heading

Teaming up eleven stator guide vanes with a specially conceived seven blade impeller, the NF-F12’s Focused Flow™ system creates outstanding static pressure and focuses the airflow for superior performance on heatsinks and radiators. At the same time, a wide range of advanced aerodynamic design measures, second generation SSO-Bearing and Noctua’s new, custom designed PWM IC for fully automatic control guarantee astounding quietness of operation. The NF-F12 comes with modular cabling, integrated anti-vibration pads and two speed settings for full flexibility. Its commanding performance, exhaustive set of features and Noctua’s trusted premium quality make it an elite choice for use on air coolers, radiators and other pressure demanding applications.

  button  NF-F12 Feature Overview (PDF) 
button  Focused Flow™ System
button  Stepped Inlet Design 
button  Inner Surface Microstructures 
button  SSO2 Bearing
button  Metal Bearing Shell 
button  NE-FD1 PWM IC 
button  Which Noctua 120mm fan should I choose?
Details
Focused Flow™ Frame

Focused Flow™ Frame

Designed for pressure demanding applications such as heatsinks and radiators, the Focused Flow™ frame features eleven stator guide vanes that straighten, channel and focus the airflow, which allows the NF-F12 to rival the performance of conventional fans running at much faster speeds.
Varying Angular Distance and Vortex Control Notches

Varying Angular Distance and Vortex Control Notches

The NF-F12's stator guide vanes are set out in Varying Angular Distance and feature Vortex-Control Notches. Both measures help to spread the noise emission over a broader frequency spectrum and thus make the fan's sound pattern more agreeable to the human ear.
Heptaperf™ Impeller

Heptaperf™ Impeller

Custom designed for the new Focused Flow™ frame and to work in tandem with the eleven stator guide vanes, the NF-F12's seven blade Heptaperf™ impeller has been carefully optimised to achieve a perfect balance between power and quietness.
Stepped Inlet Design

Stepped Inlet Design

Noctua's Stepped Inlet Design adds turbulence to the influx in order to facilitate the transition from laminar flow to turbulent flow, which reduces tonal intake noise, improves flow attachment and increases suction capacity, especially in space-restricted environments.
Inner Surface Microstructures

Inner Surface Microstructures

With the tips of the fan blades ploughing through the boundary layer created by the Inner Surface Microstructures, flow separation from the suction side of the blades is significantly suppressed, which results in reduced blade passing noise and improved airflow and pressure efficiency.
Integrated Anti-Vibration Pads

Integrated Anti-Vibration Pads

Integrated Anti-Vibration Pads made from extra-soft silicone minimise the transmission of minute vibrations while maintaining full compatibility with all standard mounting systems and fan clips used on heatsinks.
SSO2 Bearing

SSO2 Bearing

The NF-F12 is the first fan to feature the further optimised second generation of Noctua's renowned, time-tested SSO bearing. With SSO2, the rear magnet is placed closer to the axis to provide even better stabilisation, precision and durability.
Metal bearing shell

Metal bearing shell

In order to guarantee the highest possible degree of manufacturing precision, minimum tolerance and excellent long-term stability, the NF-F12 sports a CNC milled bearing shell made entirely from brass.
Custom-designed PWM IC with SCD

Custom-designed PWM IC with SCD

Supporting fully automatic PWM speed control, the NF-F12 uses Noctua's novel, custom-designed NE-FD1 PWM IC that integrates Smooth Commutation Drive (SCD) technology. By providing smoother torque impulses, SCD suppresses PWM switching noises and thus makes the fan quieter at lower speeds.
Ultra-Low Power Consumption

Ultra-Low Power Consumption

The NF-F12 draws only 0.6W, which is more than 50% less than many fans in the same speed range. This doesn't only make it eco-friendly but also cuts down the electricity bill: Compared to a typical 2W fan, this allows you to save about half the price of the NF-F12 after 5 years of continuous use.
Low-Noise Adaptor

