titleNoctua’s products have always been considered quiet, high quality, and innovative cooling solutions. Noctua’s NF-F12 is no exception. The NF-F12 stands for Noctua focused flow 120mm premium fan. This fan is an improved version of the popular NF-P12 model. Noctua refined there new design over a two-year development cycle. This might seem excessive for a fan; however, the features Noctua has incorporated into this fan are impressive to say the least. The focused flow system is intended to force air through heatsinks or radiators more effectively, due to the fan’s static pressure. Noctua's contentious attention to noise reduction has led to a few new implementations on this front as well. The Noctua NF-F12 was built to perform, so without further a due, let’s see how this premium fan fairs.

 

Product Name:  Noctua NF-F12 PMW 120mm Fan

Review Sample Provided by:  Noctua

Review by:  Brock

Pictures by: Wes


 

Specifications

Size

120x120x25mm

Connector

4-pin PMW

Bearing

SSO2

Blade Geometry

Heptaperf

Frame Technology

Focused Flow

 Rotational Speed (+/- 10%)

1500 RPM

Rotational Speed with L.N.A (+/- 10%)

1200 RPM

Min. Rotational Speen (PWM)

300 RPM

CFM

55

Airflow

93,4 m3/h

Airflow with L.N.A

74,3 m3/h

Acoustical Noise

22,4 dB(A)

Acoustical Noise With L.N.A

18,6 dB(A)

Static Pressure

2,61 mm H2O

Static Pressure With L.N.A

1,83  mm H2O

Max. Input Power

0,6 W

Max. Input Current

0,05 A

Voltage

12 V

MTBF

> 150.000 h

Scope of Delivery

Low-Noise Adapter (L.N.A)

4-pin Y-Cable

30cm Extension Cable

4 Vibration-Compensators

4 Fan Screws

Warranty

6 years

 



 

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Packaging

The Noctua NF-F12 is packaged in an off-white rectangular box. The front has a line drawing of the enclosed fan. On the right side of the front cover is a small window displaying part of the fan. The front cover opens up “book like” to reveal four pages of information on Noctua’s focused flow system, and a diagram of a disassembled NF-F12.  On the back of the package is a paragraph translated into 7 different languages. The paragraph describes some of the NF-F12 features along with its intended use; also on the back of the box is the fan specifications, and accessory list.

 

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Inside the box is a foldout paper guide that covers: installation, connections, cleaning, and warranty information. On the back of the guide is a one paragraph letter addressed to the customer that congratulates them on their purchase.  The letter also covers quality assurance practices, reinforcing to the consumer that your Noctura NF-F12 has been thoroughly tested, and is in perfect working condition. Also inside, in a clear plastic container, is your Noctura NF-F12 PMW fan with accessories.  The fan comes connected to a 20cm sleeved cable with a four pin PWM connector. The accessories included with the Noctura NF-F12 are: a splitter to run two fans off one PWM connection, a 30cm extension cable giving you a total of 50cm of cable length,  a low-noise adapter to run your fan at 7 volts instead of 12v,  4 rubber anti-vibration mounts, and 4 standard fan screws should you chose to use them. The fact that all the cables are sleeved lets you know Noctua didn’t overlook any aspect of this product. The amount of accessories is greatly appreciated as well. The Noctura NF-F12’s packaging is well organized and informative; the traditional Noctua color scheme rounds out the packaging. 

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Features

The Noctua NF-F12 is overflowing with functional features. A two year development cycle was not squandered perfecting their focused flow system. Due to the NF-F12 design, Noctua is able to control the orientation in which the air travels from the fan. Most PC fans’ airflow is projected as a cone that starts off  small then rapidly broadens. The NF-F12 airflow resembles a cylinder shape, allowing this concentrated air to pass through cluttered or dense obstacles. This makes the Noctua NF-F12 ideal for navigating through a water cooler radiator or snaking between the metal fins on your favorite heatsink.

I imagine by now you are wondering how the NF-F12 is capable of containing a tighter projection of airflow over other standard fans. Well in typical Noctua fashion it’s all in the details. The frame of the NF-F12 features eleven stator guide vanes, and three vortex control notches in each vane.  Another feature of the stator guide vanes are there angles.  Each vane is strategically angled to channel the airflow in a tighter uniformed manner.  This in conjunction with Noctura’s patented “Heptaperf Impeller” fan blade creates a maximum amount of pressure, focusing the air into a tight consistent circular pattern.

 

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Another reason for the angled guide vanes and the vortex control notches is noise reduction. These two features help distribute the noise on a broader spectrum; basically breaking the sound into smaller sections. Noctua’s step inlet design promotes turbulent airflow thus reducing intake noise. The step inlet design runs around the corners of the fan in a circular pattern with three rings that look like stair steps that descend to the fan blade. Anti-vibration pads and mounts located on the corners help dissipate any rattling.  Noctua has always been known for quiet fans, and the NF-F12’s noise reduction features continue this tradition.

