Earlier this week we reviewed a silent 92mm fan, this provided us with silent cooling at the front of our case. Today we’ve got another fan from well known PC silencers, Noctua. This model is the NF-P12, an oddly coloured peach and brown fan which should hopefully replace our noisy 120mm Antec rear fan. Just like most Noctua products, this fan is very innovative with notches cut into the many blades. But is such an innovative fan from Noctua worth buying?
Noctua aims at establishing a new level of quality and performance “Designed in Austria” through paying attention to the users’ needs in a market burdened with all kinds of frills and furbelows and providing sound-optimised premium components, which serve their purpose in a smart, precise and reliable manner.
|Blade Geometry||Nine Blade Design with VCN|
|Rotational Speed (+/- 10%)||1300 RPM|
|Rotational Speed with L.N.A. (+/- 10%)||1100 RPM|
|Rotational Speed with U.L.N.A. (+/- 10%)||900 RPM|
|Airflow with L.N.A.||78,5 m³/h|
|Airflow with U.L.N.A.||63,4 m³/h|
|Acoustical Noise||19,8 dB(A)|
|Acoustical Noise with L.N.A.||16,9 dB(A)|
|Acoustical Noise with U.L.N.A.||12,6 dB(A)|
|Static Pressure||1,68 mm H2O|
|Static Pressure with L.N.A.||1,43 mm H2O|
|Static Pressure with U.L.N.A.||1,21 mm H2O|
|Input Power||1,08 W|
|Input Current||0,09 A|
|Voltage Range||12 V|
|MTBF||> 150.000 h|
|Scope of Delivery||
The Noctua NF-P12 arrives in a cardboard box which is styled in Noctua’s typical colour scheme of brown/blue/black which you often find used on Noctua products. On the front of the packaging is Noctua’s website address, their logo and some short unique features which the P12 boasts to entail.
The back of the packaging is fairly unique. All of the innovative technologies that Noctua have implemented into the fan are shown. Also, there is a door which can be opened, revealing more information about the various features the NF-P12 uses.
Inside the box are the fan and all its accessories seated in a vacuum formed plastic casing. This is a nice way of presenting the fan as it means that none of the accessories fall out on shop shelves or during delivery and that all are in their correct places.
The accessories included with the Noctua are as follows:
- Four anti-vibration pegs
- Fan screws
- 3:4-Pin Adapter
- Low-Noise-Adapter (L.N.A.)
- Ultra-Low-Noise Adapter (U.L.N.A)
This is all the accessories you‘d ever need. I like how Noctua include resistor cables to reduce fan speed instead of using variable speed controllers – - half the time you just leave your fans at a set speed.
Often with silent fans, they don’t include anti-vibration pegs, which is weird as you’d think companies would be using all the available technologies to reduce noise. Noctua have been kind enough to include the pegs, but also, standard fan screws for anyone not wanting to use the vibration compensators.
The aesthetics of the Noctua are slightly odd. The NF-P12 has nine brown fan blades – - most 120mm fans only have seven – - and a peach coloured frame. This unique colour scheme makes it easy to identify a Noctua fan.
Cut into each of the nine fan blades are staggered notches. The idea behind these notches is that the blades create different vortex patterns so; as a result, the noise emission is spread out, which in turn makes the noise more pleasant to the human ear.
As I mentioned earlier, there are nine blades on this fan, not seven – - which is the normal amount. Reasoning for this is because the NF-P12 has been specifically designed for water-cooling radiators and CPU coolers – - so the nine fan blades provide increased pressure and airflow.
Increased pressure and airflow normally result in increased noise. However, the Noctua uses an SSO- Bearing; I know what you’re thinking, what’s that? Well it’s a Self-stabilising oil-pressure bearing. This allows for the fan to run much quieter and with more stability for long periods of time without failing.
The U.L.N.A. and L.N.A. cables which are included with the fans look like little 3 pin extension cables. However they each contain a resistor, to reduce the voltage to the fan, thus reducing speed and noise. This is an idea I’ve only seen Noctua use and seems to be a lot more beneficial than including a variable speed controller – - its not often you’re going to be changing your fan speeds.
The fan lead coming from the fan is sleeved in black waxy cable braiding. It has been properly sealed with heat-shrink at either ends to stop the braiding from coming loose. Connected to the end of the cable is a 3-pin connector, although a 3:4-pin adapter is also included if you don’t have an available 3-pin socket.
Installing the Noctua NF P12 was very simple. There are two methods to install the fan. You can either use the screws, or you could take the easy and quieter option of using the anti-vibration pegs. I went for the easy option and used the pegs.
The pegs are installed from the outside of the case and pop straight into the screw holes on the fan. All you need to do then is connect the fan up to some power.
Unfortunately we don’t have hundreds of pounds worth of testing equipment, so all our tests are done by ear.
The first test was to test noise at different voltages using the L.N.A. and U.L.N.A. cables. At full speed, the fan was audible from three foot and turbulence could be heard. With the L.N.A. being used, the fan was still clearly audible, a little quieter than when used without an L.N.A., but I certainly won’t label it as fully silent. With the U.L.N.A. being used the fan was only just audible from close range. However, when three foot or so away from the fan, the fan was pretty much silent.
To test airflow, we did a similar test to the one we did on the Coolink with the toilet paper.
Here is the Noctua NF-P12 going at full pelt:
NF P12 with U.L.N.A cable:
As you can see from the photos, the airflow is pretty strong throughout both the highest and lowest speed. However the pressure on the U.L.N.A. was much smaller as the toilet paper declined towards the end a lot quicker.
The Noctua retails at ~ £15.00 which is very expensive for a fan like this; compared to similar performers which retail for as little as £7.50 e.g. Coolink SWiF-921.However, this fan comes with 6 years warranty – - a fan is for life, not just for christmas.
This fan really shocked me that it’s actually possible to design a fan which not only pumps out plenty of air at a decent pressure but also does it quietly. I’ve not seen many silent fans which can do this, so the Noctua is really quite unique.
Another way in which the Noctua is unique is in colour. Its brown and peach colour scheme isn’t found on any fans other than the ones from Noctua. I’m not sure if this colour scheme is a good thing though, as its pretty ugly, but then again, it stands out from the crowd and seems to be Noctua’s company colour scheme for all their products, so I’ll let them off.
So yes, the Noctua performs silently, pumps out plenty of airflow and has a unique ugly colour scheme. Is it bad in any way? Well yes, unfortunately it’s pretty damn expensive and is the price of two decent fans, although not many fans come with 6 years warranty – - so you can be sure the Noctua will last more than just a couple of years. To conclude, if you’re thinking of buying the Noctua, be prepared for good silent performer – - just make sure you’ve got the cash.