heading

Specifically conceived for pressure demanding applications such as CPU cooling, the classic NF-P12 120mm fan helped to found Noctua’s reputation as a top-tier manufacturer of premium quality quiet cooling components and still impresses users with its exquisite quietness and superb performance. The new PWM version features Noctua’s novel, custom designed PWM IC for fully automatic control and ultra-low power consumption. Equipped with Noctua’s signature SSO-Bearing and topped off with a 6 years manufacturer’s warranty, the NF-P12 PWM is a proven premium choice for the highest demands.
Details
Proven NF-P12 Design

Proven NF-P12 Design

Tens of thousands of quiet cooling enthusiasts swear by Noctua's classic NF-P12. Its impressive quietness, excellent performance and impeccable, time-tested quality made the P12 a default choice for 120mm quiet cooling.
Pressure-optimized Nine-Blade Design

Pressure-optimized Nine-Blade Design

Specifically developed for high-impedance applications such as CPU coolers, water-cooling radiators or cases with tight fan grills, the NF-P12 PWM provides outstanding pressure and airflow performance.
Vortex-Control Notches

Vortex-Control Notches

Noctua's signature Vortex-Control Notches split up trailing edge vortices and thus spread the fan's noise emission over a wider range of frequencies. This measure makes the NF-P12 PWM sound more pleasant to the human ear.
Custom-designed PWM IC with SCD

Custom-designed PWM IC with SCD

Supporting fully automatic PWM speed control, the fan uses Noctua's 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 low speeds.
Ultra-Low Power Consumption

Ultra-Low Power Consumption

The NF-P12 PWM draws only 0.6W, which is more than 50% less than many other PWM fans. 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-P12 after 5 years of continuous use.
Low-Noise Adaptor

Low-Noise Adaptor

The NF-P12 PWM is supplied with a (L.N.A.) that reduces the maximum fan speed from 1300 to 900rpm. The L.N.A. can be used either to run the fan at a fixed speed of 900rpm 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-P12 fan to the same PWM fan header for automatic control.
SSO-Bearing

SSO-Bearing

Combining the proven concept of hydrodynamic bearing with an additional magnet that supports the self-stabilisation of the rotor axis, Noctua's time-tested technology has become synonymous with supremely quiet operation and exceptional long-term stability.
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-P12 PWM features an MTTF rating of more than 150.000 hours and comes with a full 6-year manufacturer's warranty.
NF-P12 PWM
FAN Specification
Size
120x120x25 mm
Mounting hole spacing
105x105 mm
Connector
4-Pin PWM
Bearing
Rotational Speed (+/- 10%)
1300 RPM
Rotational Speed with L.N.A. (+/- 10%)
900 RPM
Min. Rotational Speed (PWM, +/-20%)
300 RPM
Acoustical Noise
19,8 dB(A)
Acoustical Noise with L.N.A.
12,6 dB(A)
Static Pressure
1,68 mm H₂O
Static Pressure with L.N.A.
1,21 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-P12 PWM
17.01.2017 // ITNdaily.ru
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NF-P12 PWM Review

Вентиляторы форм-фактора 120 мм являются одними из самых востребованных пропеллеров в современных корпусах и кулерах, даже несмотря на уменьшающееся с каждым годом тепловыделение комплектующих, особенно процессоров и видеокарт. Технологичные устройства от Noctua предлагают пользователю фактически бесшумную работу, высокую эффективность и разнообразие выбора; в ассортименте бренда представлены вертушки на любой цвет и кошелек.
Test verdict: "Модели Noctua NF-S12A PWM и Noctua NF-P12 PWM наиболее тихие среди всей пятерки участников. Их мы также рекомендуем устанавливать на СО для ЦП, хотя Noctua NF-P12 PWM максимально универсален и прекрасно справится с бесшумным обеспечением вентиляции в любом корпусе." (Евгений Никифоров, ITNdaily.ru)
04.02.2016 // SmallFormFactor.net
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NF-P12 PWM Review

All in all, these products are well built, well designed, and are able to achieve specs that by-and-large merit the premium price asked of them. None of the tested fans exhibited loud operation, and the included accessories ensured that the fans can be used in many different systems.
Test verdict: "It is typical for high-end or “luxury” goods to embrace a brand, style, or ethos, and Noctua does precisely that with their distinctive color scheme. The rest comes down to performance, though, and while you’ll pay top dollar to install a Noctua fan in your build, we’re hard-pressed to imagine how anyone will find themselves disappointed." (John Morrison, SmallFormFactor.net)
20.02.2014 // Conseil Config
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NF-P12 PWM Review