Low-Noise Adaptor

The NF-F12 is supplied with a (L.N.A.) that reduces the maximum fan speed from 1500 to 1200rpm. The L.N.A. can be used either to run the fan at a fixed speed of 1200rpm or to cap the maximum speed when using automatic PWM control.
Extensive cabling options

Extensive cabling options

The fan's short 20cm primary cable minimises cable clutter in typical applications while the supplied 30cm extension provides extended reach when necessary. Both cables are fully sleeved and a 4-pin y-cable allows the connection of a second NF-F12 fan to the same PWM fan header for automatic control.
6-year manufacturer’s warranty

6-year manufacturer’s warranty

Noctua fans are renowned for their impeccable quality and outstanding longevity. Like all Noctua fans, the NF-F12 features an MTBF rating of more than 150.000 hours and comes with a full 6-year manufacturer's warranty.
NF-F12 PWM
FAN Specification
Size
120x120x25
Connector
4-Pin PWM
Bearing
Blade Geometry
Heptaperf™
Frame Technology
Rotational Speed (+/- 10%)
1500
Rotational Speed with L.N.A. (+/- 10%)
1200
Min. Rotational Speed (PWM, +/-20%)
300
Airflow
93,4
Airflow with L.N.A.
74,3
Acoustical Noise
22,4
Acoustical Noise with L.N.A.
18,6
Static Pressure
2,61
Static Pressure with L.N.A.
1,83
Max. Input Power
0,6
Max. Input Current
0,05
Voltage
12
MTBF
> 150.000
Scope of Delivery
  • Low-Noise Adapter (L.N.A.)
  • 4-Pin Y-Cable
  • 30cm Extension Cable
  • 4 Vibration-Compensators
  • 4 Fan Screws
Warranty
6 years
NF-F12 PWM
NF-F12 PWM Video
Video Reviews
The following video reviews have not been created by Noctua. Responsibility for the information and views expressed in the videos lies entirely with the authors.
30.03.2012 // TweakTown.com
test.gif

NF-F12 PWM Review

For those who follow my reviews, you know right off that if there was in fact something to go wrong with a product, I am sure to get the sample that has an issue or I can filter out the nonsense and bring up something that will detract from a products overall points and my personal recommendations. With the NF-F12 PWM fans, there just isn't anything at all to complain about. All I am left with is a great performing fan under even the toughest conditions of being bolted right next to a radiator. That being said, the lower powered and seriously well designed NF-F12 PWM fans took on something rated much better than they are and overtook them without breaking a sweat or causing much if any noise pollution to the environment. What more can you ask for in a fan? When I say that every surface of the fan has been touched with some sort of redesign, I am not stretching that in any way. From the edges of the frame, to the inside walls, even down to the stators that support the frame and direct the air flow, every aspect of the frame was taken into consideration. As for the fan blades, well this time they have developed the Heptaperf impellers that work specifically with the stators and the angles and notches used in them to deliver some really impressive results. On top of that you are getting a fully sealed bearing with the SSO2 and a six year warranty saying this fan will be running in that time frame or it will be replaced for you.
Test verdict: "With the release of the NF-F12 PWM fans from Noctua, I will be recommending these to everyone who asks me about a new fan and has silence in mind with the desire for top tier performance. They are that good. Just when you think you had Noctua figured out, they go and raise their own bar of excellence in fan technology. If you are looking for a great performing fan with very little noise disturbing you; look no further than this!" (Chad Sebring, TweakTown.com)
15.03.2012 // OverclockersClub.com
test.gif

