Tuesday, October 12th 2021

Noctua Presents Chromax Line NF-A12x25 Fan, NH-U12A Cooler and Heatsink Covers

Noctua today presented the much anticipated black versions of its award-winning NF-A12x25 120 mm fan and NH-U12A CPU cooler as well as the matching NA-HC7 and NA-HC8 heatsink covers. Staying true to the successful formula of the original models, the new NF-A12x25 PWM chromax.black.swap and NH-U12A chromax.black combine the same signature quiet cooling performance with a sleek stealth look. The black NH-U12A already supports Intel's upcoming LGA1700 platform.

"We are aware of how eagerly our customers have been waiting for these products and we would have loved to get them out earlier, but first we had to spend some extra time in order to make sure that we can exactly match the performance of the brown fans, and then things were further delayed by various supply chain issues due to the global pandemic", explains Roland Mossig (Noctua CEO). "With products that have been fine-tuned to the most minute details, seemingly simple things like creating a different colour version can end being surprisingly tricky, but now with all of that out of the way, we're excited to finally be able to offer these long-awaited products to our customers."
Having received more than 100 awards and recommendations from international hardware websites and magazines, Noctua's flagship model NF-A12x25 has established itself as a true deluxe choice when it comes to premium-quality quiet 120 mm fans. The new chromax.black.swap edition combines the NF-A12x25's signature quiet cooling performance with an attractive black design and a bundle of swappable red, white, blue, green, grey, yellow and black anti-vibration pads that allow for the fan to be colour-customised to match individual build colour schemes. For further customisation, a wide range of accessories such as coloured cables and anti-vibration mounts are available separately.

The NH-U12A has proven in countless tests that it can match or even outperform many 140 mm sized coolers while offering 120 mm class case, RAM and PCIe compatibility. Thanks to the same proven asymmetrical single-tower heatsink design and state-of-the-art NF-A12x25 PWM fans, the new chromax.black variant stays true to the NH-U12A's successful formula of fusing best-in-class cooling performance with superb quietness of operation and outstanding compatibility. The NH-U12A chromax.black includes the latest SecuFirm2 multi-socket mounting system that not only supports AMD AM4 and Intel LGA1200, but also Intel's upcoming 12th generation Core CPUs (code name Alder Lake-S, socket LGA1700).

In addition to the new fan and heatsink, Noctua also launched the new NA-HC7 and NA-HC8 heatsink covers for the NH-U12A and NH-U12A chromax.black. While the chromax.black and chromax.white variants of the NA-HC8 are ideal for all-black or black-and-white builds, the NA-HC7 chromax.black.swap with its swappable colour inlays in black, blue, green, red, yellow and white allows the cooler to be colour-coordinated with various build colour schemes.


Suggested retail prices
The manufacturer's suggested retail prices are as follows:
  • NH-U12A chromax.black: EUR/USD 119.90
  • NF-A12x25 PWM chromax.black.swap: EUR/USD 32.90
  • NA-HC7 chromax.black.swap: EUR/USD 19.90
  • NA-HC8 chromax.black: EUR/USD 19.90
  • NA-HC8 chromax.white: EUR/USD 19.90
Availability
All the new products are available as of today via Noctua's official Amazon stores.
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44 Comments on Noctua Presents Chromax Line NF-A12x25 Fan, NH-U12A Cooler and Heatsink Covers

