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 screws and other mounting systems.
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 MTTF rating of more than 150.000 hours and comes with a full 6-year manufacturer's warranty.
NF-F12 PWM
FAN Specification
Size
120x120x25 mm
Mounting hole spacing
105x105 mm
Connector
4-Pin PWM
Bearing
Blade Geometry
Heptaperf™
Frame Technology
Rotational Speed (+/- 10%)
1500 RPM
Rotational Speed with L.N.A. (+/- 10%)
1200 RPM
Min. Rotational Speed (PWM, +/-20%)
300 RPM
Acoustical Noise
22,4 dB(A)
Acoustical Noise with L.N.A.
18,6 dB(A)
Static Pressure
2,61 mm H₂O
Static Pressure with L.N.A.
1,83 mm H₂O
Max. Input Power
0,6 W
Max. Input Current
0,05 A
Voltage
12 V
MTTF
> 150.000 h
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.
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12.06.2017 // PC nadšenci
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NF-F12 PWM Review

Testy nám potvrdzujú kvalitu ventilátorov Noctua, no príjemne prekvapilo aj SilentiumPC, hlavne model Sigma Pro 120 PWM. Sklamaním sú ale ventilátory Reeven, ktoré sú drahšie ako SilentiumPC, no v testoch dosiahli horšie výsledky.
Test verdict: "Ak hľadáte kvalitný a tichý ventilátor, Noctua je ten správny výrobca. Vo všetkých testoch ventilátory tohto výrobcu preukázali najlepšie teploty a najmenšiu hlučnosť, preto im udeľujeme zlaté ocenenie." (Tomáš Brestovanský, PC nadšenci)
18.04.2017 // Vergleich.org
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NF-F12 PWM Review

- beson­ders hoch­wer­tige Ver­ar­bei­tung
- inkl. Gummi-Stifte zur Ent­kop­p­lung
- inkl. Low Noise Adapter, der die Laut­stärke senkt, plat­ziert zwi­schen Anschluss und Lüfter
Test verdict: "beson­ders hoch­wer­tige Ver­ar­bei­tung, inkl. Gummi-Stifte zur Ent­kop­p­lung, inkl. Low Noise Adapter, der die Laut­stärke senkt" (Vergleich.org)
01.04.2017 // Tech-Legend.com
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NF-F12 PWM Review

The 120mm fans has been tested using a 240mm CPU liquid cooler, the SilverStone TD02 at max. RPM.
Test verdict: "Noctua is known for the performance and silence of the offered fans and coolers, and the NF-F12 PWM model stands out through its performance when used on a radiator or heatsink due to its high static pressure. The build quality is very good, and the shape of the blades and frame improves the performance of the fan." ( Bogdan Manolache, Tech-Legend.com)
17.03.2017 // Hardware.Info
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NF-F12 PWM Review

Phanteks and Noctua therefore receive Excellent Choice Awards in this category.
Test verdict: "If you want to use 120mm fans, two series stand out from the rest of the bunch: the Phanteks PH-F120 and the Noctua NF-F12." (Tomas Hochstenbach, Hardware.Info)
17.01.2017 // Hardware.Info
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NF-F12 PWM Review

Excellent Choice-awards zijn er dus voor Phanteks en Noctua in deze categorie.
Test verdict: "Als je 120mm-fans wilt plaatsen, springen twee series boven het maaiveld uit: de Phanteks PH-F120 en de Noctua NF-F12." (Tomas Hochstenbach, Hardware.Info)
12.01.2017 // HardManiacos.com
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NF-F12 PWM Review

Después de analizar el ventilador NF-F12 PWM, comprobamos que se trata de un componente muy útil al añadirlo a otro disipador o en cualquier lugar de la torre donde necesitemos extraer aire caliente o introducir frío, contando además con un buen número de accesorios de fijación, pudiendo colocarlo en bastantes lugares con tornillos o directamente con los fijadores de goma de rápida colocación.
Test verdict: "Por todo ello, le damos el premio de calidad-precio, recomendando su uso en equipos donde necesitemos una ventilación extra, ya sea en el disipador o en algún otro lugar de la torre." (Daniel Rey, HardManiacos.com)
20.12.2015 // Tweakers.net
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NF-F12 PWM Review

