Today we have an opportunity to look at one of Noctua’s fans that made the jump from their premium line down to the redux line in the NF-P12 redux. The redux line of fans is intended to have the same performance as the premium line, but sold in an OEM manner (without accessories) to keep costs down. The NF-P12 redux line will include four SKUs – two DC controlled fans at 900 at 1300 RPM and two PWM fans at 1300 and 1700 RPM. The big difference between them is in the price with the redux saving 33% over the fully accessorized NF-P12. The P12 sold well enough to remain a premium fan all these years and sells well enough to be made into four redux fans. How do the fans function in various environments? We will examine the performance of all four fans and see how it adds up.
Today we examine Noctua’s new fan, the NF-A12-25. After more than 4.5 years of development and seeing prototypes throughout that time, the new fan has finally been released. The NF-A12-25 uses different build materials to increase rigidity which allows for tighter tolerances, specifically in regards to the distance between the blade and the frame. Noctua says this design is said to help with increased static pressure and airflow which makes this fan a good candidate for mounting to a radiator. We put the fan to the test against our test suite to gauge performance and see how the new fan fared against other similarly sized fans.
Noctua has released a new 15 mm thick, named the NF-A12x15. It is designed to fit in skinny places and to provide relatively high static pressure. They faced challenges getting a fan this thin. For example, “For the 12cm NF-A12x15, a steel-reinforced motor hub and brass axle mount are being used in order to assure the required stability despite the fan’s 15mm thin profile.” Remember, Noctua guarantees their products out to six years and to make a thin fan last that long took some work. They also never made a fan this thin. As our press contact commented, “All of the new models are new form factors for us.” So let’s have a look at this, the newest entry into the slim fan derby:
The Thermalright Macho 120 SBM is the latest evolution of their Macho heatsink. It began its life as a passively cooled mass of fins. Then TR put a 140 mm fan in front of it. With the SBM heatsink, the Macho fin stack has shrunk a little bit, to 130 mm, and it uses a 120 mm fan to push air through its fins. Does the Thermalright Macho 120 SBM cool well? Is it all posturing, or can it keep your CPU cool? There is only one way to find out. Let’s do it!
We have arrived at the second part of the Silverstone fan review (part 1 was the review of 140 mm Silverstone fans). 120 mm fans can be used as case fans, heatsink fans and radiator fans. These are all PWM fans so they can be used in all three applications. Because they can be used in all three, we test them in the three kinds of situations. If it sounds like a lot of testing, it was. But now we know where these Silverstone fans fit into the 120 mm universe. So let’s get out our telescopes and start looking.
Case fans are supposed to cool your case. As use in this review, a case fan is a fixed-voltage fan. Today we might want to call them non-PWM fans. These fans are “set ‘em and forget ‘em” fans. Except that some of you insist on using fan controllers to vary the speeds of your fans. Imagine that! Well, in any case (in any case – get it?) we’re going to look at more than twenty case fans. I say “more than twenty’’ because I can’t count. We have more than 30 fans and settings that we will be looking at today. If you are interested in counting actual fans, be my guest.
It seems like everyone is getting into the All-In-One CPU cooler business these days. Even the well-established case- and accessory-maker NZXT has gotten into the act, offering the Kraken line of CPU coolers. The Kraken lineup comes with room for one or two fans, at 120 mm and 140 mm. They always cool well in reviews. But the updated line promise to cool quietly as well. So let’s have a look at the X31, shall we?
Scythe has released its entry into the world of tandem tower heatsinks: the Fuma. Scythe heatsinks all have Japanese names, and the Fuma is no exception: it means “wind demon” in Japanese. It is powered by two Slip Stream 120 PWM fans. Sounds promising, but unlike the seemingly unending series of 160+ mm towers, the Fuma is less than 150 mm tall. Is this heatsink a wind demon or a mere dust devil? Let’s find out!
When Noctua announced they had released 24-volt fans, I ignored it, asking, “What does that have to do with me?” I had tried 24-volt fans from other manufacturers with unhappy results. But the Noctua rep told me “They actually run nice and quiet in 12V PC environments!” It was at that point I had to test these fans to see how well they do. Do they really run quietly at 12 volts? And how strong are they? Immediately thereafter, Noctua announced their Chromax line of accessories. From having these two releases coming so close together, this combined review was born.