#26
Dredi
venturias for comparative performance, apples to apples, exact build to exact build, the T30s provide about 2C better cooling for Xeons at same RPM range.
But at same noise range, they lose. According to the TPU review measurements anyway.
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#27
venturi
DrediBut at same noise range, they lose. According to the TPU review measurements anyway.
at same RPM, they seem just as quiet, bare in mind I've never needed to run the T30s at their max 3000 RPM (then again the Noctuas do not have a 500-3000 rpm range) so maybe at 2000RPM the noctuas may be quieter. But - at the 500-1300 rpm range the T30s seem just as quiet and give about 2C better cooling. Yes, 2C isn't much and for many its not worth the effort, but for me it was.
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#28
Dredi
ValantarI'm not looking at noise normalized results, I'm looking at airflow and noise results at fixed fan speeds. At 1000rpm, the T30 is listed at 26CFM vs. 24.2CFM for the NF-A12x25 (I mistakenly looked at the airflow number for the NF-F12 in my previous post, but the difference isn't that huge), while the noise measurements at that speed are 30.6dBA vs. 29.1dBA. Now, this doesn't tell us anything at all about the sound signature, which is very significant, but those numbers still show that the T30 delivers noticeably more airflow at the same speed for an unnoticeable increase in noise. It's not a massive difference, but it's clearly there. As for your graph, that's a rather problematic presentation as it relies on unaligned data points that don't correspond with any of the axes - if I didn't know those data points were based on RPM, it would look like you had picked four entirely random measurement points. For a full comparison, we clearly need more data points - 100rpm intervals, for example. But it's still safe to say that the T30 delivers more airflow at 1000rpm for slightly (and not likely to be noticeably) more noise, while the NF-A12x25 still clearly wins out below 1000rpm. IMO, either fan will likely be fantastic - and I completely agree with @Chrispy_'s summary above. There are several good options out there.
Yeah, it would be nice if TPU would give actual noise normalized results (as in fixed noise level), or tighter intervals.

I don’t give a rats ass about rpm speeds, only performance to noise ratio, and neither should anyone else for that matter.

The T30 and A12x25 are both very good fans, it just irks me when people post things like ”T30 has better airflow”, because it seems not to be universally true.
venturiat same RPM, they seem just as quiet, bare in mind I've never needed to run the T30s at their max 3000 RPM (then again the Noctuas do not have a 500-3000 rpm range) so maybe at 2000RPM the noctuas may be quieter. But - at the 500-1300 rpm range the T30s seem just as quiet and give about 2C better cooling. Yes, 2C isn't much and for many its not worth the effort, but for me it was.
Just run the noctuas at ~200 rpm more than the phanteks and you have an equal performance and still less noise at 500-1250rpm. Both are quiet enough and powerful enough for most people.
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#29
venturi
Sir, the motherboard is using Fan curves that I put in the bios settings, at same rpm, the T30s push more air and are/seem just as quiet. So for same RPM and noise I'm running 2C quieter. I switched to the Phantek T30 because performance was slightly better per RPM and because they weren't ugly brown in an open case where everything is visible. I don't see the value of switching back and give up 2C cooling performance. At least that is my personal PC and personal opinion. Other builds and other peoples preferences may play a part in their unique environment.

I looked at this from all angles literally. Its not that the Phanteks are 5mm wider, its that the depth of the T30 blade is almost 9mm more. The Noctua fan is less blade depth and the Noctua fan case has a slope-out from the end of the blade depth that is significant, vs the Phanteks blade goes as close as possible on the front and on the back in relation to blade depth. Hence its more than just a 5mm difference on the fan case, which is what most people focus on.

I seriously made lots of considerations before I experimented with 2x of the 3 unit T30 packages. Then after reading everything on it, decided to test them myself.
Results - same RPM fan curve, same level of quiet/noise, I get 2C better cooling. I have an open case design (its dense in there), and the Noctuas did not perform as well as the Phanteks at the same RPM / Fan curves.

I hope that helps.
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#30
Dredi
Why the focus on performance at a given rpm? I care about performance to acoustics ratio, as those are the only thing that I can, as a human, directly sense, or what matters to the computer. RPM is just some arbitrary number you set in the fan curve.

Also, sensing difference in noise levels is very difficult, except in a A/B blind tests. So you simply stating that they ”seem” to produce the same amount of noise has little meaning to me, and neither should to you or anyone else.

T30 and A12x25 are very close to eachother when it comes to performance to noise and are both good candidates for most people.

The noctua is slightly better at low noise and phanteks at high noise operation. At least based on the measurements by TPU.
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#31
claes
Because at 700rpm fan A might provide better a noise/performance ratio than fan B, while at 1500rpm Fan B might be the winner. Noise normalized is a useful test, but as folks like gamersnexus are quick to point out, while performing the test, it doesn’t tell the whole tale.

