Noctua NF-A12x15 PWM

Introduction

Noctua is a company specialized in designing and producing of high end coolers and fans for PC type systems. The company was founded in 2005 by Rascom Computerdistribution and Taiwanese company Kolink International. Today Noctua is present in more than 30 countries, being one of the most known manufacturers of cooling solutions.

 

Official product link:

https://noctua.at/en/nf-a12x15-pwm

Packaging and accessories

The fan is packaged in a cardboard box with double openings front to back. The color combination is reused from previous fan series, and it contains the Noctua characteristic colors.
The front side lists the main features of the fan alongside the manufacturer’s logo and the model number of the product.

 

The sides of the packaging are simple, here there is only the full name of the fan alongside a QR code.

 

The back of the packaging features an introduction and short description of the product in 8 different languages. Just like the front side, the back has a hardcover that opens revealing all of the features of the fan.

 

Accessories

The product comes with the following accessories:
– 1x Manual
– Low-Noise Adaptor (L.N.A.)
– 4-pin y-cable
– 30cm extension cable
– NA-AV3 anti-vibration mounts
– Fan screws

 

Specifications

Model: NF-A12x15 PWM
Size: 120 x 120 x 15 mm
Bearing: SSO2 (self-stabilising oil-pressure)
Number of blades: 7
Blade Geometry: A-Series with Flow Acceleration Channels
Rated Voltage: 12 V
Max Input Power: 1,56 W
Max. Input Current: 0,13 A
Min. Rotational Speed: 450 RPM
Rotational Speed (+/- 10%): 1850 RPM
Rotational Speed with L.N.A. (+/- 10%): 1400 RPM
Static Pressure: 1,53 mm H₂O
Static Pressure with L.N.A.: 0,9 mm H₂O
Airflow: 94,2 m³/h
Airflow with L.N.A.: 70,8 m³/h
Acoustical Noise: 23,9 dB(A)
Lifetime MTBF: > 150.000 h
Connector: 4-Pin PWM
Warranty: 6 years

Features:

– 15mm slim design: Having a thickness of only 15mm, the NF-A12x15 is much slimmer than standard 120x25mm fans. This makes it ideal for typical slim fan applications such as low-profile CPU coolers as well as for freeing up space by replacing standard 120x25mm fans on tower coolers, radiators or in PC cases.
– Metal-reinforced motor hub: With many larger-diameter slim fan designs, the shorter axis and bearing lead to a reduced running stability and lifespan. The NF-A12x15 uses a metal-reinforced motor hub, a measure typically found in high-speed industrial fans, in order to guarantee Noctua’s signature stability and longevity.
– Flow Acceleration Channels: The NF-A12x15 impeller features suction side Flow Acceleration Channels. By speeding up the airflow at the crucial outer blade regions, this measure reduces suction side flow separation and thus leads to better efficiency and lower vortex noise.
– AAO frame: Noctua’s AAO (Advanced Acoustic Optimisation) frames feature integrated anti-vibration pads as well as Noctua’s proprietary Stepped Inlet Design and Inner Surface Microstructures, both of which further refine the fan’s performance/noise efficiency.
– Stepped Inlet Design: Noctua’s Stepped Inlet Design adds turbulence to the influx in order to facilitate the transition from laminar flow to turbulent flow, which reduces tonal intake noise, improves flow attachment and increases suction capacity, especially in space-restricted environments.
– Integrated Anti-Vibration Pads: Made from extra-soft silicone minimize the transmission of minute vibrations while maintaining full compatibility with all standard mounting systems and fan clips used on heatsinks.
– SSO2 bearing: The NF-A12x15 features the further optimised second generation of Noctua’s renowned, time-tested SSO bearing. With SSO2, the rear magnet is placed closer to the axis to provide even better stabilisation, precision and durability.
– 6-year manufacturer’s warranty: Noctua fans are renowned for their impeccable quality and outstanding longevity. Like all Noctua fans, the NF-A12x15 features an MTTF of more than 150.000 hours rating and comes with a full 6-year manufacturer’s warranty.

 

Visual inspection

The NF-A12x15 PWM has a slim frame design that measures only 15mm in thickness, being ideal for small spaces that require a good airflow and low noise operation fan, such as HTPC cases or ITX CPU Coolers. The fan itself has the following dimensions: 120 x 120 x 15 mm.

 

One of the features of this fan are the Flow Acceleration Channels placed on the 7 blades, the purpose of this channels is to reduce the noise that is generated by the airflow hitting the frame of the fan.

 

 

The second generation of the self-stabilizing oil-pressure bearing or SSO-Bearing for short has been used in the construction of the NF-A12x15 PWM, this time with a metal-reinforced hub to increase the rotor hub stability and the fan’s longevity.

The frame is equipped with silicone inserts on both sides of each corner to reduce the vibrations from both the spinning motor and the blades without increasing the thickness of the frame.

 

The inner surface of the frame uses a couple of Inner Surface Microstructures to reduce the noise generated by the intake of air while also increasing the suction capacity, this feature is installed for low space operation.

 

The back of the fan features 5 curved beams designed to offer as little air resistance as possible, this reduces the sound generated by the exhausted air. The label that covers the back of the motor features the full model name of the fan alongside the Noctua logo.

 

The NF-A12x15 PWM uses a 4-Pin Molex connector just like most PWM capable fans, the cable is sleeved until the end.

 

Testing

The following system was used to test the fans:
– Processor: Intel i5 4690K @ 3.9GHz
– Motherboard: MSI Z97 Gaming 9 ACK
– RAM: 16GB Crucial Ballistix Tactical
– GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 Founder Edition
– SSD: Samsung 840 EVO 120GB
– HDD: WD Blue 1TB
– CPU Cooler: SilverStone Tundra TD02-E
– Thermal compound: Arctic MX-4
– Case: Phanteks Enthoo Luxe

 

The 120mm fans has been tested using a 240mm CPU liquid cooler, the SilverStone TD02-E at max. RPM.
The 140mm fans has been tested using a 280mm CPU liquid cooler, the NZXT Kraken X61 at max. RPM.

 

CPU Temp. – 120mm fans

 

The noise level was measured at three different distances from the fans (10cm, 20cm, 30cm.) the noise was measured with a margin of error of ± 5 db.

 

Final thoughts

The NF-A12x15 PWM is a great choice for an ITX build, due to its slim frame design measuring only 15mm in thickness while offering a good performance even in restricted areas.
The new slim frame design is rigid and maintains the rotor and blade hub in the same position, some slim fan frames have the tendency to flex when the fan is spinning at maximum RPM. Although the NF-A12x15 PWM is a slim fan designed for small enclosure, it performs excellent when mounted to a 240mm radiator. The sound performance is good, the sound generated by the fan peaks at 36db at the maximum rated speed of 1850 RPM.
The conclusion for the Noctua NF-A12x15 PWM is simple, Noctua’s new fan models can be used as dedicated cooling fans for both CPU cooler heatinks and water-cooling radiators. The slim frame format will also facilitate the usage of these fans in a push pull configuration on a water-cooling system in an SFF case. The accessory bundle is nothing short of great, the fan comes with a low noise adapter, an extension cable, a Molex splitter and rubber anti-vibration mounts among others.

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