What do we look for in a high-performance PC fan?

high-performance PC fan is essential for those computers in which, due to the tasks we do or the components we assemble, we need extra cooling compared to what the air heatsink or liquid cooling of the CPU can provide us. . In this article, we are going to look at what to look for in a high-performance fan to make it really good, as well as what manufacturers are doing to get them.

This is an article sponsored by be quiet! , in which we will introduce you to their Silent Wings 4 and Silent Wings Pro 4, which are two of the best fans on the market.

Index of contents

  • What do we look for in a high-performance PC fan?
    • Perfect balance between noise and speed
    • Static pressure or airflow?
  • How do you get a high performance PC fan?
    • material and design
    • bearing and motor
    • cable and connection
  • be quiet! Silent Wings 4 and Pro 4, the fans you want

What do we look for in a high-performance PC fan?

As we will see, high-performance PC fans must be characterized by balancing performance and noise, so that we can enjoy the maximum possible speed but also extremely silent operation.

Perfect balance between noise and speed

We cannot seek speed above all. For that, there are wonderful industrial-grade fans that can even slice a carrot at full speed. In a home computer, what we are looking for is a balance between noise and speed.

In other words, we want to be able to reach a high RPM rate, and that comes with good performance, while maintaining acceptable noise levels. If the noise at 100% speed is very noticeable, there is no problem as long as we can regulate the speed of the fan well.

Therefore, in addition to a balance between noise and speed, we must allow a very high operating range with which to choose extremely low RPM when we do not need the fans to be giving everything.

Static pressure or airflow?

The performance of a fan is not measured by the speed in revolutions per minute, but you have to check how much air it actually moves and how it moves it.

We can measure this with CFM (airflow) and static pressure . Airflow, as its name suggests, tells us how much volume of air the fan can move per minute. Instead, static pressure refers more to the force with which this air moves, which matters a lot to us if the air is not going to just go through an empty box, but has to go through heatsinks and radiators.

There are fans that, by design, focus on static pressure or airflow very clearly. Normally, a high-performance PC fan with a balanced design (with satisfactory airflow and pressure at the same time) is the best we can choose.

How do you get a high performance PC fan?

Designing a good fan is quite a feat, as it requires great attention to detail: it is about accumulating all the small improvements possible in the design, where a few millimeter changes can make a difference. It is the same that happens in other disciplines related to aerodynamics, just think of a Formula 1 car, where the engine is not everything: design and shape also matter a lot.

material and design

Precisely, starting with the design, to create a good high-performance PC fan we need to intelligently decide the number, shape and arrangement of all the “wings” or blades, optimizing performance and preventing the formation of turbulence that can spoil the flow . of air, or that could cause disturbing noises.

Details are added to the design of the blades that, as we say, may seem irrelevant but they are not at all. One of them is the blade tip clearance, i.e. the small gap between the tip of the blade and the fan frame. This should be reduced as much as possible, in order to improve the air pressure and prevent it from going where it shouldn’t.

The be quiet! Silent Wings 4 and Silent Wings Pro 4 have a clearance of only 1.0mm, making their design one of the best on the market.

But this is not something that we can do as easily as it seems: surely in the design program it costs the engineers nothing, but then you have to move on to real manufacturing, and you have to work with much better machinery and with greater sensitivity: imagine designing a gap so short that some units end up colliding with the frame, it would be a catastrophe.

Let’s continue talking about important design aspects, such as the prevention of air leaks in assemblies with a radiator in front, where we have to reduce the space between them, for this we must improve the assembly system to the maximum, and design the corners of the fan, also reducing the vibrations that can be transferred.

Finally, making clear the importance of design and good manufacturing, we cannot forget the materials. And what do we look for in the material of a fan? Durability, lightness, rigidity, and above all to avoid deformation of the impellers (impeller creep) in the long term. This is a key point because it will prevent us from many problems over time.

In the case of the be quiet! Silent Wings 4 and 4 Pro , PBT plastic reinforced with up to 30% glass fiber is used as the main material, without long-term impeller creep problems, as they have been able to demonstrate with their predecessor, not even with years of 24/7 operation.

As we can see, an optimized design and quality materials are the most important to achieve a high-performance PC fan in the short, medium and long term.

bearing and motor

We cannot forget either the used bearing , or the quality of the motor. The bearing not only has to do with performance or vibration transfer, but also with the durability of the fan, and a lot with its noise.

