SilverStone FN and FW Series fans Review
Published: 1st October 2014 | Source: SilverStone | Price: Â£5.86-Â£7.44 |
If there's one area of the PC accessories market that is, to all intents and purposes saturated, it's the case fan sector. Just take a look round any on line retailer and you'll see what we mean. The choice is quite simply bewildering. A bit of education though and you'll soon begin to realise that there a just a few fan manufacturers that stand out from the crowd. Silverstone, we're pleased to say is one such manufacturer. In this review we've looked at three of their new fans, two of which join the FW series and a third adding to the ranks of the FN series.
Taking them in numerical order we'll look at the FW121 first. At 15mm deep the fan is of the "Slim" variety, which with the PC case market undergoing an ever increasing lean towards small form factor cases represents quite an astute move on Silverstone's behalf. The 121 has a blue cowling with white blades, which with their inter blade cross bracing cause it to bear more than a passing resemblance to the high speed Gentle Typhoon range. It is though a considerably milder affair, offering fan speeds via PWM of between 800 and 2000 RPM. Although airflow is respectable at 13.1-32.6CFM, the down side of the thin body fans is that they are often down on Static pressure. Not so much a problem with air cooling, but can be limiting when combined with radiators. The 121 though does seem to make a reasonable fist of things with a static pressure of between 0.31 and 1.52mmH2O. In use the fan was reasonably quiet at all but the highest speeds, reflecting its stated 14.7-24.6dB(A)
Although part of the same line, aside from the identical colouring the standard thickness FW122 bears little resemblance to its thinner family member. It still has the PWM functionality but with a lower speed range having 1000-1800RPM. Airflow is higher at 42.6-76.5CFM with static pressure being about the same at 0.31-1.52mmH2O, remembering of course that this fan has a 200RPM slower top speed. Although the stated figures are slightly higher at 18.4-28.1dB(A) in use the noise levels from the 122 seem little different to the thinner 121.
Finally then we have the Black cowling, White bladed FN123. Colour aside the fan is essentially identical to the 121 but without the PWM functionality, having a rated speed of 2000RPM. Although having identical CFM and airflow figures the rated noise level is given as lower at 25.5dB(A) as you might imagine, in real world terms this variance is practically undetectable.
Having said the case fan market is saturated, the slim line market is only just starting to get damp. If you're in the market for a slim fan then there's really only the likes of the Akasa AK-FN078 along with colourful and somewhat garish offerings from Gelid and Phobya of which there is little to recommend. For those seeking any real performance, to this point the slim line case fan market has been largely dominated by the well-respected slip stream range from Scythe they do though lack the style of the FWs and tend to be quite a lot noisier given similar performance.
If you're embarking on a SFF or HTPC build or have a case where perhaps you'd like to put a rad and a fan but there's just not enough room we think the new slim line fans from Silverstone have quite a lot to offer. We're not sure the Blue and White styling of the FW series will be to everybody's taste however if you've not got a window then it won't really matter. Just shame you can't get the FN123 in PWM.
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