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Noctua is one of our favorite cooling brands as most of their products are well made and come with promising performance. Today we will take a quick look on their latest product; NF-S12B which is the next generation of quiet fan featuring with Noctua's advanced SCD2 technology and highly optimized blade geometry.
Noctua arises from a cooperation between the Austrian Rascom Computerdistribution Ges.m.b.H and the Taiwanese Kolink International Corporation and entertains a development partnership with the Austrian Institute of Heat Transmission and Fan Technology (Österreichisches Institut für Wärmeübertragung und Ventilatorentechnik, ÖIWV). These connections form the key to the achievement of our goal: The partnership with the ÖIWV permits the application of scientific measurement instrumentation, methods of calculation and simulation technology in the R&D process.
Rascom's long, customer-oriented experience in developing and distributing sound-optimised high-end products ensures a clear focus on the users' needs. The use of Kolink's advanced manufacturing technology and ultra-modern production plants allows us to efficiently implement our technical edge and provide solutions of the highest standard in quality and performance.
Package & Contents
Same with other Noctua products, NF-S12B comes with the exact same packaging with previous Noctua fans; such as NF-P12. At the back of the packaging box, there is a small booklet which contains some of the important diagrams to explain its features, technologies and some comparisons with previous predecessor.
Besides the outer cardboard packaging box, Noctua NF-S12B is kept inside a transparent container; waterproof. Noctua NF-S12B comes with four vibration compensators, four screws, Ultra-Low-Noise adaptor (U.L.N.A.), Low-Noise adaptor (L.N.A.) and 3-pin MOLEX converter.
Both vibration compensators and screws are provided for fan installation and vibration compensator will slowly replace screw in future as it is tool-less device besides noise reduction due to vibration. Noctua NF-S12B is not a PWM fan so it will require some external tool in order to change its operating fan speed. U.L.N.A (600RPPM) and L.N.A (900RPM) are simple adapters with integrated resistor on 12V cable to reduce the current flow through so that the fan speed can be reduced.
A Closer Look: Noctua NF-S12B
Noctua NF-S12B comes with two versions; FLX and ULN where the speed is the major difference between them. NF-S12B FLX comes with three speeds; 1200/900/600RPM while NF-S12B ULN only has 700/500RPM. Besides that static pressure, noise and airflow are different too due to different fan speeds of both of these fans. Noctua NF-S12B is not going to replace NF-P12 as both of them are being offered for different kind of applications and we will discuss further in next few paragraphs.
One of the major different between Noctua NF-S12B and NF-P12 is the blade geometry where NF-S12B comes with 7-blade BBT design while NF-P12 comes with 9-blade VCN design. Besides the quantity of total fan blade is different, the fan blade design is different as well where the vortex-control notches are located at the outer blade for NF-S12B while it is on the back blade for NF-P12.
Noctua NF-S12B is a 12V DC fan with 0.1A current input and 1.2W power. Although Noctua NF-S12B consumes lower input current than other 120mm fans but it still 0.01A higher than NF-P12 in order to achieve 1200RPM. The cable of Noctua NF-S12B is sleeved with black sleeving which is good for cable management as well as air flow.
As we stated previously Noctua has improved the fan blade of NF-S12B over the standard NF-S12 in term of airflow vs noise ratio. Noctua NF-S12B is using beveled blade tips (BBT) technology where the tip clearance is reduced at leading edge (front blade) for increasing the length of the blades. Hence the surface area will be increased as well which will improve both of the airflow and static pressure eventually. There are around 18/13% airflow and 14/16% static pressure improvements when comparing Noctua NF-S12B with NF-S12 on 1200/700RPM.
Here is the technical specification comparison between NF-P12 and NF-S12B. A generic fan was taken as a reference benchmark for Noctua NF-S12B and NF-P12 where NF-P12 produces higher static pressure while NF-S12B provides stronger airflow and lesser noise. With such clear message, you should understand which fan is suitable for your application and in short NF-S12B is good for any cooling applications with wide fin-spacing while NF-P12 is ideal for any cooling application with tight fin-spacing.
For better understanding on how to distinguish between NF-S12B and NF-P12, we have captured a photo of them side by side. Both of them are having same color scheme and it is not easy to distinguish them if you are not familiar with Noctua products. Anyway the best way to distinguish them is the fan blade where NF-S12B only comes with 7-blade (left) while 9-blade for NF-P12 (right).
Installation, Testing & Performance
For the tested object, we have chosen Noctua NH-C12P cooler which is one of our flavor CPU coolers to find out the capability of NF-S12B against NH-C12P original fan; NF-P12. Basically the fan installation process on NH-C12P is same for both NF-P12 and NF-S12B so we don't foresee any problem for it. For the case fan installation, both of the vibration compensators and screws are provided so there isn't anything else that Noctua NF-S12B is missing here. Let us talk about its performance since you must be excited after all these long theories and explanation.
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E8300 @ 2.83GHz
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-EP45-DS3
Heatsink: Noctua NH-C12P
Memory: Kingston HyperX DDR2 8500
Hard Drive: 250GB 7200RPM 8MB Seagate
Graphic Card: Galaxy GeForce GTX260+
PSU: In Win Commander 750W
Router: TRENDnet TEW-639GR
Optical Drive: DVD RW
Monitor: Dell 22" Wide Screen LCD
Speaker: Edifier R501
Mouse: SteelSeries Ikari Laser
Mouse Pad: SteelSeries QcK+
HeadSet: SteelSeries 3H
Operating System: Microsoft XP Pro SP2/Vista Home Premium
Ambient Temperature: 27 Degree Celsius
Based on the results that we have gotten, we are really impressed by the Noctua NF-S12B as it is outperforming one of our ideal cooling fans. With the maximum full speed for both of these fans, NF-S12B is having 2°C lesser than NF-P12 and this may due to the wide fin-spacing of NH-C12P as NF-S12B is working better on those coolers. At first, we're not really believe our results because most of the time, cooling fan is not the top concern when comes to cooling as most of the people will focus on heatsink, thermal paste but not cooling fan. However after gone through other affiliate reviews, we are srtongly believe that cooling fan is playing an important role as with NF-S12B; a simple cooling fan, the temperature is dropped 2°C without any rocket science here.
Once again Noctua has proven another great product that they have just launched. Noctua NF-S12B is not going to replace NF-P12 as both of them are designed for different applications where NF-S12B is ideal for case fan, wide fin-spacing cooler or other similar devices. Besides that NF-S12B is same with other Noctua fans where it is well made, comes with U.L.N/L.N adapters, vibration compensators, 6-year warranty as well as more silent operation. If you are looking for a decent cooling fan with low noise then NF-S12B is the right choice for you if budget is not a concern.
+ Decent performance especially for wide fin-spacing items
+ High quality & solid product
+ Beveled Blade Tips (BBT) technology
+ Silent operation
+ Comes with U.L.N.A & L.N.A
+ Vibration compensator, 3-pin MOLEX adapter
+ Six year warranty
- Not cheap
- Fan speed control requires cable changing
Thanks to Noctua for providing this sample for us to review.
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