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My review on the Noctua NF-F12 (and my resolution on ML or NF)

If you are looking to purchase Noctua fans I am sure you are well aware of their reputation, and specifically their beloved NF-F12 fans, and with good reason. You get a premium packaging and unboxing experience, and most importantly their extremely high-quality fan. All around I really love these fans but subjectively there is one reason I can’t give it a 5-star review. And that reason is the Corsair ML series fan.

 

I will begin with the subjectiveness of my review, to say the ML is better is not a fact, simply my opinion. However, I will lay out some facts as to why I prefer the ML over the NF, but every person can interpret facts a little differently, and respectfully I have no issues with the NF-F12. 

 

Anyways, for those of us that care about aesthetics the chromax edition of this fan is really the only option, I honestly could never bring myself to buying the standard puke brown version (for those of you that can look past that I applaud thee). But for your $29 (Canadian pesos) hard-earned dollars you get a nice assortment of colour swappable red, black, white, blue, yellow and green anti-vibration pads. This along with the 4-pin PWM cable extension all wrapped up in a nice large package. Out of the box performance is great, these bad boys move a lot of air and have performed excellently for my use. I have three of these as intakes against the mesh front panel of my Phanteks Enthoo Pro M TG pulling air through my four 3.5” hard drive cages. This of course restricting some air flow and causing some more fan noise (to be expected), despite this my hard drive and internal case temps are respectable. I decided on these fans as they move a lot of air despite being very well static pressure optimized, perfect for being mounted in front of hard drive cages.

 

But now I reason with the value of these fans. At $29 (at time of purchase) they represent a ‘premium’ 120mm option. At the time of this review the ML 120 2-pack is $37.50, which subjectively is just as quiet of a fan around 800ish RPM (my opinion) and looks pretty much the same, you just don’t get colour swappable anti-vibration pads. Blind math prices them at $18.75 each which is over a $10 saving per fan, so if you need four fans for your system this equals to a $40 difference. Now some of you would argue that you get what you pay for but to that, I would argue, “do you really?” and “is the price premium necessary?”.

 

Let me throw some raw numbers into the equation:

 

Corsair ML120 2-pack: (ML120 Pro series have the EXACT SAME specs)

  • Price: $37.50cad (effectively $18.75 each)
  • Speed: 400 - 2400 RPM
  • Sound level: 37 dBA @ max RPM
  • Static Pressure: 0.2 - 4.2 mmH20
  • Air flow: 75 CFM @ max RPM
  • Warranty: 5-year

 

Noctua NF-F12 PWM Chromax:

  • Price: $29cad
  • Speed: 300 - 1500 RPM
  • Sound level: 22.4 dBA @ max RPM
  • Static Pressure: 2.61 mmH20 @ max RPM
  • Air flow: 55 CFM @ max RPM
  • Warranty: 6-year

 

I will let the numbers argue for themselves, but to say one is better than the other is not entirely objective. However, I PERSONALLY find the ML fans quieter at the same RPM, and although I keep my systems as quiet as I can, the higher max RPM of the ML fans is something I am sure that appeals to some users. To be fair there are higher RPM models of the NF-F12, the industrial 2000 and 3000 RPM models, but these come at $33 each, and are not available in a chromax version. 

 

So to wrap this all up, if you still want/prefer the NF's, great! You are making a good purchase and will be very happy. But having personally bought three NF-F12s and one NF-A14 I will stick to my ML’s in the future. I own the 2-pack variant, Pro LED’s (in 120mm and 140mm), and the Pro RGB’s. When I consider the three variables of price, performance, and aesthetics, the ML’s are my favorite in all 3 categories. That said the NF chromax fans are a very close second, and I genuinely hope to see some new colours and possibly an RGB version in the future. I think this would get Noctua more customers. Anyways, to those interested, I can highly recommend Noctua products and specifically the NF-F12 chromax.

 

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MEGA Desk Build

 

Blueberry Pi  R9 3900XT  Asus X470 ROG Crosshair VII Hero Wi-Fi ATX  Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 4x16GB 3200MHz CL16  EVGA GTX 1080Ti SC Black Edition 11GB  EVGA 850W P2 W/ Blue Sleeved Cables  Cryorig R1 Universal (Blue)  Corsair ML Pro Blue LED Fans  Fractal Design Meshify C TG ATX Mid Tower  

Asus ROG SWIFT PG348Q 100Hz IPS G-Sync UW  Dell UltraSharp U3419W 60Hz IPS UW  Custom TOFU96  Corsair Scimitar Pro RGB 

 

