Sharkoon SHARK Blades & SilverStone FQ121 120mm Fans

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SilverStone FQ121

The SilverStone FQ121 looks exactly like fan included with the Argon AR01/AR03 except the colors have been reversed with a less attractive blue impeller and white casing rather than the other way around. The blades are long and heavily curved in a style reminiscent of the Scythe Gentle Typhoon, which incidentally occupies one of the top spots on our fan performance chart.

Package contents.

A closer look at the fan blades.

Compared to the large notches of the SHARK Blades, the FQ121 utilizes a subtler approach, carving short shallow slits the fins forming what SilverStone refers to as "air-inlets." Though the design is less dramatic, they essentially serve the same function, to minimize air turbulence. The FQ121 is positioned more as a CPU fan, so there is no soft-mounting option included, just a set of steel screws and a short molex adapter.

A head-on shot.

As the blades are tightly spaced and are more uniform in thickness from start to tip, they take up significantly more space inside the casing than the SHARK Blades. The more distinctive curves also form a more optimal angle with the struts which can be a factor in reducing tonality.

Specifications: SilverStone FQ121
Manufacturer SilverStone Power Rating 2.76 W
Model Number SST-FQ121 (AS1225H12) Airflow Rating 67.5 CFM
Bearing Type Powder Copper Fluid Speed Rating 1800 RPM
Frame Size 120 x 120 x 25 mm Noise Rating 24 dBA
Hub Size 42 mm Header Type 4-pin w/ molex adapter
Blade Diameter 111 mm Fan Mounts Screws
Cable Length 30 cm Weight 140 g
Starting Voltage 4.5 ~ 5.0 V Number of Samples 4
Corner Type Open Retail Availability Yes
Extras: 10 cm molex adapter.

The FQ121 is a tad heavier than most but the rest of its measurements are unremarkable for a 120 mm model. Like the SHARK Blades, it uses a form of fluid bearings and has a starting voltage below 5V.

A screen capture of Fan Xpert 2's auto-analysis of the Sharkoon SHARK Blades.

PWM support is often advantageous because it can allow some fans to be run at very low speeds but this wasn't the case with the FQ121. On PWM control, our fan test motherboard could not bring the speed down below 1000 RPM. DC control bottomed out at about 850 RPM so we had to hook it up to a manual controller to get a data point at the 700 RPM level (approximately 5V).

SPCR Test Results: SilverStone FQ121
Fan Speed (RPM)
Thermal Rise (°C)
Airflow in/out (FPM)

Compared to the SHARK Blades, the FQ121 produced similar thermal results at the 700 and 900 RPM levels but the measurable noise was slightly better. The sweet spot was encountered at 1100 RPM as a significant cooling improvement was observed coupled with a modest increase in noise compared to lower tested speeds.

Acoustic analysis of the SilverStone FQ121.

At top speed, the FQ121 exhibited an unremarkable mix of turbulent noise and faint whining, and this persisted down to about 1300~1400 RPM. At this level the sound started to change, giving it a mostly smooth demeanor with some chuffing, and a slight tone at ~700 Hz. At 1000 RPM and below, the chuffing was replaced by a low pitched buzz. Its acoustics were more complex and less desirable than the SHARK Blades, but thankfully, the abnormalities became negligible with distance. From one meter away a single FQ121 is unlikely to bother anyone.

Choosing a sample to represent the FQ121 was difficult. The four we had on hand had differing degrees of chuffing and buzzing, and often this varied at different speeds as well. As neither characteristic is pleasant, despite the differences, we were unable to judge whether any one sample sounded better than another. In the end, we simply picked one at random.

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