Sahara C500B Fan Kits and R20 CPU Cooler Review

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sahara c500 Featured Image

Hey everyone, welcome to another review. Today we have a bit of a yin/yang article, all will become clear as we go through a case, fans and a CPU cooler from Sahara. I have been aware of Sahara for just over a year, they manufacture cases, fans and keyboards, with the recent addition of a CPU cooler.
So, on my workbench today I have the new C500B Case, two of the available fan kits – Pirate Duo Rings and Typhoon 14 – along with the R20 CPU cooler which includes a fan/RGB controller.

The controller is available alongside the various options available with the exception of the bare case.

Sahara C500B with Fan Kits and R20 CPU Cooler Specifications & Features

                                              Options available:

Bare Case C500B
Case with 4x 120mm Pirate Turbo Fans C500B-TS 4 x 12cm ARGB Pirate Turbo + Sync RGB and Standalone RGB
Case with 2x 200mm Tornado Fans C500B-PS 2 x 20cm ARGB Tornado fan + Sync RGB and Standalone RGB
Case with 3x 140mm Typhoon Fans C500B-SS 3 x 14cm Typhoon ARGB fan + Sync RGB and Standalone RGB
Case with 4x 120mm Duo Rings Fans C500B-DS 4 x 12cm ARGB Duo Rings + Sync RGB and Standalone RGB
Model Number: C500
Colour Black
Dimensions: 400*215*465mm
Material Clearance: Steel, Tempered Glass and Plastic
Product Weight: 8.5 KG
Motherboard Support: ATX, Micro-ATX, ITX
CPU: 180mm
PSU: 170mm

FAN SUPPORT

Front: 3 x 12cm / 2 x 14cm / 2 x 20cm (optional)
Top: 2 x 12cm / 2 x 14cm (optional)
Rear: 1 x 12cm (optional) / 1 x 14cm
Bottom: 2 x 12cm (optional)
Fan Size: 12cm / 14cm / 20cm
Fan Qty: 8

I/O PORTS

USB 2: 2
USB 3: 1
HD Audio: 1
LED Switch: 1

DRIVE BAYS

Internal 3.5″:        2
Internal 2.5″:        3
External 5 1/4″:        no
Expansion Slots:        7

RADIATOR SUPPORT

Front: 360mm/ 280mm/ 240mm/ 140mm/ 120mm
TOP: 280mm/ 240mm/140mm/ 120mm
Rear: 140mm/ 120mm

GLASS SUPPORT

Front: 1 x (gray tempered glass)
Side: 2 x (gray tempered glass)

CLEARANCE

GPU: 360mm
Cable Management: Yes
Reservoir: 200mm
Pump: 35mm

DUST FILTER

TOP: 1 (included)
Bottom: 1 (included)

 

Duo Rings 120mm Fans:

  • Hydraulic Bearing with Low-Noise Design
  • Anti-Vibration Mounting System
  • 55 colour customizable RGB LED illumination
  • Compatible with Sahara SYNC RF controller hub
Product: Duo Rings
Model Number: PDR12
EAN number: 5060497930223
Warranty: 2 year
Dimension: 120x120x25mm
Rating Voltage: DC 12V
Rated Current: Max 400mA
Rated Voltage: DC 6.0 – 13.8V
Start-Up Voltage: DC 6V)ON/FF)
Bearing Type: Hydro Bearing
Fan Speed RPM: 1300RPM
Advanced Air Flow: 33.0CFM
Advance Air Pressure: 1.3mm – H20
Max Noise Level: 21.35db(A)
Connector: 6 pin
Cable Length: 650mm
Fan Weight: 145g

Typhoon 14 140mm Fans:

