If you look at the fan series from be quiet!, you will find the Pure Wings at the lower price end and the Silent Wings in the upper price range. Less attention is usually paid to the brand’s mid-range fans, the Shadow Wings. But perhaps unjustly? We take a look at the fans in 120 and 140 mm in the be quiet! Shadow Wings 2 review, which were designed with a special focus on low noise development.
be quiet Shadow Wings 2 120mm PWM
|Size||120 x 120 x 25 mm|
|Max. speed||1100 RPM|
|Max. airflow||65 m³/h|
|Max. static pressure||0.82 mm H2O|
|Max. noise||15.9 dB(A)|
|Expected mileage||80,000 h|
|Price||€ 18.90 * (black)
€ 19.90 * (white)
be quiet! Shadow Wings 2 140mm PWM
|Size||140 x 140 x 25 mm|
|Max. speed||900 RPM|
|Max. airflow||85 m³/h|
|Max. static pressure||0.58 mm H2O|
|Max. noise||14.9 dB(A)|
|Expected mileage||80,000 h|
|Price||€ 20.70 * (black)
€ 21.67 * (white)
Packaging and scope of delivery
- Compact packaging with no padding
- Aside from the fans, only pins for mounting on the case and instructions can be found in the package
The packaging of the be quiet! Shadow Wings 2 is relatively compact and simple. The black box with product imprint on the front and specifications on the back offers no real padding. Inside this box are the fans along with print pins and instruction manual.
What is noticeable is the absence of the actually obligatory fan screws. Instead, be quiet! relies on a tool-less system with pins that are simply pressed in for the Shadow Wings 2. More on that later.
Design of the be quiet! Shadow Wings 2
- Black (matte) and white (glossy) available
- White fans have black accents
- The orange logo of be quiet! does not match all designs
The be quiet! Shadow Wings 2 PWM fans are available in 120 mm (white here) and 140 mm (black here) in the test. Both sizes are of course available in both color options. However, the white fans are not completely white, but rather a clever mix of white with black accents. Thus, the soft corners, the rubberized support ring at the front and back, and the cable are kept black here. And of course, the stickers on the fan motor front and rear. As found on most fans by be quiet!, the logo is done in white-orange. This color combination can of course be seen in the rotation and depending on the color scheme of the system, the color may clash a bit with other components.
One difference between the black and white versions is the finish. Where the black version is slightly textured, the white fans are high gloss smooth. Of course, both fans have be quiet!’s signature wavy texture, which is somewhat reminiscent of the wings of Junkers airplanes.
- Good workmanship
- Relatively easy to install thin cable without jacket
- Frame not torsionally stiff
When testing the workmanship of the be quiet! Shadow Wings 2, there is not much to complain about. The frame is quite thin and not torsionally stiff, but apart from that, the fans are neatly finished all around. The edges are precisely made, the extensive rubber coating around the frame ensures reduced vibration noise, and the four corners hold the rubber mounting connectors securely in place. And yes – if needed, you could remove them, but since you don’t really have an alternative for what to connect them to, it’s really pointless – except for a possible change.
The fan blades spin cleanly and have enough clearance from the frame to work well even if it twists minimally.
The cable is not sheathed, but is thin and easy to route as a result. It still seems a bit stiffer and more robust than the cheaper Pure Wings.
- Main use as a case fan
- Not really intended as a radiator fan, although mounting is possible
Due to the shape of the be quiet! Shadow Wings 2, it becomes clear relatively quickly that they are particularly suitable for use as case fans, or for airflow type air coolers. These are the ones with larger spacing between the blades, such as the be quiet! Shadow Rock 3, which already comes with a Shadow Wings 2 120mm from the factory – albeit in a slightly faster spinning version.
Obviously, the be quiet! Shadow Wings 2 is less suitable for use as a radiator fan, as the round shape means it doesn’t cover the corners well, resulting in pressure loss. Speaking of pressure, the wide spacing between the fan blades, especially in the 140mm version, already shows that the Shadow Wings 2 are not really pressure-optimized fans, but are designed for higher airflow.
Primarily, the be quiet! Shadow Wings 2 are thus designed as case fans and the included mounting material is also designed for that. Unlike regular fans, this one does not rely on screws, but on a pin that is pressed into the fan.
Once the be quiet! Shadow Wings 2 is mounted, the pins can be easily released by pulling a bit on the fan frame until you can grip the pins.
Performance and volume
- Moderate cooling performance
- Extremely low volume
To make a long story short: The performance of the be quiet! Shadow Wings 2 is mediocre at best at consistent speeds or normalized to consistent volume in most applications. That’s not bad, but it’s not outstanding either. And that applies to use as a case fan as well as on radiators or on air coolers. When you turn the fans up to full power, all the faster fans shoot up even further in terms of performance, which means the Shadow Wings 2 tend to find themselves at the back of the performance field. So pure power is not the field you are looking for with these fans and for warm environments, like in server rooms, this makes them rather unsuitable.
Surprisingly, the test result on an AIO radiator is not as bad as I would have expected. Especially when it comes to setting them to a low volume, the fans in both sizes were able to fight their way into the midfield here as well. That’s not outstanding, but it’s at least surprising where they would have been expected to be more on the lower performance end based on the shape and specifications. Here, for example, they beat the NZXT F120 and F140, Corsair’s QL series, or even the in-house Pure Wings 2.
The one test where the be quiet! Shadow Wings 2 really shine, that is in volume. Because you can do whatever you want here: you just can’t get these fans really loud. So you don’t have to be careful how you set them. Even at maximum power, you can at most hear a quiet whisper, which most other fans already (often noticeably) surpass at 40-50% PWM. The somewhat lacking strength of the fans can of course be largely compensated for by mass – when the case is fully loaded, they definitely move enough air as well.
The be quiet! Shadow Wings 2 show in the test that they are not the most powerful fans, but they offer the advantage of always being quiet in any position. This makes them suitable for users who don’t want to worry about custom fan curves. Just put fans in and be sure that the computer stays quiet – great stuff! Sure, there are fans that you can otherwise set to a similar volume and possibly perform better in the process, but it often takes more effort to set up. But even for computers with broken fan controls or pre-built computers without direct access to fan speed, the be quiet! Shadow Wings 2 are great for keeping volume under control. And even though temperatures might be better with other fans, realistically you rarely get to a true temperature limit. That being said, the Shadow Wings remain affordable.