Noctua NF-A12x15 FLX and NF-A12x15 PWM – Test and Review

On Computex 2017 the guys from Noctua introduced several brand new fans with various dimensions from 40 up to 200mm, which are already included in the A series. Fans, which are pretty interesting products and which have a lot to offer. I already got the full range of the latest arrivals and that includes: NF-A20 PWM, NF-A20 FLX,  NF-A12x15 PWM, NF-A12x15 FLX,  NF-A4x20 PWM,  NF-A4x20 FLX, NF-A4x20 5V PWM and NF-A4x20 5V.

All of the fans are in the typical for the company pink/brown colour scheme and all of them have unique features but I am afraid that I am capable to test and review only the models with size of 120mm aka NF-A12x15 PWM and NF-A12x15 FLX.

Both of the fans arrived to me placed inside the typical for the A series carton box painted in the white/black/brown colour scheme featuring a front flap covering a see through cut, through which we can see the shape of the propellers and part of the frame and a second back flap covering the additional information for the technologies used so these fans can be created.

Noctua NF-A12x15 FLX Noctua NF-A12x15 PWM

 

By lifting the front flaps I reached a lot of additional information and explanations regarding the additional accessories and the performance features of the products. Since these are Noctua products the information was pretty vast but the more interesting thing was the tiny hole on each box giving us a tiny glimpse of the propellers structure and the added in the package rubber pins.

Noctua NF-A12x15 FLX Noctua NF-A12x15 PWM

 

Of course, by lifting the back flaps of the boxes I reached to all of the information regarding the technologies used so these products can be created, while the full technical specification is listed on the back of the boxes. Overall the technologies is very long, as usual, but still this is Noctua.

Personally, I really enjoyed the packages but let’s put them aside and proceed with checking the fan structures one by one.

 

Noctua NF-A12x15 FLX and NF-A12x15 PWM STRUCTURE

An first sight, Noctua NF-A12x15 FLX and NF-A12x15 PWM are two absolutely identical fans designed with slim frame and the only difference between them is their cooling performance, powering method and additional accessories.

So let’s check the fan structures, capabilities and features.

Noctua NF-A12x15 FLX front view Noctua NF-A12x15 PWM front view

 

Both of the fans are designed with a square and entirely in light pink frames with dimensions of 120 x 120 x 15 mm(105 x 105mm screw hole pattern) with integrated Anti-Vibration Pads made from extra-soft silicone designed to minimize the transmission of minute vibrations while maintaining full compatibility with all standard mounting systems and fan clips used on heat sinks.

Each one of the frames feature the very well known AAO Frame technology as well the Noctua’s proprietary Stepped Inlet Design and Inner Surface Microstructures, both of which designed and added to improve the fan’s performance and the noise efficiency.

On the other hand, both of the fans are equipped with identical propellers entirely in brown with 7 pretty narrow and at the same time not very sharply angled blades, which are optimized to deliver the best possible performance and noise level balance. Of course, the propellers themselves are designed with the very well know flow acceleration channels which speed up the airflow at the crucial outer blade regions. This measure reduces suction side flow separation and thus leads to better efficiency and lower vortex noises when the air passes through the blades.

Noctua NF-A12x15 FLX back view Noctua NF-A12x15 PWM back view

 

The next interesting thing regarding the new models is actually the integrated metal-reinforced motor hub, designed as a measure typically found in high-speed industrial fans, in order to guarantee Noctua’s signature stability and longevity. A feature required because of the shorter axis and bearing, which lead to a reduced running stability and lifespan.

And to perform their cooling duties both of the fans are equipped with the typical for all of the series SSO2 Bearing, which includes optimized second generation of Noctua’s renowned, time-tested SSO bearing, combined with custom-designed NE-FD1 PWM IC that integrates Smooth Commutation Drive (SCD) technology. By providing smoother torque impulses, SCD suppresses PWM switching noises and thus makes the fan quieter at low speeds, made to support fully automatic PWM speed control.