  • Hydraulic Bearing with Low-Noise Design
  • Anti-Vibration Mounting System
  • 55 colour customizable RGB LED illumination
  • Compatible with Sahara SYNC RF controller hub
Product name: TYPHOON 14
Model Number: TP14
EAN number: 5060497930698
Warranty: 2 year
Dimensions: 140x140x26
Rating Voltage: DC 12V
Rated Current: 0.14A ± 10%
Rated Voltage: DC 6.0 – 13.8V
Start-Up Voltage: DC 6V (ON/OFF)
Bearing Type: Hydro Bearing
Fan Speed RPM: 400~1500 RPM
Advanced Air Flow: 65.19 CFM
Advance Air Pressure: 1.22 mm – H2O
Life Expectance: 40,000 hrs
Max Noise Level: 30 dBA
Connector: 6 pin
Cable Length: 650mm
Power consumption: 1.68W ± 10%
Fan Weight: 140g

CPU Cooler:

  • 16.8m True RGB Colour
  • Sync with Motherboard RGB Software
  • High Volume Airflow Design
  • Reliable Hydraulic bearing
  • Easy To Install
Product: Sahara Iced Rainbow CPU cooler
Model Number: R20
EAN number: 5060497930490
Warranty: 2 years
Dimensions: 120(L) x 120(W) x 58(H) mm
Base Material: Aluminium
Fin Material: Aluminium Alloy
TDP: 95W
Fan Size: 120mm RGB
Fan Bearing Type: Long Life Hydro Bearing
Fan Rated Voltage: 12VDC
Fan Rated Current: 0.31 A
Fan Input Power: 3.72 W
Fan RPM: 1800 +- 10% RPM
MTBF: 50,000 hours
Fan Noise: 20.8 dBA
Cooler Dimensions: 124(L) x 124(W) x 67(H) mm
Box Dimensions: 130(L) x 130(W) x 73(H) mm
Net weight: 290 g
Gross weight: 358 g
Connector: 6 pin (12v) ARGB for Sahara Fan Hub
4 pin PWM for motherboard
Compatibility Intel: LGA 775/1155/1156/1366 (Core i3 / i5)
Compatibility AMD: AM4/FM2/FM1/AM3+/AM3/AM2+/AM2

Sahara C500B Fan Kits and R20 CPU Cooler Closer Look

sahara c500 case box

Arriving in a standard brown box with some artwork and specifications on it, the case appears protected without going overboard on the packaging.

sahara c500 case unpacked

After removing the case from some polystyrene blocks and a large plastic bag, pretty standard packaging, however the polystyrene at least should be replaced by more environmentally friendly protection. We have in front of us the C500 case itself packed full of fans and other bits, I must note that this package was put together specifically for the review with extra items added in so this is not representative of the retail experience.

sahara c500 case panels off

Taking all the glass panels off the case reveals the steel shell it is based on, the front panel is just on with plastic lugs these can be quite stiff to remove so take care. The front radiator/fan mounting can take up to 360mm radiator, 3x 120mm fans or two 140mm fans, supposedly the 200mm fans would also fit at the front but I couldn’t verify that.

The chassis features pretty good space inside the case to put the radiator on the inside as long as you stick to slimmer designs. We have a shroud partially covering power supply and cabling for the build side aesthetic, on top of the shroud there are a couple of 2.5mm drive mounts. The rear gives us a 120mm or 140mm Radiator/Fan mount and 7 PCI-E card slots.

sahara c500 case build bay

Looking at the build bay we have space for up to ATX motherboards with a large cutout which helps with rear cooler clamping mechanisms.

sahara c500 case cable side

Over on the cabling side, we have from the bottom upwards the power supply bay and an HDD cage for up to two 3.5″ drives, luckily this is removable otherwise power supply selection would be limited to short supplies. Above that we have a single 2.5″ drive mount and some space to the left of it which should come in handy for mounting the fan controller.
Off to the left we have an indented channel for cable management along with a bunch of case cables of decent lengths. No rubber grommets are included to protect cables being passed through to the front, the case does however feature some neat cable tie anchor points, the depth of cabling that goes at the back of the motherboard is quite shallow and could prove challenging depending on the cable types and lengths available.

sahara c500 case rear

The back of the case isn’t anything really special it has those horrible spot welded back planes that no case over £20 should even attempt to entertain. There is a slider to release the main side window once the screws are removed, strangely this is not repeated at the cabling side where there is just a notch half way up to get your fingernail behind. The panels did come off easily though.

