Noctua NF-S12 Case Fan Review
In order to quiet down the noise coming from my Antec Sonata II I decided to invest in a new case fan. After some time checking various reviews I picked a Noctua NF-S12 and ordered it from Overclockers (at the same time as a new Corsair HX520W power supply and an Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro CPU cooler).
According to the marketing blurb the Noctua NF-S12 uses a special blade geometry to reduce noise output and claims to be 10% quieter than the equivalent competition. It also uses self-stabilising oil pressure (SSO) bearings to further reduce sound and ensure a good lifespan. It sounded ideal and there were plenty of glowing product reviews on the Overclockers website.
Although the Noctua packaging is nothing too exciting, once out of the box the fan itself feels like it is solidly built. The fan body is a cream-coloured plastic that feels strong, while the fan inside is brown – hardly the most stylish of colour combinations! However, it’s going to be stuck at the back of my case so it doesn’t really matter if the cream/brown doesn’t quite fit with the glossy black paint on the Sonata II.
The power cable is long and braided, which makes it easy to route around the case as well as protecting it from any harm if it finds itself getting caught up in a fan (which it won’t). The cable has a three pin connector on the end for plugging into a fan connection on the motherboard. It can be plugged into a 4-pin connection, using just three of the pins, but also comes with a molex adapter.
The fan attaches to the case using vibration compensators, or to put it simply 4 brown rubber plugs. These plugs are quite fiddly to fit and there is a particular method to fitting them that isn’t immediately obvious as there are no instructions in the box. Instead you have to check the Noctua website and look in the FAQ section for the fan.
First of all you have to fit the plugs to the case, pulling them through the mounting holes from the outside to the inside. Be careful not to pull them too much as they might break, instead pull the plug from the inside with a bit of pressure while gently pushing it through from the outside with a small screwdriver.
Once the plugs are mounted to the case you have to fit the fan onto them, which is also fiddly. Pop the fan onto the plugs and then pull each one in turn until it’s all the way through the hole in the fan body, at which point it will be held securely. Then connect the power cable to a 3 or 4-pin connection on your motherboard or use the molex adapter to attach it to a spare molex connector.
That’s it, job done. When powered up the fan is incredibly quiet, you can hardly tell it’s spinning until you get really close. The 1200rpm fan is rated at just 17dB(A) while still being capable of pushing out 81m3 of air per hour. It’s a big improvement on the standard Antec fan – I thought that was quiet, but this shows just how quiet a fan can be.
The Noctua NF-S12 is a very good case fan that doesn’t break the bank. It’s exceedingly quiet and pumps out plenty of air, and as a result it comes highly recommended.