NF-F12 PWM Review

Testing out these new fans from Noctua makes me realize just how much I like the innovative designs of their products. They do not simple take the ideas from others and make small improvements; they throw the book away and start from scratch. The NF-F12 PWM fans feature an all-new Focused Flow design that improves overall static pressure and airflow, with just a slight noise penalty compared to the NF-P12. The list of enhancements is staggering. One would never think this much thought went into a product that is an afterthought for many. From the top, there is the Heptaperf 7 blade fan, an all-new design, stepped inlet on the frame, and micro structures on the inner ring of the frame to improve suction, reduce noise, and improve airflow. There is the Focused Flow frame with an 11 blade stator with varying angle design and Vortext control notches to improve the tone of the fan. A second generation SSO bearing assembly works together with an improved solid brass machined bearing shell to offer improved stabilization of the fan blades. Noctua used a custom-designed NE-FD1 PWM IC, equipped with Smooth Commutation Drive technology, to again improve the noise signature when run at lower speeds such as 300 RPM. All this design work has a purpose and that is to provide a fan that runs quietly and features incredible longevity for use with radiators and heat sinks that need a high static pressure fan. When run with or without the PWM function enabled, it outperforms the time tested NF-P12 under load, which is what really counts. At idle when the PWM function is enabled, the NF-F12 PWM does deliver higher temperatures than the NF-P12, as you can expect with a fan speed of only just over 300 RPM. If you set the PWM control to a slightly more aggressive profile, you can match the idle temperatures without noise penalties. At 22.4 dBA under load, it is hard, if not impossible, to hear the noise difference over the 19 dBa of the NF-P12.
Test verdict: "At the end of the day, I feel that Noctua has hit a home run with the NF-F12 PWM; offering a better-performing product for the same fixed costs to the consumer." (Frank Dimmick, OverclockersClub.com)
20.02.2012 // Bjorn3D.com
test.gif

NF-F12 PWM Review

The Noctua NF-F12 PWM fan is extremely quiet. At full rev, with all case fans off, and the video card fans turned down as far as possible, this fan was effectively inaudible at a distance of approximately 3ft/1M with the ambient sounds of the A/C system and other fairly quiet sound sources going on. To hear the fan required leaning toward the case to a distance of around 2ft, and even at that point it was very quiet. Without the Low Noise Adaptor installed, while off, the cooler the NF-F12 reached the full 1500 RPM and varied between 1486 and 1506 RPM once mounted to the Transformer 3. With the LNA installed, the RPM never went above 1106 and mostly fluctuated between 1088 and 1094 RPM. As for the temperatures, it performs very well, actually performing as well as or better than fans with a higher CFM rating.
Test verdict: "With a ton of features, a few unexpected extras, a killer warranty, superior quality, decent value, and performance that excels, the Noctua NF-F12 PWM is an exellent choice for a cooling fan. It easily earns the Bjorn3D Golden Bear Award." (Michael Peters, Bjorn3D.com)
02.12.2011 // GinjFo.com
test.gif

NF-F12 PWM Review

Nous venons de voir que le NF-F12 PWM se positionne quasiment à hauteur du ventilateur 120 mm Antec. Il est logique maintenant de se demander si cette qualité se conserve en étudiant les critères des consommations électriques et de nuisances sonores et autant le dire tout de suite, Noctua tape un grand coup ! Noctua signe ici un score impressionnant. Le NF-F12 PWM est inaudible en 5,5 Volts, 7 Volts et 9 Volts là où Antec se laisse entendre et le mot est trop faible en 9 Volts. En 12 Volts, l’écart entre les deux solutions est impressionnant. Le bruit de l’Antec est pesant là où Noctua offre un son moins fort et strident. [...] La gourmandise énergétique du NF-F12 PWM est vraiment impressionnante, elle fait partie des plus basses que nous ayons enregistrée au cours de nos nombreux tests. En 12 Volts, elle dépasse à peine 0,5 Watt !! Par manque de chance, la solution Antec fait partie des ventilateurs les plus gourmands, un défaut que nous avons souligné lors du test du Kühler H20 920. L’écart devient du coup faramineux à plein régime avec un ventilateur au minimum huit fois plus coûteux et polluant en fonctionnement.
Test verdict: "Avec le NF-F12 PWM, Noctua revient sur le devant de la scène sans difficulté. Ce ventilateur embarque de l’innovation sur plusieurs points et nos tests montrent leurs réelles utilités dans la pratique. Au format 120 mm, il bénéficie d’un haut niveau de finition avec une très bonne qualité de fabrication. Le bundle est plus que complet tandis que sa gourmandise énergétique est ridicule, le tout pour des performances de refroidissement de haut niveau. Il trouvera son bonheur face à des radiateurs à l’architecture compacte où les espaces du « maillage » sont comptés. Bref, Noctua signe un vrai succès que nous saluons !" (Jérôme Gianoli, GinjFo.com)
25.10.2012 // SkratchwizPC.com
test.gif