sahara c500 case top

The top of the case features a lovely wide mesh filter covering up the capability to take up to 140mm Fans. Depending on motherboard clearance you could put in a radiator at the top with 240/280mm dual fan designs. The buttons and connectors featured are from the left the power button followed by HDD and power LEDs, a reset button, an LED button for hooking up to the RGB controller, microphone and headphone jacks, two USB 2.0 connectors and a single USB 3.0 connector. I would have preferred it the other way round as the USB 3.0 motherboard header could be better utilised as USB 2.0 requirements are much reduced these days.

sahara c500 case bottom

The bottom of the case has feet built into the frame with some rubber pads to stop it sliding around, we also get a removable filter for the power supply fan. Underneath is where you go to remove the two screws holding the drive cage in.

sahara c500 case front

Examining the front panel it does have an appealing design, the strips at the top and bottom are a brushed aluminium effect however they are plastic, the glass is tinted to help obscure mounting points and cabling however we can already see there is no dust filtering going on here, if you want that you will have to add it yourself.

sahara c500 case parts box

The little white parts box in the case comes with a bag of various screws and zip ties and a nice little bonus of radiator screws, while it is great to be offered these screws they tend to be supplied with radiators/ AIOs so these would normally be spare.

sahara c500 included fans

For this review I was sent two of the fan kits, the 120mm Pirate Duo Rings (with RGB rings both front and back of the fan, and the Typhoon 14 140mm RGB fans. These all come with proprietary 6 pin connectors, I am tempted to guess that these are the same connectors used by Thermaltake and Speedlink, but without testing the cabling I cannot guarantee compatibility. The included 2 year warranty with the fans is a nice touch.

Sahara 120mm Pirate Duo Rings Fan

Unpacking the 120mm Duo fans we have an RGB ring type fan with some anti-vibration rubber pads on each corner to reduce vibration and noise. The fan blades are shaped yet smooth on the front.

Sahara 120mm Pirate Duo Rings Fan Rear

The back of the fan has a nice open frame allowing most of the air to pass through unheeded and the back of the blades has a rough texture on it, hopefully to reduce turbulence. We also have a second RGB ring on the back for more lighting effect.

Sahara 120mm Pirate Duo Rings Fan depth

At 25mm thick this is pretty much standard fan depth so mounting measurements for most cases shouldn’t be a worry.

Sahara 140mm Typhoon 14 Fan

The larger Typhoon 14 140mm fan has a similar design to the Duo where the frame is concerned, this one only has an RGB ring on the front, large smooth fronted blades and again the rubber pads to reduce noise/vibration.

Sahara 140mm Typhoon 14 fan rear

The rear of the Typhoon 14 again has good airflow clearance.

Sahara 140mm Typhoon 14 fan depth

Again we have a 25mm depth which is good, with their fairly high speed of up to 1500rpm these might make fair radiator fans for those larger radiators.

sahara controller box Pirate Sync

Taking a look at the controller components we have a set of extension cables that allow for RGB syncing from various motherboard manufacturers, two types of RGB conversion available which is pretty decent and the RGB cable also splits off to a PWM header for fan speed regulation. The remote control is optional and useful for those motherboards without RGB headers. We also get a manual and the controller itself of course.

sahara pirate sync closer look

Looking more closely at the controller, the 10 fan connectors are spread out over each edge, to the left there is the four pin connector for the RGB Sync cables included along with the cable that goes to a PWM header, and a two pin connector which can service a button such as the RGB connector on the case, however any button that completes the circuit when pressed would suffice. To the right we have the SATA power cable although the manual describes a Molex, after my Speedlink review I feel this is pretty much the same controller and may have benefited from the Molex connector with higher gauge cabling. In the middle there are three buttons for fan speed, light mode and LED speed.

sahara pirate sync mounting sticker

The back of the controller has a large soft sticky pad for mounting, I do generally prefer screws to mount these things however Sahara are obviously working to a budget.

