SilverStone Air Penetrator AP120i PRO Review (Page 2 of 4)

Page 2 - Physical Look - Hardware

Like I said earlier, there is nothing flashy about the SilverStone Air Penetrator AP120i PRO. There is no crazy RGB flashing everywhere -- or anywhere, for that matter. SilverStone kept this fan simple and to the point. The entire fan is black in color. Unlike many other fans, the Air Penetrator AP120i PRO has no branding on the middle of the impeller; rather the branding is on the output side of the fan. On the edges around the mounting holes, there are no pads that serve as dampeners for the fan. This may cause a bit of extra noise due to the vibrations the fan will make when mounted, unless you opt to use the rubber fan mounts. Overall, the design of this fan is quite understated compared to all the RGB products in the market today.

Internally, the fan uses dual ball bearings. These bearings are similar to regular ball bearings, except there are two rows of them instead of one for the ability to bear radial and axial loads in both directions. The use of dual ball bearings increases the longevity and consistency of the fan compared to regular ball bearings. This fan bearing type can be mounted in any orientation without affecting its longevity. These fans should last about 70,000 hours. We will see how much noise this fan outputs when we test them later.

Taking a closer look at the fan blades, you can see some notable difference compared to other fans. If you look carefully, there are three different fan blade geometries for improved subjective noise reduction. All blades curves outward nearing the end of each one. There is a small gap in between each of the fins, having no overlapping fins. The angle each blade sits in comparison to the rotating middle is about 45 degrees. The curvature of the blades is about average. There is a total of nine blades on the impeller. The blades on this fan are quite smooth.

On the output side, several arms hold the fan at a less direct angle as seen in the image above. These arms will obstruct some air from passing through, but they are designed for channeling the air, which we will see in the next page. There is a single cable on the SilverStone Air Penetrator AP120i PRO attached to the fan for power and fan control. The cable is a 4-pin PWM controlled header. The cable is approximately 470mm in length. This should be long enough to maneuver around most cases for a clean build, as this is a single fan with simple setup. The cables are quite flexible, but they are not braided. A braided cable would be more desirable, but I personally do not see braided fan cables too often.

Looking at the specifications, we can see the maximum CFM or cubic feet per minute rating of the SilverStone Air Penetrator AP120i PRO is 74 CFM. This is quite high for a 120 mm fan. Air pressure is another important metric to evaluate the performance of a fan. In scenarios where there is a mesh or heatsink that obstructs airflow, the fan is required to have the strength to pump air through it. This strength is measured in mmH2O. The Air Penetrator AP120i PRO specifies about 2.52 mmH2O maximum. Note that these values are achieved by the fan spinning at about 2000 RPM, which is the fan’s maximum speed. Another important aspect of fans is their noise level, which is measured using dB, or decibels. The specifications state the minimum noise level is 0 dB given that the fan is off, while the maximum noise level is 38.9 dB. It is quite unique the fan speed can scale all the way down to 0 RPM. Taking this into account, these fans can be considered average in noise level for normal use.

Page Index
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Hardware
3. Performance Tests
4. Conclusion