This year was marked by good news for all computer enthusiasts who prefer silent fans. The German company be quiet! has released the third iteration of its flagship Silent Wings propeller line. It has eight variants of 120- and 140-mm models, of which five pieces got to our test. These are two 140 mm propellers with impeller speeds of 1000 and 1600 rpm and three 120 mm fans: two (one with PWM, the second without) at 1450 rpm and one at 2200 rpm. Let’s see what has changed in these updates.
be quiet! Silent Wings 3 140mm
The theater begins with a hanger, a person is greeted by clothes, and any market product tries to lure the buyer with packaging. With this, the new Silent Wings are all right. Boxes have become an order of magnitude more attractive and easier to unpack. Most likely, be quiet! adopted experience from its closest Austrian competitor Noctua. Outwardly, everything remained the same — the product image on the front side, detailed technical specifications and descriptions of the benefits — on the back.
But the box itself now opens up. On the back of the cover there are some more interesting pictures and descriptions regarding the technical parameters of the fan. And inside there are two more separate smaller boxes. One contains the propeller itself, and the other contains a set of accessories for it. Somewhere at the bottom you can find a short instruction on how to install and use the product.
The list of accessories is almost standard for all fan variations, so we will mention it only once. There is an instruction manual, two sets (four each) of interchangeable mounting feet, an adapter from SATA power to three-pin fan connectors that allows you to change the speed by applying voltage to 5, 7 or 12 V, five screws, five plastic mounting studs and five rubber dampers.
Strictly speaking, it is not entirely clear to me why fans need two types of mounting, and why it could not be made universal. But in be quiet! judged otherwise. The rubber collar is fixed with a stud, which provides good vibration isolation and greatly simplifies the process of mounting the propeller frame or removing it for cleaning. The clip is double-sided. One side is “longer” (indicated by the symbol L) and it moves the turntable a couple of millimeters away from the body grille. This, theoretically, should reduce aerodynamic noise, although in practice the difference is not particularly felt. The second, short side (symbol S) provides the frame with a snug fit. The second type of mount is a plastic clip, rubber-lined inside. It is suitable for fixing with screws or wire clips, which are commonly used on a variety of CPU coolers.
The mount is put on the corner of the fan frame as shown in the following picture — it slides in from left to right and is fixed with a latch. By the way, it is not very convenient to unfasten this latch later — it will need to be pressed with something thin, such as a small screwdriver.
The cords on all fans are standard 500mm long and wrapped in a beautiful heat shrink nylon braid on both sides. If we compare Silent Wings 3 with previous versions of fans, the first thing that attracts attention is the propeller frame, with the sidewalls slightly protruding outward. Probably to increase the volume of pumped air. The edges of the frame are covered with a rubber pad. In addition, the impeller has also changed slightly. It retained the branded transverse stripes, but the blades increased in size, changed the angle of inclination to a more gentle one and acquired a slight curvature in the form of a “scimitar” at the ends.
The motor and bearing have not changed much. Mainly because they were good enough anyway. The perfectly balanced and silent hydrodynamic bearing continues to be complemented by a remarkable motor with six induction coils for the smoothest running of the rotor. However, I noted some strangeness of the electronic filling during the tests. Its essence lies in the fact that if the starting voltage is not immediately enough, then even with its subsequent increase, the engine does not start, emitting a high-frequency squeak. For a successful launch, you need to turn off the propeller completely, and then apply a voltage that is obviously higher than the starting one. With some reobasing, this launch algorithm can cause problems.
During testing be quiet! Silent Wings 3 140 mm proved to be exactly as good as its predecessor from the second series. The impeller needed 4V to start. By the way, all the fans in this review start from this mark. The propeller remained absolutely silent up to 900 rpm. Only at the maximum 1000 rpm, a slight aerodynamic rustle of the impeller appeared. The air flow was quite noticeable, although this model clearly does not create noticeable static pressure. In the case of installation in the case, the speed of this fan, most likely, will not need to be lowered. Although lovers of complete silence can still apply 10 or 11 V to it. Using a complete adapter in this case does not make much sense, because at 7 V there will be no tangible difference in the noise level, but the performance will sag.
|Noise, dB (A)||39||37||36||35||34||34||34||34||33|
be quiet! Silent Wings 3 140mm high-speed
This is a faster version of the 140mm fan that can go up to 1600rpm. The box and equipment are completely identical, so we will not linger on its consideration.
