SilverStone FM121 review

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The first models I’ve tested so far aka SilverStone Air Penetrator SST-AP121-GL and SilverStone Air Penetrator SST-AP141 were really nice products with great features and nice performance and I am sure SilverStone FM121 will show a very interesting performance.

Before I start with the review I want to say that SilverStone FM121 is an old model which is still in the SilverStone product list, which made me think it is a really nice fan. I tried to find the release date for this product and the oldest information for it was from 2006 but I am not sure if it was released in 2006.

So, let’s check what SilverStone FM121 is: :)

The fan comes in a very big and stylish black carton box with a see through plastic cut, through which you can see the fan structure, with some basic information on the front and full picture of the fan + the fan controller provided with the fan. The thing that made me smile is that this package is very solid like the packages used for products before the world economic crisis. I am pretty sure this box can protect the fan in any reasonable contidions.

And of course the full technical details and some information for the product are on the back side of the box.

As soon as I got the fan out of the strong “fortress” it was placed in I noticed some very interesting features, which I will describe one by one in this article.

The fan is made of a very standard plastic square 120mm frame and a plastic propeller with 9 blades with very sharp angle, which made me think this model is made to provide a lot of air and static pressure, but maybe will be noisy. Only time will show and I will check it later. All of the parts are in white.

Maybe you already saw the first interesting feature of this product. There are 3 different pairs of cables popping out of the fan which are:

  1. A power cable. Yes, this fan is powered by a molex directly from the power supply.
  2. A tachometer cable to be attached at any of the fan connectors on the motherboard just to track the revolutions per minute. I am 99% sure this fan can’t be regulated by the motherboard automatically since it is powered directly from the power supply
  3. There is a small cable and connector – very short one in which the external fan controller can be attached. The fan controller is provided with the fan and looks like this:

Actually the fan controller is the second nice feature and can be mounted on a 3.5″ hdd  slot at the front of the case and is supplied with a very long cable so it can reach the fan if it’s mounted even at the back of the case. The important thing is that this fan controller is regulated by increasing and decreasing the ressistance when it is attached to the fan by hand and doesn’t provide automatic mode. This fan controller can be in silver and in black and of course there is the SilverStone logo on it.

The standard package offers:

  1. Four metal screws for mounting the fan
  2. Four metal screws for mounting the fan controller
  3. Fan controller
  4. Safety metal grill

And here I was like WOW we have a safety grill and started to wonder. Is it really necessary? The fan can be dangerous? Maybe it is, and I will definitely test it a bit later.

There is one more thing that grabbed my attention. There are 4 screws to be used for attaching the fan to the case, 4 screws for mounting the fan controller and where are the screws for mounting the grill ?

Actually this is the first fan I’ve received with a safety grill. Really nice!

After I saw it I am kinda eager to test it and so let’s do it:

The tests will be conducted in my standard way. I will mount the sample and test it at 5V/7V/9V/12V and my goal will be to check the authenticity of the technical characteristics given by the manufacturer. The product will be tested under close-to-perfect conditions, not taking into account any external factors. The results achieved during the test can in no way be the same if the fan is mounted on a cooler or on the case fan hole of any modern computer case. I will measure the amount of air going through the fan for one hour and its speed. For this I use a fan controller, a voltage meter, an anemometer and a stand made specifically for this purpose.

Actually, before I started testing I had to modify the power and the regulation method because like this I was able  to measure the revolutions per minute but not able to control the fan from my fan controller and at the voltage I need. So I modified the powering by adding a 3 pin fan connector and it is tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiime for testing :)

The test results are shown in the following charts:

Airflow through the fan at 5V, 7V, 9V, 12V

Propeller rpm during the tests at 5V, 7V, 9V, 12V.

The anemometer showed the following air speed:

After mounting the fan onto the stand and leaving it to run for about 30 minutes at maximum speed, it was time for the tests to begin.

