New noctua 120mm PWM fan, NF-A12x25 the GT Clone

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Abula
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New noctua 120mm PWM fan, NF-A12x25 the GT Clone

Post by Abula » Wed May 02, 2018 2:29 pm

Official Product Page: NF-A12x25
Promotional Video: Noctua NF-A12x25 next-generation 120mm fan

A fan that i have been waiting, it was shown on CES a long time ago (if in not mistaken like 3 years ago), what really caught my interest was that I never really liked the sonic signature of the NF-F12 (i prefer the old NF-P12), even performance wise in my own testing i found the Scythe Gentle Typhoons (now discontinued) superior both in cooling and noise, but this new fan that has been delayed for years, its now hitting retail, Noctua NF-A12x25 in multiple versions (PWM/FLX/ULN), but worth mentioning it has a lot of similarities to the Gentle Typhoons, not completely the same but close enough for me to call it a GT Clone, i leave you a picture on the bottom for you to judge.

Scythe Gentle Typhoons have been one of the favorite fans among overclockers specially among the watercooling community, the only downside imo of the GT is it uses real ball bearings (some dont like the sound it produces others like me dont mind it) and there was no PWM design for the lower RPM version, last iterations there were some PCBs that had pwm but you had to soldier them, until they were discontinued by scythe, and the OEM Nidec Servo now sells them with their brand, although i havent seen all version that Scythe used to comercialized, but there are now PWM, to what i know seems like nindec does custom for for aftermarket stores like the Darkside 3pin and Darkside PWM (dont take my word).

Even SPCR liked it on one of their reviews, Fan Roundup #6: Scythe, Noiseblocker, Antec, Nexus, Thermalright
The GT 800 RPM model is extremely quiet, yet provides the best cooling result of all the fans in this roundup at 12 dBA@1m. No other fan provides 24°C temperature rise at this low SPL.

The GT 1450 RPM model is also very quiet for its cooling performance. The 19°C temperature rise at the 20 dBA SPL (at full speed) is comparable to what the big Thermalright 17cm can achieve at the same noise level. No other 120mm fan in this roundup does as well.
Now comes a Noctua rival to the mighty Gentle Typhoons, no ball bearing but SSO-Bearing and in my experience noctua is the best manufacturer when it comes to PWM design, having almost all fans being able to stop and having very low PWM starting points, usually around 200rpms, although beside the Industrial line, this is the first noctua Brown/Tan reaching a max of 2000rpms, according to spec the min is 450rpm at 20% PWM, but would be interesting to see, as most noctuas i have tested on the past can reach 12-15% PWM.

One big downside though, pricing is on the high side, Noctua NF-A12x25 PWM premium-quality quiet 120mm fan $29.99

Sadly for me the era of the 120mm has passed, most of my builds are either 140mm case fans or 140 on 120 frame for CPU coolers, but to me the appeal of this fan would be, as has been for years with the GT, for Radiators, CPU tower coolers or GPU aftermarket and probably highly restricted case opening like filters/doors, hope in time, noctua decides to release them in other colors.

I ordered one, will try to share my impressions (not a real review), the PWM range of operation under Asus FanXpert3 and if it can be stopped.
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CA_Steve
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Re: New noctua 120mm PWM fan, NF-A12x25 the GT Clone

Post by CA_Steve » Wed May 02, 2018 8:48 pm

cool beans.
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Hrafn
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Re: New noctua 120mm PWM fan, NF-A12x25 the GT Clone

Post by Hrafn » Wed May 02, 2018 9:20 pm

One downside I noticed with these fans (at least the PWM version) is higher minimum RPM (450) than the previous PWM models (300). Combine this with a stated Acoustic Noise slighter higher than those of the previous models, and I suspect we're unlikely to see a particularly quiet fan.

It will be interesting to see actual reviews of these fans, but I'm no longer optimistic from a 'Silent PC' perspective.

Abula
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Re: New noctua 120mm PWM fan, NF-A12x25 the GT Clone

Post by Abula » Wed May 02, 2018 9:44 pm

Hrafn wrote:One downside I noticed with these fans (at least the PWM version) is higher minimum RPM (450) than the previous PWM models (300). Combine this with a stated Acoustic Noise slighter higher than those of the previous models, and I suspect we're unlikely to see a particularly quiet fan.
You are probably right, but will see, it probably drops more, but because of the range probably wont hit as low as previous, that said, i dont think 350-450 is a bad starting spot, specially for a CPU cooler, this might be a good option for people with coolers like 212 that when they builded they were tight on a budget and dont want to buy a new cooler, so this fan specially design for CPU coolers could be a good option, the bad thing imo is the price, it cost almost the same that 212.
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Re: New noctua 120mm PWM fan, NF-A12x25 the GT Clone