In the case of GN, I appreciate that they do noise normalized tests, but 35dB is too loud for me. What happens at a lower noise threshold suddenly becomes significant for users who care (not that you have to, but I do!).
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#32
Oberon
ValantarA liquid crystal polymer will never have a perfectly uniform color, so ... meh.
I'm not even talking about that, I'm talking about how the covered up the bearing center with that ugly pimple. The contrast is nice and the little bit of brass in the middle is a nice touch.
ValantarAlso, I'd be pretty surprised if that paint layer is thin enough to not affect airflow and noise at all while also being durable enough to stay on for the useful lifetime of the fan. You're also pretty lucky if the paint didn't unbalance the rotor or increase the weight sufficiently to cause long-term wear. It's possible to avoid all of this, but it takes some luck and some skill, and definitely isn't feasible at scale.
Obviously Noctua wouldn't be spray painting their fans at scale, but a coating a few tens of microns thick like you get when spray painting isn't going to cause any issues with noise or vibration. This is like the FUD spread by the Noctua fanatics that claimed the tip clearance was too small and that the fan wouldn't spin after painting. I've been running these fans continuously for 1.5 years at this point with no issues, and that includes a 5 V version that I've run all the way up until the blades start scraping the frame at almost 3000 RPM (which it also did before it was painted, I might add.)
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#33
Turmania
We dont know the longetivity of T30's as of yet. Pretty new. Horizontal or vertical? All those sorts.
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#34
Valantar
OberonI'm not even talking about that, I'm talking about how the covered up the bearing center with that ugly pimple. The contrast is nice and the little bit of brass in the middle is a nice touch.
Ah, that wasn't clear from what you said first. As I noted in my first post here, I agree with that sentiment.
OberonObviously Noctua wouldn't be spray painting their fans at scale, but a coating a few tens of microns thick like you get when spray painting isn't going to cause any issues with noise or vibration. This is like the FUD spread by the Noctua fanatics that claimed the tip clearance was too small and that the fan wouldn't spin after painting. I've been running these fans continuously for 1.5 years at this point with no issues, and that includes a 5 V version that I've run all the way up until the blades start scraping the frame at almost 3000 RPM (which it also did before it was painted, I might add.)
That's only true if you're either very lucky or impeccably skilled (or some mixture of the two) at spray painting. Paint is notoriously uneven, and most off-the-shelf spray paint nozzles does not lend itself to even coatings a few tens of microns thick. You can get it thin, but thin + even coverage is pretty hard, plus drips, blobs, accumulations in contours (such as where the blade meets the hub) is par for the course. Paint adhesion to plastic is also very hit or miss, depending on all kinds of factors (the paint, the plastic, its cleanliness (both from dust, touching and any oils and residues left from manufacturing), so ... you might have gotten it to work, but that doesn't mean it's generally a good idea.
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#35
Chrispy_
TurmaniaWe dont know the longetivity of T30's as of yet. Pretty new. Horizontal or vertical? All those sorts.
Yes we do, it's the SUNON maglev bearing that has been used in industrial/datacenter fans for years. They're the best in the industry and patented so you won't find (legal) imitations.
6 year warranty and 150,000 MTBF which matches Noctua's warranty and MTBF but unlike the SUNON bearings, there are far fewer Noctua fans used in servers, datacenters, and non-PC appliances.

