalright TL-C12S ARGB Fan

The TL-C12S is a standard 120 mm fan with thickness of 25 mm. The frame is colored in grey. There are nine total translucent fan blades, which can help diffuse the RGB lighting from the LEDs located around the motor hub. The fan’s FDB bearing is claimed to last for at least 60,000 hours.

Thermalright TL-C12S ARGB Fan

There are anti-vibration rubber pads on every corner to prevent unwanted noises between the fan frame and the case.

Thermalright TL-C12S ARGB Fan

There are two cables coming out from the TL-C12S fan. The 4-pin connector is used to power the fan motor, and adjust the fan speed via PWM. The addressable RGB LEDs are controlled through the 3-pin 5V connector. Please be reminded that it is not compatible with 4-pin 12V connector and header.

Most of the motherboard manufacturers’ software, such as ASUS Aura Sync, MSI Mystic Light Sync and GIGABYTE RGB Fusion, should be compatible with the TL-C12S addressable RGB lighting. As long as your motherboard or controller has a 3-pin 5V RGB LED header, it should be good to go. The lighting effects/modes will differ in various software.

The RGB lighting of the TL-C12S may look dimmer than others, because of being diffused by the translucent fan blades. But the created effects are very attractive and pleasing.


Testing Methodology

To determine the performance of the fan, we will measure both the airflow and CPU temperatures when using in heatsink, as well as its sound levels.

An anemometer is used to record the fan’s airflow in various RPM ranges, including 25%, 50%, 75% and 100%. The results are measured in CFM (cubic feet per minute). The distance between the anemometer and the fan is kept at around 5 cm.

A decibel/sound level meter is also used to measure the fan’s operating noise at 1000 RPM, 50% and 100% fan speeds. Results are shown as dbA. Distance between the decibel meter and the fan is maintained at around 10 cm. Ambient sound level is at around 40 dbA.

The fan is then installed on the air cooler. The CPU, FPU and system cache are stressed using AIDA64. Ambient temperature is around 25°C. The temperature of the CPU package is recorded at full load when the fan is running at full speed.


Thermalright TL-C12S ARGB Fan

The TL-C12S had similar airflow performance than Thermalright advertised, reaching about 62.31 CFM at full fan speed. Compared to other fans we tested, it had slight advantages in lower RPM ranges, between 25% and 50%. It could push 7.19 CFM more air than the Noctua NF-F12 PWM and SilverStone AP124-ARGB (its review here), which was a about 13.04% improvement.

The TL-C12S did really well in terms of static pressure (the ability to push air through obstacles, like heatsinks and radiators). Testing the fan on our NH-U12S cooler, it outperformed the default NF-F12 PWM by about 2.2°C under load. It was on par with the Noiseblocker NB-B12P (its review here) with a small difference of just 0.7°C.

At 100% fan speed, the TL-C12S managed to control its noise exceptionally with only 52.2 dbA. It was one of the most quiet fans we currently tested, though it only ramped up to around 1400 RPM. It got slightly nosier than the others at lower RPM ranges, measured in 43.9 dbA and 44.7 dbA respectively.


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The Thermalright TL-C12S has surprised us with its cooling performance in both airflow and heatsink benchmarks. It did comparable to the reputable Noctua NF-F12 PWM. A decent amount of air could be generated at all RPM ranges, especially between 25% and 50%. The RGB lighting is awesome-looking, which the light is diffused beautifully through the translucent fan blades.

It also remained reasonably quiet, even spinning at full speed. It ran a bit louder at lower RPM ranges, compared to other fans we tested.

The TL-C12S is quite hard to find in North America, as Thermalright mainly focuses in the Asia market at the moment. The fan is priced at $420 TWD, which is about $14 USD. The price is very competitive for the performance and integrated addressable RGB lighting. For comparison, The NF-F12 PWM costs around $19.95 USD and GELID Radiant-D (its review here) at $18.99 USD at the time of this review. If you could get a hand on some TL-C12S, they may be worth your consideration as the next fan upgrade.

You can purchase the fans from your local/online retailers.

Thanks Thermalright for providing us the TL-C12S fan for review. (Review Sample)

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Previous articleAMD Radeon RX 5600 XT Specifications
Next articleUnboxing and Review of SilverStone AP124-ARGB Fan
unboxing-and-review-of-thermalright-tl-c12s-argb-fanThe Thermalright surprised us with its cooling performance and build quality. It did very well in our benchmarks, on par with the well-regarded Noctua NF-F12 PWM. The RGB lighting looks really cool. The only downside is the availability of the fan, as Thermalright is not particularly active in North America.


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