NF-F12 PWM Review

You can’t knock the performance of the NF-F12, and we wouldn’t expect anything else from Noctua. The NF-F12’s cooling performance is second to none and sticking with Noctua’s tradition of being ultra-quiet. I didn’t feel the need to use the low noise adapter Noctua provided during the testing and I was happy to let the fan spin away at 1500rpm with its gentle whisper. To make things even quieter still I connected the NF-F12 to the 4-pin fan header on my motherboard and let the PWM control take over, this only increased the fan speed when needed so when the system was running at idle the NF-F12’s fan speed dropped to 300rpm and ramped up to 1500 under heavy load.
Test verdict: "The NF-F12 is an ideal solution for those who want silence and performance at the same time." (Mark Robinson, SkratchwizPC.com)
11.09.2012 // Neoseeker.com
test.gif

NF-F12 PWM Review

Noctua's NF-F12 proved to be a formidable competitor in all three of our tests, though it fell behind the SP120 PE from Corsair by a single degree celsius in both the GPU and chipset portion of the testing. However both Corsair's SP120 PE (35dBA) at 2350rpm and the AF120 QE (30dBA) at 1650rpm produced more noise when compared to Noctua's NF-F12 (22.4dBA) at 1500rpm. Just a little something to be considered when looking at the overall performance of the fans. When it came to the overclocked CPU test, Noctua's NF-F12 took the lead. With the addition of all the new technologies, it probably comes as no surprise that Noctua's NF-F12 is a strong competitor. The most important of the new features include the Stator Guide Vanes, which as mentioned before serve to help to focus the airflow coming into the fan. Another new feature is the (ISM) or Inner Surface Microstructures. As the fan blade tips slice or pass through the periphery layer generated by the ISM, flow separation from the suction side of the blades is greatly decreased, resulting in reduced noise from blade movement along with an increase in airflow and pressure performance. Overall the performance of the NF-F12 was outstanding and the fans were extremely quiet as promised thanks to the second generation SSO2 bearing. The included bundle of accessories was extensive to say the least, with the included 30cm extension cable, Y-cable adapter to add a second NF-F12 fan, and the (LNA) Low Noise Adapters which in my opinion are not required because again these fans run quiet as they are.
Test verdict: "Once again Noctua has delivered a high quality product in terms of craftsmanship and performance with the NF-F12 fans." (Roger Cantwell, Neoseeker.com)
21.02.2012 // GeekTech.ie
test.gif