J.A.R.V.I.S.  R7 3800X  Asus B550-I ROG STRIX Wi-Fi ITX  G.Skill Ripjaws V 2x16GB 3600MHz CL16  EVGA GTX 1080 SC2 iCX 8GB  Corsair SF 750W Platinum  Corsair H100i Pro AIO  Noctua NF-A12x15 Chromax Fans  FormD T1 SFF ITX Case  

LG 75UM8070PUA 4K UHD 120Hz IPS HDR TV  Corsair K63 Cherry MX Red Special Edition Wireless  Corsair Ironclaw RGB Wireless

 

2 Go  R3 2200G  Asus B450-I ROG STRIX Wi-Fi ITX  Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 2x8GB 3200MHz CL16 White  Vega Integrated Graphics  Seasonic Flex ATX 350W  Noctua NH-L9a  Geeek A30 V2 SFF ITX Case

 

Gaming PC  i7 6700k  Asus Z270-G Gaming Wi-Fi mATX  Corsair Vengeance LPX (White) 2x8GB 3200MHz CL16  Asus RX5700 Dual Evo OC 8GB  Corsair TXm 550W W/ White Sleeved Cables  Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML120L RGB AIO  DeepCool RF120 RGB Fans  Thermaltake Versa H18 TG mATX Case  

ViewSonic Elite XG240R 1ms 144Hz TN FreeSync  Logitech G610 Cherry MX Brown  UtechSmart Venus MMO w/ Omron Switches

 

SFF ITX Home PC  i5-7500  MSI B250I Gaming Pro Wi-Fi AC ITX  G.Skill Ripjaws V 2x8GB 2800MHz  Intel Integrated Graphics  Seasonic SSP Flex ATX 300W PSU  Cryorig C7  Velka 3 rev 1.2 SFF ITX Case (Grey) 

 

Laptop  Dell XPS13 2-in-1 7390 (2020)  i7-1065G7  32GB 3733MHz LPDDR4x  Intel Integrated Graphics  1TB NVME M.2  UHD+ (3840 x 2400) InfinityEdge Touch Display 

 

Keyboard Collection  GMMK Full Size Hot Swap-able  TOFU96 90%  XD84 Pro 75%  Keycool KC84 75% Wireless RGB Hot Swap-able  KBD67v2 MKII 65% Hot Swap-able  KBD67 Lite 65% Hot Swap-able  OLKB Preonic V3 Ortholinear  Drop Carina 60% RGB Hot Swap-able  Southpaw75 60% W/ Left Numpad  Cospad XD24 Numpad

 

Mechanical Key Switch Collection  Zealios V2 65g  Zilents V2 67g  C³ Kiwi ‖ C³ Tangerine  Invyr Holy Panda  Kailh Box Thick Jades ‖ Kailh Box Royal ‖ Kailh Box Heavy Dark Yellow ‖ Kailh Box Heavy Burnt Orange  Kailh Box White  Kailh Box Red  Kailh Pro Purple  Kailh Pro Burgandy  Gateron Yellow  Gateron Black  Gateron Brown  Gateron Green  Gateron Blue ‖ Cherry MX Black ‖ Cherry MX Brown ‖ Cherry MX Red

 

Key Cap Collection  Star Wars GMK Boba Fett  GMK Red Samurai  GMK Laser CyberDeck  MaxKey B&W SA ‖ Matt3o MT3 /dev/tty  Drop Skylight Horizon ‖ Glorious Black Aura

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Those fans would look sexy on a watercooling radiator ;)

 

But nah really, good review my man.

QUOTE ME IF YOU WANT A REPLY!

 

PC #1

Ryzen 7 3700x@4.4ghz (All core) | MSI X470 Gaming Pro Carbon | Crucial Ballistix 2x16gb (OC 3600mhz)

MSI GTX 1080 8gb | SoundBlaster ZXR | Corsair HX850

Samsung 960 256gb | Samsung 860 1gb | Samsung 850 500gb

HGST 4tb, HGST 2tb | Seagate 2tb | Seagate 2tb

Custom CPU/GPU water loop

 

PC #2

Ryzen 7 1700@3.8ghz (All core) | Aorus AX370 Gaming K5 | Vengeance LED 3200mhz 2x8gb

Sapphire R9 290x 4gb | Asus Xonar DS | Corsair RM650

Samsung 850 128gb | Intel 240gb | Seagate 2tb

Corsair H80iGT AIO

 

Laptop

Core i7 6700HQ | Samsung 2400mhz 2x8gb DDR4

GTX 1060M 3gb | FiiO E10k DAC

Samsung 950 256gb | Sandisk Ultra 2tb SSD

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1 hour ago, BigDamn said:

Those fans would look sexy on a watercooling radiator ;)

 

But nah really, good review my man.

