heading

The NF-S12A marks the third generation of Noctua’s signature S12 series quiet case fans, which have received more than 250 awards and recommendations from the international press. Featuring a further refined blade design with Anti-Stall Knobs that works in tandem with the new AAO (Advanced Acoustic Optimisation) frame, the NF-S12A improves the airflow/noise efficiency of its renowned predecessor by up to 8%. The PWM version sports Noctua’s custom designed NE-FD1 IC for fully automatic speed control via 4-pin fan headers and comes with a Low-Noise-Adaptor to reduce the maximum speed during PWM control from 1200 to 900rpm. Its superb running smoothness, SSO2 bearing and Noctua’s trusted premium quality make it an elite choice for quiet case cooling.

  button  Anti-Stall Knobs 
button  AAO Frame
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
Award-winning S12 design

Award-winning S12 design

The NF-S12A features the third evolution of Noctua's classic Straight Blade Design that has earned its S12 series countless recommendations from hardware journalists and enthusiasts around the world. Further optimised for even better airflow/noise efficiency, it makes the NF-S12A an ideal quiet case fan.
Anti-Stall Knobs

Anti-Stall Knobs

The NF-S12A's Anti-Stall Knobs reduce flow separation phenomena in medium to high impedance situations and thereby increase the fan's stall margin. This means that the NF-S12A is even more versatile than its renowned predecessor and can achieve better performance on heatsinks and radiators.
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.
Custom-designed PWM IC with SCD

Custom-designed PWM IC with SCD

Supporting fully automatic PWM speed control, the NF-S12A PWM 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 low speeds.
Low-Noise Adaptor

Low-Noise Adaptor

The NF-S12A PWM is supplied with a (L.N.A.) that reduces the maximum fan speed from 1200 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 fan to the same PWM fan header for automatic control.
SSO2 Bearing

SSO2 Bearing

The NF-S12A features 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-S12A sports a CNC milled bearing shell made entirely from brass.
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-S12A features an MTBF rating of more than 150.000 hours and comes with a full 6-year manufacturer's warranty.
NF-S12A PWM
FAN Specification
Size
120x120x25 mm
Mounting hole spacing
105x105 mm
Connector
4-Pin PWM
Bearing
Blade Geometry
S-Series with Anti-Stall Knobs
Rotational Speed (+/- 10%)
1200 RPM
Rotational Speed with L.N.A. (+/- 10%)
900 RPM
Min. Rotational Speed (PWM, +/-20%)
300 RPM
Acoustical Noise
17,8 dB(A)
Acoustical Noise with L.N.A.
10,7 dB(A)
Static Pressure
1,19 mm H₂O
Static Pressure with L.N.A.
0,73 mm H₂O
Max. Input Power
1,44 W
Max. Input Current
0,12 A
Voltage
12 V
MTBF
> 150.000 h
Scope of Delivery
  • Low-Noise Adaptor (L.N.A.)
  • 4-Pin Y-Cable
  • 30cm Extension Cable
  • 4 Vibration-Compensators
  • 4 Fan Screws
Warranty
6 years
NF-S12A PWM
NF-S12A
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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13.05.2016 // Building a Gaming PC
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NF-S12A PWM Review

Each of the fans was easy to install, and fits quite comfortably in the case, with no gaps between case and fan. With three fans installed in my test system and running a recently released game at maximum settings the fans maintained a slightly loud whisper, even under full load, but that’s partly down to the R9 390X I have installed, which can be noisy at full capacity.
Test verdict: "When you’re sat at your computer surfing the internet or working the fans barely register as being on. As I outlined at the start of this post, if you’re building a gaming PC, make sure to invest in two or three Noctua 120mm fans." (Chris Sealey, Building a Gaming PC)
16.07.2015 // Chimerarevo
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NF-S12A PWM Review

I materiali sono interamente plastici di ottima fattura, opache in ogni loro parte e con uno spessore delle plastiche davvero notevole che le rende solide e resistenti senza appesantirle molto, ad ogni angolo troviamo le coperture di gomma che attenuano le vibrazioni anche non in presenza dei gommini appositi, una chicca davvero utile se sono collegate a radiatori o similari. Le Noctua S12A possiedono delle pale con un profilo più aggressivo e angolatura accentuata assieme a delle protuberanze alle estremità di esse che fendono in modo diverso l’aria e migliorano il flusso ma soprattutto evitano lo stallo dell’aria e quindi un effetto controproducente a causa della turbolenza, inoltre la superficie interna particolare riduce ulteriormente la rumorosità dell’aria (AAO Technology).
Test verdict: "Le NF-S12A si sono confermate tra le ventole più silenziose ed efficienti del mercato, che viene proposta in diverse salse in base alle proprie esigenze: PWM per utilizzo con CPU, FLX per chi vuole la massima flessibilità per la velocità di rotazione, ed ULN per il minimo rumore ed un flusso d’aria leggero ma costante." (Simeone Renzo, Chimavero.com)
16.04.2015 // GameTechModding.com
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NF-S12A PWM Review