NF-F12 PWM Review

This test is pretty straight foward, I took two NF-F12 fans and put them onto a Corsair H100, simply replacing the Corsair fans supplied with the H100. The idea of this test is to compare the results against the original fans and see if they have better temps and to also test how noisy they get. [...] Now the results are nearly identical, while there is a certain degree increase nearly across all 6 cores. The fantastic thing is that the fans were extremely quiet. Infact, they were less noisy on high compared to Corsair fans on low. Okay, it’s now time to wrap this review up. There isn’t that many ways to properly test a fan, and to be honest, I generally didn’t expect much over Noctuas famous P12 fans, which i still believe are amazing fans. The NF-F12 fans however do seem to work extremely well and have great efficiency cooling down the H100 radiator. The best part is that they do it while staying extremely quiet, and i must that that is where Noctua always seem to shine. They made a fan that can not only keep up with Corsairs 2500rpm fans airflow wise, but they do it while staying at around 22dBA. That is just something to marvel at and I don’t think any other fan manufacturer has been able to accomplish.
Test verdict: "There really isn’t much more to say, the simply fact is that these fans are incredible and move alot of air, they do it without making much noise, this is exactly what everyone looks for in a fan. The idea behind these fans is that they are specifally designed to work better with heatsink and radiators and they have done just that. Congrats to Noctua for killing it again with another amazing product, the Notcua Nf-F12 gets the Geek Tech Gold Award." (Craig O'Sullivan, GeekTech.ie)
15.01.2012 // CustomPCReview.com
test.gif

NF-F12 PWM Review

Based on pure temperature measurements, the performance of the NF-F12 PWM fans is roughly equal to the performance of the stock H70 fans. However, the Noctua NF-F12 PWM was able to produce almost the exact same performance as the stock fans on the Corsair H70 with 32% less fan speed. While the Noctua NF-F12 PWM weren’t able to outperform the stock fans on the H70, it was able to do nearly the exact same job as the stock fans on the H70 with 32% less fan speed. While we didn’t have the equipment to properly measure the exact amount of sound (decibels) the fans created at full blast, subjectively speaking, the fans on the NF-F12 PWM even at full blast are fairly quiet while the stock H70 fans on full blast were intolerably loud.
Test verdict: "The NF-F12 PWM is a very expensive, very quiet, and very efficient fan. Some may say it’s the Cadillac of pc fans, but it really isn’t. It’s more like the Rolls Royce of pc fans. If you’re running a full water cooling setup or an in one water cooler such as the Hydro series from Corsair and have some money to spare, take a look at these fans. You’ll be getting almost the same performance with a WHOLE lot less noise. Guess Noctua’s 2 years of development paid off." (Sam Chen, CustomPCReview.com)
08.12.2011 // TT-Hardware.com
test.gif

NF-F12 PWM Review

Pour vérifier les performances de chaque ventilateur, nous avons soumis le Core i7-870 non overclocké à 1 heure de Pirme 95 64 bits et retenu la température la plus élevée enregistrée durant le test. Entre chaque mesure, le système est laissé au repos ½ heure avec le ventilateur au maximum. Le NF-F12 est tout simplement impressionnant. A seulement 800 rpm, il maintient le Core i-870 à seulement 58°C alors que les NF-P12 et TR-1212PSL doivent tourner à 1200 rpm et que le NF-S12 doit mouliner à 1400 rpm pour obtenir la même température. A 1400 rpm, le NF-F12 fait 3°C de mieux que le TR-1212PSL tout en émettant beaucoup moins de bruit. L’écart atteint même 6°C par rapport au NF-S12 pas spécialement adapté au refroidissement d’un radiateur. Quoi qu’il en soit, nous ne nous attendions vraiment pas à de tels écarts.
Test verdict: "Le NF-F12 respire la qualité même dans les moindres détails. De quoi satisfaire n’importe quel utilisateur méticuleux… Si le design du NF-F12 inspire la curiosité avec les 11 aubes de forme très étudiée qui relient le moyeu au bâti, ses prestations forcent le respect. Jamais nous n’avions testé un ventilateur aussi performant et aussi silencieux tout en consommant si peu… Même s’il est conçu pour des vitesses plus élevées que le NF-P12, le NF-F12 risque de lui faire beaucoup d’ombre tant ses qualités sont nombreuses. D’autant plus qu’ils sont proposés au même prix. A noter enfin que le NF-F12 bénéficie d'une garantie de 6 ans ! Du coup, nous recommandons sans la moindre hésitation le NF-F12..." (Pascal Thevenier, TT-Hardware.com)
06.12.2011 // PC Games Hardware 01/2012
test.gif

