Review of Be Quiet! Silent Wings USC case fans

Summary: Be Quiet! recently updated their product line with the Silent Wings USC case fans, which incorporates some new and very interesting features to produce the maximum ratio of air volume moved / noise emitted.


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Be Quiet is a German manufacturer most known for their high quality power supplies. Today I will be taking a look at their new case fans called “Silent Wings”.


INTRODUCTION

The great majority of PC users don’t know about the difference between high quality fans and the ones that comes with standard desktop computers. There are many manufacturers in this market but if we are talking about high quality, long lived and silent case fans, it comes down to only a few manufacturers. Be Quiet wants a piece of that market and are clearly directing the Silent Wings fans towards enthusiasts and expert PC users. They market them as extremely silent, long lived and being able to move a great volume of air.

The German manufacturer introduces interesting materials and techniques to achieve the proclaimed features of these fans. They call this technique the “Ultra Silent Concept” (USC) and it includes the following:


  • Innovation: Screw less anti-vibration fixtures and rubberized fan frame protected by German utility patent .
    Effect: Quiet operation thanks to the reduction of vibrations and simple installation without tools.
  • Innovation: High-airflow-performance design with flow-optimized fan blades on both sides, protected by German utility patent.
    Effect: Quiet operation and optimum airflow.
  • Innovation: A high-quality IC controls the motor.
    Effect: Minimization of electrical noises at a constantly high running smoothness.


The above will accordingly to Be Quiet, give the fans a 300.000 hours life span. Let’s take a look at the specifications:


Be Quiet! Silent Wings specification

80x80x25

Speed: 2000rpm (1700rpm at 7V)
Noise emission: 15 dBa at 2000 rpm
Moved air volume: 44,2 ms³/h (26.02 CFM)
Air pressure: 2.25 mm²
Effect: 0,816W
Power: 0.068A
Consumption: 69 mA/0.82watts

92x92x25

Speed: 1800rpm (1100rpm at 7V)
Noise emission: 16 dBa at 1800 rpm
Moved air volume: 55,4 ms³/h (32.61 CFM)
Air pressure: 1.98 mm²
Effect: 0,6W
Power: 0.05A
Consumption: 64 mA/0.77 watts

120x120x25

Speed: 1500rpm (950rpm to 7V)
Noise emission: 17 dBa at 1500 rpm
Moved air volume: 85,5 ms³/h (50.32 CFM)
Air pressure: 1.63 mm²
Effect: 1,09W
Power: 0.09A
Consumption: 70 mA/0.84 watts



FIRST IMPRESSIONS

The packaging of the three models is identical, only their dimensions are different. As you can see from the image below, the boxes are black with white and yellow printing on them. The front part can be flipped over and behind it, we can get a glimpse of the fan itself.


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The Silent Wings 12V bundle includes an adapter from 3 to 4 pins, a reducer from 12V to 7V for a quieter operation without having to use the regulator, and 5 “silent screws” which are made of plastic screws with rubber plates (for fastening the fan to the case). The fact that the plastic screws are rigid facilitates the installation (not like other fans I have tested previously which use rubber screws).



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IN DETAIL

All three models look exactly the same except for their size. They are made in a blackish color, only the color of the Be Quiet logo differs. At the beginning of the review I talked about the USC concept and one of the things included in that concept is the fact that the frames are made of an anti vibration material. This, together with the fastening screws described above, makes it impossible for the fan to transmit any vibrations to the case.



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Another thing included in the USC concept, is the innovative design of the fan blades which you can see in greater detail in the image below. According to Be Quiet!, this design maximizes the ratio between the volume of air moved and the noise level produced by the fan.


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Yet another USC feature is the “Dynamic Bearing” electrical motor which has a copper core. The result of this innovation is a lower electrical noise from the motor when it operates at the maximum speed. Another result of this technology is that the mechanical friction is reduced to a minimum and thus a quieter operation is achieved. The use of copper in the motor, also improves the heat dissipation coming from the motor, which prolongs the life span of the fan and gives the Silent Wings fan a life span about 5 to 10 times longer that the life span of traditional case fans.



It seems like Be Quiet! has thought of everything. I love the fact that the Silent Wing fans can be operated at a voltage of 3.5V. Normally case fans use 12V but some models in the high end segment have an adapter which lets them operate at only 7V. The Silent Wings are to my knowledge the only fans on the market that are able to work at a voltage of 3.5V.


Not only the finish and the features of the fan itself are great, the cables and connectors have been given great attention. The power connector is of standard 3 pin type, but is possible to modify with an adapter which lets us regulate the fan speed. The wire has a length of 450mm, which is great because it facilitates the arrangement of cables inside the case.



TESTING

The tests performed in this review are somewhat subjective, because I lack instruments to measure actual noise level and the actual volume of air these fans are able to move. Nevertheless, I have tested many different case fans previously so I have a lot of experience in what to look for and expect. My observation of the operation of the three models has been realized with a voltage of 12V.


120mm fan

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92mm fan

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80mm fan

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When the Silent Wings are operating at 12V they generate the maximum moved volume of air. As I said above, I have tested many high end case fans from prestigious marks and when comparing the performance of the Silent Wing in terms of the volume of air moved, I must say I was very impressed. The fact that these fans generate a great air flow is partly due to the fact that they have a higher than normal rotating speed (1500RPM for the 120mm; 1800RPM for the 92mm; 2000RPM for the 80mm). This also results in a noise level slightly higher that what I am used to with high end fans in corresponding sizes. But I wouldn’t say that the noise level is in any way high, quite the opposite they are very quiet.


When running the fans at lower speeds the noise level drastically diminishes. I tried running the fans at both 7V and 3.5V and at 3.5V the fans are almost not possible to detect at all. The fact that you can run these fans in different modes makes them attractive to both HTPC builders and overclockers.



CONCLUSIONS

Clearly, Be Quiet! has put some serious work in research and development before launching these fans to the market and they have done a nice work in innovating a rather stale market and product type. Everything about these fans has been thoroughly thought through and the innovations have proved themselves to be working just as planned in my tests. The prices for the fans are 15€, 13€, and 10€ for the 120mm; 92mm and 80mm respectively.



Strong points

Weak points

Great quality, finish and materials

None

Silent Blocks


Great air volume


Versatility (SilentPC, overclock, HTPC)


Very quiet in medium and low speeds



Be Quiet! Silent Wings USC

Packing and accessories

0,5/0,5

Construction

1/1

Air volume

2/2

Loudness

3,8/4

Price

2,2/2,5

Total

9,5/10


The final score is 95 out of 100 owls, and we give the “Be Quiet! Silent Wings USC” our Editor’s Choice Award.


TestSeek Labs Editor's Choice 2009 Award




Thanks to Be Quiet! For letting me review these fans.



Author: Manuel González Fernández

Translator: Vince Emiloz Sanderson

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