sahara c500 fans installed

Next I went ahead and mounted the fans to the case, as we can see there were more fans included than the case supported so I stood the last 120mm fan up inside for the picture. The steel the case is made from is incredibly thin, so thin that as I tightened one of the fan screws it popped through, luckily it only bent the metal and didn’t perforate it so I was able to gently re-do the fitting.

sahara c500 fan clearance front panel

I took the opportunity here to examine the clearance for the front fans, the sides have no blockages so the glass front is not really impeding airflow to the case although more space in front of the fans would have been better. As mentioned before there is no dust filtering happening here.

sahara c500 psu fitting

Despite the very flimsy steel construction the case does get a big thumbs up for power supply support, after removing the drive cage I was able to fit my big Cheiftec Navitas supply. This is a huge 1250watt affair and is larger than many other supplies with the exception of some very expensive monsters which would rarely be paired with a case at this level anyway.

sahara c500 ssd and controller mounting

Once the power supply was in place, I proceeded to mount an SSD and the controller in an attempt to try and keep control of cabling as that tends to run away with me in my builds and I end up with big bunches of unwieldy and difficult to manage cables. The SSD mount is quite sensible with the screw mount and cage ensuring you don’t block the data and power connectors.

sahara r20 cooler and pirate controller

At this point I thought it best to prepare the motherboard for mounting, I have left the box for the controller next to the R20 CPU cooler because these came together in the package, of course some configurations of the case would have the controller included. The CPU cooler is supplied in a very colourful box with some marketing points such as the Hydro Bearings used and the 95W TDP capability, in a sensible move the compatibility with the Controllers available from Sahara is noted in red, this does not stop the cooler from being fitting to the motherboard as this relates just to the RGB element.

sahara r20 cooler and parts

Unpacking the R20 we have the cooler itself, a plastic mounting bracket and a bag with fittings and some thermal paste. The fan blades on the cooler have a sort of flame embossed logo on each blade and again on the other side a rough texture for turbulence management. The opaque ring around the fan blades provides the RGB lighting as with the other fans included with the case.

sahara r20 cooler bottom

The underside of the cooler features a rather small contact area for the CPU die but it should be sufficient for what it is rated for. The heatsink fins create an attractive array however this will not generally be visible when in use, the cable includes a 4 pin PWM connector to power the fan and a six pin RGB connector for the controller. Here we see the old AM3 style mounting clip across the middle of the cooler, this will work with AM4 where the motherboard provides the plastic brackets for legacy connections.

sahara r20 cooler profile

From the side the cooler has a cone shape is is quite low profile and more or less matches the height of an Intel stock cooler.

sahara r20 cooler mounting bracket

For use on Intel motherboards the included plastic ring must be used, it does feel a little flimsy so care must be taken. On each corner a clear plastic insert needs to be slid in place to match the socket in use, there are three guide points to choose from so take care to insert these into the correct point.

sahara r20 bracket mounted

Once the bracket is in place and lined up the four plastic lugs are pushed in to secure it into place. Here I have used socket 1155 with an i5 4440 CPU. Luckily the bracket clears the VRM’s to the right as it just stays within the socket’s cooler boundaries.

sahara r20 cooler mounted

After that mounting the cooler is just as with an AM3 mount, two connections on the metal spring loaded bracket hook onto two lugs, in a helpful move Sahara have enabled the cooler to be mounted at multiple angles on the bracket to prevent the mount interfering with other components. The cooler does look quite attractive once mounted.

sahara c500 rear fan fouling cooler

One thing to consider when choosing a top-down cooler rather than a tower style cooler is fitting into the case, this slim style motherboard from Gigabyte has the cpu quite close to the back of the motherboard which meant that I was unable to fit it with a rear fan in place, however a 12mm slim fan would have fit should one be required. I decided just to remove the fan since I have three fans drawing air in from the front and two drawing air in from the top, such positive air pressure should push out of the back of the case without any fan assistance.

sahara c500 welded backplane panels

In addition to the flimsy metal construction, these things, please no, don’t do this, spot welded back plates, how much is this really saving on manufacturing costs because its costing points. Not only are they frustrating to remove safely you can’t replace them after the fact, and you’re almost certainly going to distort the thin chassis when taking these off.