Noctua NF-S12A FLX: a 1200rpm è sorprendente l’assenza di alcuna vibrazione, merito tutto dell’ottima qualità costruttiva che permette un bilanciamento eccellente oltre che ai componenti studiati appositamente per tale scopo, ad esempio il cuscinetto idrodinamico ad olio denominato SSO2 Bearing. Il flusso d’aria è davvero elevato e a tale velocità è impensabile sperare che non produca rumore, anche se contenuto, presenta ancora frequenze alte (che sono le più udibili). Utilizzando il riduttore di potenza LNA NA-RC 10 la velocità massima della ventola scende a 960 rpm dove ancora si può percepire del rumore anche se molto poco e soprattutto a bassa frequenza. Con il riduttore ULNA NA-RC 12 la velocità massima scende ulteriormente a 700 rpm dove non si percepisce più alcun rumore nonostante sia ancora presente un flusso discreto d’aria. Noctua NF-S12A PWM: come per la versione FLX, la Noctua NF-S12A PWM raggiunge una velocità massima di 1200 rpm e con il riduttore di potenza LNA NA-RC 7 raggiunge una velocità massima di 960 rpm. Anche qui dunque valgono le stesse considerazioni appena scritte per il modello FLX. Per arrivare a non udire più alcun rumore occorre abbassare la velocità a 800 rpm. Noctua NF-S12A ULN: questa ventola si differenzia dalle altre due per il fatto che già senza alcun riduttore di potenza la velocità massima è di 810 rpm dove non produce alcun rumore ne vibrazione ne turbolenza. La Noctua ha ponderato molto bene il settaggio di questa ventola limitandola a una velocità in cui il flusso d’aria è soddisfacente e soddisfacente soprattutto per l’orecchio! Se poi aggiungiamo anche il riduttore LNA NA-RC 12 la velocità massima scende a 610 rpm, ma se già a 810 rpm non produceva rumore, non vedo la necessità di ridurre ancora di più la velocità.
Test verdict: "Le ventole Noctua NF-S12A risultano molto prestanti e silenziose." (Enrico Luperini, GameTechModding.com)
16.04.2015 // esPCializados.es
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NF-S12A PWM Review

En lo personal, me han gustado bastante y son unos productos que recomendaría sí o sí, a no ser que tengas el bolsillo un poco ajustado. Pero pensad en esto: la calidad tiene un precio, y en este caso se nota. Y son unos productos que nos aseguran muy buen rendimiento, grandes prestaciones y muy bunea calidad en los acabados. También quería hacer mención a que estaría bien que tuvieran una mejor cantidad de colores, pero esto algo sin importancia ya que muchos de ellos (por no decir todos) quedarán dentro de la torre y no se serán visibles. Eso sí, en cajas blancas y/o metalizadas, la combinación de colores le da un toque de elegancia y se nota que no estás ante un producto cualquiera. En mi caso, podéis comprobar que el color crema y marrón queda muy bien. Como puntuación final, a los 3 les pongo un 9,5/10.
Test verdict: "Noctua viene demostrando que sus productos están hechos con mucho mimo y cariño y tienen una calidad muy alta." (Pol Ribas, esPCializados.es)
11.04.2015 // MadeForGaming.com
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NF-S12A PWM Review

As you can see from the results, the Noctua fans truly raise the dilemma between good performances versus noise. Spotting the differences between 1200 and 600 RPM can be easily done without using any special equipment, yet although the FLX was quite loud, in comparison to other fans I’ve had before it’s less noticeable. This might be due to the added silicon anti-vibration pads that are easily placed. Noctua states that the S12A fans can last for more than 150,000 hours, and provides a six years warranty, three times more than what both Corsair and Cooler Master provide.
Test verdict: "The build quality is top notch and everything from the box to the performance shows that Noctua puts all their efforts in this product." (David Melloul, MadeForGaming.com)
23.02.2015 // techanthology.com
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NF-S12A PWM Review