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Performance

The most important aspects of a good fan are airflow, noise, and build quality. The Noctua NF-F12 nails some of these standards; however, appears to just miss on others or does it? The most unimpressive spec of the NF-F12 is the CFM of 54.97. The CFM on this fan might not be as much of an issue as it appears though, due to its focused airflow design. Noctua decide to forgo the mega loud “leaf blower”, for a fan that can perform a specific function (heatsink/radiator cooling) exceptionally well without all that noise. The Noctua NF-F12 is capable, thanks to static pressure, to focus the air through the heatsink’s aluminum fins more effectively than other fans. Without the focused flow system and the static pressure it generates, some of the airflow would be lost around the side of the heatsink or rebounding off the heatsink itself. This is what makes the Noctua NF-F12 really shine at maintaining icy cool temps on those CPU’s cores when other fans just cannot take the heat!

wm CFM-Graph

Noctua’s dedication to noise reduction is truly impressive. Almost every aspect of the NF-F12 has been tailored to be quiet as possible. The NF-F12 is an impressive 22.4 dBA at 1500rpms, and an 18.6 dBA using the low-noise adapter cable (L.A.N.). The L.A.N. adapter throttles the voltage from 12v to 7v producing an even quieter cooling solution, but this will also lower the fans RPMs thus affecting airflow. At a full 12v and spinning at its maximum capacity, the result is an unusual dull hum. This fan noise sounds different compared to other fans I have heard in its class. I feel this is the result of the angled guide vanes, and the control notches ability to spread the fan noise over a broader frequency producing a less invasive sound. I would go as far to suggest the Noctua NF-F12 is quieter than my 200m 700rpm case fans. These fans are not NF-F12 intended computation yet in my opinion the Noctua prevails.

wm DBA

Finally, let us move on to build quality. This is where Noctua draws the proverbial line in the sand that the competition does not cross. The attention given to every detail of this fan was obsessively mulled over by the manufacturer. Everything about the NF-F12 feels high quality from the anti-vibration pads to the coating applied to the fan blade itself. Noctua does not stop there though their dedication to quality spills over to the fan accessories as well. With rubberized mounts, and three types of sleeved cables included in every NF-F12 package Noctua separates itself from other manufacturers. Noctua also stands behind their products with a 6 year manufacturer’s warranty. It might sound silly, but my favorite aspect of the NF-F12 is, it’s heavy. Most fans are light, they feel plasticity and cheap, but this fan feels sturdy and durable reassuring me this fan will last for years to come.


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Overall and Final Verdict

I find it interesting how my choices in hardware have evolved over time.  When I was a fledgling PC builder my choice in fans was determined by the price and of course L.E.D. color. As my taste broadened I championed high CFM/RPMs, this inevitably led ironically to fan controllers. Now my interest drifts into overclocking, and water cooling and my fan choices has become strictly performance orientated. Regardless if you are just starting out or are a connoisseur of all things hardware related the Noctua NF-F12 is an excellent cooling solution.

wm fanprices

As you can see on the graphs 1and 2, out of all the 1500RPM fans chosen, the NF-F12 has the best combined CFM and noise level of any fan in its class. Unfortunately you pay for what you get, and the Noctua NF-F12 is no exception.  At an MSRP of $29.99, this is one pricey fan. Multiple fans in a push-pull configuration could get really expensive. If your looking for a case fan maybe the Noctua NF-S12B would be a better choice. After all the NF-F12 is designed to maximize your CPU cooler's preformance. With that said, there is a lot of value here as well.  The focused flow system is an exciting new innovation in fan design. The sleeved accessories cables, and rubber mounts are a welcomed surprise. The NF-F12 is honestly the quietest 1500RPM fan this reviewer has ever heard. Noctua ‘s legendary build quality did not disappoint. With all the factors considered, I’m confident the Noctua NF-F12 is the best all-around 1500RPM fan on the market today. 

fv2-correct recomended

 

 

 

Author Bio
Author: Brock

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garfi3ld's Avatar
garfi3ld replied the topic: #28237 16 Oct 2012 20:02
Welcome Brock with his first review
Twodavez's Avatar
Twodavez replied the topic: #28238 16 Oct 2012 20:11
I haven't heard Noctua's name discussed in a while. Glad they're still knocking it out of the park with great products. I remember they used to be a sponser and their heatsinks were well sought after, but until now, i haven't heard the name in at least a year or so...
Twodavez's Avatar
Twodavez replied the topic: #28239 16 Oct 2012 20:12
BTW: nice review Brock!
garfi3ld's Avatar
garfi3ld replied the topic: #28240 16 Oct 2012 20:13
I've been slacking :-P

We still use them on most of our test benches. Its also the main thermal paste for all of our testing as well
Wooderson's Avatar
Wooderson replied the topic: #28243 17 Oct 2012 10:08

Twodavez wrote: BTW: nice review Brock!



Thanks Dave for the positive feedback.

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