One of the best bearings out there is the fluid dynamic bearing (FDB or Fluid Dynamic Bearing). Its performance is very good, it is strong and extremely durable, as well as very quiet. Unfortunately, this bearing is patented by Panasonic, so using “the real one” has a cost that cannot be assumed by all manufacturers. On the other hand, it is more normal to see somewhat worse hydraulic or “rifle” bearings.

Still, be quiet! makes use of the real, patented, good FDB bearings in its Silent Wings 4 and Silent Wings Pro 4, putting them at the forefront of durability, sound, and performance with a lifespan of up to 300,000 hours and a 5 year warranty.

cable and connection

Oddly enough, the cable is also an important point in our fans, because it is useless to have an excellent fan if we do not have a cable that is long enough and of sufficient quality. Added to the Silent Wings 4 mesh cables is the fact that they use a new connector with a shape that will allow us to mount it more easily on our PC.

Of course, we have the possibility to choose a PWM fan with a 4-pin connector, or a 3-pin voltage regulated fan. The PWM is more recommended since it allows us a better speed adjustment, although do not forget that with 3 pins it can also be adjusted and monitored: you just have to change the control on the motherboard from PWM to DC .

be quiet! Silent Wings 4 and Pro 4, the fans you want

The high-performance PC fans featured in this article are the be quiet! Silent Wings 4 and Silent Wings Pro 4, these two ranges of fans come to succeed the already successful Silent Wings 3, so we can be sure that we are dealing with two real beasts.

  • Do not hesitate to take a look at our Review of the Be Quiet! Silent Wings Pro 4

This series aims to serve as the great market reference in terms of the combination of performance and low noise: at maximum revolutions, these fans will roar, but because the performance is extreme, while at low revolutions they will remain practically inaudible.

Silent Wings 4 incorporates all the features and improvements that we have discussed in this article.

In addition, for the most enthusiastic we have the Silent Wings Pro 4. Let’s compare them with the Silent Wings 4: in this case, the fastest models reach 3000 revolutions per minute, this gives us the possibility of achieving brutal temperature improvements. In addition, we have a speed switch that allows us to choose between different revolution profiles: thus, we will not have to change the ventilation curve but choose between medium, high or ultra-high speed from the fan.

We also have three different removable corners to choose how we want to mount them (optimized for radiators, anti-vibration or plastic mounting) and the excellent shielded cable with an easy to mount connector, as we discussed before.

We recommend reading the best heatsinks, fans and liquid cooling for PC

So, to recap, let’s take a look at the available versions and their performance differences:

  • Silent Wings 4
    • 120mm up to 1600RPM
    • 140mm up to 1100RPM
    • 120mm PWM up to 1600RPM
    • 140mm PWM up to 1100RPM
    • 120mm PWM high-speed up to 2500 RPM
    • 140mm PWM high-speed up to 1900 RPM
  • Silent Wings Pro 4
    • 120mm PWM: depending on the mode up to 1600 RPM, 2500 RPM or 3000 RPM
    • 140mm PWM: depending on the mode up to 1100 RPM, 1900 RPM or 2400 RPM.

As for the minimum RPM, they will be around 10-15% of the maximum RPM. In some versions we could see around 100 RPM, which is very low and ultra-silent. Even in the higher RPM version, the 3000 RPM version, it will hover between 300 RPM and 450 RPM, which is also great.

be quiet! Silent Wings Pro 4 120mm PWM 4-Pin Case Fan Black BL098

Extremely high lifespan of up to 300,000 hours


be quiet! Silent Wings Pro 4 140mm PWM 4-Pin Case Fan Black BL099


be quiet! Silent Wings 4 120mm PWM High Speed ​​4-Pin Fan Black BL094

Anti-vibration mountings with pins and optional screw mountings; High-quality appearance with sleek black glossy fan stickers


be quiet! Silent Wings 4 140mm PWM 4-Pin Case Fan Black BL096

High-quality appearance with sleek black glossy fan stickers


Last updated on 2022-09-08

Really, be quiet! It gives us a lot to choose from in its Silent Wings 4 and Pro 4 series. We have made a selection of the models that we find most interesting, but do not hesitate to take a look at all the other options.

What do you think a high-performance PC fan should have? And what do you think of the Silent Wings 4 and Pro 4? Leave us your comments!


by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

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