Page 3 - Performance Tests
Using our tried-and-true APH proprietary 'scientific' method for measuring fan performance we devised back in 2007 by our Editor-in-Chief Jonathan Kwan, it is no surprise we are using it for this review as well. While it is not exactly the most objective method you can use (No kidding haha), there are a few attributes of fan performance that we can obtain clearly from our observations: Airflow, airflow consistency, and amount of static pressure generated. It visually portrays characteristics of each fan.
In our tissue paper test, the differences between all three of these fans are quite clear. All of these fans were tested at both ends of their rated speed spectrum, but photos were taken of the maximum setting. In most cases, it would be better to run the fan at higher speeds to introduce a greater volume of air into the system, but there are cases where a lower setting is more valuable. Starting with the FQ122 on the left, we can see the airflow produced translates into the tissue paper flying off the ground. As for air consistency, there was a bit of fluttering about from the tissue paper. The tissue paper does not fly extremely high, but the fans are still able to push it off the ground. The FW122 also produced quite a bit of airflow and easily pushed the tissue paper up, with performance similar to the FQ122. There was also some wavering seen from the tissue paper during the test with this fan. Finally, the FW121, as it is rated for the lowest CFM, pushed the tissue paper up the least, but that is to be expected. It was however the most consistent between the three fans, as there was the least tissue paper movement on this unit. I can of course say there may have been some bias introduced when setting up this test, as the tissue paper was only able to lay flat on the FW121. The other two fans had to accommodate for an uneven top.
Perceived sound is another important factor when testing these fans. There is a limitation to this however, as it can be quite subjective to both the listener and the environment of the fans. I know everyone here at APH Networks really strives for as little noise as possible, and quite a few of us are picky. The noise levels of these fans were tested independently in a quiet room with all other noises from our system isolated to ensure that we are testing these fans alone. We rate the perceived noise on a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 is silence, while 10 is the loudest jackhammer and goal horn mixed together. For the FQ122, FW122, and FW121 at maximum speeds, I would rate them at 4.0/10, 4.5/10, and 3.0/10, respectively. These results are as we expect, as a lower volume airflow correlates to a lower noise produced. All of these are quite close in terms of sound, but the two Fx122 fans most definitely were louder. The FQ122 produces a slightly lower noise, which means the differences like the bearings are doing the job in keeping the noise low and performance high. I still think SilverStone can make improvements in optimizing their fan design, but I have to say this is a pretty good showing from SilverStone nonetheless.
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. A Closer Look - Hardware
3. Performance Tests