As with my other tests, again I started with a gradual increase of the voltage through the Lamptron FCT starting at 0V and the SilverStone FM121 made one full revolution at 7V and to conduct the first test I had to decrease the voltage to 5V.

Test at 5V:

After decreasing the voltage from 7 to 5V I left it to work for 2 minutes and did the test. At this voltage the fan was working at 1050 revolutions per minute and airflow level of 92.64 cubic metres per hour. Really impressive! At this rotating speed the fan was silent.

Test at 7V:

In the second test conducted at 7V, which is actual starting voltage the fan reached exactly1500 revolutions per minute and airflow level of 131.52 cubic metres. At this voltage there was a noise comming from the air passing throught the propeller.

Test at 9V:

The third test was conducted at 9V and at this voltage the fan provided an airflow level of 170.4 cubic metres per hour rotating at 1860 revolutions per minute. The noise level increased.

Test at 12V:

Last test was conducted at 12V and here my jaw dropped. I was smilling  like evil overexcited “genious” and rubbing my hands trying to understand the airflow level of 213.12 cubic metres per hour at 2355 revolutions per minute. Yes the fan was noisy, a lot, but who cares! That’s a record for my fan catallogue.

I am so excited about this fan and I think it’s about time to share my conclusions:

  1. Performance: I have nothing more to say except: Outstanding performance. The fan made the highest airflow level from all fans I’ve tested for the past 2 years and a half.
  2. Noise level: The fan was noisy, I can’t deny that but at these revolutions per minute and at this airflow level, no one can expect this fan to be silent.
  3. Apperance:  The white/grey colour scheme is nice but I am not sure if it will fit good with cases with different colour schemes. Still I think it would be better if this fan was in black.

Before I finish the article and give the reward I think I should recommend the fan to be used as a CPU cooler fan mounted on every processor working at standard and overclocked frequency. The fan will handle it for sure.

Apart from that it can work as mounted on a case slot and regulated to 5V but this should be done every time the pc is powered, just because the fan can’t start at lower than 7V. If it is used as a case fan at 7V it won’t be very quiet.

I think SilverStone FM121 deserves the following reward:

SilverStone FM121 have been added to the 120mm fans catalogue.

Official price (MSRP): 11.90 euro

I thank Silverstone for the test sample.

 

 

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Leave a comment (in English only, please)

  1. PepiX Comment:

    It is interesting to note the fact how old it is and the presence of a record..

    Nice post again man.. keep feeding us :)

  2. PepiX Comment:

    Of course.. it is the second fastest, but still.. its results are comparable to Reeven’s in terms of rpm/airflow/air speed ratio.. so is actually on par with them, but maintaining higher upper limits..

    It also looks a little bit too plastic, but then.. this will easily be lost once it is in motion :D

  3. Dk_vr Comment:

    I just got information from SilverStone that the model was released at 2005. An old but still excellent product.

  4. Overcrash Comment:

    This fan is has been in the top 3 mainstream fan since it was released many years ago. Highly recommend to anyone who can afford it!

  5. Shad0whunter Comment:

    Gorgeous fan with outstanding performance and tolerable noise level. Awesome Silverstone fan!!! I am sure Dobrin is a fan of the fan… :P

  6. John Comment:

    I recently purchased a pair of FM121′s to use in a Lian Li PC-7B plus that I’m upgrading, and would be very interested to know how you went about modifying the wiring into a 3-pin plug. I love the fans, but the dial control is outdated, and I would much prefer to plug them directly into the MB. Thanks!

  7. Dk_vr Comment:

    Hello John,
    sorry for the late reply…

    To mod the powering you will need a cable from old fan with the 3 pin connector and will need only the black and red wires.

    I will try to explain as clearly as possible. There are 2 cables(black and red) coming out from the fan(check picture: http://dvtests.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/IMG_6186.jpg) and installed in the 4 pin molex connector for powering directly from the power supply.
    You will have to cut them and attach them to the old cable with 3 pin connector from the other fan accordingly red with red and black with black then isolate them with proper tape.

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