NF-F12 PWM Review

Die Österreicher sind bekannt dafür, jährlich nur wenige neue Produkte herauszubringen und sich dem Oberklasse-Segment zu widmen. Beim NF-F12 PWM geht diese Taktik auf: Der 120-mm-Ventilator bietet eine sehr hohe Kühlleistung und bleibt dabei deutlich leiser als andere Lüfter, die dazu schneller rotieren müssen. Bei vergleichbarer Leistung bringen es der Gelid Solutions Wing 12PL und der Prolimatech Red Vortex 12 LED beispielsweise auf maximal 2,8 beziehungsweise 2,4 Sone, während das Noctua-Modell mit 1,8 Sone deutlich geräuschärmer zu Werke geht. [...] Noctuas NF-F12 PWM ist bärenstark, nur der laute BQT T12025-HR-2 kühlt besser.
Test verdict: "Noctuas NF-F12 PWM ist eine hervorragende Wahl für Besitzer von High-End-PCs und Übertakter, die zwar eine hohe Kühlleistung benötigen, aber keine übermäßige Geräuschkulisse akzeptieren." (Stephan Wilke, PC Games Hardware 01/2012)

Installation Manual (PDF)

Information Sheet (PDF)

The supplied y-cable is missing a wire at one of the two connectors, is it faulty?

No. As mainboards can process only one rpm-signal per fan header, it would cause problems if the cable transmitted rpm-signals of both fans. For this reason, one of the two connectors does not have an rpm wire and only the fan on the other connector will transmit an rpm signal. Automatic speed control of both fans will work independent from the second fan’s rpm signal.

Can I disassemble my fan for cleaning?

In order to ensure flawless operation over many years of usage, all Noctua fans come with a premium grade SSO bearing, which is fully sealed to prevent the entering of fine dust particles. Please note that the fan is not designed to be taken apart by the user. Removing the impeller from the frame will break the sealing of the bearing and results in a loss of warranty.

It is thus recommended to clean your fans using a duster, slightly moist tissue or canned air. Please be careful not to use too much force in order to prevent any damage to the fan. Please don’t use a vacuum cleaner as this may apply excessive force to the fan.

Can I paint my Noctua fan in order to change its color?

Since even small variations in the layer of paint can lead to an imbalance of the impeller, resulting in vibrations, higher noise levels, increased stress on the bearing and thus reduced lifespan, we do not recommend painting the fan. Please note that for the reasons stated above, painting the fan will void your warranty.

Can I use the NF-F12 in push/pull configurations?

Yes, the NF-F12 can be used in push/pull setups. However, the NF-F12 at full speed produces so much static pressure that even a single fan can push the air through fin-stacks with wide to medium fin spacing (such as the one of the popular Noctua NH-U12P heatsink) very effectively. In these cases, adding a second NF-F12 fan for a push/pull setup may not provide significant improvements in performance over a single NF-F12. We thus only recommend push/pull setups on heatsinks or radiators with denser fin stacks or if you plan to run the NF-F12 fans at slower speeds (e.g. via the supplied L.N.A. and/or PWM control).

Can I use the fan with all-in-one watercooling solutions?

Yes, this fan is ideally suited for use with all-in-one watercooling solutions. However, please note that some of these coolers use proprietary methods for automatic fan speed control which can lead to problems with speed control when using fans other than the stock one. Should you experience any problems with automatic fan speed control when the fan is connected to the fan header of your watercooling solution, please simply connect it directly to your mainboards CPU fan header instead.

Can I run the fan on 3-pin fan headers?

This fan comes with a 4-pin PWM fan connector for fully automatic speed control via your mainboard’s 4-pin PWM fan headers. Please note that the fan can also be connected to your mainboard’s 3-pin fan headers though. When connected to 3-pin fan headers, the fan will run at full speed (unless the mainboard supports voltage based speed control).

