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Noctua NF-S12A Series Fans Review

Just a few months ago we review some new fans from Noctua containing a ton of features but Noctua with their never ending innovation has brought us even more new fans with more features to market. Just what are these features? We will get to that a little later in this review. So be prepared for better and more ways to get performance up and noise down.

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Just a few months ago we review some new fans from Noctua containing a ton of features but Noctua with their never ending innovation has brought us even more new fans with more features to market. Just what are these features? We will get to that a little later in this review. So be prepared for better and more ways to get performance up and noise down.

Noctua NF-S12A Series Fans Review

Introduction

Over the years we have seen Noctua fans grow and develop into one of the world’s finest. If you take a look in our industry, you will see older products morph into components that is capable of being used in a system deemed modern by today’s standards. We are seeing this trend with the fans from Noctua which is something you would see from other companies today.

Noctua takes the fan business pretty seriously and if you can’t tell, we beg you to take a look at any of their fan products on their site. There isn’t another company on the planet that has as many features on their fans like those from Noctua. I guess this is the reason why they are some of the best performing, quietest fans to date.

Just a few months ago we review some new fans from Noctua containing a ton of features but Noctua with their never ending innovation has brought us even more new fans with more features to market. Just what are these features? We will get to that a little later in this review. So be prepared for better and more ways to get performance up and noise down.

Noctua’s take on the S12A

The Noctua NF-S12A marks the third generation of Noctua’s signature S12 series quiet case fans, which have received more than 250 awards and recommendations from the international press. Featuring a further refined blade design with Anti-Stall Knobs that works in tandem with the new AAO (Advanced Acoustic Optimisation) frame, the NF-S12A improves the airflow/noise efficiency of its renowned predecessor by up to 8%. The PWM version sports Noctua’s custom designed NE-FD1 IC for fully automatic speed control via 4-pin fan headers and comes with a Low-Noise-Adaptor to reduce the maximum speed during PWM control from 1200 to 900rpm. Its superb running smoothness, SSO2 bearing and Noctua’s trusted premium quality make it an elite choice for quiet case cooling.

Specifications

Noctua HF-S12A PWM

Size 

120x120x25 mm

 
 
 

Connector

 

4-pin PWM

 
 
 

Bearing

 

SSO2

 
 
 

Blade Geometry

 

S-Series with Anti-Stall Knobs

 
 
 

Frame Technology

 

AAO (Advanced Acoustic Optimisation)

 
 
 

Rotational Speed (+/- 10%)

 

1200 RPM

 
 
 

Rotational Speed with L.N.A. (+/- 10%)

 

900 RPM

 
 
 

Min. Rotational Speed (PWM)

 

300 RPM

 
 
 

Airflow

 

107,5 m³/h

 
 
 

Airflow with L.N.A.

 

83,2 m³/h

 
 
 

Acoustical Noise

 

17,8 dB(A)

 
 
 

Acoustical Noise with L.N.A.

 

10,7 dB(A)

 
 
 

Static Pressure

 

1,19 mm H2O

 
 
 

Static Pressure with L.N.A.

 

0,73 mm H2O

 
 
 

Max. Input Power

 

1,44 W

 
 
 

Max. Input Current

 

0,12 A

 
 
 

Voltage

 

12 V

 
 
 

MTBF

 

> 150.000 h

 
 
 

Scope of Delivery

 
  • Low-Noise Adaptor (L.N.A.)
  • 4-Pin Y-Cable
  • 30cm Extension Cable
  • 4 Vibration-Compensators
  • 4 Fan Screws
 
 
 

Warranty

 

6 years

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Noctua NF-12A FLX

Size 

120x120x25 mm

 
 
 

Connector

 

3-pin

 
 
 

Bearing

 

SSO2

 
 
 

Blade Geometry

 

S-Series with Anti-Stall Knobs

 
 
 

Frame Technology

 

AAO (Advanced Acoustic Optimisation)

 
 
 

Rotational Speed (+/- 10%)

 

1200 RPM

 
 
 

Rotational Speed with L.N.A. (+/- 10%)

 

900 RPM

 
 
 

Rotational Speed with U.L.N.A. (+/- 10%)

 

700 RPM

 
 
 

Airflow

 

107,5 m³/h

 
 
 

Airflow with L.N.A.