Post by Hrafn » Thu May 03, 2018 1:17 am

Abula wrote:... that said, i dont think 350-450 is a bad starting spot, specially for a CPU cooler, this might be a good option for people with coolers like 212 that when they builded they were tight on a budget and dont want to buy a new cooler, so this fan specially design for CPU coolers could be a good option, the bad thing imo is the price, it cost almost the same that 212.
For me, I'm more interested in a computer that's very-nearly-silent when idling or near-idling (when I'm most likely to be doing something quiet, like reading, so most likely to be bothered by noise) than noise levels when running flat out. Therefore noise level at lowest rpm is a matter of interest to me.

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Re: New noctua 120mm PWM fan, NF-A12x25 the GT Clone

Post by Olle P » Fri May 04, 2018 4:34 am

Hrafn wrote:... I suspect we're unlikely to see a particularly quiet fan.
My guess is it depends on the circumstances.
My bet is that these Noctua fans will be relatively more quiet at higher pressure gradients where the competitors will have to run at twice the speed (give or take) to generate the same pressure.

I'll most probably buy one of these to replace my Gentle Typhoon that's been in use for about seven years now.

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Re: New noctua 120mm PWM fan, NF-A12x25 the GT Clone

Post by whispercat » Thu May 10, 2018 4:53 pm

Abula, I have a Fractal R5 case and was wondering if these new Noctua NF-A12x25 fans would be good for intake and/or exhaust?

I was looking at these, as well as the NF-S12A fans.

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Re: New noctua 120mm PWM fan, NF-A12x25 the GT Clone

Post by Abula » Thu May 10, 2018 6:10 pm

whispercat wrote:Abula, I have a Fractal R5 case and was wondering if these new Noctua NF-A12x25 fans would be good for intake and/or exhaust?

I was looking at these, as well as the NF-S12A fans.
Take my comments with a grain of salt, as the fan just hit retail, there is not even reviews out, so all that im saying is pure speculation on my part.

Imo it would be a good fan for both, as it was the Scythe Gentle Typhoons, it should be better for intake the R5 has a front fan filter and a restrictive side opening / frontal door. But the fan design on Scythe has been a good overall for almost anything.... but we come to the reality, the fan really hasnt been tested, like GT downside was the bearing noise, this fan uses a refinforced SSO bearing that might be better but no one has heard it yet, also the fan itself, seems similar to GT, but the blades are less rounded and the frame tolerace has been reduced to 0.5mm which according to noctua is a breaktrhough in static preassure and noise, but all this are words.... no one really knows if there wont be a droning or a ticking on the new bearing... or even if its really better or more efective than the GTs, too much is on the air still, i would wait for reviews or at least user experiences to comit to a new fan like NF-A12 25.

Now imo the fractal design is better to fit with 140mm fans, it has the opening for them, back and front, to me BeQuiet SilentWing3 140mm PWM BL067 is that fan that i would use. I just bought a R6 and bought 4x of those fans for intake, i havent yet move the R4 build to the R6, but i havent had any issues on my builds with them, so i continue to use them as my primary case fan, when the case favors 140mm fans.

Now if you fear the BQ fans or think the price is too steep, i would recommend you to check Thermalright TY147A SQ, imo would be a great fan for the R5, cheaper than BQ and noctua, great range of operation, really good PWM and very good fan for its price.
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lodestar
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Re: New noctua 120mm PWM fan, NF-A12x25 the GT Clone

Post by lodestar » Fri May 11, 2018 5:30 am

One potential replacement PWM fan for the standard 3-pin R5/R6 case fan is the Noctua Redux NF-P14s 1200 PWM. From my local supplier 25% cheaper than the Be Quiet. It also a slightly higher top speed at 1200 rpm, will turn off at 0% PWM duty cycle and can idle as low as 200 rpm.

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Re: New noctua 120mm PWM fan, NF-A12x25 the GT Clone

Post by whispercat » Fri May 11, 2018 1:06 pm

Thanks lodestar. yeah, I was looking at that Noctua redux as well.

Ideally, should an exhaust fan have any different characteristics from an intake fan? i.e. air flow, static pressure, etc? Or are they pretty much interchangeable?

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Re: New noctua 120mm PWM fan, NF-A12x25 the GT Clone

Post by lodestar » Fri May 11, 2018 1:56 pm

I prefer to set a profile for all fans which keeps their speed as low as possible under idle or low stress conditions. This translates to around 200 to 250 rpm with the Redux P-14s 1200 PWM. In this scenario I have used it as both an exhaust and inlet fan without any issues.