There are no visual differences in the design of the fan either.
All that is different is the marking sticker on the propeller stator.
In terms of noise, Silent Wings 3 140 mm high-speed can only be considered quiet in the range from 600 to 900 rpm. In the rest of the range, up to the maximum 1600 rpm, we clearly hear the aerodynamic sound of the blades, although it cannot be called annoying. Unlike its slower counterpart, high-speed has more frame vibration. The use of a step-down adapter in this model is more than justified, because 5 and 7 V quite fall into the low-noise speed range.
|Noise, dB (A)||50||48||47||44||42||39||37||35||34|
be quiet! Silent Wings 3 120mm
The packaging style of the 120mm fan model is actually no different from the 140mm version. The scope of delivery is similar.
The details of the design as a whole are also similar, although the shape and bend of the blades have become even more pronounced here than with the 140mm fan. The blades have become larger, flatter and bent at an even greater angle. Campaign, in be quiet! nevertheless, they came to the correct conclusion that silence is good, but performance is also required, and they optimized the impeller in this direction.
The motors and bearings of the 140mm and 120mm models are no different. MTBF is still 300k hours and power consumption is extremely low.
Up to 1100 rpm this propeller is completely silent. At a higher speed, the impeller begins to rustle, but its sound does not irritate the ear. When using a 7V step down adapter, we will get a 900rpm impeller speed, which will be optimal in terms of minimizing noise. Choking speed to 5 V and 600 rpm makes no practical sense.
|Noise, dB (A)||44||42||40||38||36||35||34||34||34|
be quiet! Silent Wings 3 120mm PWM
This fan is similar to the previous 120mm propeller in every way, except for the presence of a PWM controller. And, in fact, this difference is very important. The fact is that Silent Wings 2 also had models with PWM, but it was difficult to call them successful, since the operation of this controller was accompanied by a crash, nullifying all their advantages in silence. And how are things here?
With be quiet! Silent Wings 3 120 mm PWM no step down adapter. Therefore, connecting it directly to the power supply will not work. But to the four-pin (or three-pin) connector on the motherboard — please.
The power cord also has a length of 500 mm, a four-pin connector and a braid. Nothing new was found in the configuration of the impeller and frame.
This is what the fan looks like from the back.
Fortunately, all my fears about PWM parasitic overtones have been dispelled. Be quiet! finally it turned out to make a normal controller, which, when connected to the motherboard, does not emit cod and whistle. However, with some PWM rebasers, this unit tends to emit a high-frequency whistle when the speed is reduced. But this is a question more to the reobas than to the fan. This model can start at approximately 400 rpm with PWM connection and remains deadly quiet up to 1000 rpm. At a higher speed, up to a maximum of 1450 rpm, the impeller starts to sound, but this level of noise does not irritate the ear. This means that this fan is quite suitable for use on a processor cooler radiator.
|Noise, dB (A)||45||43||42||40||37||36||34||34||34|
be quiet! Silent Wings 3 120mm high-speed
The final model in our test is a high speed 120mm fan capable of 2200rpm. Its packaging and equipment is completely similar to previous models.
The impeller and propeller frame are equipped with the full range of be quiet! aerodynamic optimizations, but it is difficult to say whether it will be effective at high impeller speeds. The power connector is three-pin.
This is what the back of the fan looks like.
This instance is able to maintain silence only up to 1000 rpm. And this despite the fact that it starts at 800 rpm. Therefore, for quiet operation, it should be included in a 5 V adapter. Up to 1700 rpm, the noise is clearly distinguishable. And annoying buzzing starts in the range of 1900-2200 rpm. It creates a noticeable static pressure, but at a fairly high noise level. Useful for purging tight spaces in the case or radiators.
|Noise, dB (A)||55||53||52||49||46||44||40||37||35|