Noctua NF-P12 120mm PC Case Fan Review


Currently, there are hundreds of PC fan manufacturer’s out there. Some offer little tweaks on the same old ideas; others have broken into a whole new technology of fan motor, and design altogether. Just because a fan sports cool LEDs or a UV-sensitive coating does not mean it will perform any better than the plain black one that came with your stock PC. Companies like Noctua are breaking the fan market up into two distinctive groups: performance, and needless fluff. The Noctua NF-P12 120mm Fan sports Self–stabilizing oil-pressure bearings or SSO-Bearing. We will see in this review if this means anything to the average user. Click read more to see the full review on the Noctua NF-P12 120mm Fan:

 Products provided by: Noctua

Closer Look:

GELID Solutions and Noctua are head to head as far as package design goes. Both products use a window in order to see the product, both products also include important information for both laymen and those of us that are a little more tech-savvy. Here is where the two manufacturers diverge Noctua steps it up the package by including a flap. This may be a pointless inclusion in your opinion but not mine adding an additional 2 pages to the packaging is exactly what someone wanting a very specific product likes to see. Maybe I am the only one, but I like good marketing when I see it. Companies that put this much effort into marketing usually have a great product to back it up with, otherwise, they would lose customers and packaging would start to suffer. 

The Noctua NF-P12 120mm Case Fan comes included with more goodies than any of the other fans we have reviewed on this site. I begged GELID for a Molex connector adaptor so far SilenX and Noctua answered my plea. Along with a Molex converter, you also get a low noise adaptor, a 3 to 4 pin connector, an ultra-low noise adaptor, screws, and the rubber mounts that seem to be gaining popularity with the silent fans these days.

The differences between this fan and the others do not stop with a few extra goodies; the fan itself is probably the most well-built. As far as weight goes it was heavier than the other fans and when I turned the fan on in my hand it had some torque to it. I like it when products are made well, there is nothing worse than cheap flimsy products, that do not last. Another very noticeable difference is the fan design. The fan not only has 9 blades as opposed to the usual 7, but it also has a unique notching on each blade called “VCN or Vortex-Control Notches.” The difference in the fan makes the background noise of the fan spread over more frequencies making it sound quieter.

Let’s go on to the specs and features:

Specifications and Features:

The NF-P12 has been specifically developed for applications such as CPU coolers that demand superior pressure and airflow performance. Thanks to psychoacoustic optimizations like the Vortex-Control Notches, the new SCD drive system, and Noctua’s premium-grade SSO-Bearing, the NF-P12 achieves exceptional quietness and long-term stability.

 So we saw what was under the hood now lets see how well it performs:

Testing Setup:

  • Processor: Intel Core2 Quad Q9450
  • Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-X48-DQ6
  • Memory: OCZ 2 x 2GB
  • Video Card: Nvidea 260GTX
  • Power Supply: Coolmax USA 950w Modular Power Supply
  • Hard Drive: Seagate 750GB SATA
  • Optical Drive: LG DVD
  • OS: Windows Vista Ultimate
  • Thermaltake armor

Testing:

For testing, I will be running 5 fans as exhaust. The competing fans will be The Noctua NF-P12 120mm, Extrema Pro Series (red box), Extrema Pro Series Quiet (yellow box), GELID Silent 12PWM, and the WING 12 UV Case Fan’s. The measurements will be idle and load temperatures. All of the testings will be done in a 29 Degrees C regulated room for consistency in temperatures. The temperatures measured will be CPU and ambient case temps.

Test

Ixtrema Pro

Ixtrema Quiet

Noctua NF-P12

GELID WING 12

GELID Silent 12PWM

Idle CPU

38

40

42

44

44

Load CPU

48

49

45

46

46

Idle Case

30

32

31

29

30

Load Case

33

33

31

31

31

While the Noctua did not do the best in every test it did seem to affect the load CPU temps more than the others, but in such a big case it is hard to tell exactly how well it did. The current aftermarket cooler I am using is not based on a 120mm design, but I will be getting the core contact freezer from sunbeam tech soon as well as the Buffalo cooler from Evercool so I look forward to running the benchmarks again. I honestly think this fan is fantastic! It feels like we designed and just a little more powerful than the other fans. Let’s see the final thoughts:

Conclusion:

Overall the Noctua fan met and surpassed my expectations. It is just a little pricier than other fans on the market right now, but then again it is not the same as any of them. It is a truly unique design and personally, I love the color scheme Noctua uses. There is a hint of sophistication in the overall design which makes me think Noctua is taking the enthusiast market in a whole new direction. Enthusiast users are starting to get older and there is something a little off-putting about a man in his 50’s pimping out his PC with LEDs. The days of juvenile flashy case mods are coming to an end. With people doing steampunk mods and Victorian-based keyboard mods we are seeing a whole new dynamic showing its face in the gaming/enthusiast world. I believe that Noctua is just ahead of the pack.

Would I recommend this fan? Yes, but only to a specific user. I still have friends that love their cheaply made LED fans, who am I to tell them to change; I have 3 rigs with LED fans myself. For those of you that are done with the flash and want a well-built functional PC with sophisticated style, picking up the Noctua fans would do well for you. Again as I do with most sound-optimized fans; I recommend this for use with HTPC’s because of its silent properties. The NF-P12 120mm case fan is a great product and after all of the testing, it stayed in my rig. This says for the fan due to the fact I have so many options to choose from.

Pros:

  • Well Built
  • Sophisticated Design
  • Tons of Extra’s 
  • VCN Fan Design for Sound Optimization
  • Molex Connector!!

Cons:

  • (For Some)It Is a Little Pricier Than the Other Fans Reviewed 

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