sahara c500 off side

With components in place it was time to replace the side panels. The tinting on the cable side does well to hide the cables, this really doesn’t need to be glass as I have a bit of an issue where pressure needed to be applied to get the panel back on so I would rather not have the glass taking pressure from cable bundles and other components.

sahara c500 case build done

With the build finally done and powered on it is quite an attractive looking case, although not anything groundbreaking, there are hundreds of cases with a similar design and with 2019/2020 being the dawn of filtered mesh at the front, this design seems a little late to the party. Noise from the fans at their default setting is definitely audible especially the high speed 140mm fans currently in the top of the case drawing air in. The remote allows a lower speed settings which reduces noise greatly but proper PWM control from the motherboard is what will make these shine with the controller handling the pretty wide voltage range of the fans to keep noise down. The RGB is quite bright and the effects look great.

The Sahara C500B Fan Kits and R20 CPU Cooler Review: The Verdict

So here I get to the yin/yang of the review, the case is quite lackluster in design and build quality, too much glass has hiked the price to an unacceptable level. Building into the case was pretty easy without any real pitfalls apart from the thin steel and of course the welded back plates. The fans, controller and CPU cooler however are great, the quality and capabilities are quite extensive for what are considered budget units. The fans have a big voltage range and the controller handles signals from the motherboard which can be set to quiet operation, unfortunately at the higher speeds they do generate some noise. The CPU cooler does a good job, it kept the i5 4440 under 60C during testing and idled as low as 27C.

What’s hot:

  • Fans and RGB effects quite good
  • Fan controller handles 10 fans
  • Great value and attractive CPU Cooler

What’s not:

  • Very thin case construction
  • Proprietary fan connectors
  • Case is expensive

So let me start with a little pricing info, the C500B case on it’s own at almost £60 at launch is unfortunately not very good value for money, however adding just another £20 nets you up to four fans and a controller, now separately those components hit around £10 delivered for the controller, £7.99 each for the Duo Rings 120mm fans and £9.99 each for the 140mm Typhoon 14 fans. Making the kits assembled without the case £40 or over which is more than double the bundle price. The R20 cooler is expected to retail at around the £20 mark and that is actually good value for the product offered.

Looking around the web I do see very similar looking fan kits being provided by different brands, so these are part of an OEM solution that has been branded and perhaps tweaked by Sahara. Confirmation of the cabling on 6 pin connectors being compatible with other brand names would be a massive plus, I am sure many would love to mix and match fans especially when the controller supports so many. A big plus from the controller too is the ability to sync with the majority of motherboard RGB systems.

The case is definitely the weak point in this review and unfortunately devalues the entire package quite a bit. The flimsy metal construction, the spot welded back plates, the lack of dust filtering at the front, and the lack of cable grommets inside lead to a poor showing that is beaten very easily by the competition, there are some excellent cases in the £60 range.

The CPU cooler is a great first entry for Sahara into that field. It’s an economical offering that looks much better than many stock coolers and offers suitable cooling up to the higher end of budget CPU’s. When buying this cooler ensure you get the RGB controller as well if you wish to use that feature which I admit will affect the value of this component if you aren’t also getting other parts like the fans.

Overall this was quite a big package to review, while each part has its own merits/issues I feel happy to grant a Value Award to the R20 CPU cooler.

Sahara R20 Value Award

Thanks to Sahara for sending a sample of the C500 case, Pirate Duo Rings fans, Typhoon 14 fans, Pirate Sync Controller and R20 CPU Cooler in for review.

Related Reading:

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Design (Case)
Build Quality (Case)
Value (Case)
Performance (Case)
Design (Fans)
Build Quality (Fans)
Value (Fans)
Performance (Fans)
Design (CPU Cooler)
Build Quality (CPU Cooler)
Value (CPU Cooler)
Performance (CPU Cooler)
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1 COMMENT

  1. Am I the only one who noticed that the roof fans were pointing the wrong way and blowing air in to the case?

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