Noctua NF-A12x25 PWM Fan Review 86

Noctua NF-A12x25 PWM Fan Review

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Value and Conclusion

  • The Noctua NF-A12x25 fan comes in a few different options and all of these have the NF-A12x25 PWM cost $29.90 from the Noctua web store on Amazon.com for customers in the USA, as of the date of this article.
  • Excellent performance/noise ratio with an emphasis on acoustics
  • Zero-RPM mode allows fans to completely switch off in idle conditions based on PWM duty cycle
  • Great build quality throughout the fan
  • Re-worked PWM motor works well in minimizing any PWM switching noise at low RPM
  • A good set of accessories provided with the fan, and more are available as optional purchases
  • 6-year warranty
  • Expensive relative to the competition
  • The tan and brown color scheme is polarizing at best
If you have skipped the previous few pages, I strongly urge you to reconsider and go through them. At the very least, read the previous page to better understand and appreciate what Noctua has managed to do. It took a long time, as has been mentioned more than once over the course of this review, to where many lost patience and went with competing solutions. In the time period from when these fans were first teased to now, the fan market underwent an RGB revolution, if you will, to where any fan sold at the $30 price point in 2018 is expected to have addressable RGB LEDs and be supported by a software driver and LED hubs to be able to customize lighting by more than ever before. Indeed, fans in this price range are a combination of a fan and an LED strip to where many would fit right into a Mary Shelley novel rather than inside a PC case.

The NF-A12x25 has none of these LEDs. Indeed, at first glance, it appears no different from the vast majority of Noctua's tan and brown colored fans that have been decent and arguably overhyped for watercooling at the very least. There is not a single LED in sight unless you opt for their PWM controller, and here too it is function over form foremost. The NF-A12x25 is a throwback from a company that revels in it, and the end results speak for themselves: it is a fantastic fan and my top recommendation for PC watercooling enthusiasts looking for something that is tangibly better from a performance/noise basis. If it were not for that $30 price point, I would have probably come close to making it a universal recommendation to where some people might even consider these to replace current fans.

As it stands, the price is too steep for most to do a full system replacement if you have more than ~360 mm of radiator space (triple 120 mm, say). Then, there's that color scheme—as much as the NF-A12x25 is about quantitative metrics, such as performance and noise, over just aesthetics via RGB lighting, the lack of a chromax edition with a black frame and black impeller customized via colored silicone corner pads and/or cables seems like a missed opportunity. It must be noted that there are severe challenges in getting not only the same color consistently across supply constraints, but the liquid-crystal polymer used here is sensitive to the color pigments during the molding process, which means it would take more time to fine-tune everything. Noctua went with the brown impeller for round one, and perhaps, we will see the chromax editions later on. Overall, it does plenty enough to heavily outweigh these complaints and merit a well-deserved award.
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