Here we are then- the 5th and final of the 180mm fans at my current disposal. As much as the SST-AP182 impressed me, it was a power hog and required a dedicated knob controller to keep under, well, control. It also wasn’t really radiator optimized. The FM181 on the other hand was built with static pressure optimization in mind and a little birdy told me that this has a few more tricks up its massive 180mm sleeves. So is this the 180mm fan to go for? Thanks to Tony from Silverstone, we can now find out.
Let’s take a look at the specs courtesy the product page:
We see that the FM181 has a lot of similarities with the AP182 in that they are both white in color, use a dual ball bearing and have dimensions of 180 x 180 x 32 mm. They both also come with a knob controller too. But this is where the similarities end. While the AP182 shares the same static pressure optimized impeller as the FM181, it (AP182) also has to push air through the dense “Air Penetrator” grille whereas the FM181 has no added impedance to airflow before it hits the object of cooling interest (such as a radiator core) itself. The grille in question helps the AP182 to channel air into a column and works great as an intake case fan, but this application of focused airflow is redundant when mounted straight on a radiator so the FM181 does not miss out on having the grille for this application. It has a slower max speed at 1300 RPM and, due to the way power draw exponentially increases with fan speed, the power rating here is also way lower coming in at nearly a third of the AP182 at 5.4 W. No mention of the warranty here but as per their standard warranty policy, the FM181 has all of 1 year of limited manufacturer’s warranty. This is simply too low for a fan of this caliber (and cost, as we will get to soon) and I really hope Silverstone revises this. There are a few cosmetic changes as well so let’s turn over to the next page and take a look.