When we speak of the PC cooling solutions, specifically air cooling, Noctua is the name that comes to mind. Noctua is a premium company and they’re definitely enjoying their spot in the market of air cooling. The NF-A12x25 line is one of their highly advanced, next generation 120 millimeter fans that make use of the company’s newest innovations in aerodynamic engineering; this is to achieve an exceptional level of quiet-cooling performance.
Following the approach of the company’s A-series, the NF-A12x25 line is definitely an all-rounder that produces excellent results for different types of usage; this is regardless of whether it’s for airflow-oriented applications like air cooling, if it’s in low impedance or high impedance, or even pressure-demanding occurrences on water-cooling radiators and heatsinks.
Today, let’s focus on the NF-A12x25 line from Noctua then see if its performance and features are adequate enough for your PC cooling needs.
Noctua NF-A12x25 Review – What in the Box?
The latest NF-A12x25 line from Noctua all comes in a similar style of packaging: it still features a white and blackish-brown color scheme on the entire front and back portion of the box. At the back of the package, you can find more details about the fan that you’ve chosen and this can either be the NF-A12x25 PWM, NF-A12x25 FLX, or the NF-A12x25 ULN.
When you open the box, you’ll find a couple of graphs that the company has provided. Note that the NF-A12x25 line has a much lower airflow capacity compared to the NF-S12A, as well as lower maximum static pressure than the NF-F12. Aside from the graphs, you’ll also find other accessories included with the device. A user guide is also present which is necessary when installing the fans.
The accessories that are included in the NF-A12x25’s package are different from each other, and these depend on the model types that you choose. However, the common items that are included in all the boxes are the NA AV2 anti-vibration mounts, the anti-vibration gasket, the user manual, and the fans screws.
The following are the items included in the boxes of each of the NF-A12x25 fans: the PWM versions package includes the low noise adaptor, a 30-centimeter extension cable, and a 4-pin Y-cable. For the FLX version, its box contains a low noise adaptor, a 30-centimeter extension cable, an ultra low noise adaptor, and a 3:4-pin adaptor. As for the ULN version, its box includes the 30-centimeter extension cable, a low noise adaptor, and a 3:4-pin adaptor.
Noctua NF-A12x25 Review – The Leader in Cooling
When it comes to the fans’ appearance, these have the same size and design for the exterior; however, there are still a few notable differences between these. The FLX is voltage-controlled while the ULN and PWM fans are PWM-controlled; as for ULN, its maximum speed is lower compared to the other two cards.
The first thing that we’ve noticed about these fans was their weight; these were much heavier compared to some other fans and generally, the weight comes from their frame.
The frame that the company calls the AAO makes these fans take in the sounds and the vibrations effectively; aside from that, it also refines the fans’ performance which is pretty much impressive. When you look at these, you’ll notice that the devices still sport the company’s signature color for their products which is a dark and light brown shade.
The NF-A12x25’s motor hub centerpiece is made entirely of steel, and the axle mount is crafted with extra brass structures. Its hub works with the SS02, bearing a more advanced version compared to the earlier bearing that was utilized. As for the rear magnet, it’s placed closer to the axis; this is to give the fans more durability, stability, and precision.
Anti-vibration pads have already been integrated and installed on each corner of the device. These are removable anti-vibration pads, allowing you to easily change these to the anti-vibration gaskets that are included in the package; you can also opt to remove these completely and install the device without any anti-vibration pieces on it.
The FLX features a total of 3 speed settings for ultimate flexibility and convenience. It provides 2000, 1,700, and 1,350 rpm through the given ultra-low noise and low noise adapters. The NF-A12x25 FLX (which also means flexibility) can be adjusted for maximum quietness or superior airflow.
Starting with the speed of this specific version of the NF-A12x25, it has a rotational speed of 2000 RPM, 1700 RPM with LNA, and 1350 RPM with ULNA. Its regular airflow is 102.1 m³/h but with the LNA, the airflow shifts to 84.5 m³/h and 64.5 m³/h with ULNA.
The acoustical noise of the FLX is 22.6 dBA; but with LNA, it is 18.8 dBA while it’s 14.2 dBA with ULNA. For its static pressure, it measures at 2.34 mm H₂O but with LNA and ULNA, it measures 1.65 mm H₂O and 1.05 mm H₂O.
The PWM supports a completely automatic PWM speed control and uses Noctua’s specially-designed NE-FD1 PWM IC which integrates the SCD technology. SCD stands for Smooth Computation Drive and it offers smoother torque impulses to stop PWM switching noises, making the fan more quiet.
For the PWM version’s dimensions, it measures 120 x 120 x 25 millimeters and its mounting hole spacing measures 105 x 105 millimeters; it also makes use of the 4-pin PWM connector. Its blade geometry utilizes the A-series with FAC or Flow Acceleration Channels with rotational speed (+ / – 10%) of 2000 RPM; yet with LNA, its speed is 1700 RPM.
As for the minimum rotational speed, it is 450 RPM. Generally, the PWM’s airflow is 102.1 m³/h, but with LNA, it’s 84.5 m³/h with an acoustical noise of 22.6 dBA; with LNA, the acoustical noise is 18.8 dBA.
