Noctua NF-R8 Case Fan Review

Introduction

To conclude the Noctua trio of fans, we have the smallest of the three – the NF-R8. With both the 120mm and 92mm versions proving to be right up there at the top of the market, the NF-R8, featuring the same technology, seems sure to follow in the footsteps and achieve some great cooling results. Let’s have a look…

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

  • Sound-optimised blade geometry and profile: The NF-R8 is the first fan employing a novel 80mm rotor which was developed by the Austrian Institute for Heat-Transmission and Fan Technology. Thanks to the special optimisation of the blade geometry towards ultra low noise application, the NF-R8 is up to 10% quieter than current high-end fans at the same flow rate.
  • Self-stabilising oil-pressure bearing (SSO bearing): The NF-R8 series are equipped with a magnetically centred, self lubricating oil-pressure bearing that provides a new level of quietness and long-term stability.

Specifications

Size80×80×25 mm
BearingSSO-Bearing
Blade GeometryRaised-Blade-Design
Rotational Speed (+/- 10%)1800 RPM
Rotational Speed with L.N.A. (+/- 10%)1300 RPM
Rotational Speed with U.L.N.A. (+/- 10%)800 RPM
Airflow53 m³/h
Airflow with L.N.A.39 m³/h
Airflow with U.L.N.A.26 m³/h
Acoustical Noise17 dB(A)
Acoustical Noise with L.N.A.10 dB(A)
Acoustical Noise with U.L.N.A.7* dB(A)
Input Power1,32 W
Input Current0,11 A
Voltage Range4-13 V
MTBF> 150.000 h
Scope of Delivery
  • Ultra-Low-Noise Adaptor (U.L.N.A.)
  • Low-Noise Adaptor (L.N.A.)
  • 4 Vibration Compensators
  • 3:4-Pin Adaptor
  • 4 Fan Screws
Warranty6 years

Contents

As we’ve seen on previous occasions, Noctua package all their fans in the same way: a box styled with Noctua’s favourite colour scheme (brown/blue/black) and a large window giving a sneak preview of the fan inside. It breathes quality right from the off.

The back sees the table of specifications and the features explained not to mention to the translations into multiple languages.

Like the NF-P12 and NF-B9, this fan comes with a whole assortment of accessories:

  • Ultra-Low-Noise Adaptor (U.L.N.A.)
  • Low-Noise Adaptor (L.N.A.)
  • 4 Vibration Compensators
  • 3:4-Pin Adaptor
  • 4 Fan Screws

The low-noise adaptor and ultra-low-noise-adaptor have become features of most Noctua products and provide a simple alternative to a fan controller which can be a nuisance to mount out the way in your case. The adaptors simply restrict the voltage and thus reduce the speed at which the fan spins making for quieter cooling whilst still plugging into your motherboard.

 

The Product – Noctua NF-R8

As I’ve said countless times, the colour of the Noctua fans is certainly not the most obvious choice but then again they are very distinctive – maybe for the wrong reasons but they are unquestionably noticeable.

The NF-R8 has the usual seven blade design. The blades themselves have a ‘raised blade design’ whish effectively means that they are slightly raised above the rotor hub to achieve multiple goals. Firstly, the combination of the blades being steeper and the raised height means that despite the smaller surface area of the fins, there force produced remains high.

Moreover, the rounding of both the blades and the rotor hub are designed to lower noise emissions.

The NF-R8 also uses the SSO bearing that proved so effective for the 120mm and 92mm versions. The reason why this bearing is so good is that it is much more stable than say a sleeve or ball bearing. Consequently, as they spin they don’t damage themselves as much through friction and also produce lower noise outputs. To do this Noctua use a magnet that keeps the bearing centred to stop it wobbling around.

The back of the bearing, behind the plastic cover, is a small sticker which has the Noctua logo and a few basic specs – voltage, power and current.

In each of the corners, like all fans, there are small holes for installation purposes but will Noctua you get the choice of screws or vibration compensators.

Finally, the NF-R8 uses a 3-pin connector that fits straight into the motherboard. It’s also nice to see that the cable has a black sleeving to keep it tidy.

Installation

The Test Setup:

ProcessorIntel C2D E5550 Dual Core 2.33GHz
MotherboardGigabyte S-Series GA-73PVM-S2H
Graphics CardXFX 8600GT
MemoryCorsair XMS2 PC6400 (2x 1GB)
Hard DriveHitachi HDT7250 (250GB)
Power SupplyTuniq Potency 650W
OSWindows XP Pro 32bit

This is part is very simple and I chose to use the rubber vibration compensators. All you do is push them through the case and then through the hole in the fan. Do this for each corner. Then all that’s left to do is to plug in the connector [and the L.N.A. or U.L.N.A. if you choose to use them].

Testing

Methodology

To test the NF-R8, I chose to compare it to the Arctic cooling 8L 80mm fan. I installed both the fans into my Asus Vento A2 case (mid tower) and disabled all other fans so only the fan undergoing testing was producing airflow.

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 18 degrees and the CPU Cooler used was the Intel Stock (copper base version).

Results

Cooling 

Evidently, Noctua have done it again and easily outperformed a capable rival by over a degree in most instances. The only slightly tighter results are the system temperatures at load where only 0.4 of a degree separates the fans, but apart from this all the other readings are very impressive.

NoiseNoise outputs vary depending if you use an adapter and which one. I used the fan without one in order to gain the highest cooling potential and noise outputs. However, even running at full speeds, the fan was relatively quiet and only really noticeable up close.Also, I couldn’t detect any vibrations being passed to the chassis and thus amplified so the vibration compensators do their job well.

CostNoctua products equal high prices. But, like I’ve said before and I’ll say it again, the price relates to really top notch products that are worth that little extra.

Conclusion

Another superb product from Noctua that follows in the footsteps of the two fans that were reviewed previously: very high cooling potential and low noise emissions.

There’s not really any way to fault the NF-R8 – you can talk about the price or the slightly strange colour scheme but when you look at the performance, these factors seem negligible.

Overall, very good again from Noctua and if you’re looking for a great 80mm fan, you’ll do well to find a better one than the NF-R8.

Pros

  • Great cooling
  • Low noise emissions
  • Vibration Compensators
  • Long life

Cons

  • Price Point

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