Fractal Design Silent Series R3 120mm and R3 140mm – Test and Review

Back in 2012 I had the chance to test and review two of the models, which were introduced as part of the Silent Series R2 and they were: Fractal Design Silent Series R2 120mm and Fractal Design Silent Series R2 140mm. Both of the fans offered pretty decent performance / noise level balance and for that reason I am really curious what the new Silent Series R3 120 and R3 140 models have to offer and to check if they are worthy successors of their predecessors.

To perform this test and review I was provided with Silent Series R3 120mm and Silent Series R3 140mm models, which arrived to me inside pretty simple carton packages made entirely of recycled paper with the company logo, the model name, a picture of the fan and some basic details regarding the rated revolutions per minute on the front panel.

Silent Series R3 120mm Silent Series R3 140mm
IMG_1002 IMG_1010

 

Of course, the full technical specifications and additional pictures of the fans and some of the basic features related with these products are located on the back side of the carton packages.

Enough about the packages. Now let’s continue with checking the fan structures, which is actually the main focus of this article.

 

Fractal Design Silent Series R3 120mm and R3 140mm STRUCTURE

In order to continue the article I would like to mention that after taking both of the fans out of their packages, I noticed that they offer the Fractal Design’s signature black and white color scheme, almost identical structure and the only difference are the dimensions and the corresponding cooling performance provided.

So, let’s pay attention to the fan structures.

Silent Series R3 120mm front view Silent Series R3 140mm front view
IMG_1004 IMG_1011

 

Both of the fans are designed with very solid square and entirely in black matte plastic frames with dimensions of 120 x 25 for the R3 120mm version and 140 x 25mm for the big brother in the series – R3 140mm. The frames themselves offer 4 holes on each side to be used when installing the fans using screws or rubber dampers on a 120mm (105 x 105mm screw hole pattern) or 140mm (125 x 125mm screw hole pattern) case fan slots or on a CPU cooler heat sink. The frames are not equipped with any vibration dampening materials.

Silent Series R3 120mm back view Silent Series R3 140mm back view
IMG_1006 IMG_1015

 

In addition to the pretty solid and stylish looking frames, both of the fans are equipped with almost the same very aggressively looking entirely in white propellers which feature 9 pretty narrow and very sharply angled blades designed to provide a good cooling performance and generating low noise level while working at low, middle or high speeds operation.

The connection between the frames and the propellers for both of the fans is done via 3-pin powered and regulated rifle bearing motors, which are calculated to deliver fan life span of up to 40,000 hours of constant operation.

With these motors and propellers the fans are able to operate and deliver:

  • R3 120mm is made to operate at maximum 1200 revolutions per minute, delivering airflow level of 46.5 CFM, static pressure level of 0.78 mm H2O at noise level of 20.5dBA.
  • R3 140mm is built to operate at 1000 revolutions per minute, providing airflow level of 56.1 CFM, static pressure level of 0.87 mm H2O at noise level of 21.6dBA.

Both of the fans are made to be powered and regulated via 350mm long black ribbon 3-pin cables and connectors.

 

Fractal Design Silent Series R3 120mm and R3 140mm ADDITIONAL ACCESSORIES

Both fans arrived to me with absolutely identical packages in terms of dimensions and of course absolutely identical accessories pack. So let’s put the fans aside and check the additional accessories added in the boxes.

Silent Series R3 120mm accessories Silent Series R3 140mm accessories
IMG_1008 IMG_1017

 

The accessories packs offer only one set of 4 metal installation screws to attach the fans to the case fan slot, which to be honest I find a bit disappointing since the previous models were equipped also with rubber dampers and low-speed adapters. Anyway, since both of the fans are obviously made to be used as case fans and if they are no vibrations, the metal screws will be enough to install and use the fans without any troubles.

I assume it is time to install the two fans on my test stand and check how they will perform.

 

Fractal Design Silent Series R3 120mm and R3 140mm TESTS

The tests will be conducted in my standard way. I will install the fans and test them at 5V/7V/9V/12V and my goal will be to check the performance of the products in real conditions. They will be tested under close-to-perfect conditions, not taking into account any external factors. The results achieved during the test can in no way be the same if the models are mounted on a cooler or on the case fan slot of any modern computer case. I will measure the amount of air going through the fans for one hour and their speed. For this I use a fan controller, a voltage meter, an anemometer and a stand made specifically for this purpose.

And this is what the fans look like installed on my test stand:

IMG_1020

The test results are shown in the following charts:

Airflow through the fans at 5V, 7V, 9V, 12V

Fractal Design Silent Series R3 120mm and R3 140mm A

Propellers rpm during the tests at 5V, 7V, 9V, 12V.

