Reviewed: Noctua IndustrialPPC

Our review samples included the following:

  • NF-F12 iPPC-2000 IP67 (PWM)
  • NF-F12 iPPC-3000 (PWM)
  • NF-A14 iPPC-2000 IP67 (PWM)
  • NF-A14 iPPC-3000 (PWM)

The IndustrialPPC range has 8 available models, the fans listed above plus a 2000rpm variant without the IP67 ingress protection and a 3 PIN 2000rpm version in both the 120mm and 140mm form factors

The specifications for comparison are below.

comparison

Features

As you can see above, Noctua has carried across the same frame and blade designs despite changing the construction material to something more durable. The AAO frame and FocusedFlow designs are great for moving air with less noise and improved static pressure and it was pleasing to see these Premium design points in a product design for industrial use. The FocussedFlow technology was covered in detail in our NF-F12 review previously as was the AAO Frame design in our 92, 80 and 40mm review last month. Like the current premium range, the iPPC range also has the SSO2 bearing for better durability, less noise and a nice transition through speed changes.

If you look at the Airflow for comparison to the NF-F12 Premium Fan, the premium version is capable of 300-1500RPM and a max airflow of 93.4 m³/h with a static pressure of 2.61 mm H2O and maxes out at around 22.4dB(A). The Premium fan also uses half the power of the NF-F12 iPPC-2000 IP67 PWM which should be expected given that it runs at almost half the speed.

The RPM ranges of the iPPC fans above are much wider as we saw in our fan tuning with ASUS Fan Xpert 2 so despite having a higher top speed, they are also able to maintain a relatively quiet (in fact basically silent) low speed at the bottom end of the RPM scale in the 2000RPM series fans.  The static pressure and airflow ratings are higher due to the speed difference at the cost of an acoustic penalty and when the IPPC fans are mid to top end of the fan curve, you can hear them. Our testing was in line with the Noctua specification sheet for the most part with our decibel meter reading them within 1 dB(A) of their rated Acoustical Noise value at 30 cm on an open air test bench. 

Packaging

The packaging is much more plain than the Premium range and more like the Redux boxing – the box offers good protection for shipping and has the key stats of the product on the outside. Noctua also back the iPPC range with their 6 year warranty.

The Motor

Although not as obvious as the black fibreglass reinforced polyamide construction, the motor is the most significant design change. Typical fans have a single phase motor with 4 poles and 4 slots. The way it works is that each opposing pair of coils power up and down causing the coils and the magnets in the outer ring to align which causes the fan to turn 90 degrees each turn – basically this happens really fast in a rinse and repeat fashion and like magic, we have airflow. The iPPC fans are made with a three phase design and have the 4 poles like a conventional fan but unlike a conventional fan, there are 6 powered coils instead of 4. What this means is that the ratio of magnetic poles to powered coils in a standard fan is 1:1 (4 coils, 4 poles) but this changes to 3:2 (6 coils, 4 poles) with the iPPC fans. Having a different ratio results in the switching of the coils occurs at a faster rate which can even out variations in the torque and it also creates a situation where the coils and poles always overlap and never truly align like a 1:1 ratio design. The lack of true alignment creates a situation where the torque doesn’t get a chance to drop off and provides a smooth drive with better energy efficiency. 

The Noctua graphics explain it better below

IP67 and IP52 water and dust protection – what’s the difference?

The iPPC fans have a default rating of IP52 with the exception being the two IP67 branded 2000rpm PWM models. The difference is in the quality of the seal for ingress protection against dust and water. This is the point where I found myself thinking that sure, dust is a problem and you can’t really escape it completely but I make an effort to avoid water in my rigs unless it’s well contained in hoses and running through a radiator.

IP52 protection is achieved with a varnish over the motor and PCB that is resistant to dust and will withstand water dripping on it (to the equivalent of 3mm of rainfall per minute) but it isn’t dust or water proof as it’s not completely sealed.

IP67 is a higher rating and Noctua use a different method to guard against dust and water. The motor and PCB are encased in a special resin that conducts head away from the motor but gives total dust protection and is completely waterproof to a depth of up to 1m. 

This is great for those who live in dusty environments but even better for people building an amphibious PC…

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