Noctua NF-P12 Review

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Introduction

Another Noctua product up for review here at Verdis Reviews– this time it’s from the fan department. The NF-P12 boasts some brilliant technology for the blades and bearing so I’m expecting big things from this fan. Let’s hope it can live up to the high standard Noctua product’s normally set.

Company Information – Noctua

“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.”

Features

  • Pressure-optimized Nine-Blade Design
  • Vortex-Control Notches
  • Smooth Commutation Drive
  • Self-stabilizing oil-pressure bearing

Specifications

  • Size: 120×120x25mm
  • Bearing: SSO-Bearing
  • Blade Geometry: Nine Blade Design with VCN
  • Rotational Speed (+/- 10%): 1300RPM
  • Rotational Speed with L.N.A. (+/- 10%): 1100RPM
  • Rotational Speed U.L.N.A. (+/- 10%): 900RPM
  • Airflow: 92.3m³/h
  • Airflow with L.N.A.: 78.5m³/h
  • Airflow with U.L.N.A.: 63.4m³/h
  • Acoustical Noise: 19.8dB (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: 1.08W
  • Input Current: 0.09A
  • Voltage Range: 12V
  • MTBF: >150,000h
  • Scope of Delivery:
    1. Ultra-Low-Noise Adaptor (U.L.N.A.)
    2. Low-Noise Adaptor (L.N.A.)
    3. 4 Vibration Compensators
    4. 3:4-Pin Adaptor
    5. 4 Fan Screws
  • Warranty: 6 years

Contents

The packaging is again in Noctua’s usual colour scheme consisting of browns, blues and blacks. Again, similar to post of Noctua’s packaging, there is a small cut out roughly in the centre providing a sneak preview of the fan contained inside. Visible from this window is one of the rubber anti-vibration mounts.

The back, whilst looking like any generic box entailing features, specifications and a few translations for multi-lingual purposes, the back actually acts as a book and can be folded out to reveal a whole host of diagrams, pictures and explanations as to how this fan is a cut above the rest including the SSO bearing and special blade designs which I’ll come onto later.

Inside the packaging, the accessories are held in vacuum-packed plastic – nice to see them all neatly laid out instead of sprawled all over the place. The accessories are:

  • 4 rubber anti-vibration mounts
  • Fan screws
  • Low-Noise-Adapter (L.N.A.)
  • Ultra-Low-Noise Adapter (U.L.N.A)

 

The L.N.A. and U.L.N.A. adapters serve to act as an alternative to a fan controller as they are effectively just resistance wires which reduce fan speed and therefore noise.

They do however reduce the noise quite dramatically down to 16.9dBA at 1100RPM and again to 12.6dBA at 900RPM using the appropriate. Therefore, you can simply you whichever cable you want depending on how much cooling and noise you can put up with.

The Product – Noctua NF-P12

Looking at the NF-P12 for the first time, does produce the question – why the peach and brown colour scheme? Well, to be honest I don’t really know, it’s definitely not the most obvious choice of colour but then again it does fit in with Noctua‘s own colour scheme and certainly makes it plainly blatant it’s a Noctua fan. It does also stand out from the usual crowd of black fans.

Moreover, there are nine blades as opposed to the conventional seven presumable to increase airflow. With these additional blades it does mean you can barely see through the product as there are only tiny slits compared to much wider gaps on many other fans.

The front and back are effectively the same except the back has plastic supports which hold the bearing in place right in the centre of the fan. Covering this is Noctua sticker included the ‘Designed in Austria’ logo.

The fan motor uses an SSO bearing, as do other Noctua fans; it is supposed to give a quieter longer-life span compared to older style bearings (for example double ball bearings). The bearing itself has an MTBF of more than 150,000 hours – a huge amount really when you think about it.

Evidently, the blades are a somewhat unusual shape with two VCN (Vortex-Control notches) cut out on every blade; you are probably thinking this is to reduce noise as it means less airflow due to the gaps so a reduced noise output. In truth, you are partly right but not completely as the notches don’t really make it quieter but rather change the sound of the noise by altering the frequencies to supposedly make it sound more pleasant. In concept not a bad idea as the very act of cooling by creating airflow can never be silent as moving air produces noise. Therefore, instead of trying to make the fan silent and by doing so ruin the performance, Noctua are attempting to adjust the noise so as to maintain great performance.

