The Corsair stock fans hold a minor advantage over the NF-F12 offering from Noctua but the softer noise levels that you get with the NF-F12 make it a much better option as far as we are concerned.
The ASUS Fan Xpert 2 software worked really well in our tests. If you have good fan control software and up to a mild overclock, the PWM configuration should be perfect for most people. Personally, I’d much rather let the PC adjust the fan for me so that I can just play my game without needing to tweak or reach inside the case to press a button on the cooler if things get a little warm.
Our GPU was the Gigabyte GTX 670 OC with the Winforce 3x cooler and with the case fans on low speed, it is a relatively quiet setup. For this reason, the H100 with Noctua NF-F12 fans fitted was the optimal combination. If you are about to spend over $1000 on a new PC, then another $60 for fans is about a 6% increase that you are unlikely to regret.
On the other hand, if you are gaming on a budget or running a hot GPU with loud stock cooling, perhaps you won’t notice the benefits.
The Corsair H100 is a great unit with its stock fans but when we take into account the thermal tests and our experience of the acoustic superiority of the NF-F12, it’s easy to recommend this combination.
The NF-F12 is the best choice of fan we have seen for CPU cooling solutions (heatsink or radiator) where noise levels are a consideration. There is a sacrifice involved but it is minor and well worth the expense. As mentioned in Part I, the build quality, included accessories and technology that Noctua has combined for the NF-F12 make is a good value proposition for ~$30 and one that won’t disappoint.