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 an 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 FW and FQ lineup of the fans for the review. Today, we will be reviewing their FW122 Professional PWM edition 120mm fans. The fans are being marketed as an optimal combination of performance and low noise. We are not seeing SilverStone claiming these fans to be Ultra Quiet ones; rather they are offering the best combination of high airflow at reasonable noise levels. These fans come in blue/white colors which really looks pleasant in real though looks are subjective and this particular color scheme may not be suitable for all builds.

Product:          SST-FW122

Manufacturer: SilverStone Technology

Price:               $18.69 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-FW122. It is a Professional PWM 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 terms 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
  • 1x sheet of 16x anti-vibration rubber pads

Closer Look

The SST-FW122 is a professional PWM edition fan from the FW series of the SilverStone. We earlier took a look at their FW-121 fans. The fan has a dimension of a 120X120X25mm. The fan has a PWM connector to its plus giving the users better speed regulation. Let’s take a closer look at the fans. The fan is rated at 12V DC taking input power of 0.07A ~ 0.19A with 0.84 ~ 2.28W. Rated speed is 1000 to 1800 RPM. Static Pressure rating is 0.31 ~ 1.52mmH₂O with airflow rating of 42.6 ~ 76.5CFM. The website specifications are mentioning this static pressure rating to be 1.52 mmH₂O whereas the specification printed on the packaging is showing it to be 0.65 ~ 2.1 mmH₂O.  Noise level is 18.4 ~ 28.1 dBA. We have found the second contradiction in the specifications. The specifications on the website are stating the rated noise level to be 28.1 dBA maximum whereas the packaging of the fans is showing this rating to be 32.3 dBA. The fan is using Long Life sleeve bearing with MTBF of 40,000 hrs. Starting voltage is 5V DC as printed on the website whereas it is mentioned to be 6V DC on the packaging. The fans did start at 5V DC in our testing.

Let’s look at the top side of the fan. We have a blue color frame. The blades are in the white color. This is exactly what we saw on their SST-FW121 fans. The fan has standard 120mm fan mount. There is a spacing of 108mm between the two mounting holes on any direction. There is not anti-vibration padding on any of the mounting corners. The SilverStone has provided anti-vibration rubber grommets to cover that aspect and this is not all. They have provided a sheet with 16x rubber pads. User can peel off the pads from the sheet and paste them on the two triangular shaped mountings on the fan’s frame. Each mounting hole has two such mountings facing it. These rubber pads are also in the white color. This is a bit surprising on the manufacturer’s part as they simply could have installed the pads out of the box. Anyhow, these pads don’t increase the height of the fan and user can easily paste them onto the fans.

The diameter of the motor hub is 38mm. There is no sticker of any sort on the hub. The hub has curved edges and there is a raised surface in the circular form on the top of the hub. The fan has 11 white color blades. Take a closer look at the top edge of the blades, they are double edged. According to the SilverStone, this design helps in creating more static pressure with low noise levels. Each blade has a crossed line pattern in the middle giving the impression that there are two layers on a blade. Each corner of the frame has inset cutouts in the triangular shape. The build quality is good and we did not observe any flex in the blades.

The frame of the fan is rock solid. There is no arrow marking on the border of the frame showing direction of airflow and/or blade spin. Each side has an opening on the frame making its way to the blades part. We are not sure about their possible design element and how this would help in better airflow or air pressure. Looking closer on the outer frame it would become apparent that the frame has an inset in the middle. Each corner of the frame has 5 layered or stepped design connecting the mounting hole to the rest of the frame.

The backside of the fan has a 4-arms assembly that is holding and connecting the fan to the frame. 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 APA1225M12 DC with 12V 0.30Amp. In case you are wondering why 0.30Amp whereas the specifications have this rating to be 0.19Amps, this is the boost amperage required to start the fan spinning. The arm right on the bottom of the sticker has more width and it has an inset on which the 4 wires are routed. The cable is not sleeved as was the case with their FW-121 fans. The selection of the colors on the wires is such that it goes very well with the overall color theme of the fan and does not give the bad looks. There is a 4-pin PWM connector on the fan in the white color. The length of the cable is approximately 320mm.

