Noctua NF-F12 PWM 120mm Fan Review

Product: Noctua NF-F12 PWM 120mm
Company: Noctua
Author: James Prior
Editor: Charles Oliver
Date: April 3rd, 2012

Summary & Conclusions

While the Noctua NF-F12 PWM didn't outperform in thermal measurements, the massive reduction in noise vs. the AMD FX Liquid Cooler stock fans is excellent. It may be that the limiting factor on temperatures for the AMD FX LC is the radiator design and pump system, instead of the fan performance. However, the Noctua NF-F12 PWM made our overclocked settings useable where, previously, a week of benchmarking with the overclocked FX and FX LC had us contemplating if it was really worth losing our sanity and hearing to run an overclocked test system.

The engineering effort is evident in every aspect of the Noctua NF-F12 PWM, and definitely well worth it. At $20-$25USD it's not cheap for a 120mm fan, but it's also not exorbitantly expensive either. The now traditional Noctua beige and brown color scheme is classy and well executed, but may not fit into every enthusiast color scheme. Contemplating buying two fans to upgrade a dual-fan system like the AMD FX Liquid Cooler is pricey thought, and could have you thinking about going for a self-contained liquid cooler with a larger radiator for less than the price of two Noctua fans and an FX LC.

While we concentrated on performance applications in our testing, there is another use case for the Noctua NF-F12 PWM: quiet PCs. In applications where only a single case or system fan is used - for instance an HTPC, or boutique desktop, then the NF-F12 PWM may be the perfect choice to provide adequate cooling - it offers 55CFM at 1500rpm and 44CFM at 1200rpm using the low noise adapter (~19dBA).

If you're looking for a low noise, high flow fan upgrade for your case, heatsink or liquid cooler, the Noctua NF-F12 PWM should be on your short list. Noctua again deliver a product with excellent noise characteristics, high quality feel and thoroughly engineered design for great performance. We award 5 stars.