In part I of our NF-F12 review, we covered the technical specifications, initial thoughts and overview of the new arrival from Noctua – and the fact that Noctua were good enough to send us a pair of these fans for testing.
The results of our testing with a 120mm heatsink were very good, finding the sweet spot between noise and performance using any of the configurations out of the box (12v, L.N.A or PWM mode).
The technical smarts that have gone into the design of both the frame and the impeller of this product were also covered in part I so head over there and have a look if you missed it because the team at Noctua appear to have done a lot of homework in this regard.
One of the things that differentiates the NF-F12 from many other popular 120mm fans is the PWM capability. In our H100 testing, we have to note that the stock corsair fans are not PWM and as such, depend on the pump unit of the cooler to drive their speeds. The only control we have over this is the 3 settings on the pump as controlled by the button on the pump unit itself – inside the case. When testing PWM mode for the Noctua NF-F12 fans, we couldn’t not attach them to the H100 pump unit because of the pin configuration so we ran them from the CPU fan headers on our ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe motherboard. These fan headers are treated as one by the motherboard software and it meant that we didn’t use the “Y” splitter. We wanted to avoid using the splitter for our testing so that we could see the individual RPMs of both fans. When testing PWM mode, we used the standard setting to try and keep things as controlled as possible – knowing that we could tweak the settings for noise/performance utopia if we wanted to.
The Noctua fans are typically recommended to push air through a radiator but individual case configurations can vary so much that there is no read “standard” recommendation beyond this. We decided to test the fans both pushing air through the radiator and pulling air through the radiator so see if there really was a difference.
This is not a review of the H100, just the performance of the NF-F12 fans when matched with this cooler – we will be covering the H100 in more detail in a future article.