Noctua NF-F12 PWM 120mm Cooling Fan Review

Author: Roger Cantwell
Editor: Howard Ha
Publish Date: Monday, September 10th, 2012
Originally Published on Neoseeker (
Article Link:
Copyright Neo Era Media, Inc. - please do not redistribute or use for commercial purposes.

Noctua's latest offering in their cooling lineup, the NF-F12 120MM case fan, is designed specifically for use on heatsinks and radiators Priced around $30, the NF-F12 is packed with all new features and capabilities like 11 stator vanes, which come as part of the fan's new Focused Flow Frame. These vanes have been designed specifically to straighten, channel and focus airflow, thus increasing the cooling performance of the fan.

The new Frame design is coupled with Noctua's radical new Stepped Inlet technology. The main function of the Stepped Inlet design is to force the airflow from laminar to turbulent airflow in the fan's influx, increasing overall airflow efficiency. Paired with a 7 blade design, the enhanced Focused Flow Frame significantly increases the fans static pressure.

Another new feature is the second generation SSO2 bearing. With this new design, the rear bearing has been moved closer to the axis providing more efficient stabilization along with added precision and increased durability.

Now that we have gone over some of the new features and technology which has gone into the NF-F12 fan, let's take a closer look at the package and specifications.

Noctua's NF-F12 is packaged in a white and brown box. On the front you will find the model number of the fan along with a listing of it's specifications. On the inside of the front cover is a clear window giving you a frontal view of the fan itself. A diagram of the fan on the left gives you a full breakdown of the added features, along with thermal images displaying the benefits of the Focused Flow technology. The back of the box has a full listing of features and specifications translated into multiple languages. Flip open the back panel to reveal a more detailed listing of the included features and technology.


120x120x25 mm
4-pin PWM
Blade Geometry
Frame Technology
Focused Flow™
Rotational Speed (+/- 10%)  
1500 RPM
Rotational Speed with L.N.A. (+/- 10%)
1200 RPM
Min. Rotational Speed (PWM)
300 RPM
93,4 m³/h
Airflow with L.N.A.
74,3 m³/h
Acoustical Noise
22,4 dB(A)
Acoustical Noise with L.N.A.
18,6 dB(A)
Static Pressure
2,61 mm H2O
Static Pressure with L.N.A.
1,83 mm H2O
Max. Input Power
0,6 W
Max. Input Current
0,05 A
12 V
> 150.000 h













First up, a closer look are the included accessories. The NF-F12 comes a detailed instruction manual that also contains the warranty information, and the Low Noise Adapter (LNA) which when installed will reduce the fan's speed from 1500 to 1200RPM which in turn reduces the noise output from the fan. The NF-F12's primary power cable is only 20cm in length, helping reduce cable clutter. Noctua has included a 30cm 4-pin extension cable and Y-cable adapter allowing you to connect another NF-F12 fan. Also included are the standard fan screws and rubber mounting pins. These pins, used in conjunction with Noctua's NF-F12 anti-vibration measures on the corners of the fan itself, assist in the reduction of vibrations during operation.

Looking at the NF-F12 from the front, you can see the fan's seven redesigned blades that have been fully optimized to work in conjunction with the eleven stator vanes to deliver an excellent balance between power and silent operation. Taking a look at the rear, you can see the eleven stator guide vanes which will help in channeling and focusing airflow, allowing the NF-F12 to compete with higher speed fans while generating less noise.

Testing of Noctua's NF-F12 fans will involve running the benchmarking system for one hour using Prime95's small FFT for the CPU and chipset. The final stage will be a 30 minute cool-down period for the idle temperatures. The maximum load temperatures will be recorded using HW Monitor for the CPU, chipset and GPU. All fans will be run at 100% rotation speed for the tests.

Test Setup:

Comparison Fans:

All fans are in dual configuration.


Noctua's NF-F12 proved to be a formidable competitor in all three of our tests, though it fell behind the SP120 PE from Corsair by a single degree celsius in both the GPU and chipset portion of the testing. However both Corsair's SP120 PE (35dBA) at 2350rpm and the AF120 QE (30dBA) at 1650rpm produced more noise when compared to Noctua's NF-F12 (22.4dBA) at 1500rpm. Just a little something to be considered when looking at the overall performance of the fans. When it came to the overclocked CPU test, Noctua's NF-F12 took the lead.

With the addition of all the new technologies, it probably comes as no surprise that Noctua's NF-F12 is a strong competitor. The most important of the new features include the Stator Guide Vanes, which as mentioned before serve to help to focus the airflow coming into the fan. Another new feature is the (ISM) or Inner Surface Microstructures. As the fan blade tips slice or pass through the periphery layer generated by the ISM, flow separation from the suction side of the blades is greatly decreased, resulting in reduced noise from blade movement along with an increase in airflow and pressure performance.

Overall the performance of the NF-F12 was outstanding and the fans were extremely quiet as promised thanks to the second generation SSO2 bearing. The included bundle of accessories was extensive to say the least, with the included 30cm extension cable, Y-cable adapter to add a second NF-F12 fan, and the (LNA) Low Noise Adapters which in my opinion are not required because again these fans run quiet as they are.

Once again Noctua has delivered a high quality product in terms of craftsmanship and performance with the NF-F12 fans.





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