Building a PC in 2021 is expensive. Thanks to component shortages caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, plus continued tariffs on China, gamers are left having to pay a premium. It doesn't help that scalpers are taking advantage of the situation, buying up all inventory as soon as retailers see Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 restocks. As of publishing, almost a year after launch, a $699 reference Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 is selling for over $1,600 on eBay.
After months of hunting down components at decent prices, plus some Amazon Prime Day deals and connections I've made over the years as a journalist, I had everything I needed to build a modern, powerful computer. I did have to spend two nights camped out in front of a Micro Center, which was not fun.
While the case I chose, the Cooler Master NR200P ($129 on Amazon (opens in new tab)), did include some case fans, they looked generic and didn't have the RGB pop I was looking for. I then started researching good quality RGB fans only to find that the Corsair QL120s (opens in new tab), probably the best on the market per reviews, were needlessly expensive. One fan costs $40, and I needed four.
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I refused to pay over $160 for case fans. It simply was not worth it to me, no matter how much I wanted the inside of my computer to radiate like Baskin Robbins' Wild 'N Reckless sherbet.
There were other brands with less name recognition than Corsair also selling on Amazon. But after some Googling, I came upon Gelid Solutions and its new Stella Frost (opens in new tab) fans. What initially attracted me to these blowers was its glacier "ice" design that glowed on both sides.
The other thing that attracted me was the price. On Gelid Solutions' website (opens in new tab), the fans are listed for $11 USD. I decided to order four.
Shipping costs unfortunately cut down on the savings, adding an additional $25 to the total as the fans were being sent from Gelid's facility in Hong Kong. Still, $69 was cheaper than $150-plus.
I reached out to Gelid Solutions to learn more about the company and these fans. Co-founder VC Tran emailed me back. He offered to send me some fans as press samples. For full transparency's sake, he did cancel my original order.
Per Gelid's About Us (opens in new tab) page, the company was founded in 2008 by Gebhard Scherrer of Switzerland and Tran. The company proudly boasts its Swiss roots, claiming that those origins have led the company to create products with the same quality and attention to detail as Swiss watches. Looking on Reddit (opens in new tab), I found much praise for the company's GC-Extreme thermal compound. I can't say if that extends to its entire product portfolio, but reviews on Amazon of other Gelid products seemed good.
It took a while, but the Stella Frost fans did arrive. The all-white fans have 24 ARGB LEDs, double ball bearing and a noiseless motor. That's ten less LEDs than the Corsair QL120s, although the max speed is slightly higher at 1,600 RPM versus 1,500.
Upon installing the fans, I was stunned at the improvement in noise and ambient temperature. Don't get me wrong, the default Cooler Master fans were fine, but were a tad on the loud side. But after adjusting some fan curves and letting the Stella Frost's settle in, I was stunned at its muted circulation.
When performing more idle tasks, the Stella Frosts did an excellent job of pushing hot air out of the case. While every computer is different, both my CPU and motherboard temperatures were more stable. On average, my CPU, an AMD Ryzen 5 5600X, sat at 46-degrees Celsius, and my motherboard at 39.
Gaming performance was also good. Even when playing a demanding title like Shadow of the Tomb Raider in 4K with Ray Tracing effects on, CPU and motherboard temperatures hovered at around 65 and 46-degrees Celsius respectively. Sure, the fans did spool up, but that's to be expected.
Now, I should make it clear that I personally haven't compared the Stella Frost's to the QL 120s by Corsair. I'm sure the Corsair fans perform excellently. TweakTown (opens in new tab) gave the fans a 96% rating. But even then, it's hard to justify that price when there are good performing alternatives for a fourth of the price.
At the moment, the Gelid Solutions Stella Frost fans can be ordered directly from the company's website. The company confirmed to Tom's Guide that the Stella Frosts would be making its way to Amazon in the coming weeks.