Yeah agreed! And thanks haha.

 

This is my i7-8700k system that had a Cryorig H5, now has a H100i Pro with ML 120 RGB fans on the rad.

AMD Motherboard Tier List  GPU Cooling Tier List  PSU Tier List  A Dive Into Custom Keyboards & Mechanical Switches

NEWCOMERS Remember to ' Reply ' to comments in order for people to see them, this is done by clicking the arrow icon at the bottom of a comment (Quote).

My Builds:

MEGA Desk Build

 

Blueberry Pi  R9 3900XT  Asus X470 ROG Crosshair VII Hero Wi-Fi ATX  Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 4x16GB 3200MHz CL16  EVGA GTX 1080Ti SC Black Edition 11GB  EVGA 850W P2 W/ Blue Sleeved Cables  Cryorig R1 Universal (Blue)  Corsair ML Pro Blue LED Fans  Fractal Design Meshify C TG ATX Mid Tower  

Asus ROG SWIFT PG348Q 100Hz IPS G-Sync UW  Dell UltraSharp U3419W 60Hz IPS UW  Custom TOFU96  Corsair Scimitar Pro RGB 

 

J.A.R.V.I.S.  R7 3800X  Asus B550-I ROG STRIX Wi-Fi ITX  G.Skill Ripjaws V 2x16GB 3600MHz CL16  EVGA GTX 1080 SC2 iCX 8GB  Corsair SF 750W Platinum  Corsair H100i Pro AIO  Noctua NF-A12x15 Chromax Fans  FormD T1 SFF ITX Case  

LG 75UM8070PUA 4K UHD 120Hz IPS HDR TV  Corsair K63 Cherry MX Red Special Edition Wireless  Corsair Ironclaw RGB Wireless

 

2 Go  R3 2200G  Asus B450-I ROG STRIX Wi-Fi ITX  Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 2x8GB 3200MHz CL16 White  Vega Integrated Graphics  Seasonic Flex ATX 350W  Noctua NH-L9a  Geeek A30 V2 SFF ITX Case

 

Gaming PC  i7 6700k  Asus Z270-G Gaming Wi-Fi mATX  Corsair Vengeance LPX (White) 2x8GB 3200MHz CL16  Asus RX5700 Dual Evo OC 8GB  Corsair TXm 550W W/ White Sleeved Cables  Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML120L RGB AIO  DeepCool RF120 RGB Fans  Thermaltake Versa H18 TG mATX Case  

ViewSonic Elite XG240R 1ms 144Hz TN FreeSync  Logitech G610 Cherry MX Brown  UtechSmart Venus MMO w/ Omron Switches

 

SFF ITX Home PC  i5-7500  MSI B250I Gaming Pro Wi-Fi AC ITX  G.Skill Ripjaws V 2x8GB 2800MHz  Intel Integrated Graphics  Seasonic SSP Flex ATX 300W PSU  Cryorig C7  Velka 3 rev 1.2 SFF ITX Case (Grey) 

 

Laptop  Dell XPS13 2-in-1 7390 (2020)  i7-1065G7  32GB 3733MHz LPDDR4x  Intel Integrated Graphics  1TB NVME M.2  UHD+ (3840 x 2400) InfinityEdge Touch Display 

 

Keyboard Collection  GMMK Full Size Hot Swap-able  TOFU96 90%  XD84 Pro 75%  Keycool KC84 75% Wireless RGB Hot Swap-able  KBD67v2 MKII 65% Hot Swap-able  KBD67 Lite 65% Hot Swap-able  OLKB Preonic V3 Ortholinear  Drop Carina 60% RGB Hot Swap-able  Southpaw75 60% W/ Left Numpad  Cospad XD24 Numpad

 

Mechanical Key Switch Collection  Zealios V2 65g  Zilents V2 67g  C³ Kiwi ‖ C³ Tangerine  Invyr Holy Panda  Kailh Box Thick Jades ‖ Kailh Box Royal ‖ Kailh Box Heavy Dark Yellow ‖ Kailh Box Heavy Burnt Orange  Kailh Box White  Kailh Box Red  Kailh Pro Purple  Kailh Pro Burgandy  Gateron Yellow  Gateron Black  Gateron Brown  Gateron Green  Gateron Blue ‖ Cherry MX Black ‖ Cherry MX Brown ‖ Cherry MX Red

 

Key Cap Collection  Star Wars GMK Boba Fett  GMK Red Samurai  GMK Laser CyberDeck  MaxKey B&W SA ‖ Matt3o MT3 /dev/tty  Drop Skylight Horizon ‖ Glorious Black Aura

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