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!
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.
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.