En ce qui concerne le NF-P12 il est inaudible en 5v et devient audible en 12v, par contre le bruit généré n'est pas touché par des bruits parasites, tout ce que l'on peut entendre est un souffle et c'est un très bon point !
Test verdict: "Le NF-P12 montre des performances un peu moins bonnes que le NF-F12 mais le bruit émis est plus doux à l'oreille, il sera donc plus adaptée sur un ventirad dans un PC silencieux. Les performances restent quand même très bonnes et sera un très bon compromis entre silence et performance." (Christian Marchini, Conseil Config)
02.09.2012 // rbmods.com
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NF-P12 PWM Review

We plugged in the case fan slot of our motherboard and disabled the PWM function to use the fans at their full speed. We also tested the fans at PWM speeds and with L.N.A adapter without PWM. Noise levels with all the fans are similar. In PWM mode, with our test setup, the fans were running at minimum speed nearly the whole time. Only after extensive 3DMark Vantage sessions the fan speed rose above the minimum. Even then the fans were very silent. With L.N.A adapter one could barely hear the fans. When we disabled the PWM and ran the fans at 12V, they were clearly audible. However, increasing noise comes with increasing performance. We saw about 2C decrease in overall temperature of the case when using the 120mm fan as our exhaustfan compared to the situation where the same fan was used with L.N.A adapter or PWM. Yet again Noctua did not disappoint us. The quality is on par with previous incarnations of their fans and performance is also on a very good level.
Test verdict: "If you can live with the pricetag Noctua is a great choice. All three fans were absolutely one of the most silent one’s I’ve encountered, and while there definitely are more powerful fans available – the Noctua fans should be more than enough for cooling your case, processor cooler or even your water coolers radiator. All the fans are PWM controlled so you can control their speeding behaviour from your bios or from your motherboards control utility in your operating system. I can recommend all these fans to whoever who is looking for silent, yet reasonably powerful fan, and does want the PWM feature. Noctua won’t let you down in terms of quality!" (Ville Ilonen, rbmods.com)
25.05.2012 // CoolingTechnique.com
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NF-P12 PWM Review

Tirare delle conclusioni sulle nuove proposte di Noctua non è decisamente semplice; la casa austriaca questa volta mette decisamente tanta carne al fuoco con un "know how" costruttivo che se paragonato a quello delle aziende concorrenti mette decisamente in imbarazzo per la propria superiorità in campo fluidodinamico e non solo. Partendo da un punto di vista meramente qualitativo, le ventole offerte dalla casa austriaca sono tutte dotate di un eccellente qualità dei materiali e costruttiva; tutte le saldature di interconnessione tra i profili palari e il rotore centrale vengono fatte in maniera pressochè perfetta, con margini di tolleranza ridotti all'osso e con una struttura nel complesso decisamente ben curata in ogni sua minima parte. A sostegno di cio c'è la cura quasi maniacale dedicata allo sleeving dei cavi di controllo e di alimentazione, essa viene effettuata con una calza in multifilamento ad alta copertura siliconata, terminata da generosi tratti di termorestringente nero che ne assicura la presa e la stabilità nel tempo; a ciò viene inoltre affiancata una sleevatura direttamente nel frame della ventola che prevede specifici ponti in plastica per il mantenimento in sede dei cavetti che vanno al motore SSO della casa.
Test verdict: "Il lavoro impressionante effettuato da Noctua si vede infine nel grafico del pescaggio che solitamente pone come fanalino di coda le ventole aventi alte pressione statiche, questo con le ventole in oggetto non succede ma anzi le inserisce in vetta esaltando l'ottimo bilanciamento che gli ingegneri della casa sono riusciti a tirare fuori in maniera pressochè esemplare meritando sicuramente i nostri complimenti per il lavoro svolto." (Damiano Villa, CoolingTechnique.com)
29.04.2012 // islaBit.com
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NF-P12 PWM Review

El NOCTUA NF-P12 PWM es un ventilador de gama alta que está Recomendado por islaBit para equipos grandes, torres de grandes dimensiones así como radiadores o disipadores de alto rendimiento, que necesiten un ventilador de 12cm con gran caudal y baja sonoridad. Además, este modelo se lleva el Premio Rendimiento islaBit, por incluir la tecnología PWM, su bajo consumo y por superar a la mayoría de ventiladores de 12cm que hay actualmente en el mercado, que tan solo son capaces de superar su caudal alcanzando ruidos de más de 25dBA, cuando este modelo contiene su nivel por debajo de los 20dBA de sonoridad máxima.
Test verdict: "Si buscas un ventilador duradero de 12cm, con excelente relación rendimiento/sonoridad, Noctua ofrece una de las mejores soluciones actualmente." (Raúl Planelles, islaBit.com)
24.04.2012 // HWMaster.com
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NF-P12 PWM Review