Già a bassissimi regimi di rotazione le ventole della serie Noctua NF-S12A si difendono bene dai concorrenti, in particolare la NF-S12A PWM tiene testa alla soluzione Enermax ed affianca le Blademaster sia in idle che in full load. In poche situazioni quest’ ultima è stato in grado di offrire risultati superiori rispetto alle ventole Noctua.
Test verdict: "Dobbiamo essere sinceri, con Noctua abbiamo fatto davvero fatica a distinguere i diversi livelli di rumorosità già a 900rpm; pur disattivando qualsiasi sistema di dissipazione attiva all’ interno del case inclusa la ventola della PSU arrivati ad un certo punto il componente più rumoroso era la pompa integrata della nostra soluzione all-in-one." (Michele Sanfilippo, techanthology.com)
19.01.2015 // QWERTYmag.it
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NF-S12A PWM Review

Dopo aver fatto questi test ci riteniamo abbastanza soddisfatti soprattutto per quanto riguarda il rumore, che a distanza di 60cm dopo aver installato 3 ventole rimane comunque inudibile. Per le temperature non ci aspettavamo grossi miracoli ma qualche grado in meno nello stress test ci avrebbe fatto molto piacere. A livello bundle riteniamo che sia di prima qualità, troviamo infatti tutto quello che può servire, dagli adattatori alle prolunghe fino ad arrivare alle viti in gomma per un sistema ancora più silenzioso. Insomma queste scelte sono eccellenti in ogni loro aspetto, seppur la colorazione non sia apprezzata da molti, sono disponibili tutte e tre ad un prezzo di 19,90€ su Amazon. Quello che vi consigliamo è che qualora sceglieste di acquistarle, di fare bene i conti dei CFM in entrata e in uscita che avrete una volta installate.
Test verdict: "Noctua ha dimostrato ancora una volta di essere leader nel settore grazie alla qualità delle sue componenti che è possibile notare anche solo dall'accuratezza con cui è stata realizzata la scatola. Prestazioni eccellenti e rumore impercettibile sono le parole chiave di questo prodotto." (Davide Torno, QWERTYmag.it)
07.01.2015 // Basic-Tutorials.de
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NF-S12A PWM Review

Unter Kennern ist Noctua bekannt. Nicht nur wegen der markanten Gestaltung der Lüfter, sondern auch wegen der Technik die hinter den Lüftern steckt. Diese Generation der Noctua-Lüfter verbessert das SSO-Lagersystem. Mit SSO2 befindet sich der Magnet noch näher an der Lüfterachse, um mehr Stabilität zu gewährleisten. Zur verbesserten Stabilität und geringer Vibration tragen außerdem integrierte Vibrationspuffer und abgestufte Einlassbereiche bei. Noch wichtiger ist aber die Mikrosturktur im Innenbereich. So gewährleistet euch Noctua mit seinen Lüftern eine herausragende Laufruhe. Auch das Antriebsystem hat Noctua verbessert. So werden zum Beispiel Switching-Noises einfach eliminiert.
Test verdict: "Für alle, die ein bisschen auf Verarbeitung, Leistung und vorallem die Lautstärke ihrer Lüfter achten, bringt Noctua mit diesen drei Lüftern ein perfektes Trio. Je nach Bedarf, ob schnell, langsam oder extrem leise drehend, für jeden ist etwas dabei." (Lukas Heinrichs, Basic-Tutorials.de)
16.11.2014 // Hardwareslave.com
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NF-S12A PWM Review

These fans in their various set ups give very good air flow performance when used as an exhaust fan, but they give even better performance when used to quieten a chassis down. Despite their low noise credentials we found a flatter performance profile when it comes to cooling. Giving the chassis one exhaust fan and no intake fan gave each version the job of intake and exhaust, not an easy task.
Test verdict: "Using the three variants of the same fan it was clear that a system builder could manage airflow and noise with a high degree of accuracy. The level of design and thought in these fans is amazing, you will know it when you feel and open the box." (Jim McGhee, Hardwareslave.com)
03.09.2014 // ThePCEnthusiast.com
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NF-S12A PWM Review

Overall, the Noctua NF-S12A is great premium case fan. I know some of you don’t like its color, but I would not even suggest that you spray paint it either. Painting it would defeat its design’s purpose and might cause imbalance to the fan blades. Until now, I use the ULN for rear exhaust and the PWM and FLX for air intake. Aside from the ultra-silent operation, the Noctua NF-S12A is also back with 6 years warranty, making this fan worthy of the PC Enthusiast’s Editor’s Choice award.
Test verdict: "Noctua has done a really good job with the 120mm fans. They pay attention to every detail and the craftsmanship of their products. The Noctua NF-S12A premium case fan is a great replacement for stock case fan. They perform better (and may even look better) than stock fans, plus they are extremely quite during operation." (Peter Paul Carim, ThePCEnthusiast.com)

Installation Manual (PDF)

Information Sheet (PDF)

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

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).

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.

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