I get a CPU fan error using my Noctua PWM fan, is it faulty?

Noctua PWM fans feature a minimum speed of 300rpm to allow for ultra quiet operation when your CPU is at idle state and doesn’t require higher cooling performance. Some mainboards display error messages such as “CPU fan error” during the booting process when the fan speed is below a certain level. If you get such error messages using your Noctua PWM fan and if such options are available in your BIOS, please either adjust the minimum fan speed monitoring limit to 200rpm or increase the minimum PWM duty cycle. If your BIOS doesn’t offer these options, please disable CPU fan errors. For detailed information on BIOS fan settings, please consult your mainoard’s manual or contact your mainboard manufacturer.

How can I find out the direction of airflow and sense of rotation?

When looking at the fan so that the circular sticker with the Noctua logo is facing you, the direction of airflow is towards you and the sense of rotation is clockwise:

P14

How should I clean my Noctua fan?

Fans inside computer cases tend to accumulate dust over longer periods of usage. In order to maintain maximum performance, please clean your fans regularly using a duster, slightly moist tissue or canned air. Please be careful not to use too much force in order to prevent any damage to the fan. Please do not use a vacuum cleaner as this may apply excessive force to the fan and do not put the fan under running water as water residues inside the motor may lead to short circuits.
In order to ensure flawless operation over many years of usage, Noctua’s premium grade SSO bearings are fully sealed to prevent the entering of fine dust particles. Please note that the fan is not designed to be taken apart by the user. Removing the impeller from the frame will break the sealing of the bearing and results in a loss of warranty.

My Noctua PWM fan starts to spin when the PC boots but then stops, what is wrong?

Some mainboards feature 4-pin fan headers that actually don‘t use a PWM signal on Pin 4 to control the fan speed but rather reduce the voltage on Pin 2 (like a standard 3-pin fan header). In this case, it may occur that the mainboard reduces the voltage so much that the fan stops. Please refer to your mainboard manual to check whether or not your mainboard has 4-pin fan headers that control the fan speed by reducing voltage on Pin 2 rather than by changing the PWM duty cycle on Pin 4:

4 pin fan header types

Note that mainboard manufacturers use different terms to indicate that Pin 4 is not being used for PWM control (e.g. “+5V”, “VCC” or “NC”), but if one of these terms is used, you can be sure that the fan header does not support PWM. If Pin 4 is described as “Speed Control” or “PWM” or the like, you can be sure that the fan header supports PWM.

Unfortunately, the description of Pin 2 is not always a clear indication as some manufacturers use terms such as “Fan PWR” or “Power” for both types of fan headers. However, if Pin 2 is described as “Speed Control”, you can also be sure that the fan header does not support PWM based speed control. If Pin 2 is described as “+12V”, this is a clear indication that the fan header supports PWM.

Please also note that in some cases, the descriptions of the pin layouts in the mainboard manuals may not be correct and some models actually allow you to switch the fan headers from voltage control mode to PWM control mode in the BIOS even though the pin descriptions do not indicate PWM support. We thus recommend to look for these options in the BIOS before taking other measures. In case of doubt, please contact your mainboard manufacturer.



To resolve the issue, you can:

  1. Choose a higher fan speed profile in the BIOS (e.g. „normal“ instead of „silent“, etc.) or deactivate automatic fan speed control and use a Low-Noise Adaptor instead.

  2. Use the mainboard‘s fan speed control software or 3rd party tools like Speedfan to regulate the fan speed. Unlike BIOS based fan speed control, the supplied software usually checks whether the fan has stopped and increases voltage accordingly or at least offer more options to set up the fan properly.

  3. If your mainboard features other 4-pin fan headers that use PWM for speed control, you can run multiple fans from these headers using Y-split cables. Make sure not to exceed the specified maximum power draw of the fan headers (usually 10-12W) though.

