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Written by David Ramsey   
Monday, 09 August 2010
Table of Contents: Page Index
SilverStone SST-AP181 Air Penetrator Fan
Closer Look: SilverStone SST-AP181 Fan
Air Penetrator Detailed Features
Air Penetrator Fan Installation
Fan Testing and Results
Who needs a CPU fan?
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Fan Testing and Results

The system I used for testing is the same one I built into the FT02 case originally, which I described in my SilverStone FT02 Computer Case review. It comprises an ASUS P6T V2 Deluxe motherboard, 12G of Corsair Dominator memory, two NVIDIA GTX480 video cards, and an Intel Core i7 980X processor.

I used Everest Ultimate version 5.5 to load the processor with the "Stress CPU" and "Stress FPU" tests. The results are presented as "thermal difference": the difference between the processor temperature and the ambient temperature. For these tests the Intel Core i7 980x processor was overclocked to 4.1GHz with a 160MHz BCLK and 1.35 volts.


The CPU cooler used was a dual-fan Cooler Master V6GT. And here are the results:


SilverStone claims that the AP181 fans set to "low" provide the same performance as the original case fans set to "High". This certainly seems to be true: in fact, the AP181's on low provide slightly better performance than the FT02 fans on high. The difference between the stock fans on low and the AP181 fans on high is 3.7 degrees.

Now let's look at the NVIDIA GTX480 temperatures with the video card fans set to "auto". I took idle and load temperature measurements (using Furmark 1.8.2 Multi GPU version to load the cards) with the case fans set to both low and high speeds.


Here we see much less difference between the FT02 fans and the AP181 fans. The AP181 wins by a degree or so at idle with low fan speed, but actually falls behind slightly at idle with high fan speed. When the cards are loaded with Furmark, the temperatures with the AP181 fans are actually higher than the temperatures with the FT02 fans. Let's try the test again with the GTX480 fans set to 100%, as they might be in an overclocking or benchmarking scenario.


Here, the AP181 fans provide a much better performance: the GTX480 load temperatures are 0.9 to 5.9 degrees cooler with the case fans set to "low", and 3.9 to 4.9 degrees lower when the case fans are set to "high".

But then I had a crazy thought...



# Quiet FT02Peter Hopewell 2010-08-10 12:24
I'm interested in running a quiet FT02 system and wondering if these fans offer any advantages. I want to run the 980X at stock with a Magahalem and quiet PWM fan and use a passive 5750 (e.g. Powercolor Go Green). Could these fans be run at lower RPM via a fan controller? Any thoughts on how stable a system at lower RPM might be?
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# RE: SilverStone SST-AP181 Air Penetrator FanDavid Ramsey 2010-08-16 17:03
That's a good question, Peter. The fans are virtually silent at "low" RPM, so I don't see any real advantage to running them any more slowly (I wasn't clear in the article when I said that they were noisier than the stock fans, which I only noticed at the "high" speed setting).

You might be able to run the fans with a separate fan controller, leaving the attached switches set to "high", but not knowing how the attached switches are wired up, it's just a guess.

Since you'll be running the system at its stock clocks, why bother with a fan on the Megahalems at all? As my tests showed, a Megahalems will keep a 980X nice and cool with no attached fan, just using the airflow from the AP181s.
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# FT02 with Super Mega side panel closure?Harry 2010-09-11 16:15

I would like to know when you install the Prolimtech SM Cooler in FT02 your review, could the FT02 case side panel be closed? Isn't the spec for this cooler very tall and could touch the side panel case?

I am thinking of getting similar sized cooler for my RV02 like CM Hyper 212+ GP which is cheaper.

Your assistance is very much appreciated.

Thank you.


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# RE: SilverStone SST-AP181 Air Penetrator FanDavid Ramsey 2010-09-11 17:13
Yes, the side panel fits on with no clearance problems. There's maybe 1/2" of clearance between the top of the Super Mega cooler and the side panel window.
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# RE: SilverStone SST-AP181 Air Penetrator FanJiri 2010-11-25 03:10

thank you for the review. I was wondering, is it possible to thest the Thermalright HR-02 in the passive setup with the FT-02 case (AP-181 fan)?

That would be lovely :)

Take care
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# RE: RE: SilverStone SST-AP181 Air Penetrator FanDavid Ramsey 2010-11-25 07:50
Sadly, I don't have a Thermoright HR-02 available, but I imagine it would work fine passively as long as you weren't over clocking too much.
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# RE: SilverStone SST-AP181 Air Penetrator FanMike Cannon 2011-05-19 18:32
David, I have a Thermaltake 360 rad with standard fans.
They were noisy so I put a drop of sowing machine oil in the bearings.
I was going to ditch them for new fans and was considering the air penetrator. It is expensive in Aussie. Would this type of fan be a good radiator fan?
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# RE: RE: SilverStone SST-AP181 Air Penetrator FanDavid Ramsey 2011-05-19 18:41
Mike, I don't know. Normally for a radiator fan you want a high static pressure to move air through the fins. You can see the official static pressure rating in the chart on the first page of this review, but I don't know how that compares to the fans you're using now.
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# RE: RE: RE: SilverStone SST-AP181 Air Penetrator FanMike Cannon 2011-05-22 22:49
The fans on the rad are Thermaltake. TT-1225. A1225L 12S. I don't know what these model numbers mean. You might have a better idea. In the meantime I might try a search. Regards and thanks.
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# RE: SilverStone SST-AP181 Air Penetrator FanAthlonite 2011-11-22 08:56
just a note if you buy FM181 fans to replace the fans in an RV02 or FT02 they don't come with the inbuilt speed controller they only run at 700rpm 100cfm
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# RE: RE: SilverStone SST-AP181 Air Penetrator FanDavid Ramsey 2011-11-22 21:04
That's why you'd want to buy the AP181 fans, like the ones in this review, since they _do_ come with the speed control switches...
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# RE: RE: RE: SilverStone SST-AP181 Air Penetrator FanAthlonite 2011-11-23 06:50
Ufortunatley for me SilverStone hadn't yet started making the AP181 so I had to buy 3 FM181LED fans instead and assumed because it was stated that they ran 700~1000rpm they included the speed controller well was I ever wrong (grrrr)
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