Noctua NF-F12 Reviewed – Part I

Key Features

After reading up on all of the features of the NF-F12, I felt like I’d just had a physics lecture. Hats off to the Noctua Research and development team for explaining the technology so that even I can understand it.

The Key features of the NF-F12 are as follows :

The Frame: “Focused FlowTM Frame – Designed for pressure demanding applications such as heatsinks and radiators” There is more information about the benefits of this at the following link including some interesting graphs, airflow and heat comparisons.

Noctua Focused Flow: HERE

Varying Angular Distance and Vortex control notches:;One of the first things you notice about this product over its siblings is the guide vanes and the anti-vibration pads. There are 11  guide vanes  on the NF-F12 are spaced and angled to spread the pressure pulses from the fan blades over a broader frequency range – which basically means that the fan noise blends into the background better. The Vortex control notches look like little serrations in the guide vanes – as far as I understand it,  these are designed to reduce the turbulence and help maintain the velocity of the air that passes through the fan, reducing the noise produced.

Other features that Noctua have implemented include:

HeptaperfTM Impeller has been designed specifically to work with this frame and the guide vanes.
  Stepped inlet design that adds turbulence to the intake of the NF-F12 to reduce tonal intake noise, improve flow attachment and increase suction capacity. We take that to mean that the NF-F12 has been designed to have better intake with less noise – which can only be good right?
  Inner surface Microstructures (these are barely visible but apparently they also help with noise)
  Integrated Anti Vibration Pads
  SSO2 Bearing – second generation of Noctua’s SSO bearing
Metal Bearing Shell
  PWM with Smooth Commutation Drive (SCD) – this SCD technology is supposed to suppress PWM switching noises and make the fan quieter at low speed.
  Ultra Low power consumption – the NF-F12 only draws  0.6W
  LNA to reduce the speed from 1500 to 1200 rpm when using the fan on 12v or you can also use it to cap the rpm at 1200 if in PWM mode.
  Extension Cable – the cable attached to the NF-F12 is conveniently shorter than the NF-S12B FLX or the Antec Tricool.
  Y cable – to connect another NF-F12 to the same PWM. This will come in handy when we test our H100 in Part II of our NF-12 series.
6 years manufacturers warranty – In a product that spins up to 1500 rpm, 6 years is a statement of confidence on the part of the manufacturer.


Detailed Specifications

Size 120 x 120 x 25mm
Connector 4-PIN PWM
Bearing Heptaperf
Blade Geometry SSO2
Frame Technology Focused Flow
Rotational Speed (+/- 10%) 1500 RPM
Rotational Speed with L.N.A. (+/- 10%) 1200 RPM
Min. Rotational Speed (PWM) 300 RPM normal;”>
Airflow 93,4 m³/h
Airflow with L.N.A. 74,3 m³/h
Acoustical Noise 22,4 dB(A)
Acoustical Noise with L.N.A. 18,6 dB(A)
Static Pressure 2,61 mm H2O
Static Pressure with L.N.A. 1,83 mm H2O
Max. Input Power 0,6 W
Max. Input Current 0,05 A
Voltage 12 V
MTBF > 150.000 h

Box Contents

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

It looks impressive in theory and we have some practical tests in the following pages to show what we experienced. As this product is appropriate for both heatsinks and radiators, we tested it on a Thermalright Ultra 120 tower heatsink and a Corsair H100 sealed water cooling unit.


Build Quality

The NF-F12 and it’s accessories scream “Quality” at us. It doesn’t matter if we are looking at a PC case, power supply or a fan, build quality is very important to us and we are willing to pay a little extra for a product to get something durable and reliable if we have to. In this case, we don’t feel that we had to pay much extra at all. When you undertake a build, route your cables and get everything squared away, the last thing you want to do is have to rip something out of it for a warranty claim or replace a part because it rattles.

We can’t fault the construction of the NF-F12. The cable sleeving is nicely done, the fan feels solid – almost heavy and the packaging looks and feels like a premium product. All it has to do now show us a good noise to performance balance. 


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