With this hardware the fans are capable to operate of up to 150 000 hours and are:

Noctua NF-A12x15 FLX is 3-pin powered and regulated and works at:

  • maximum 1850 +/- 10% revolutions per minute providing airflow level of 94,2 m³/h, static pressure of 1,53 mm H₂O and noise level of 23,9 dB(A).
  • with L.N.A. adapter – 1400 +/- 10% revolutions per minute providing airflow level of 70,8 m³/h, static pressure of 0,9 mm H₂O and noise level of 16,8 dB(A).
  • with U.L.N.A. adapter – 950 +/- 10% revolutions per minute providing airflow level of 46.5 m³/h, static pressure of 0,45 mm H₂O and noise level of 10.2 dB(A).

Noctua NF-A12x15 PWM is 4-pin powered and regulated and works at:

  • maximum 1850 +/- 10% revolutions per minute providing airflow level of 94,2 m³/h, static pressure of 1,53 mm H₂O and noise level of 23,9 dB(A).
  • with L.N.A. adapter – 1400 +/- 10% revolutions per minute providing airflow level of 70,8 m³/h, static pressure of 0,9 mm H₂O and noise level of 16,8 dB(A).
  • with U.L.N.A. adapter – 950 +/- 10% revolutions per minute providing airflow level of 46.5 m³/h, static pressure of 0,45 mm H₂O and noise level of 10.2 dB(A).

Enough about the fan structure; let’s pay more attention to the additional accessories.

 

Noctua NF-A12x15 FLX and NF-A12x15 PWM ADDITIONAL ACCESSORIES

Noctua NF-A12x15 FLX accessories Noctua NF-A12x15 PWM accessories

 

Even though both of the fans look pretty similar, they offer slightly different accessories packs, which include:

Noctua NF-A12x15 FLX:

  1. A set of 4 metal screws
  2. A set of four brown NA-AV3 anti-vibration mounts
  3. 1 x Low-Noise Adaptor (L.N.A.)
  4. 1 x Ultra-Low-Noise Adaptor (U.L.N.A.)
  5. 1 x 3:4-pin power supply adaptor
  6. 1 x 30cm extension cable

Noctua NF-A12x15 PWM:

  1. A set of 4 metal screws
  2. A set of four brown NA-AV3 anti-vibration mounts
  3. 1 x Low-Noise Adaptor (L.N.A.)
  4. 1 x Ultra-Low-Noise Adaptor (U.L.N.A.)
  5. 1 x 4-pin Y – cable

I believe I am done checking the fans and their accessories packs so let’s check their actual performance.

 

Noctua NF-A12x15 FLX and NF-A12x15 PWM TESTS

The tests will be conducted in my standard way. I will install the fans and test them at 5V/7V/9V/12V and my goal will be to check the performance of the products in real conditions. They will be tested under close-to-perfect conditions, not taking into account any external factors. The results achieved during the test can in no way be the same if the models are mounted on a cooler or on the case fan slot of any modern computer case. I will measure the amount of air going through the fans for one hour and their speed. For this I use a fan controller, a voltage meter, an anemometer and a stand made specifically for this purpose.

And this is what the fans look like installed on my test stand:

The test results are shown in the following charts:

Airflow through the fans at 5V, 7V, 9V, 12V

Propellers rpm during the tests at 5V, 7V, 9V, 12V.

The anemometer showed the following air speed passing through the propellers:

After mounting the fans onto the stand, and leaving them to rotate for about 60 minutes at maximum speed, the tests began.

As with my other tests, again I started with a gradual increase of the voltage through the Lamptron FCT starting at 0V and both of the fans made at least one stable revolution at about 6V.

Test at 5V:

At the first test, performed at 5V , Noctua NF-A12x15 FLX was rotating at stable 945 revolutions per minute, providing airflow level of 50.4 cubic metres per hour, while Noctua NF-A12x15 PWM was providing airflow level of 50,88 cubic metres per hour at the same revolutions per minute. At this test both of the fans were dead quiet.

