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Noctua NF-R8 and NF-S12 Fan Review

Click here to visit Noctua's home page!

INTRODUCTION

Quite a few people out there are still using air cooling solutions to keep their cases cooled down and their hardware running in top form. As long as you're not into really heavy overclocking, you're probably using fans on all your components. What are the main problems with fans though? For many, it's the noise they produce.

Both Fans

A long time ago, when I was a noob, I really didn't care how loud my computer was, as long as it got the job done. Putting in eight 80mm Panaflo fans into a full tower case kept it cool, but it sounded like an airplane taxiing for takeoff even with the quiet Panaflos.

Then along comes Noctua with a brave idea. Let's make fans really quiet, whisper quiet, and make everyone's lives easier. Noctua provided nVnews with 2 fan models. The first is the NF-R8, an 80mm version that adjusts from 800 to 1800rpm. The second is the NF-S12-1200, a 120mm version that rotates at 1200rpm.

SPECIFICATIONS

NF-R8 Package

NF-R8 Specifications

NF-S12 Package

NF-S12 Specifications

PACKAGE CONTENTS

The NF-R8 package contains:

  • NF-R8 fan
  • Ultra-Low-Noise Adapter (U.L.N.A.)
  • Low-Noise Adapter (L.N.A.)
  • 4 Vibration Compensators
  • 3:4-Pin Adapter
  • 4 Fan Screws

NF-R8 Contents

The NF-S12 package contains:

  • NF-S12-1200 fan
  • Ultra-Low-Noise Adapter (U.L.N.A.)
  • 4 Vibration Compensators
  • 3:4-Pin Adapter
  • 4 Fan Screws

NF-S12 Contents

PERFORMANCE

The Noctua fans are the first fans to use a novel rotor, developed by the Austrian Institute for Heat-Transmission and Fan Technology. They developed optimizations of blade geometry to reduce noise, providing the same rate of flow for similar sized fans. The NF-S12 series are equipped with a magnetically centered, self lubricating oil-pressure bearing that provides a new level of quietness and long-term stability.

In my Thermaltake Armor case, I am using a Rosewill Quiet Power Supply, a Zalman CNPS9500 Ultra Quiet CPU Cooler on my Core2 Duo E6700, and a Zalman VF700-Cu Ultra Quiet Graphics Card Cooler on my MSI 8600GTS.

Bearing Comparison

At idle with no exhaust fans and the CPU cooler running at 100%, the system runs at 27 degrees, while the CPU runs at 49 degrees. Plugging in the Noctua NF-S12-1200 fan for exhaust, the system runs at 25 degrees and the CPU runs at 41 degrees. Dropping the CPU cooler down to 45% (which is silent from outside the case), the system runs at 25 degrees with the CPU running at 43 degrees.

At full load with no exhaust fans and the CPU cooler running at 100%, the system runs at 28 degrees inside the case with the CPU running at 54 degrees. Plugging in the Noctua NF-S12-1200 fan for exhaust, the system runs at 27 degrees with the CPU running at 49 degrees. Dropping the CPU cooler down to 45%, the system runs at 27 degrees with the CPU running at 51 degrees.

Bearing Stabilization

Testing the Noctua NF-R8, I decided to go for sound. I used an external power supply and attached the NF-R8 and a Panaflo Ultra Quiet 80mm fan. The NF-R8 produced airflow of approximately 31CFM versus the Panaflo's 24CFM. But, the sound that I hear is the same when held at arms length. Not bad. But, attaching the Low-Noise Adapter cable to the NF-R8 produced airflow of approximately 23CFM. But, at arms length, I couldn't hear the NF-R8. Man, what a difference! The Noctua NF-R8 produced almost the same amount of airflow with considerably less noise. Then I attached the Ultra-Low-Noise Adapter cable to the NF-R8. Moving the fan closer to my ear, I couldn't hear the fan until it was about 9 inches away. This produced airflow of approximately 15CFM, considerably less than the Panaflo, but for all practical purposes, very silent.

CONCLUSION

These are some cool fans, in more ways than one. The only issue people might have with these fans is the color combination--they are beige with a brown blade. I don't really consider the colors a problem as I'm not into staring at the fans in my case. I just want them to work and these fans work perfectly. You also have the option of making them nearly silent.

These fans earn our Grand Slam award. I would recommend them to anyone using air cooling in their system, or anyone who needs a silent fan for their watercooling radiator. Thanks to Noctua for providing these review samples.

Feel free to discuss this review in this forum thread.

Back to nV News

Last Updated on August 29, 2007


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