I'd put faith in both to massively outlast their warranty period but if I had to pick a winner I'd take SUNON's maglev bearings over Noctua's tried-and-tested fluid dynamic bearings. Noctua's SSO2 bearing has a proven track record, but they're prone to rapid death when they do eventually start to dry out. Maglevs just seem to last forever (I've yet to ever encounter a dead one).
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#36
Oberon
ValantarThat's only true if you're either very lucky or impeccably skilled (or some mixture of the two) at spray painting. Paint is notoriously uneven, and most off-the-shelf spray paint nozzles does not lend itself to even coatings a few tens of microns thick. You can get it thin, but thin + even coverage is pretty hard, plus drips, blobs, accumulations in contours (such as where the blade meets the hub) is par for the course. Paint adhesion to plastic is also very hit or miss, depending on all kinds of factors (the paint, the plastic, its cleanliness (both from dust, touching and any oils and residues left from manufacturing), so ... you might have gotten it to work, but that doesn't mean it's generally a good idea.
Well, I've done 13 NF-A12s at this point (not to mention the dozens of other fans throughout my time in the hobby) and they've all been fine, so I must be the luckiest person alive! :D
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#37
dirtyferret
I preferred the old Noctua that allowed you to have any color fan you wanted as long as it came in brown.
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#38
Valantar
OberonWell, I've done 13 NF-A12s at this point (not to mention the dozens of other fans throughout my time in the hobby) and they've all been fine, so I must be the luckiest person alive! :D
Lucky enough to avoid severely unbalancing anything at least :) Might be as simple as your preferred type of spray paint being relatively thin and/or having a decent nozzle.
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#39
Minus Infinity
TheDeeGeeI wonder if the new 140 Fans will take 5 years to come out in black now that they figured out the formula.
I only shudder at the Australian prices, I gave up on Noctua with my new build, prices are absurd. My Dark Rock Pro 4 is performing brilliantly and cost me 55% the equivalent Noctua and that's without black fans.
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#40
DeeJay1001
Chrispy_Yes we do, it's the SUNON maglev bearing that has been used in industrial/datacenter fans for years. They're the best in the industry and patented so you won't find (legal) imitations.
6 year warranty and 150,000 MTBF which matches Noctua's warranty and MTBF but unlike the SUNON bearings, there are far fewer Noctua fans used in servers, datacenters, and non-PC appliances.

I'd put faith in both to massively outlast their warranty period but if I had to pick a winner I'd take SUNON's maglev bearings over Noctua's tried-and-tested fluid dynamic bearings. Noctua's SSO2 bearing has a proven track record, but they're prone to rapid death when they do eventually start to dry out. Maglevs just seem to last forever (I've yet to ever encounter a dead one).
I recently tore apart a very old dell power edge server that had a pair of 120mmx38mm Sunon Maglev fans. This server ran 24/7 for almost 15 years running a now antique shipping label service. As far as I know the fans were original and still moved mountains of air, no play in the bearings and no signs of stopping. I've seen delta and nidec fans do equally impressive things but there is no doubt maglev fans have proven to be one of the best.
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#41
Chrispy_
DeeJay1001I recently tore apart a very old dell power edge server that had a pair of 120mmx38mm Sunon Maglev fans. This server ran 24/7 for almost 15 years running a now antique shipping label service. As far as I know the fans were original and still moved mountains of air, no play in the bearings and no signs of stopping. I've seen delta and nidec fans do equally impressive things but there is no doubt maglev fans have proven to be one of the best.
Thanks, I don't think I've ever encountered a server in use for that long, but unsurprising to hear about the fans; Sunon Maglev fans are absolutely bombproof - most Delta/Nidec/Sunon/Sanyo fans are because they're not intended for the cost-sensitive consumer market, but aimed at the reliability-sensitive industrial market.

Sanyo powers the cooling fan in my 2004 electric oven, and Sunon powers the hefty 235mm primary air-source heat exchanger fan running 24/7 in my apartment for the last 11 years.

People forget that consumer PC fans are unbelievably cheap and nasty things compared to enterprise grade hardware. By server/enterprise standards, these Phanteks T30 fans are an absolute bargain. €50-130 per fan is what a quality unit will cost for rackmount hardware.
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#42
DeeJay1001
Chrispy_Thanks, I rest my case. Sunon Maglev fans are absolutely bombproof.
Most Delta/Sunon/Sanyo fans are.

