Noctua NF-F12 PWM 120mm Fan - Testing

Article Index
Noctua NF-F12 PWM 120mm Fan
Specifications
Testing
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

 

Noctua NF-F12 PWM Fan Testing:

For our testing we put the NF-F12 PWM up against 2 other models from Noctua as well as up against Thermaltake's ISGC Fan 12. In the chart below we've highlighted some of the major features of each of these fans in comparison to the others:

compare.jpg
Noctua vs. Noctua vs. Noctua
compare2.jpg
Noctua vs. Noctua vs. Noctua

 

Test Setup:

  Noctua NF-F12 PWM Noctua NF-S12B FLX Noctua NF-P12 Thermaltake ISGC Fan 12
Speed 300-1500 RPM (PWM Control) 600, 900, 1200 RPM 900, 1100, 1300 RPM 800-1300 RPM (Manual Adjust)
Blade Design 7 Blade Heptaperf Design 7 Blade w/ BBT 9 Blade Design w/ VCN 9 Blade
Input Power 0.6 Watts 1.2 Watts 1.08 Watts 1.2 Watts
Acoustical Noise 18.6-22.4 dB(A) 10.6-18.1 dB(A) 12.6-19.8 dB(A) 16 dB(A)
MSRP (At time of publishing) $19.99 USD $19.99 USD $19.99 USD $19.99 USD

 

Now most of the specs are somewhat similar to each other and all 4 of these fans retail for the same price online.

The biggest difference between the 4 is the input power in which the NF-F12 PWM comes out as the winner by a fair margin. This isn't a fluke, in fact Noctua is pretty proud of that fact and they say if you compare this fan to a 2 Watt fan you'll save about half the price of this fan over 5 years. If you factor that in over 2 or 3 fans it will save you a few bucks over the life of your fans.

 

How slow does it have to be in order to be virtually silent?:

Biggest question we get about fans would be, is it silent? Chances are good that all 4 of these fans would be pretty much undetectable in most peoples systems even when running at full speed. We however hooked each of them up in a quiet room to see just how slow they would have to spin before we couldn't hear them anymore. For our testing we hooked them up an adjustable fan controller and manually tested their speeds with a digital tachometer while standing approximately 2 feet away from the fan. Here are our results:

  Noctua NF-F12 PWM Noctua NF-S12B FLX Noctua NF-P12 Thermaltake ISGC Fan 12
Speed at which fan became virtually silent (in a quiet room) 1050 RPM 900 RPM 950 RPM 900 RPM

 

Now the most interesting thing about this test was that the NF-F12 PWM was able to run at the highest speed while running virtually silent. All 4 of the fans were pretty quiet even at full speed and most of them if ran at ~1000 RPM would be undetectable in most system. If getting as much airflow as possible with minimal or no fan noise is a big deal to you then the Noctua NF-F12 PWM would probably be declared the winner.