Several weeks from now, Asus will release its first PC case fan, the ROG Strix XF 120. And for its first foray into the standalone fan market, Asus has opted to go with magnetic levitation bearings, with the promise of "whisper quiet" operation. Or to put a sound measurement to the claim, it checks in at 22.5 decibels.
There is no universally accepted sound chart available, but according to this chart (PDF) compiled by Yale University, 22.5 dB falls between a quiet natural area with no wind (20 dB) and a whisper (25 dB).
Magnetic levitation plays directly into the low noise claim. The fan blade assembly assembly essentially floats around magnetic bearings, so there is no physical contact or friction from the bearings component. There is still some friction from wind resistance, but this typically results in lower noise than sleeve, ball, or fluid dynamic bearings. An additional benefit is there no lubricant to wear out over time, though in my experience, this has not been a problem.
This type of assembly is not quite as common in the PC space, though Asus is not the only one employing magnetic levitation bearings. So does Corsair's ML series.
🚨Calling all #ROG fanboys 🚨#ROGStrix XF 120 coming soon in April 👀 pic.twitter.com/meKVsDG39FJanuary 23, 2021
Asus announced the ROG Strix XF 120 back in September of last year, but said nothing at the time of the price or release date. We still do not have any official word on price, but on Twitter, Asus revealed the ROG Strix XF 120 will be available in April (hopefully not April 1, or April Fool's Day, which is a terrible day to launch an actual product).
As the model name implies, it's a 120mm fan. It's also a 4-pin pulse-width modulation (PWM) model, with an operating range of 250 to 1,800 RPM (it can also stop spinning entirely, depending on the fan profile). Asus rates the air flow at 62.5 CFM, and the lifespan at 400,000 hours.
On top of using magnetic levitation bearings, the fan also employs "specially grooved blades and an anti-vibrating design." And while not specifically mentioned, it looks like the RGB logo in the center features RGB lighting.
While no price has yet been announced, there some pre-order listings already. Swedish retailer ProShop, for example, has the fan listed for 239.20 SEK (excluding VAT). That works out to around $29 in US currency.