 

83,2 m³/h

 
 
 

Airflow with U.L.N.A.

 

65,8 m³/h

 
 
 

Acoustical Noise

 

17,8 dB(A)

 
 
 

Acoustical Noise with L.N.A.

 

10,7 dB(A)

 
 
 

Acoustical Noise with U.L.N.A.

 

7,4 dB(A)

 
 
 

Static Pressure

 

1,19 mm H2O

 
 
 

Static Pressure with L.N.A.

 

0,73 mm H2O

 
 
 

Static Pressure with U.L.N.A.

 

0,51 mm H2O

 
 
 

Max. Input Power

 

1,44 W

 
 
 

Max. Input Current

 

0,12 A

 
 
 

Voltage

 

12 V

 
 
 

MTBF

 

> 150.000 h

 
 
 

Scope of Delivery

 
  • Low-Noise Adaptor (L.N.A.)
  • Ultra-Low-Noise Adaptor (U.L.N.A.)
  • 3:4-Pin Adaptor
  • 30cm Extension Cable
  • 4 Vibration-Compensators
  • 4 Fan Screws
 
 
 

Warranty

 

6 years

Noctua NF-S12A ULN

Size 

120x120x25 mm

 
 
 

Connector

 

3-pin

 
 
 

Bearing

 

SSO2

 
 
 

Blade Geometry

 

S-Series with Anti-Stall Knobs

 
 
 

Frame Technology

 

AAO (Advanced Acoustic Optimisation)

 
 
 

Rotational Speed (+/- 10%)

 

800 RPM

 
 
 

Rotational Speed with L.N.A. (+/- 10%)

 

600 RPM

 
 
 

Airflow

 

74,3 m³/h

 
 
 

Airflow with L.N.A.

 

57,5 m³/h

 
 
 

Acoustical Noise

 

8,6 dB(A)

 
 
 

Acoustical Noise with L.N.A.

 

6,7 dB(A)

 
 
 

Static Pressure

 

0,62 mm H2O

 
 
 

Static Pressure with L.N.A.

 

0,44 mm H2O

 
 
 

Max. Input Power

 

0,72 W

 
 
 

Max. Input Current

 

0,06 A

 
 
 

Voltage

 

12 V

 
 
 

MTBF

 

> 150.000 h

 
 
 

Scope of Delivery

 
  • Low-Noise Adaptor (L.N.A.)
  • 3:4 Pin Adaptor
  • 30cm Extension Cable
  • 4 Vibration-Compensators
  • 4 Fan Screws
 
 
 

Warranty

 

6 years

Closer Look

When it comes to 120mm fans, Noctua currently has three different series. The three would be the P12, F12 and the S12A. We will be taking a detailed look at the Noctua NF-S12A series here today. Of the three fan series, the S12A fans are more suited for case cooling rather than CPU air- and water-cooling. If you are looking for something to mount to your CPU cooler, look for the F12 with its higher static pressure rating. The Noctua NF-S12A series fans are geared around high flow and low noise which is ideal for aiding case ventilation.

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The Noctua NF-S12A fans share the same color arrangement that all Noctua fans and that is burgundy and tan. This selection of colors has been questioned by many. But looking over many forums and checking out threads of custom builds, I have seen these fans used pretty well.

Before we hit the ground running, I would like to state what is different about each of the fans before discussing the common features which is really the point of these fans.

The first of the fans we will talk about is the S12A FLX. This particular fan has the largest range of rotation of the three. This range is determined by the adapter that is used with it. The FLX comes with the LNA cable which limits the fan to 900 RPM at just 10.7 dBA and 83.2 m3/h airflow. The next cable would be the ULNA which lowers the rotation even further to 700 RPM at 7.4 dBA at 65.8 m3/h. If you choose to not use an adapter, the rotational speed is dialed in at 1200 RPM at 17.8 dBA at 107.5 m3/h.