Ik ben zeer tevreden over de Noctua NF-F12 ventilatoren, ze presteren erg goed en ze zijn fluisterstil. Zet je de fans op 100% (fixed), dan zijn ze zelfs nog stiller dan de standaard Corsair H100i GTX ventilatoren in hun laagste stand. Koeler, stiller en beter. Dat zijn de drie woorden waarin in deze ventilator kan beschrijven. Ondanks de prijs is dit een topper van een ventilator, wat mij betreft het beste merk wat op dit moment op de markt is. Daarbij krijg je ook nog 6 jaar garantie en diverse kabels zodat je zeker weet dat je direct aan de slag kan met je nieuwe ventilator.
Test verdict: "Ik zou zeggen: koop er vandaag nog een, aanrader!" (Rob Lammerts, Tweakers.net)
04.10.2015 // Hardwareoverclock.com
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NF-F12 PWM Review

Von der Kühlleistung her hat der Noctua NF-F12 industrialPPC-2000 PWM die Nase vorne, knapp vor dem originalen Gespannt von Corsair. Das hat uns ein wenig gewundert, denn die Drehzahl ist bei den Noctua doch niedriger. Anscheinend ist der Aufbau der Lüfter so gut konstruiert, so dass man hier einen kleinen Vorteil erkämpfen kann.
Test verdict: "Wer also das nötige Kleingeld übrig hat, sollte gleich zum Besten greifen und nach einer passenden Lösung suchen. Wenn man bei der hohen Leistung bleiben will, sind die Noctua NF-F12 industrialPPC-2000 PWM eine perfekte Alternative, da diese um Einiges leiser sind und trotzdem eine brachiale Leistung bieten." (Rene Ruf, Hardwareoverclock.com)
31.08.2015 // SpazioiTech.it
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NF-F12 PWM Review

Il montaggio delle ventole avviene in un batter d’occhio anche se non lo si è mai fatto ed è agevolato dalla presenza di cavi di prolunga o sdoppiamento. Queste due soluzioni sono davvero silenziose, a case chiuso la loro presenza resta un vero e proprio mistero!
Test verdict: "Consiglio caldamente, o sarebbe il caso di dire freddamente (ora potete anche compatirmi per la battuta, NdR), questi due compagni delle estati italiane." (Andrea Giorgio, SpazioiTech.it)
16.07.2015 // Chimerarevo
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NF-F12 PWM Review

Riguardo le F12, appositamente create per utilizzo su radiatori e dissipatori ad aria, vantano delle pale denominate Heptaperf che permettono di ottimizzare i consumi e mantenere silenziosità e flusso elevati, mentre la vera chicca è sicuramente la tecnologia Focused Flow che grazie ad una forma particolare della griglia posteriore (tagliata in alcune parti) permette di ottenere un flusso ad elevata pressione statica (ben 2.61 mmH2O) rendendole perfette in raffreddamenti a liquido di qualsiasi tipo.
Test verdict: "Anche le NF-F12 PWM si confermano tra le migliori per l’utilizzo su radiatori o dissipatori, grazie alla loro pressione statica elevata e al controllo PWM riescono a dare il meglio di se nel raffreddamento di CPU dove il flusso d’aria non deve essere molto ma deve mantenere una alta pressione statica nel tempo. Anche qua non mancano gli accorgimenti per ridurre i rumori, seppur le abbia trovate più rumorose delle S12A. Chicca interessante è il loro consumo davvero ridotto di soli 0.6W, davvero sorprendente se confrontato con molti altri competitors a parità di prestazioni." (Simeone Renzo, Chimavero.com)

Installation Manual (PDF)

Information Sheet (PDF)

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.

What pin configuration do Noctua 12V 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:

pin configuration

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

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 independently from the second fan’s rpm signal.

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.

Can I disassemble my fan for cleaning (or other purposes, e.g. painting)?

