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Noctua NF-F12 PWM Fan Review

Dark Mantis

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Noctua NF-F12 PWM Fan Review
« on: February 04, 2012, 12:55:40 pm »
Noctua NF-F12 PWM Fan Review

by

Dark Mantis






Noctua from Austria has brought out a new range of fans and these that they have asked me to review are aimed at cooling heatsinks and radiators in particular.  They have others aimed at general volume case cooling duties as well.  There are three different types all with well defined targets. As well as these designed for the specific area of cooling a heatsink or radiator as previously mentioned because of what Noctua term "focussed flow" that produces a high static pressure ideal for the use there are two more. One is to shift a large quantity of air and is best for case cooling in general and the other which is specifically optimised to make it quiet. Therefore  although any fan will work well picking the correct one for your job will pay dividends depending on your requirements.





From the outset these just ooze class! You can see even before opening the box that these fans are something special, even the outer covering is quality.  The boxing follows Noctua's colour scheme with a light front and dark brown back sections. The amount of information that is given on the special fold out rear sections is extreme. I am glad they are not selling motherboards or it wouldn't be possible to pick up the box alone! It is nice to see a company that actually cares enough to take all the extra trouble to explain and show all the various details of their device. I like to see this as I think that when the user understands why a certain aspect is designed that way it enables him to make better use of it.





All of the types of fans come with Noctua's usual high class of manufacture and quiet sound levels when running. On the NF-F12 PWMs , as with the others, this is brought about with special design features. There is the new solid brass shell CNC milled bearing, a custom designed PWM IC that integrates a smoother drive by supressing the switching noises, stator guide vanes are moulded into the framework at slightly varying angles by spreading the frequencies of the fan blades and thereby lowering the specific noise spectrum that would otherwise be built up. These pitches of these vanes vary between 31 and 37 degrees and have votex control notches cut into each of them.  On the inner edge of the fan casing there is a stepped edge rather than a smooth  entry for the air to flow into the fan blades again helping to lower the noise by actually introducing turbulance to help reduce the resonant tone.





This fan features an optimised seven bladed impellor that works in conjunction with the specially designed frame and stator vanes to focus the flow of air so that it exits as a straighter channelled flow which is important for the maximum cooling of things like radiators. It can therefore use a lower speed to accomplish the same result as a much faster normal fan. They only run at a top speed of 1500 rpm and will still respond at a minimum of 300 rpm. At max they will move a really large 90+ cubic metres per hour of air and that is while only outputting just over 20dBA of noise. That is quiet by anyone's standard. If you like the idea of being "green" then these should suit your style perfectly as they only use about half (0.6w) of the normal power of a 120mm fan which is good not only for the planet but also the wallet.





As for the actual efficiency of these fans as I already mentioned they force a lot of air through even at a relatively low speed. This is bound to produce some noise even with all these special design features and I had six of them in a pull/push configuration on a 360 radiator. They certainly do work well in that way and I saw a coolant temperature difference of 19.1C between the passive and active cooled radiator system. In passive mode with only the radiator to help clear the heat I was getting a reading of 39.8C but by switching on the fan that dropped to 20.7C within seconds. The ambient temperature of the room I used for testing was 18C. I then tried reducing the spin rate and dropped the power down to down to approx 7v. This made a drastic difference to the noise level to almost inaudible but didn't impact too greatly on the cooling effect although it did take longer to reach the base level from the passive temperature level.





These fans are extremely well made as would be expected from Noctua and it even seems criminal to discard the cardboard boxes. They come well prepared with a number of extras in the package. The fan's are made with a fairly short cable as standard but there is a extension cable provided along with a Y-cable so two fans can be run off one header and a voltage drop cable which Noctua term a "Low Noise Adapter" that can be inserted into the power flow to reduce the speed of the fans. Of course a variable speed fan controller can be used if wished instead. For securing the fan to the chassis or other substrate there are four of the usual fan screws supplied, however if less noise and vibration are important there is the optional accessory of four silicon rubber mounts along with the silicon rubber corner cushions that can be used.





Altogther an excellent component that is covered by a six year warranty which gives an idea of the manufacturer's confidence in the quality of their product. Even the cables were all encased in a quality braid which I like to see and gives a nice finish. The fans are well deserving of the 9/10.



Supplier : Noctua      http://www.noctua.at      Price : £16-18.00
« Last Edit: February 04, 2012, 12:56:15 pm by Dark Mantis »
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Ben

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Re: Noctua NF-F12 PWM Fan Review
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2012, 02:48:18 am »
Impeccable review "DM" as usual.

I have 4 Noccy fans in my case 1 for the CPU, 1 sucking in air from the front over the HDD's, 1 blowing out air at the rear & 1 blowing air in from the side panel over the CPU & GPU.

Thinking of putting 1 on the top of my case, but this may be overkill.

I love the colour of them plus the price, I have used other brands before but they seem to be the best so far.

I also like plain, tried fans with neon/leds etc but they just don't turn me on.

My mobo is a' GA-Z68X-UD3R-B3' & I run all the fans on the individual fan headers, (cpu,pwr,sys1,sys2) without any conflicts.

I have noticed that they have changed the design slightly, as on mine the notches are on the blades as opposed to being on the actual housing.

Ben.
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Dark Mantis

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Re: Noctua NF-F12 PWM Fan Review
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2012, 07:56:19 am »
Hi Ben

Thanks for the compliment, glad you liked it.

They are certainly powerful fans and of a high build quality. I must admit this is the first time I have used them but I was impressed. I expect that the difference in design is due to the change of target uses now. They seem to have a lot of little design "specials" for individual effects.

The only thing I would mention in your case in particular is that the SYSFAN_2 header only outpouts half the voltage so any fan you attach to that will run at half it's potential.
Gigabyte X58A-UD7
i7 920
Dominators 1600 x6 12GB
6970 2GB
HX850
256GB SSD, Sam 1TB, WDB320GB
Blu-Ray
HAF 932

Gigabyte Z68X-UD5-B3
i7 3770K
Vengeance 1600 16GB
6950 2GB
HCP1200W
Revo Drive x2, 1.5TB WDB RAID0
16x DLRW
StrikeX S7
Full water cooling
3 x 27" Iiy

Ben

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Re: Noctua NF-F12 PWM Fan Review
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2012, 08:15:39 am »
Thanks "DM".

Re, the sys2 fan this is the one on the side panel, so it's pretty quiet, & the front & back do most of the work.

Ben.


Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD3R-B3
i7 2600 (4.00GHZ)
Ripjaws X 2@8GB XL (1.7V)
Kingston Blu Hyper 2@2GB (1.7V)
Corsair TX 650
HD 6870 1gb
blu ray + dvd
1T wd hdd
500gb WD hdd
Gigabyte Armor+MX case
Noctua air cooling (4 fans)
AOC 27'
Win 8 pro Full

Dark Mantis

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Re: Noctua NF-F12 PWM Fan Review
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2012, 09:25:45 am »
That's fine just as long as you realise that it's only working at roughly half the speed of the other fans.
Gigabyte X58A-UD7
i7 920
Dominators 1600 x6 12GB
6970 2GB
HX850
256GB SSD, Sam 1TB, WDB320GB
Blu-Ray
HAF 932

Gigabyte Z68X-UD5-B3
i7 3770K
Vengeance 1600 16GB
6950 2GB
HCP1200W
Revo Drive x2, 1.5TB WDB RAID0
16x DLRW
StrikeX S7
Full water cooling
3 x 27" Iiy

 

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