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Re: New noctua 120mm PWM fan, NF-A12x25 the GT Clone

Post by whispercat » Fri May 11, 2018 5:24 pm

Good to know.

Should the intake fan speeds and the exhaust fan speeds be the same?

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Re: New noctua 120mm PWM fan, NF-A12x25 the GT Clone

Post by lodestar » Fri May 11, 2018 9:32 pm

The R5 build that I did was for one of my gamer family members. I didn't find the intake fans on the R5 were having much impact on CPU or GPU temperatures at all. For this reason they were set to stay off except under gaming conditions. The rear exhaust fan speed was linked to the CPU fan speed (same PWM % duty cycle) and the top rear exhaust fan was also used, at a similar setting. This enabled the CPU temperature to be set more or less where you wanted it, without needing excessive fan speeds. The side fan position was also used, primarily for cooling the GPU although it may well have helped to cool the CPU as well.

The only issue with removing the side fan ModuVent on the R5 was that it created an unfiltered intake. However I found that the Silverstone SST-FF143B Black 140mm magnetic fan filter dropped neatly into the aperture and could easily be removed for cleaning if required.

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Re: New noctua 120mm PWM fan, NF-A12x25 the GT Clone

Post by Hrafn » Sat May 12, 2018 10:21 pm

We have the first review up of the NF-A12x25 PWM (albeit fairly limited, and in German) here. They tried it out on a Noctua NH-U12S, and found it to be slightly over 1 degree cooler and noticeably quieter (no dB measurements however) than the stock NF-F12 cooling a 105W Ryzen 7 2700X.

It will be interesting to see how soon it is before Noctua comes out with a HSF that features the NF-A12x25 PWM as stock.

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Re: New noctua 120mm PWM fan, NF-A12x25 the GT Clone

Post by Abula » Sun May 13, 2018 7:26 am

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Re: New noctua 120mm PWM fan, NF-A12x25 the GT Clone

Post by CA_Steve » Sun May 13, 2018 11:28 am

I hate watching video reviews to get a one liner comment on noise and thermal performance. what's the tl;dr version?
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Re: New noctua 120mm PWM fan, NF-A12x25 the GT Clone

Post by whispercat » Thu May 17, 2018 5:52 pm

Steve, the tl;dr version of that video is....relatively loud at max speed (2000 rpm), but extremely quiet at lower speeds (70% and 50%).

Your welcome :)

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Re: New noctua 120mm PWM fan, NF-A12x25 the GT Clone

Post by CA_Steve » Thu May 17, 2018 5:58 pm

thx
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Re: New noctua 120mm PWM fan, NF-A12x25 the GT Clone

Post by Hrafn » Thu May 17, 2018 8:08 pm


Olle P
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Re: New noctua 120mm PWM fan, NF-A12x25 the GT Clone

Post by Olle P » Fri May 18, 2018 6:15 am

Hrafn wrote:Vortez review
Wow! I want some of these, NOW!

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Re: New noctua 120mm PWM fan, NF-A12x25 the GT Clone

Post by Hrafn » Sun May 20, 2018 9:06 am

Would this fan be compatible with heatsinks whose clips require an open-cornered fan (like the Kotetsu)? The pictures that I've seen seem to indicate a half-open/half-closed corner.

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Re: New noctua 120mm PWM fan, NF-A12x25 the GT Clone

Post by lodestar » Sun May 20, 2018 11:01 pm

Yes, it is a different design from what Noctua normally do. Possibly all part of making the fan frame more rigid as an element of the low fan blade edge clearance design. As the fan clips are only a thin and fairly springy wire I don't see why they would not fit. Even if you have to distort the clips slightly this should not reduce the clamping force by much if anything.

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Re: New noctua 120mm PWM fan, NF-A12x25 the GT Clone

Post by whispercat » Tue May 22, 2018 10:19 pm

What is the difference between static pressure and airflow? Which is better for coolers?

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Re: New noctua 120mm PWM fan, NF-A12x25 the GT Clone

Post by Hrafn » Tue May 22, 2018 11:49 pm

whispercat wrote:What is the difference between static pressure and airflow? Which is better for coolers?
"Static pressure" is how good the fan is for pushing air against resistance (e.g. filters, coolers or radiators), "airflow" how much air it can push unobstructed.

Both are needed for an air cooler. See this graph from Noctua:
Image

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Re: New noctua 120mm PWM fan, NF-A12x25 the GT Clone

Post by whispercat » Wed May 23, 2018 4:05 am

Not sure if I quite understand the graph.