La NF-P12 PWM è ottima con dissipatori e radiatori, o come ventola per case, la NF-B9 PWM è una ventola destinata all’utilizzo su dissipatori per cpu di dimensioni inferiori o su dissipatori per vga, la NF-R8 PWM è perfetta per raffreddare in maniera concentrata un determinato componente (ram, chipset, vrm). I prezzi, in apparenza elevati, sono giustificati dal bundle ricco e dalla qualità costruttiva.
Test verdict: "Con la nuova famiglia di ventole PWM, Noctua ha dotato arricchito tecnicamente le sue gia ottime ventole. I consumi sono stati ridotti visibilmente e c’è tutta la comodità del PWM. Consigliamo queste ventole a chiunque voglia raffreddare in maniera efficiente il proprio computer, sena rinunciare al silenzio." (Rocco Eduardo Battista, HWMaster.com)
20.04.2012 // The Overclock Hole
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NF-P12 PWM Review

- efficace e silenziosa
- bundle stra-completo con adattatori e garanzia di 6 anni
- migliora di poco perfino le temperature rispetto all'omologa a 3 pin..
- ..e costa un'inezia di più ma..
Test verdict: "Per quanto riguarda la ventola NF-P12 PWM c'è poco da aggiungere: un'ottima ventola già con connessione a 3 pin, vede ora l'aggiunta della funzionalità PWM con un sovrapprezzo ridotto" (Lorenzo Pasini, The Overclock Hole)
16.04.2012 // Tests-Info.fr
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NF-P12 PWM Review

Avec un seul ventilateur, les performances en refroidissement, comme vous pouvez le voir sur les graphiques, sont inférieures à celles du ventilateur Scythe, mais avec un écart qui est dans tous les cas inférieur à 3 degrés, que ce soit à 3.8 GHz ou à 5 GHz, au maximum de sa capacité ou en PWM avec un adaptateur LNA. C’est plus que satisfaisant pour un ventilateur qui brasse en théorie deux fois moins d’air (110 CFM pour le Scythe contre 55 pour le P12 PWM), surtout si on tient compte de la différence en terme de nuisances sonores. En Push Pull, le NF-P12 PWM est plus performant que le 120 mm de Scythe, sauf à 100% de la vitesse de rotation (réglage max.) où les températures obtenues sont équivalentes pour ces deux ventilateurs. [...] Le Scythe de 120 mm est vraiment bruyant à 100%, et dégage un son assez aigu. Et la disposition en Push pull le rend encore plus bruyant. Le NF-P12 est quasiment inaudible, on n’entend qu’un très léger souffle.
Test verdict: "Si on ne tient pas compte de la légère différence à 100% de la vitesse de rotation (ce réglage n’étant pas vraiment viable pour le Scythe qui a servi de référence pour ce test), le NF-P12 PWM est aussi performant que le 120 mm de Scythe, avec une différence vraiment flagrante quand il s’agit du silence." (Noureddine Badreddine, Tests-Info.fr)
05.04.2012 // Whitex-Modd.de
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NF-P12 PWM Review

Ebenfalls werden im Video alle Modelle mit einem einfachen Mikrofon, das die Lautstärke aus 10cm Entfernung misst, auf ihr Geräuschlevel getestet. Um eine weitere Orientierung im Sinne der Geräuschkulisse zu geben, haben wir zusätzlich 3 weitere Lüfter (Sharkon Silent Eagle 2000-80mm, 2000rpm @38,5m³/h, Enermax Magma-120mm, 1500rpm @117,49m³/h und ein standart-Gehäuselüfter-120mm, 1000rpm) sowie eine etwas ältere und lautere IDE-Festplatte @7200rpm dem Lautstärketest unterzogen. Schlussfolgernd kann man an dieser Stelle sagen, dass die Lüfter alle sehr gut abgeschnitten haben.
Test verdict: "Oft sind Markenlüfter überteuert und der Preis ist nicht gerechtfertigt. Ob es sich allerdings lohnt, etwas mehr Geld für Noctua-Produkte auszugeben? -Wir sagen: Ja! Die neue Lüfterserie ist aus unserer Sicht eine klare Kaufempfehlung und man hört die Qualität im wahrsten Sinne des Wortes heraus." (Tobi Borho, Whitex-Modd.de)

Installation Manual (PDF)

Information Sheet (PDF)

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.

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.

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

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.

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