My Noctua PWM fan runs at a much higher minimum speed than advertised, what is wrong?

The specified minimum speed refers to the speed at 20% PWM duty cycle. There can be several reasons why the fan doesn‘t go as low as indicated:

  1. Many mainboards do not go below 40%, 50% or even 60% PWM duty cycle on case fan headers. Please refer to your mainboard manual to verify whether the fan header actually goes down to 20% duty cycle. If that's not the case, in some cases you can use the fan speed control software supplied with your mainboard to overcome these limitations and reduce the fan speed even further. However, 3rd party tools like SpeedFan offer greater flexibility and better options to work around the limitations imposed by the mainboard vendors.

  2. Some mainboards feature 4-pin fan headers that actually don‘t use a PWM signal on Pin 4 to control the fan speed but rather reduce the voltage on Pin 2 (like a standard 3-pin fan header). As the fan speed at minimum voltage is usually higher than the speed at 20% PWM duty cycle, the fan can not reach as low minimum speeds under voltage control as under PWM control. Please refer to your mainboard manual to check whether or not your mainboard has 4-pin fan headers that control the fan speed by reducing voltage on Pin 2 rather than by changing the PWM duty cycle on Pin 4:

    4 pin fan header types

    Note that mainboard manufacturers use different terms to indicate that Pin 4 is not being used for PWM control (e.g. “+5V”, “VCC” or “NC”), but if one of these terms is used, you can be sure that the fan header does not support PWM. If Pin 4 is described as “Speed Control” or “PWM” or the like, you can be sure that the fan header supports PWM.

    Unfortunately, the description of Pin 2 is not always a clear indication as some manufacturers use terms such as “Fan PWR” or “Power” for both types of fan headers. However, if Pin 2 is described as “Speed Control”, you can also be sure that the fan header does not support PWM based speed control. If Pin 2 is described as “+12V”, this is a clear indication that the fan header supports PWM.

    Please also note that in some cases, the descriptions of the pin layouts in the mainboard manuals may not be correct and some models actually allow you to switch the fan headers from voltage control mode to PWM control mode in the BIOS even though the pin descriptions do not indicate PWM support. We thus recommend to look for these options in the BIOS before taking other measures. In case of doubt, please contact your mainboard manufacturer.


    If your mainboard features other 4-pin fan headers that use PWM for speed control, you can run multiple fans from these headers using Y-split cables. Make sure not to exceed the specified maximum power draw of the fan headers (usually 10-12W) though.

I'm experiencing fan speed issues with my motherboard from Supermicro, what can I do?

The BIOS of many motherboard models from Supermicro expects a certain minimum fan speed (usually 700rpm), which is higher than the minimum fan speed that can be achieved with Noctua's PWM fan models. The BIOS may interpret the low minimum RPM of Noctua fans as a fan error and thus try to run the fan at 100% for a short period before going back to automatic control.. This can result in oscillating fan speeds and fan speed warnings in the BIOS or the fan management console.

Unfortunately there is usually no option to set a lower minimum value that would suit the low minimum speed of Noctua PWM fans.The issue can thus only be resolved by either disabling automatic fan speed control in BIOS, which will cause the fans to run at a constant speed, or by requesting a modified BIOS file from Supermicro, which takes the minimum fan speed of Noctua fans into account (charges might apply).

Can I use Low-Noise Adaptors with y-cables / multiple fans?

Yes, Low-Noise Adaptors (L.N.A.s) can be used with y-cables, but please make sure to use one L.N.A. per fan and to place the L.N.A.s between the y-cable and the fans as shown below. Never use one L.N.A. for two (or more fans) by placing it between the mainboard and the y-cable!

D15S

What pin configuration do Noctua fans use?

All Noctua fans feature the standard pin-configurations set out in the Intel and AMD specifications. These standard pin-configurations are used on most mainboards and fan controllers today:

P14

Do you have a question concerning one of our products? Please use this form to pose a question!