Testing

We have tested the SST-FW122 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 FW122 have a better air pressure and airflow ratings on them as compared to the FW-121. 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. 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 Anenometer. The rated airflow value is 76.5 CFM at full speed. In our testing the airflow value comes to the 79.43 CFM validating the airflow rating.

PWM Range

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

510 is the lowest RPM achieved on these fans. Maximum speed of the fan comes to 1830 RPM. Rated speed range is 1000-1800 RPM. The lower range of the fan is well below the rated lower speed. The fan stops spinning below 4.5V. These fans have depicted somewhat lose control particularly between 8.0V and 10.0V. There was a continuous spiking even when the voltage of the fans was set to 8.0V. It was hard to test the speed at the 8.5V and 9.5V. Remember these are PWM fans so it is best to leave them at 12V DC and let the pulse width do its work with the current.

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 a 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. 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 0.30°C between the Alphacool Eiswind 12 and the SilverStone FW122. At 100% speed, there was a difference of 1.3°C between both fans with the SilverStone SST-FW122 taking the lead at both speeds. These FW121 fans have performed admirably well under the stress test on the stock clocks. The SilverStone FW122s 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 FW122s were trailing behind the Alphacool Eiswind 12 with the margin of 0.44°C which is marginal. At 100% speed, the SilverStone FW122 took the lead again over the Eiswinds with the margin of 0.70°C. Both fans were neck-to neck.

Acoustics

40 dBA was the reading on our Fonseo Digital Sound Meter at full load and 100% speed and this is higher sound level.

Conclusion

The SST-FW122 is a professional PWM edition fan from the FW series of the SilverStone. FW series has has PWM enabled fans. We earlier took a look at their FW-121 fans. The fan has a dimension of a 120X120X25mm. The fan has a PWM connector to its plus giving the users better speed regulation. Let’s take a closer look at the fans. The fan is rated at 12V DC taking input power of 0.07A ~ 0.19A with 0.84 ~ 2.28W. Rated speed is 1000 to 1800 RPM. Static Pressure rating is 0.31 ~ 1.52mmH₂O with airflow rating of 42.6 ~ 76.5CFM. The website specifications are mentioning this static pressure rating to be 1.52 mmH₂O whereas the specification printed on the packaging is showing it to be 0.65 ~ 2.1 mmH₂O.  Noise level is 18.4 ~ 28.1 dBA. We have found a second contradiction in the specifications. The specifications on the website are stating the rated noise level to be 28.1 dBA maximum whereas the packaging of the fans is showing this rating to be 32.3 dBA. The fan is using Long Life sleeve bearing with MTBF of 40,000 hrs. Starting voltage is 5V DC as printed on the website whereas it is mentioned to be 6V DC on the packaging. The fan did start at 5V DC in our testing.

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 grommets as well as the sheet of 16x rubber pads that the user can paste on the 2x mounts per each hole. These pads are in the white color. It is somewhat surprising as SilverStone could have provided the fans with factory installed rubber pads. Maybe cost factor would have some role to play. 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. The blades are designed to give an optimal balance between the air pressure and the low noise. The build quality of the fans is good.

The fans are listed at $18.69 at the time of the review and price is just right for the performance that these fans offer. The fans have performed admirably well on our test bench. 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 again took the lead over the Alphacool Eiswind 12. 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 40 dBA whereas their rated sound level is 32.3 dBA. They are definitely louder but there is nothing that the custom fan curve profile can’t handle and the amount of airflow that these fans provide is too good. These fans have won our Recommended Award.

We are thankful to the SilverStone for sending us their SST-FW122 fans for the review.