So, the NF-F12 has a higher static pressure but a lower air flow, whereas the NF-S12A has a lower static pressure but a higher air flow? And the NF-A12x25 is somewhere in between?

Wouldn't the NF-F12 be better for coolers?

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Re: New noctua 120mm PWM fan, NF-A12x25 the GT Clone

Post by Hrafn » Wed May 23, 2018 5:52 am

whispercat wrote:So, the NF-F12 has a higher static pressure but a lower air flow, whereas the NF-S12A has a lower static pressure but a higher air flow? And the NF-A12x25 is somewhere in between?
More accurate to say that the NF-A12x25 is superior to both, except at the extremes of very high static pressure or airflow.

whispercat wrote:Wouldn't the NF-F12 be better for coolers?
No, because (at least if Noctua can be believed), the NF-F12 is only superior to the NF-A12x25 in situations where you need very high static pressures, but almost no airflows (their pale blue ellipse marked "1"). Coolers require both, and in fact a balance slightly more in favour of airflow than a radiator requires (both being part of the "2" ellipse).

Rather, it is the case that the NF-A12x25 is only only marginally superior than a NF-S12A as a case fan (being close to the boundary of the "2" ellipse), and probably not worth the hefty price differential.

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Re: New noctua 120mm PWM fan, NF-A12x25 the GT Clone

Post by whispercat » Wed May 23, 2018 9:32 am

The problem with comparing these fans is that the NF-A12x25 is a 2000 rpm fan, the NF-F12 is1500 rpm, and the NF-S12A is 1200 rpm.

According to Noctua's spec sheet: https://noctua.at/en/products/fan

The NF-A12x25 (4pin PWM) is 22.6 d/BA @2000 rpm.. with 102.1 air flow and 2.34 static pressure

The NF-F12 (4pin PWM) is 22.4 d/BA @1500 rpm...with 93.4 air flow and 2.61 static pressure

The NF-S12A (4pin PWM) is 17.8 d/BA @1200 rpm ..with 107.5 air flow and 1.19 static pressure


But there's also the...

NF-P12 redux (4pin PWM) is 25.1 d/BA @1700 rpm...with 120.2 airflow and 2.83 static pressure

This fan which caught my eye, is a little louder at full speed but has more air flow and more static pressure than any of the other three fans. I would say it might make a better cooling fan than even the new NF-A12x25.

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Re: New noctua 120mm PWM fan, NF-A12x25 the GT Clone

Post by Abula » Wed May 23, 2018 10:17 am

@whispercat, the exact thing you are displaying is the reason i dislike specs like RPM, STATIC PRESSURE, even DBs, not everybody measures the same. Sadly the way to me that would be more transparent for a user is that 3rd party test them all together, thus the roundups form SPCR were very good, without them we are binded to pure speculation and personal preferences.

I do think the NF-P12 is a great fan, even if its old, it was one of the standards (the 3pin version) with nexus orange for SPCR for a long time, specially that it cost so little compared to the NF-A12x25. My personal assumption is that the NF-A12x25 is a better fan overall (noise/cooling), but at the price they are asking.... hard to say if its for everybody, while the NF-P12 REDUX seems a very competitive old very reliable fan. I might order a couple since there are 1300/1700 versions to see how is the fan curves.... i wish i had more time at home, i could do some temperature testing over a CPU cooler.
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Re: New noctua 120mm PWM fan, NF-A12x25 the GT Clone

Post by whispercat » Wed May 23, 2018 12:54 pm

I agree, I don't particularly like specs either, since they are just numbers on a promo sheet. Though specs do give us something of a starting point. The real evaluation comes with hands on testing.

There hasn't been a SPCR fan round up in years, and it doesn't seem likely they'll be another one anytime soon. Fan comparisons are few and far between on tech sites and youtube. Almost no one is doing them.

If you decided to do one with the Noctua fans, I and I'm sure many people would be very appreciative.

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Re: New noctua 120mm PWM fan, NF-A12x25 the GT Clone

Post by lodestar » Wed May 23, 2018 1:27 pm

whispercat wrote:But there's also the... NF-P12 redux (4pin PWM) is 25.1 d/BA @1700 rpm...with 120.2 airflow and 2.83 static pressure
The announcement that the original NF-P12 300-1300 PWM was being released in a Redux version along with the new 450-1700 PWM version that you mention was made at the same time at the NF-A12x25 but most people missed it because of the obvious attention that the Sterrox fan attracted. In the UK both the 1300 and 1700 Redux NF-P12 PWM are priced at £13 which is around £4 cheaper than the original 'non-Redux' version.

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