Introduction

SilverStone Technology was founded in 2003 on the principle of recognition that merely having innovative expertise within the industry is not enough. Their objective is to ensure that their expertise is delivered to all products with consistency, in response to user’s needs, and with maximum user satisfaction. SilverStone Technology thrives on challenges of rapid technological advancements and creating the aesthetic standard for the industry. Their products are of high quality. Product lines include PC Chassis, PSU, Cooling Solution, Storage devices, etc.

The SilverStone has sent us their fans for the review. Today, we will be reviewing their FW121 Professional Slim edition 120mm fans. These fans have a height of just 15mm hence the term slim is being referred here. Being the 15mm thick fans, they have the superb compatibility out of the box with smaller size PC Chassis. SilverStone has optimized the fan blades design so that optimal balance can be achieved between the air pressure and the air flow. These fans come in blue/white colors which really looks pleasant in real.

Product:           SST-FW121

Manufacturer: SilverStone Technology

Price:              $7.47 at the time of the review

 

Specifications

 

Packaging and Contents

The fans come in a transparent container unlike the cardboard box making the packaging more cost-effective yet stylish. On the front, we can see the top side of the fan. The SilverStone brand name and logo are printed on the top left side. Model no of the fan is SST-FW121. It is a Professional Slim edition 120mm fan. Special features of the fan are printed on the bottom section. The website address of the manufacturer is printed at the bottom.

The backside of the packaging has the specifications of the fan printed at the top. The special features of the fan are printed in 9 different languages. The serial no sticker is pasted under the specifications. The EAN and UPC info stickers are pasted on the bottom. The fans are made in China.

There are two seal stickers on the top side that need to be cut or taken off so that the container can be opened. Pull the top side of the container with a slight force to see its contents. Under the fan, there is a warranty term and conditions printout. Contact info of the manufacturer is also printed.

Accessories

The SilverStone has provided:

  • 4x Anti-Vibration Rubber Grommets
  • 4x M3 Tapping Screws
  • 1x Fan
  • 1x Molex/Peripheral Power Adapter

Closer Look

The SST-FW121 is a slim edition fan from the FW series of the SilverStone. The fan has a dimension of a 120X120X15mm. With a height of 15mm, this fan is best suited for the small form factor builds with space considerations. The fan has a PWM connector to its plus giving the users better speed regulation. Let’s take a closer look at the fan. The fan is rated at 12V DC taking input power of 0.02A ~ 0.09A with 0.24 ~ 1.24W. Rated speed is 800 to 2000 RPM. Static Pressure rating is 0.31 ~ 1.52mmH₂O with the airflow rating of 13.1 ~ 32.6CFM.  Noise level is 14.7 ~ 24.6 dBA. The fan is using Long Life sleeve bearing with MTBF of 40,000 hrs. Starting voltage is 5V DC.

Let’s look at the top side of the fan. We have a blue color frame. The blades are in the white color. The fan has standard 120mm fan mount. There is not anti-vibration padding on any of the mounting corners. But the provided anti-vibration rubber grommets can be used for that purpose. The diameter of the motor hub is 39mm. The fan has 9 white color blades which are connected to each other in a manner of the interconnects forming a circle. The top edge of the blades gives the impression of being a double-edged. The frame of the fan is rock solid. However, there is a bit of flex in the blades which is in all three fans and seems to be a part of the design. There is no arrow marking on the border of the frame showing the direction of airflow and/or blade spin. The borders are designed that are giving the impression of layered design with the inner section forming a circle around the blades.

The backside of the fan has a 5-arms assembly that is holding and connecting the fan to the boundary. There is a sticker pasted on the motor hub with the SilverStone brand name and logo printed on the top. The fan is made in China. Model is APA1215M12 DC with 12V 0.25Amp. In case you are wondering why there is 0.25Amp on the sticker whereas the specifications are listing it at 0.09Amp, the 0.25Amp is likely the boost amperage required to start the fan. The arm right on the bottom of the sticker has more width and it has an inset on which the 4 wires are routed. Another important design element is the blue color circle on the 5-arms assembly which is directly facing the circle that the interconnects on the top side are forming. The length of the power cable is 320mm including the white color connector. The cable is not sleeved and wires can be seen individually. The selection of the colors on the wires is such that it goes very well with the overall color theme of the fan and never gives the bad looks. There is a 4-pin PWM connector on the fan.

Testing

We have tested the SST-FW121 Fans on the Alphacool Eisbaer 360 which is a 360mm CLC. It is a standard on our test bench that we check the fans for the thermal performance even if they are rated for high airflow than static pressure ones. The SilverStone FW121s are mediocre when it comes to the airflow and static pressure rating. The other fans in the graph are Eiswind 12 from Alphacool, Corsair HD120, LL120 RGB Fans, Raijintek Iris 12 RGB and Noiseblocker fans.

The Eiswind 12 fans operate on the 12V DC. They are 4-Pin PWM fans with the rated speed of the 55-1700 RPM with ±10%. Airflow rating is 63.85 CFM with the static pressure rating of the 1.66mmH₂O. Sound rating is 29 dBA per fan. The reason we are giving the brief rundown of the Eiswind 12 fans is that these are the stock fans of the Alphacool Eisbaer 360 and holds a reference point for the comparison.