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 run 4-pin PWM fans on 3-pin fan headers?

PWM fans come with a 4-pin connectors for fully automatic speed control via your mainboard’s 4-pin PWM fan headers. Please note that 4-pin fans 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).

How can I check if my 4-pin fan header supports PWM?

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.

Can I use Noctua fans in my system from Acer, Apple, Dell, HP, Lenovo or other major brands?

Noctua 12V fans comply with the established specifications for standard PC systems issued by Intel and AMD. Systems from Acer, Apple, Dell, HP, Lenovo or other major brands often deviate from these specifications e.g. by using proprietary fan headers, custom pin-alignments or pin-configurations, different methods of fan speed control, etc. This can lead to compatibility issues when using Noctua fans in systems from said brands. Some of these problems can be avoided with some technical knowledge, but especially BIOS related issues (e.g. errors or shutdowns due to low fan speed) can often not be resolved. As a result, Noctua does not officially support systems from Acer, Apple, Dell, HP, Lenovo or other major brands.

Can Noctua fans be used to replace noisy stock fans in NAS devices?

Noctua fans such as the 40, 60, 80 or 92mm NF-A series models are ideal for replacing noisy stock fans in NAS devices in order to make them quieter and thousands of users have managed to significantly reduce the noise levels of their NAS units this way. However, while it is easy and straightforward to replace the fans in some cases, it can be very difficult in others, so Noctua strongly recommends that users carefully research if it is possible to easily replace the fan(s) of their NAS device before purchasing a Noctua fan for this purpose. Some of the common issues that can occur when replacing NAS fans are:

  • Different pin assignment: Whereas Noctua fans use the standardised pin assignment for PC fans (see this FAQ for details), some NAS units use different assignments. For example, some devices have the power and GND or rpm and PWM pins swapped. Therefore please carefully verify that your NAS device uses the same pin assignment as standard fans. Experienced users may also change the pin assignment by cutting and resoldering the fan cables, but please note that this will void your Noctua manufacturer’s warranty.
  • Different pin functions: Noctua fans use the standardised pin functions for PC fans (see this FAQ for details); however, some NAS units use fans where certain pins serve a different function. For example, some devices use the RPM pin for “power good” signals. Therefore please carefully verify that your NAS device uses the same pin functions.
  • Firmware speed control: Some NAS devices demand a certain maximum or minimum fan speed. If the new fan doesn’t have the same or similar maximum or minimum speed, the device may display errors or even shut down.
  • Different starting voltage: Most NAS devices use voltage-based speed control. If the new fan has a higher starting voltage than the original fan, it may not start up right away. This may lead the NAS device to display errors or even shut down because it suspects a fan failure.
  • Different power draw: Some NAS devices monitor the fan’s power draw. If the new fan has a lower power consumption than the stock fan, the device might display errors or even shut down.

Please note that most NAS manufacturers don’t provide detailed documentation regarding fan compatibility and control, so users who want to replace the fans of their devices usually have to rely on “How to” guides, blog and forum posts or video tutorials. For example, there are excellent video tutorials available for changing the fans in popular Synology NAS models (DS416j, DS1515+ and DS1812+ in English, DS416/DS415/DS916/DS216/DS214 and DS1515+ in German). Please also note that fan compatibility and control can vary from model to model and even from revision to revision even if the devices stem from the same manufacturer. As a result, it is important to make sure that the information or guidelines you rely on when replacing your NAS fan are applicable to your specific model as well as your specific hardware and firmware revision.

Due to the possible issues listed above, Noctua recommends that only experienced users attempt to replace their NAS fans. Please note that since there are so many different NAS models and most of them lack documentation for aspects such as fan compatibility and control, Noctua customer support cannot assist you with compatibility issues when replacing NAS fans. Please contact your NAS manufacturer for any questions regarding aspects such as the device’s pin alignment or fan monitoring and control.

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

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.

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).

Which Noctua fan or CPU cooler should I buy? How to choose the right model?

Not sure which Noctua product to buy? Our detailed buying guides for fans and CPU coolers help you to choose the model that works best for you.

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