People forget that consumer PC fans are unbelievably cheap and nasty things compared to enterprise grade hardware that has to run for a decade in a datacenter at 3000-7000rpm without requiring replacement. By server/enterprise standards, these Phanteks T30 fans are an absolute bargain. €50-130 per fan is what a quality unit will cost for rackmount hardware.
While it is true most consumer fans are built to a lower standard completely writing them off isn't fair. Decent but still cheap fans such as the Arctic P12 or Fractal X2 GP-12 will easily last the lifetime of the typical build. I use P12s or the fractals in most of my lower to midrange builds and they are never an issue. Still, my favorite high end fan is the Gentle typhoon 2150, now you can get them easily under the name XPG Vento Pro.

I haven't tried one of the new T30s but they look top notch, however $10 more per fan over a XPG Vento Pro is a tough sell for me.
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#43
Valantar
Chrispy_AThanks, I don't think I've ever encountered a server in use for that long, but unsurprising to hear about the fans; Sunon Maglev fans are absolutely bombproof - most Delta/Nidec/Sunon/Sanyo fans are because they're not intended for the cost-sensitive consumer market, but aimed at the reliability-sensitive industrial market.

Sanyo powers the cooling fan in my 2004 electric oven, and Sunon powers the hefty 235mm primary air-source heat exchanger fan running 24/7 in my apartment for the last 11 years.

People forget that consumer PC fans are unbelievably cheap and nasty things compared to enterprise grade hardware. By server/enterprise standards, these Phanteks T30 fans are an absolute bargain. €50-130 per fan is what a quality unit will cost for rackmount hardware.
Re there any industrial/commercial fans using sleeve/rifle/similar bearings, or are they all either ball bearing or maglev? Noctua's strength does seem to lie at least partly in very good silent bearings that last long and handle decent speeds (at least 3000rpm) - but I wouldn't expect them to handle server grade speeds at all. Ball bearings will always sound grindy at low speeds, but maglev does seem to promise the best of both worlds. Corsair's ML series failed to deliver on that promise (definitely not quiet!), but if the T30 is maglev I guess that makes it the first truly successful consumer implementation.
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#44
Chrispy_
DeeJay1001While it is true most consumer fans are built to a lower standard completely writing them off isn't fair. Decent but still cheap fans such as the Arctic P12 or Fractal X2 GP-12 will easily last the lifetime of the typical build. I use P12s or the fractals in most of my lower to midrange builds and they are never an issue. Still, my favorite high end fan is the Gentle typhoon 2150, now you can get them easily under the name XPG Vento Pro.

I haven't tried one of the new T30s but they look top notch, however $10 more per fan over a XPG Vento Pro is a tough sell for me.
I'm not writing them off. My mining rigs use Arctic P12s, my HTPC and Desktops both use BeQuiet Pure Wings 2 (the cheapo ones). I just accept that they have a lifespan of maybe 3 years before RPMs drop or they start to sound scratchy.

As for the T30 fans, I don't have any yet but I'm likely to buy them next time because the $10 premium is worth it for the daisy-chaining of cables alone.
ValantarRe there any industrial/commercial fans using sleeve/rifle/similar bearings, or are they all either ball bearing or maglev? Noctua's strength does seem to lie at least partly in very good silent bearings that last long and handle decent speeds (at least 3000rpm) - but I wouldn't expect them to handle server grade speeds at all. Ball bearings will always sound grindy at low speeds, but maglev does seem to promise the best of both worlds. Corsair's ML series failed to deliver on that promise (definitely not quiet!), but if the T30 is maglev I guess that makes it the first truly successful consumer implementation.
Not sure. I suspect not because sleeve/rifle/fdb bearings don't scale up to larger diameter fans as well. If you look at industrial fans sold by a hardware store (rather than a PC components store) you'll see that most of the fans are ball bearing:



Whilst there are still some sleeve fans in that selection of ~1500 fans on sale, when you filter the selection by connector type, almost all of those sleeve fans are 60/80/92/120/140mm x 25mm and have TX3 or 4-pin PWM connectors, meaning that the sleeve fans are almost universally PC fans.

uk.rs-online.com/web/c/hvac-fans-thermal-management/air-conditioning-fans/axial-fans/ if you want do your own hunting....
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