However, the VCN have another purpose too – allowing a higher static pressure. Effectively this allows the fan to maintain its airflow when confronted with higher resistive forces when some fans might falter.

 

As with all 120mm there are four holes, one in each corner, for installation purposes. However, with the NF-P12 you are given a choice as of how to do this: screws or vibration compensating mounts that are supposed to prevent any vibrations from being transferred to the chassis and thus amplified.

In terms of cables, the P12 uses the expected 3-pin connection but if you don’t have many motherboard fan sockets there is a molex to 3-pin header included and of course the L.N.A. and U.L.N.A. cables.

These cables seem like a pretty good idea instead of a fan controller as they just use one cable preventing several in order to incorporate the controller after all it’s not often you’ll want to adjust your fan speeds.

Installation

The Test Setup:

Processor Intel C2D E5550 Dual Core 2.33GHz
Motherboard Gigabyte S-Series GA-73PVM-S2H
Graphics Card XFX 8600GT
Memory Corsair XMS2 PC6400 (2x 1GB)
Hard Drive Hitachi HDT7250 (250GB)
Power Supply Tuniq Potency 650W
OS Windows XP Pro 32bit

As with all fans installation is dead simple: screw it in and plug it up. The only choice or screws or mounts – I chose the rubber mounts.

The little rubber mounts were quite fiddly to attach but definitely worth it due to not getting vibrations transferred to the chassis by using screws.

Testing

Methodology

In order to put the Noctua NF-P12 to the test, I chose to see how it would compare to the very impressive fans that were pre-installed in the NOX case as well as the GELID fans previously reviewed on Verdis.

The NOX Coolbay HX has four pre-installed fans: two 200mms, one top-mounted and one on the side panel, and two 120mms at the front and back. However, I disconnected all of these apart from the rear 120mm fan and tested this by averaging five values taken at 10 second intervals for both the system and CPU temperatures. I then replaced the pre-installed NOX fan with the NF-P12 and tested it in the same way.

In order to collect the data I used Speedfan which uses the computer’s own diode and took values for both load and idle states. For idle, I simply left the computer for about half an hour without running any processes and then took the readings. However, for load I loaded two processes of CPU Burn-In to load the CPU to 100% again leaving it for 30 minutes before taking the readings.

In terms of noise, Verdis Reviews is not at the stage where it can afford expensive equipment, like any sort of noise measuring equipment, and so this aspect will be left to the trusty human ear.

Ambient temperature was 17 degrees and the CPU Cooler used was the Intel Stock (copper base version).

Results

Cooling

As these graphs clearly demonstrate, the Noctua NF-P12 beats its competitors (the very impressive GELID fans) in most cases. Of significant note is the one degree decrease in temperature of the CPU under load state. This may not sound much but in fact is pretty impressive for a fan to be able to affect the temperature of a component so much.

NoiseThe fan is very quiet and the vortexes creating different frequencies seem to do their job very well. Up close there is some noise output but it’s not too bad really all things considered.Although if you do find it a little noisy, you can just the adapters and adjust it to your liking.

CostThe NF-P12 is a little of the steep side unfortunately coming in at about £15 – it’s in at the high end most definitely.

Conclusion

Another great job from Noctua gives another brilliant product in the cooling world. The clever technology used in the blades gives the fan something extra as well as having a distinct look. The results back up how very impressive the NF-P12 really is.

The colour scheme might not be to your taste but then again it’s very unique and does make a nice change from boring black fans.

So there we have it, a brilliant product but as usual with Noctua the price is right in at the deep end. However, extra price brings extra class and this fan has bags of it – great job Noctua once again.

Pros

  • Great performance
  • Quiet
  • Easy to install
  • Cutting-edge technology
  • Innovative

Cons

  • Price Point
  • Colour scheme not to everyone’s likes

[RH_ELEMENTOR id=”3090″]

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