SilverStone Air Penetrator Fans - Bringing Desktop Cooling to the next level

Silverstone SST-AP121

The Silverstone SST-AP121 is one of the best 120mm desktop chassis in the market. Launched back in 2010, this fan had the capabilities to break the limits of PC cooling with fans thanks to its new and innovative air channeling technology. A few years down the road, not much innovation has been focused on Air-Cooled desktop solutions and the SST-AP121 remains to be one of the best desktop fans out in the market. Today, we are going to take a re-look at the product and see what makes it so great even until this day. Then, we are going to look at the improved model, the SST-AP123 and compare the differences between the two models. Next, we will look at the different technologies and methodologies that these fans offer to tackle the problem of heat from computer components.

Core Features

■ Industry leading air channeling fan.
■ Wide fan blades for reducing air resistance.
■ Standard 120mm frame for maximum compatibility with CPU coolers.
■ Integrated air channeling grille double as fan guard to reduce overall size.
■ Low power consumption.
■ Fluid Dynamic Bearing (FDB) for high reliability.


Specifications

Model No.
SST-AP121
Color
Transparent Blue UV Fan blades, Black Frame
Bearings
Fluid Dynamic Bearings
Connectors
3pin
Rated Voltage
12V DC
Start Voltage
5V DC
Rated Current
0.09A, 0.33A (Max)
Rated Power
1.08W, 3.96W (Max)
Speed
1500+-10% RPM
Airflow
35.36CFM
Effective Airflow Range
1 meter
Static Pressure
1.71mmH2O
Air Speed
2.5m/s (measured at fan exit)
Noise Level
22.4dB(A)
Life Time
50000H
Dimensions
120mm x 120mm x 25mm
Accessories
Includes two speed reduction cables



Silverstone SST-AP123

The SST-AP123 is the next generation desktop cooling fan that uses the same kind of innovative fan technology, bringing cooling capabilities to a next level in performance.


■ Industry leading air channeling fan
■ Mixed fan blade design for noise reduction
■ Standard 120mm frame for maximum
compatibility with CPU coolers
■ Integrated air channeling grille double as fan guard to reduce overall size
■ Low power consumption










Model No.
SST-AP123
Color
Blue UV Fan blades, Black Frame
Bearings
Fluid Dynamic Bearings
Connectors
3pin
Rated Voltage
12V DC
Start Voltage
4.5V DC
Rated Current
0.13A, 0.33A (Max)
Rated Power
1.56W, 3.96W (Max)
Speed
1500+-10% RPM
Airflow
35.36CFM
Effective Airflow Range
1.2 meter
Static Pressure
1.46mmH2O
Air Speed
2.1m/s (measured at fan exit)
Noise Level
23.8dB(A)
Life Time
50000H
Dimensions
120mm x 120mm x 25mm
Weight
157g
Accessories
Includes two speed reduction cables



The relation of airflow direction and air channeling to cooling performance within desktop computers

“Air Penetrator” series of fans improve airflow efficiency over traditional fans dramatically. The uniquely designed fan blades channel wind into a swirl-liked shape at targeted areas to maximize cooling performance. Airflow is directed via a circular motion towards a uniform direction that virtually eliminates all dead spot (that were apparent in usual fan designs) . The wind produced by the Air Penetrator series of fan from Silverstone is concentrated more on a single point, and can reach a further distance as compared to a traditional fan. Traditional fans make use of a honeycomb grills to simulate the same effect, but such grills creates resistance and reduces the raw performance of the fans.

http://silverstonetek.com/techtalk_cont.php?area=en&tid=wh10_0061


The Truth About Fluid Dynamic Bearing (FDB) Fans 




Lifespan & Noise: Fluid-dynamic fan bearings have the greatest lifespan -- ranging from 100,000 hours on the low end (40-70C) to more than 500,000 hours, depending on the fan model. These test results are projections from reliability labs where different methods of stress tests are simulated on the fans. This article will not focus on the type of reliability tests that are performed on the fans, as it would be a huge topic by itself.

Fans with fluid-dynamic bearing technology remains very quiet throughout the entirety of their lifespan. As a quick comparison, here are two sample results from our noise level test system:

Bearing Technology
Sleeve
Fluid/Hydro
Operating RPM (Controlled)
1200RPM
1200RPM
Noise Level (Variable)
~22dBA
~18.7dBA
Operating temperatures (Controlled)
50 Degree Celsius
50 Degree Celsius

Here are some core differences comparing different technologies.
  • Mounting: Fluid fans can be mounted in any direction without hiccups.
  • Performance: Fluid-dynamic bearings are made for high-performance computer systems. They are generally preferred its reliable and silent characteristics, yet producing high performing specifications. It is generally able to push the same or more air (measured in CFM) as other fans of their range. 
  • Cost : These fans tend to cost more. This is a trade-off for the benefits of the product.
The new Maglev bearing technology for fans operates similarly to a maglev train, where magnetic repulsion allows a fan to fun almost in silence. Since the adoption of such technology is still rare, it is not the focus of this article.
Mixed fan blade design - AP123 


The AP123’s most distinctive feature is its mixed fan blade design. Thicker blades results in better air pressure performance while thinner blades leads to better airflow. By integrating the benefits of all three different types of fan blade design, the AP123 can achieve a well-balanced performance in various aspects.


AP121 &AP123's unique air channeling ability 

Unlike most fans that are designed solely for higher airflow based on specifications, SilverStone’s Air Penetrator fans are created to do it effectively. Despite a lower specification, it does its work much more effectively than competing products of the same or higher specifications. By pushing airflow forward in a circular pattern, cool air can reach farther into the targeted component, thus reducing the overall temperature of the specific component, resulting in an overall cooler operating temperature within the computer chassis.


Silverstone Air Penetrator fans improve airflow focus drastically


AP121 & AP123

Normal Fan


In the test above, it can be seen that a focused airflow movement can effectively direct cooler air to a targeted component. This is only possible in the Air Penetrator series of fans from SilverStone.

SilverStone uses a superior bearing technology that utilizes Fluid Dynamic Bearing for better reliability and quieter operation.

AP121 & AP123 uses premium Fluid Dynamic Bearing (FDB) for longer life span as compared to conventional fans. FDB also provides exceptional smoothness between the fan's driver and blades ensuring that the fan operates with the least possible noise and reduces wear and tear due to friction. This also means that the fans can last longer than conventional fans.


Blue UV effect of AP121 & AP123

AP121’s signature UV designs are retained in the AP123! The fan blades are UV reactive and produces glow-like effect when in the presence of UV light. Such fans could interest PC modders, as it would integrate well into the system design of their desktop computers.

AP121 Glowing

AP123 Glowing


So which fan should I buy?

Depending on one's budget and cooler requirements for a computer, the appropriate choice of fan should be considered. With an expensive case that supports fans larger than 140mm, the focus is more on bringing as much airflow in and out of the case quickly, so as to cool the system effectively. Noise is less of a concern as larger fans tend to operate silently. However, as fan size gets smaller, the operating rotating speed of the fan increases, and noise level increases. If the budget allows, the SilverStone AP121 and AP123 are possible choices for the system, as they balances well between performance and noise levels.



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