Fractal Design Silent Series R3 120mm and R3 140mm R

The anemometer showed the following air speed passing through the propellers:

Fractal Design Silent Series R3 120mm and R3 140mm S

After mounting the fans onto the stand, and leaving them to rotate for about 30 minutes at maximum speed, it was time for the tests to begin.

As with my other tests, again I started with a gradual increase of the voltage through the Lamptron FCT starting at 0V and both of the fans made at least one stable revolution per minute at about 7V. To perform all of the tests I had to decrease the operational voltage to 5V.

Test at 5V:

At the first test, which was conducted at exactly 5V, the R3 120mm model was rotating at 510 revolutions per minute, providing airflow level of 29.76 cubic metres per hour, while R3 140mm was rotating at 450 revolutions per minute with airflow level of 28.8 cubic metres per hour. At this test both of the fans were completely silent.

Test at 7V:

At the second test, performed at 7V, R3 120mm was rotating at 780 revolutions per minute, providing airflow level of 51.36 cubic metres per hour, while R3 140mm was rotating at 630 revolutions per minute with airflow level of 47.4 cubic metres per hour. At this test both of the fans remained silent.

Test at 9V:

At the third test conducted at 9V, R3 120mm was providing airflow level of 65.76 cubic metres per hour while rotating at 975 revolutions per minute, while for the R3 140mm the airflow level was 57.12 cubic metres per hour, while rotating at 780 revolutions per minute. At the third test both of the fans were also absolutely quiet.

Test at 12V:

At the last test conducted at 12V, both fans delivered their maximum performance, which for R3 120mm was airflow level of 86.4 cubic metres per hour at exactly 1230 revolutions per minute, while for R3 140mm it was 85.2 cubic metres per hour, while rotating at 975 revolutions per minute. At this test, both of the fans started generating a very tiny noise, which could be heard at a very short distance, coming out of the air passing through the propeller.

 

Fractal Design Silent Series R3 120mm and R3 140mm CONCLUSIONS

1. Fractal Design Silent Series R3 120mm and R3 140mm Performance:

According to my experience with the two models part of the R3 series, which I got through this article, I would like say that both of the models are totally made to be installed as case fans and to provide a stable and reliable cooling performance and boost the overall cooling capabilities of every modern case, while working at very low noise level to maintain the ambient noise inside and outside of the case at low and pleasant level.

Regarding the noise level I would say great job, Fractal Design! Through the first 3 tests both of the fans were absolutely quiet, while through the last test they started generating a very tiny noise coming from the air passing through the propellers which I was not able to hear at bigger distance.

Additionally, the two fans offer pretty stable cooling performance which is also enough so the fans can be installed on CPU heat sinks compatible with 120 or 140mm fans cooling low or middle grade processors while working at default frequencies at average load. Since the two fans are not providing a serious static pressure, high revolutions per minute range and high airflow level everything above that might not be a good idea. If someone needs more, there are better models introduced in the other series.

 

2.  Fractal Design Silent Series R3 120mm and R3 140mm Appearance:

To keep the tradition the fans feature the Fractal Design’s signature black and white color scheme, which adds a nice and stylish presence and which I find very attractive and it will definitely be a great addition to cases or modding projects in black and white.

I think both of Fractal Design Silent Series R3 120mm and R3 140mm models deserve the following award:

Best-Perf-Silence1

Fractal Design Silent Series R3 120mm has been added to the 120mm fans catalogue.

Fractal Design Silent Series R3 140mm has been added to the 140mm fans catalogue.

Official price (MSRP): Fractal Design Silent Series R3 120mm: unknown

Official price (MSRP): Fractal Design Silent Series R3 140mm: unknown

Warranty: 36 months

Special thanks to Fractal Design for providing us with test samples.

Kelvin_500x100_RU

Fractal Design Silent Series R3 120mm and R3 140mm – Test and Review
Very good fans designed to be installed as case fans to boost the overall cooling capabilities of every modern case.
8.7 Total Score

Very good fans designed to be installed as case fans to boost the overall cooling capabilities of every modern case.

Performance (R3 120mm)
10
Noise Level (R3 120mm)
9
Performance (R3 140mm)
9
Noise Level (R3 140mm)
10
Additional accessories
3
Appearance
9
User Rating: 4.5 (1 votes)

Dobrin Krastev is the owner, reviewer and newsman of www.DVTests.com with more than 15 years' experience in personal computers, server and storage systems, UPS, peripheral devices and software. Passionate about testing and reviewing, AMD overclocking using AM3 990FXA and AMD FM2 A85X test systems and building modding projects.
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