Noctua NF-P12 120mm

Noctua NF-P12 PackWe’re back once again, this time looking at some fans from our new sponsors, Noctua, which I’m sure many of you have heard good things about or perhaps even used before. Noctua’s NF-P12 is a new 120mm fan with many improvements for very silent operation. Noctua claims the NF-P12 has been designed specifically for high-impedance applications such as processor coolers and features “psychoacoustic” improvements to make it less annoying to the human ear.

About Noctua:

“Noctua arises from a cooperation between the Austrian Rascom Computerdistribution Ges.m.b.H and the Taiwanese Kolink International Corporation and entertains a development partnership with the Austrian Institute of Heat Transmission and Fan Technology (Österreichisches Institut für Wärmeübertragung und Ventilatorentechnik, ÖIWV). These connections form the key to the achievement of our goal: The partnership with the ÖIWV permits the application of scientific measurement instrumentation, methods of calculation and simulation technology in the R&D process. Rascom’s long, customer-oriented experience in developing and distributing sound-optimised high-end products ensures a clear focus on the users’ needs. The use of Kolink’s advanced manufacturing technology and ultra-modern production plants allows us to efficiently implement our technical edge and provide solutions of the highest standard in quality and performance.”

A lot of thought has gone into this fan and a lot of research by the looks of it. Take a look at the product page for more information.

The NF-P12 ships in a professional looking retail box which uses Noctua’s typical brown/blue/black colour scheme. The back of the box features a door which can be opened – inside there’s lots of information about all the special technologies used in this fan.

Specifications:

  • Size: 120x120x25 mm
  • Bearing: SSO-Bearing
  • 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: 92,3 m³/h
  • 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

The NF-P12 comes with the usual original screws as well as some rubber ‘pegs’ that help to absorb the vibrations caused by the fan. They actually look like miniature chess pieces with the trademark Noctua brown colour.

The NF-P12 comes with three adapter cables including U.L.N.A. and L.N.A. adapter cables. The adapter cables allow the fan to run at low, medium, and high speeds, which of course affects the amount of noise and air displacement. The NF-P12 also came with an adapter to let the fan plug into a power cord from your power supply rather than the motherboard. This is useful when you don’t have any free inputs on the motherboard.

Installing the fans caused no problems or hassle. We decided to use the rubber pegs as opposed to the screws for optimum fan performance. The rubber pegs are a great idea, which we’ve seen before, but sometimes annoying when you can’t get them into the screw holes. Luckily, it didn’t cause any problems for us, but we can see it happening to other people.

Noctua NF-P12

Testing & Performance
We first got some fan speed readings with and without the adapters. Without any adapters the fan revolved roughly 1420 times a minute which is only 20 RPM above spec. With the L.N.A., the fan ran at approximately 1150 RPM – 50 RPM over standard fan specifications. Finally, the fan ran at 910 RPM using the U.L.N.A. adapter cord – a mere 10 RPM above specification.

We then took a look at temperatures using SpeedFan. We did this by leaving Prime95 on for 30 minutes and recorded the temperature when it stopped decreasing. We did this for each adapter cable.

Test System
Intel Core 2 Quad Core (Q6700) @ 2.4GHZ Stock
MSI P6N SLI Platinum
MSI nVidia Geforce 8600 GT
OCZ GameXtreme 700W Power Supply
Windows Vista Ultimate Edition x86
Antec Nine Hundred

Results
Adapter Temperature (°C)
None 33°C
L.N.A. 34°C
U.L.N.A. 36°C

The temperatures don’t really differ by much at all, and you can almost say the same for noise. With no adapter, you have to put your ear close and you will just hear it. The L.N.A. adapter was in-between, you can barely hear it if you put your ear right up to the fan. Then there was the U.L.N.A. adapter, it was dead silent and could not be heard.

Noctua NF-P12 Blades

Conclusion
This fan really impressed us all. Their silence is what really shocked us and the cooling was great given the amount of noise produced. Although they are more expensive than most other fans and look different to almost every other fan out there, we would definitely recommend this product.

Pros:

  • Very Quiet
  • Excellent Design
  • Great Cooling

Cons:

  • Slightly expensive
  • Some will not like the look
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One Comment
  1. JamesD
    January 27, 2008 | Reply

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