Test at 7V:

At the second test, conducted at 7V, NF-A12x15 FLX was working at 1245 revolutions per minute, providing airflow level of 67.68 cubic metres per hour, while the PWM version was rotating at 1260 revolutions per minute with airflow level of 70.56 cubic metres per hour. At the second test both of the fans remained silent.

Test at 9V:

At the third test conducted at exactly 9V, the FLX version was providing airflow level of 85.92 cubic metres per hour while rotating at 1530 revolutions per minute, while for NF-A12x15 PWM fan the airflow level was 89.28 cubic metres per hour, while rotating at 1560 revolutions per minute. At the third test both of the fans started generating a tiny noise coming out of the air passing through the propeller.

Test at 12V:

At the last test conducted at 12V, both fans delivered their maximum performance, which for NF-A12x15 FLX was airflow level of 106.08 cubic metres per hour at 1875 revolutions per minute, while for NF-A12x15 PWM it was 108 cubic metres per hour, while rotating at 1890 revolutions per minute. At the last test the fans started generating a pretty distinct noise.

 

Noctua NF-A12x15 FLX and NF-A12x15 PWM CONCLUSIONS

1. Noctua NF-A12x15 FLX and NF-A12x15 PWM Performance:

After I spent several hours, which I count as real quality time, I was left with really positive feelings regarding both of the fans.

Overall, the models are definitely designed and manufactured to fit in tiny spaces, which can be located inside smaller form factor cases or twin tower coolers and to provide the best possible cooling performance and noise level balance. Through the review I noticed really high build quality (nothing new for Noctua) and later through the tests I found out an amazing cooling performance and very, very stable operation.

For me these fans are capable to operate as main cooling units for CPU heat sinks or water cooling radiators and at the same time as case fans to boost the overall cooling performance inside every small, micro, middle or big tower form factor cases. In any situation they will definitely handle keeping the hardware inside running cool, stable and most of all quiet.

Regarding the noise, both of the models definitely impressed with very quiet operation while working at 5, 7 and 9V. At 12V they became a bit noisy but still the cooling performance was pretty high and that is totally expected.

And last but not least, Noctua NF-A12x15 FLX and NF-A12x15 PWM are equipped with very extensive accessories packs, which provide all kinds of possibilities and cooling capabilities.

 

2. Noctua NF-A12x15 FLX and NF-A12x15 PWM Appearance:

Noctua … pink, brown … usual stuff. A colour scheme, which definitely looks attractive but unfortunately is not very suitable when the fans are inside black case with many different LEDs on almost every component part of a modern rig. Anyway, the fans definitely look very reliable and inspire a feeling of stability – once you install them, you can forget all about them and they will do their job perfectly.

I think Noctua NF-A12x15 FLX and NF-A12x15 PWM deserve:

 

Noctua NF-A12x15 FLX and NF-A12x15 PWM have been added to the 120mm fans catalogue.

Official price (MSRP): Noctua NF-A12x15 FLX : 19.90 euro

Official price (MSRP): Noctua NF-A12x15 PWM : 19.90 euro

Warranty: 72 months

 

Special thanks, Noctua, for the test sample.

Noctua NF-A12x15 FLX and NF-A12x15 PWM – Test and Review
Very stable and reliable products.
9 Total Score

Very stable and reliable products.

Performance (Noctua NF-A12x15 FLX)
9
Noise Level (Noctua NF-A12x15 FLX)
9
Performance (Noctua NF-A12x15 PWM)
9
Noise Level (Noctua NF-A12x15 FLX)
9
Additional accessories
10
Appearance
8
User Rating: Be the first one!

Dobrin Krastev is the owner, reviewer and newsman of www.DVTests.com with more than 15 years' experience in personal computers, server and storage systems, UPS, peripheral devices and software. Passionate about testing and reviewing, AMD overclocking using AM3 990FXA and AMD FM2 A85X test systems and building modding projects.
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