When it comes to the static pressure, it’s normally 2.34mm H₂O and with LNA, is 1.65 mm H₂O. The maximum input power is at 1.68W while its input current is 0.14A; it’s a 12V device while its voltage PWM signal is 5V.
The ULN’s main feature is its two-speed settings that allow for complete quietness. It is designed for those who want an entirely quiet cooling fan during operation. It offers 1,200 and 900 RPM speed settings through the supplied adapter.
The ULN version of the NF-A12x25 has a rotational speed (+ / – 10%) of 1200 RPM and with the ULNA, it’s 900 RPM. Its airflow measures at 55.7 m³/h, but with the ULNA, it goes around 39.4 m³/h; acoustical noise is 12.1 dBA, but with the ULNA, it’s 7.6 dBA.
When it comes to the ULN’s static pressure, it is around 0.82 mm H₂O and 0.41 mm H₂O with the ULNA. Maximum input power is 0.6W while its maximum input current is 0.05A.
All the three fans under the Noctua NF-A12x25 line share the same features, and we’re going to give you a run down of these.
Fully Optimised P/Q Curve
The NF-A12x25 line’s outstanding aerodynamic design allows proper pressure for airflow P/Q curve that is exceptionally strong when it comes to the critical mid-section. This only means that the NF-A12x25 are great and highly notable devices when it comes to both airflow and static pressure-demanding applications.
Perfect On-Application Acoustics
The NF-A12x25 fans have been adequately calibrated for ideal on-application acoustics. This gives out a pleasant and seamless frequency profile, as well as low sound pressure levels or SPL when it comes to functioning against back pressure.
Flow Acceleration Channels
These fans feature the suction-side FAC or Flow Acceleration Channels, and by boosting the airflow right at the critical outer-blade areas, the measure decreases the suction side-flow separation, leading to decreased vortex noise and boosted efficiency.
Extreme Tight-Tip Clearance
The NF-A12x25 features a record-tight tip clearance of just 0.05 millimeters which is an excellent design that sets a new benchmark for the 120-millimeter fans. This feature also helps the NF-A12x25 line function more effectively against back pressure on radiators or heatsinks. This happens by decreasing the leak flows via the gap amid the frame and impeller.
The Sterrox – Liquid Crystal Polymer Compound
The impeller of the NF-A12x25 is made from Noctua’s Sterrox LCP or Liquid Crystal Polymer compound that gives tensile strength, damping characteristics, and low thermal expansion coefficient that is perfect for decreasing vibration and resonance.
The Advanced Acoustic Optimization frame from Noctua features built-in anti-vibration pads as well as the company’s Inner Surface Microstructures and Stepped Inlet Design – both of which refines the noise efficiency and performance of the fans.
Stepped Inlet Design
The Stepped Inlet Design from Noctua increases the turbulence to the influx; this is to promote the change from laminar to turbulent flow which enhances flow attachment, decreases the tonal intake noise, and boosts the suction capacity especially in space restricted areas.
Inner Surface Microstructures
With the tips of the fans’ blades ploughing into the boundary layers made by the ISM or Inner Surface Microstructures, flow separation will be suppressed significantly, resulting in decreased noise and enhanced airflow plus pressure efficiency.
Built-In Anti-Vibration Pads
These are made using extra-soft silicone that lessens the transmission of vibrations. The pads also help preserve the compatibility with various mounting systems and the standard available screws.
To ensure the highest degree of manufacturing, outstanding long-term stability, and minimum tolerance, the NF-A12x25 makes use of a CNC-milled bearing shell that is completely made from brass.
Smooth Commutation Drive 2
The latest version of the company’s SCD or Smooth Communication Drive system guarantees seamless performance by cancelling out switching noises and torque variations. This makes the fans of the NF-A12x25 line remarkably quiet even when you’re close to these.
Extensive Cabling Options
The short main cable of these fans decreases instances of cable clutter in regular applications while the 30-centimeter extension gives the fans extended reach whenever necessary. Both of the cables are completely sleeved while the available 3:4-pin adaptors allow these fans to be directly connected to the power supply.
Optional Adaptor for Water Cooling Radiators
Because of the NF-A12x25’s superior efficiency, these fans can surely outperform every other 140-millimeter fans that are out in the market. These are combined with optional NA-FMA1 adaptor frames that allow these devices to be installed on 140-millimeter radiators; generally, the NF-A12x25 line is an excellent upgrade for these 140-millimeter-based water coolers.
After almost five years, Noctua finally released a new line of cooling fans with the NF-A12x25. While a lot of companies focus on RGB LED lighting technology on cooling fans, Noctua does their own thing and keeps their own trademark.
Since all of the NF-A12x25 fans gave us excellent performances and low noise levels during our tests, we think these are great products for CPU cooling.
If you are searching for fans that can be utilized for high impedance situations and adequate airflow requirements, we highly suggest the NF-A12x25 to you since these provide complete solutions to all your PC cooling needs.