The next fan up is the S12A PWM. This fan when plugged directly into a motherboard fan header has a RPM range of 300 to 1200 RPM and is controlled entirely by the system. 1200 RPM at 17.8 dBA at 107.5 m3/h are the specifications for this setting. But if you throw on the included LNA adapter, the specifications become 10.7 dBA and 83.2 m3/h.

The last and final fan would be the S12A ULN. You may have noticed that the front two fans has some specs in common with one another. This change with the ULN model. Without any usage of adapters the maximum rotation of the blades is 800 RPMat 8.6 dBA at 74.3 m3/h. Opt in the LNA cable and this lowers to 600 RPM at 6.7 dBA at 57.5 m3/h.

Now it is time to talk about the features that makes the Noctua NF-S12A models worth buying over the previous S12. Well, it begins with a new feature called Anti-Stall Knob. Stalling is the high level of impedance that is created when blades of the fan is forced to battle with other objects like fan grills and or the radiator of water-cooling setup. The knobs at the end of the blades increase the speed of the airflow made by the fan eliminating that stall effect.

Mounted on all four corners of the fans are Noctua’s anti-vibration pads. These help to eliminate the vibration that can often occur between the case and the fan. And even with these pads in place, you can still use all the current mounting devices like screws, magnetic pins and rubber mounts when building your rig.

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The Advanced Acoustic Optimisation (AAO) frame, which Noctua calls the whole assembly, minus the blades and hub still have all the great features we have seen in there other fans. This would include the ‘Stepped Inlet Design’ which aids in turbulence and the ‘Inner Surface Microstructures’ which reduces the noise made as the blades circle around the frame. 

There are many other features all the three fans have, we suggest clicking on the link here to read more about them. One that we will mention to close this section of the review is the warranty Noctua gave with all three fans which is six years and is rated for 150k hours of operation.

Testing Methodology

For our testing we will be using the following procedures and parameters to acquire the necessary data:

  • Thermal compound used is Arctic Silver 5
  • Idle temperatures are recorded after the system has been allowed to idle for thirty minutes from the point Windows has finished loading.
  • Load temperatures are recorded by running OCCT for twenty minutes on all available threads.
  • Real Temp is used for the recording of all temperature sensor reading.
  • PWM function is disabled via BIOS to allow the fans to run at full speed.
  • CPU model and overclock speed used for testing are outlined below in “Test Hardware”.
  • Each cooler is first tested with one fan supplied from the manufacturer.
  • Each cooler is then tested again with a second fan attached if provided by the manufacturer.

Test Hardware:

1. ASUS X79 Deluxe Motherboard
2. Intel Core i7 3930K Processor
3. Kingston HyperX 1866 DDR3 16GB
4. Kingston V+ 200 120GB Solid State Drive
5. ASUS BC12B1LT BD-Rom Drive
6. Thermaltake Frio Extreme CPU Cooler
7. MicrocoolBanchetto 101 Open Air Test Bench
8. Silverstone Strider Gold Evolution 850W Power Supply
9. ASUS Nvidia GTX 560Ti 448 Graphic Card

Results

 

Conclusion

Once again we see that Noctua continued to take fan development to the next level. After the NF-F12 series, I really thought there was nothing more to add to this fan series from Noctua. I mean they were able to keep the fans quiet and performance well under various cooling situations. I believe Noctua is just on a quest to give their fans (buyers) more options and more value for their money. This shows in the newer Noctua NF-S12A series. Each fan is given a new set of features and technical specifications with the only difference between them are the rotation speeds. Noctua is continuing to produce winners and we really enjoy bringing them to you.

These fans will cost you anywhere from $20 to $27 making them pricey. But you are getting features that you will not find in other fans in the same price range made by other brands.

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ProClockers was founded in 2004, and since then we have reviewed thousands of tech products, including motherboards, CPUs, graphics cards, PC cases, cooling solutions and more. Whilst many of the original products we reviewed back then have long bit the dust, we continue working hard to provide unbiased PC hardware and tech reviews.

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