Sharkoon SHARK Blades & SilverStone FQ121 120mm Fans

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MP3 SOUND RECORDINGS

These recordings were made with a high resolution, lab quality, digital recording system inside SPCR's own 11 dBA ambient anechoic chamber, then converted to LAME 128kbps encoded MP3s. We've listened long and hard to ensure there is no audible degradation from the original WAV files to these MP3s. They represent a quick snapshot of what we heard during the review.

These recordings are intended to give you an idea of how the product sounds in actual use — one meter is a reasonable typical distance between a computer or computer component and your ear. The recording contains stretches of ambient noise that you can use to judge the relative loudness of the subject. Be aware that very quiet subjects may not be audible — if we couldn't hear it from one meter, chances are we couldn't record it either!

The recording starts with 5~10 second segments of room ambiance, then the fan at various levels. For the most realistic results, set the volume so that the starting ambient level is just barely audible, then don't change the volume setting again.

  • Sharkoon SHARK Blades
    — 550 RPM (11 dBA@1m)
    — 700 RPM (12 dBA@1m)
    — 900 RPM (14 dBA@1m)
    — 1000 RPM (16 dBA@1m)
  • SilverStone FQ121
    — 700 RPM (11 dBA@1m)
    — 900 RPM (12~13 dBA@1m)
    — 1100 RPM (15 dBA@1m)
    — 1500 RPM (22~23 dBA@1m)
    — 1900 RPM (29 dBA@1m)

COMPARISONS & FINAL THOUGHTS

The following table has been assembled indicating the temperature rise each fan produced at noise levels of 22 dBA@1m and below. The fans have been arranged loosely from best to worst from top to bottom.

120 mm Fan Comparison: Thermal Rise (°C)
SPL (dBA @1m)
22
21
20
19
18
17
16
15
14
13
12
11
Noiseblocker B12-2
             
20
   
23
28
Scythe Gentle Typhoon AP12
                   
24
27
Scythe Slip Stream 120-M
     
21
     
23
     
26
Noiseblocker M12-S1
                   
25
29
Corsair AF120 Quiet
         
20
 
23
26
30
Scythe GlideStream 120-LM
         
21
   
23
 
26
Corsair AF120 Performance
       
20
   
23
 
26
 
Scythe Gentle Typhoon AP14
   
19
     
22
   
24
27
 
Scythe GlideStream 120-MP
         
21
     
23
28
Nexus Real Silent
       
22
     
24
 
26
33
Noiseblocker B12-PS
19
   
21
     
24
 
28
30
Corsair SP120 Quiet
   
21
       
22
 
29
bequiet! Silent Wings 2 120
       
22
   
25
27
SilverStone FQ121
             
23
 
28
 
31
Noiseblocker M12-S2
         
23
     
25
29
33
Scythe Grand Flex-SH-P
       
21
     
25
 
31
 
Scythe Grand Flex-M
   
23
     
26
   
30
 
Noiseblocker M12-P
         
22
   
25
 
31
 
GELID Wing 12
         
22
   
26
     
Antec TrueQuiet 120
     
24
     
26
   
29
34
Antec TrueQuiet 120 Pro
     
24
       
27
 
29
35
Antec TwoCool 120
         
22
 
26
 
31
34
SilverStone AP123
   
24
       
27
   
31
 
Sharkoon SHARK Blades
           
26
 
28
 
32
39
Green box indicates a win, blue box indicates second place.

While the Sharkoon SHARK Blades generated more agreeable acoustics than the FQ121, as performance goes, it was dreadful, landing dead-last on our 120 mm fan chart. It claimed this dubious honor with distinction, producing bottom of the barrel results at every tested level: 16, 14, 12, and 11 dBA. It's a handsome looking fan but it seems like some of the design elements used to achieve its aesthetic appeal squashed its cooling potential. It's a classic case of style over substance.

Overall, the SilverStone FQ121 placed near the center of the pack but that doesn't tell the whole story. At the 15 dBA@1m level (1100 RPM), its result matched those in the top third of the field — its cooling capacity (relative to the competition) only tailed off at lower speeds. If you're using it with PWM control, it's never going to drop below 1000 RPM, and additionally, no knowledgeable user would consider purchasing such a high RPM fan for low speed operation. The FQ121 isn't a standout, but for a high speed model, it seems decent enough to warrant consideration.

Our thanks to mnpctech.com and SilverStone for supplying the fans tested in this review and Thermalright for providing the CPU thermal simulator and the heatsink sample used in our test setup.

* * *

SPCR Articles of Related Interest:

Scythe GlideStream, Slip Stream XT, and Grand Flex Fans
Second 140 mm Fan Roundup: Antec, bequiet!, Corsair, Scythe
First 140 mm Fan Roundup: Noctua, Phanteks, Xigmatek
Fan Roundup #7: Antec, bequiet!, Corsair, GELID, Noiseblocker, SilverStone
Fan Roundup #6: Scythe, Noiseblocker, Antec, Nexus, Thermalright
SPCR's Recommended Fans

* * *

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