Unboxing and Review of SilverStone AP120I-PRO Fan

SilverStone AP120I-PRO Fan

It is now rare to see anything, that put inside a PC, to have no RGB lighting. The AP120i-PRO from SilverStone is a non-flashy cooling fan, which focuses mainly on performance. How well will it do in our benchmarks?


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The SilverStone Air Penetrator AP120i PRO fan is fitted with a double-ball bearing, with a MTBF of about 70,000 hours. Spinning at up to 2000 RPM, it is advertised to generate 74 CFM of airflow and 2.52 mmH2O of static pressure.


SilverStone AP120I-PRO Fan

The AP120I-PRO is shipped inside a blue cardboard box, with gold accent color at the bottom edge. You can see a photo of the fan’s front. Hardware specifications are listed at the back, on top of all the EAN/UPC barcodes and model number (SST-AP120I-PRO).

SilverStone AP120I-PRO Fan

Four standard fan screws and four anti-vibration rubber mounts are included in the packaging.

SilverStone AP120I-PRO Fan

SilverStone AP120I-PRO Fan

The AP120I-PRO has the standard 120 mm x 120 mm size, and 25 mm of thickness. Each of the nine fan blades has a slightly different angle, shape and curvature to allow for lower-pitch noises and better high-pressure performance. The unique fan grill design is the signature feature for an Air Penetrator series fan to focus and push airflow over a longer distance.

SilverStone AP120I-PRO Fan

There is no anti-vibration pad on the corners to reduce rattling noises between the fan frame and PC cases or CPU coolers. Arrows are marked on the side of the fan to indicate the blades’ rotation and airflow direction. Only a single 4-pin PWM connector is required to power and speed control.


Testing Methodology

To determine the performance of the fan, we will measure both the airflow and CPU temperatures when using in heatsink, as well as its sound levels.

An anemometer is used to record the fan’s airflow in various RPM ranges, including 25%, 50%, 75% and 100%. The results are measured in CFM (cubic feet per minute). The distance between the anemometer and the fan is kept at around 5 cm.

A decibel/sound level meter is also used to measure the fan’s operating noise at 1000 RPM, 50% and 100% fan speeds. Results are shown as dbA. Distance between the decibel meter and the fan is maintained at around 10 cm. Ambient sound level is at around 35 dbA.

The fan is then installed on the air cooler. The CPU, FPU and system cache are stressed using AIDA64. Ambient temperature is around 23°C. The temperature of the CPU package is recorded at full load when the fan is running at full speed.


SilverStone AP120I-PRO Fan

At the normal 5 cm testing distance, the AP120I-PRO performed really well, placing it at the third position in the chart. Maxing out the fan speed at about 2000 RPM, it could generate up to 64.7 CFM of airflow. Most impressively, the fan could still maintain around 55.12 CFM of airflow at 30 cm, which is the benefit of the air-channeling grill design. For comparison, the Noctua NF-A12x25 and NF-S12A were measured at 45.53 CFM and 33.55 CFM respectively with the same distance.

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Despite designed as case intake fan, the AP120I-PRO is still one of the best cooling fans in our heatsink benchmark. It was barely worse than the Noctua NF-A12x25 (its review here), with temperature difference at 42.1°C. It was closely matched by the Noiseblocker NB-B12P within the margin of error.

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The AP120I-PRO created noticeable, but still acceptable noise at full fan speed at around 60.4 dbA. It is similar to the SilverStone AP124-ARGB (its review here), but is slightly quieter with 200 RPM slower fan speed. Normalizing the speed to 1000 RPM resulted in average noise at 45.8 dbA.


Unboxing Treatment Recommendation

The SilverStone AP120I-PRO performed very great in both of our heatsink and airflow benchmarks. The high airflow and air-channeling fan grill makes it perfectly suitable to use as intake fan, pushing fresh/cool air through the whole length of the PC case. Noise level is decent, but it is not the fan’s strong suit. The all-black, no RGB design may be boring, though can be attractive for non-gamers.

The AP120I-PRO costs $19.99 USD (MSRP) with a 1-year warranty. It is reasonably priced as other premium fans in the market, if not slightly cheaper. The Noctua NF-F12 PWM and be quiet! Silent Wing 3 will charge you $19.95 USD and $25.90 USD respectively. The fan does best at what it aims to achieve, which is to concentrate and channel airflow at long distance up to 60 cm.

You can purchase the fans from your local/online resellers or the links below from Amazon.

Thanks SilverStone for providing us the fan for review. (Review Sample)

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