Be Quiet's modular Silent Wings 4 fans want to take over all aspects of your PC's cooling

Be Quiet! Silent Wings 4 fans
(Image credit: Be Quiet!)

Be Quiet has been quietly working on a new set of fans for our gaming PCs, the Silent Wings 4 and Silent Wings Pro 4. The hope with these units is that they deliver more universally useful performance in all manner of situation—whether that's as a front of case fan to suck in cool air or attached to a radiator.

Be Quiet is touting both high airflow and high static pressure with both version of Silent Wings 4 fan. That makes a change from the previous Silent Wings 3 fan, which was more for moving air over your components than it was suited to a CPU or GPU radiator. 

Be Quiet has made a few adjustments with the Silent Wing 4 to make this happen, namely by redesigning the blades to get ever-so-slightly closer to the fan frame. All Silent Wings 4 models manage to close up tip clearance to 1mm, down from the 1.2mm on the Silent Wings 3.

The result is around 130.31 m³/h (cubic metres per hour) from the Silent Wings 4 120mm at its balmy top speed of around 2,500 RPM. At a calmer 1,600 RPM, it pushes around 82.74 m³/h. 

If you really want to crank up the performance, and the RPM, the Silent Wings Pro 4 offers a 3,000 RPM mode capable of 142.5 m³/h.

Compare both of those to the Noctua NF-S12B redux-1200 PWM, our favourite PC fan, at 100.6 m³/h at 1,200 RPM, and you're likely looking at running the Silent Wings at a higher RPM to match that airflow rate. But with the Silent Wings Pro 4 you really can crank up the RPM something fierce if you don't care for the noise.

Where the Silent Wings 4 finds more success is when it comes to pressure. The standard 120mm model manages 1.79 mm/H₂0 at 1,600 RPM, but up to 3.86 mm/H₂0 at full speed. That makes it a great fit for radiators, and up there with the likes of Corsair's SP120 static pressure fans at 1.45 mm/H₂0 at 1,400 RPM. The Noctua NF-S12B isn't the fan you'd want for this purpose at 1.31 mm/H₂0 at 1,200 RPM, instead you'd be better off with something like the NF-P12 redux. 

Therein lies some of that flexibility that Be Quiet is talking about with the Silent Wings 4, and if you're the type to reuse fans for all manner of purposes over their lifetime, perhaps they're a better all-round fit than some individually. Though that also means they're perhaps not as good for each task as a more bespoke designed fan would be.

Of course there are also 140mm models of both Silent Wings 4 models, which will deliver more airflow at lower RPMs—better for the volume aware among us, which I'd like to think is most PC gamers. Though these 140mm fans also deliver way less pressure than the 120mm designs, so they're not quite as flexible.

There are a couple of neat features now included on these fans, too. The Pro model especially. It comes with two interchangeable corners, one for regular case mounting and another for optimal performance on radiators. There's also a switch on the rear of the Pro model that allows you to change between medium, high, and ultra-high speeds.

Of course, changing a fan's speed is functionality that many PC gamers will be more than accustomed to doing from within a PC's BIOS or via another app, but if you're the type to declutter your PC or just don't fancy tinkering with anything, you can use this switch to do that RPM control for you.

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(Image credit: Corsair, Noctua)

Best CPU cooler: keep your chip chilled in style
Best PC fans: super-silent and plastered in RGB
Best PC cases: big, little, and everything in-between.

And all the fans are built with PBT, the same plastic that's best for gaming keyboard keycaps. Be Quiet says in their testing these fans worked just fine for really long periods, and say that even for four of more years of maximum RPM, there shouldn't be any sign of impeller creep. That's basically when the constant spinning and centrifugal forces on the blades causes them to stretch out, which, you might have guessed, isn't ideal.

But all in all there's definitely something to like here for PC gamers. Fans are an often overlooked piece of any PC build, but they really make a difference to your PC gaming experience, both in terms of cooling performance and noise. It's good to see some firm competition (namely from Noctua) keeping manufacturers striving for more.

The 120mm Silent Wings 4 will be out next month, and should sell for around $23/€24, while the 140mm is only a buck more at $24/€25. The Pro 120mm model is $31/€32, and the Pro 140mm is $32/€33.

Jacob Ridley
Senior Hardware Editor

Jacob earned his first byline writing for his own tech blog. From there, he graduated to professionally breaking things as hardware writer at PCGamesN, and would go on to run the team as hardware editor. Since then he's joined PC Gamer's top staff as senior hardware editor, where he spends his days reporting on the latest developments in the technology and gaming industries and testing the newest PC components.