Airflow Testing

We test the airflow of the fan without any resistant to the flow i.e there is no radiator or mesh between the fan and the PerfectPrime WD9819 Anemometer. The rated airflow value is 32.6 CFM at full speed. In our testing, the airflow value comes to the 48.78 CFM.

PWM Range

Next up, is the PWM range of the fan and the corresponding airflow values. The graph is showing the range of the speeds on these fans and the airflow measure on each speed in that range.

780 is the lowest RPM achieved on these fans. The maximum speed of the fan comes to 2070 RPM. Rated speed range is 800-2000 RPM. The speed of the fans is validated as they fan within 10% which is usually the delta of the speed range. The fan stops spinning below 4.0V. The started voltage on these fans is specified as 5.0V DC.

Thermal Testing

Thermal performance of the fan was tested on this test bench:

  • Intel i7 6850k
  • Asus Rampage V Edition 10
  • Ballistix Elite 4x4GB @ 3000MHz
  • Alphacool Eisbaer 360
  • Samsung 840 EVO 250GB
  • Corsair AX 1200i

 

Testing was performed on the Microsoft Windows 10 x64 Professional edition build version 1709. Noctua NT-H1 thermal paste was used. The fans were put on 50% and 100% of their speed. The pump of the CLC was put on 100% of the speed. Asus RealBench v1.44 was used to stress test the CPU. RealTemp was used to monitor the temperatures. First, the stress test was run on the stock clocks of 3.6GHz with the turbo boost of 38GHz and Turbo Boost II of 4.0GHz at 1.16V VCore. XMP was loaded all the times. Reported temps are delta ones which are calculated by subtracting the average of each core’s maximum temps from the ambient temp. The benefit of using delta temps is that it covers the variation in the temperatures under uncontrolled environment. Next, the Chip is overclocked to 4.3GHz at 1.350V VCore. XMP is loaded as well. A stress test is run again using the same methodology as described above and delta temps are noted.

Here are the results.

At 50% of the rated speed, there was a difference of 0.96°C between the Alphacool Eiswind 12 and the SilverStone FW121. This is too good a performance for the fans of just 15mm height. At 100% speed, there was a difference of 0.29°C between both fans which is marginal to say the least. These FW121 fans have performed admirably under the stress test on the stock clocks. The SilverStone FW121s are leading over the Raijintek Iris 12 RGB and the Corsair LL120 RGB fans.

Next, we overclocked the i7 6850k to the 4.3GHz. At 50% of the speed, the SilverStone FW121 were trailing behind the Alphacool Eiswind 12 with the margin of 2.7°C. At 100% speed, the SilverStone FW121 took the lead over the Eiswinds with the margin of 0.93°C.

Acoustics

31 dBA was the reading on our Fonseo Digital Sound Meter at full load and 100% speed and this is way above the rated 24.6dBA.

Conclusion

The SST-FW121 is a slim edition fan from the FW series of the SilverStone. FW series has a focus on PWM enabled fans.The fan has a dimension of a 120X120X15mm. With a height of 15mm, this fan is best suited for the small form factor builds with space considerations. The fan has a PWM connector to its plus giving the users better speed regulation. Let’s take a closer look at the fan. The fan is rated at 12V DC taking input power of 0.02A ~ 0.09A with 0.24 ~ 1.24W. Rated speed is 800 to 2000 RPM. Static Pressure rating is 0.31 ~ 1.52mmH₂O with an airflow rating of 13.1 ~ 32.6CFM.  Noise level is 14.7 ~ 24.6 dBA. The fan is using Long Life sleeve bearing with MTBF of 40,000 hrs. Starting voltage is 5V DC. The fan has a blue color frame while the blades are in the white color. There are no anti-vibration paddings on the mounting corners but the SilverStone has covered this end with the provision of 4x anti-vibration rubber mounts in the box. The fan has a PWM connector cable with 320mm length. The cable is not sleeved but the colors on the wires are synced with the color theme of the fans and do not give bad looks at all. The blades are designed to give an optimal balance between the airflow and the air pressure and our thermal testing has shown it to be the case.  The overall build quality of the fans is good.

The fans are listed at $7.47 at the time of the review and this is too good a deal to have. The fans have performed admirably well on our test bench. We were not expecting these fans to perform that well to be honest but they have proven us wrong. On stock clocks, these were neck-to-neck with our reference fans i.e Alphacool Eiswind 12s. They also took the lead over the Raijintek Iris 12 RGB and the Corsair LL120 RGB fans if that surprises you. With the overclocked chips they were trailing behind the Alphacool Eiswind 12 with the margin of 2.7°C at 50% speed but with 100% speed, they took the lead over the Eiswinds with the margin of the 0.93°C. If there is any Con to report here it would be the high sound level of these. Our sound meter was showing them to be doing 31 dBA whereas their rated sound level is 24.6 dBA. They are definitely louder but there is nothing that the custom fan curve profile can’t handle and remember that these are slim editions their thermal performance is too good for this size of the fans. These fans have won our Performance Award.

We are thankful to the SilverStone for sending us their SST-FW121 fans for the review.