heading

Having received more than 100 awards and recommendations from international hardware websites and magazines, the NF-A15 is one of Noctua’s most renowned and popular 140mm fans. Its 150mm wide round frame with 120mm standard mounting holes (105mm hole spacing) makes it ideal for use on CPU coolers such as the popular NH-D15, NH-D15S or NH-U14S. The chromax.black.swap edition combines the NF-A15’s signature quiet cooling performance with an attractive all-black design and a bundle of swappable red, white, blue, green, yellow and black anti-vibration pads that allow the colour-customisation of the fan to match individual build colour schemes. For further customisation, a wide range of accessories such as coloured cables and anti-vibration mounts are available separately. Topped off with Noctua’s trusted premium grade SSO2 bearing, more than 150,000 hours MTTF and 6-year manufacturer’s warranty, the NF-A15 HS-PWM chromax.black.swap is the perfect choice for all users who value individual, focused build aesthetics just as much as class-leading quality and performance.
Details
Award-winning NF-A15 design

Award-winning NF-A15 design

Having received more than 100 awards and recommendations from the international press, Noctua's NF-A15 has become a proven premium choice for 140mm cooling needs. Its renowned efficiency has convinced tens of thousands of customers all over the world.
chromax.black.swap edition

chromax.black.swap edition

Maximising colour choices, Noctua’s chromax.black.swap edition fans can be colour-customised using the included swappable anti-vibration pads as well as optional anti-vibration mounts and cables. This makes them ideal for enthusiasts looking for true premium-grade fans that can be colour-coordinated with popular build themes such as all black, black & white or black & red.
Swappable anti-vibration pads in 6 colours

Swappable anti-vibration pads in 6 colours

The NF-A15 HS-PWM chromax.black.swap comes with 8 black, white, red, blue, green and yellow anti-vibration pads respectively, which allows the fan to be fully colour-customised in order to coordinate it with other components or popular build schemes.
Optional coloured cables

Optional coloured cables

Noctua’s chromax line fans use a modular cabling system and come pre-fitted with a fully sleeved black NA-EC1 30cm cable. For refined colour coordination, white, red, blue, green and yellow 30cm NA-EC1 cables plus corresponding NA-YC1 y-cables are available separately.
Optional coloured anti-vibration mounts

Optional coloured anti-vibration mounts

To complement the coloured anti-vibration pads included with the fans, users can purchase chromax line NA-SAV2 anti-vibration mounts that enable the convenient, quick and vibration-free installation of fans in standard mounting holes for case fans.
Round 140mm frame with 150mm width

Round 140mm frame with 150mm width

The NF-A15 is tailor-made for use on today's high-end CPU coolers: While its 150mm width matches those of most high-end heatsinks, its 140mm height doesn't make it extend on top and thus ensures best case compatibility. The NF-A15's standard 120mm mounting holes (105mm spacing) also make it an ideal performance upgrade for 120mm case or CPU fans.
Flow Acceleration Channels

Flow Acceleration Channels

The NF-A15 impeller features suction side Flow Acceleration Channels. By speeding up the airflow at the crucial outer blade regions, this measure reduces suction side flow separation and thus leads to better efficiency and lower vortex noise.
AAO frame

AAO frame

Noctua's AAO (Advanced Acoustic Optimisation) frames feature integrated anti-vibration pads as well as Noctua's proprietary Stepped Inlet Design and Inner Surface Microstructures, both of which further refine the fan's performance/noise efficiency.
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.
SSO2 bearing

SSO2 bearing

The chromax line fans 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 chromax edition fans sport 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 chromax edition fans use 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.
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 chromax edition models feature an MTBF of more than 150,000 hours rating and come with a full 6-year manufacturer's warranty.
NF-A15 HS-PWM chromax.black.swap
FAN Specification
Size
140x150x25 mm
Mounting hole spacing
105x105 mm
Connector
4-pin PWM
Bearing
Blade Geometry
Rotational Speed (+/- 10%)
1500 RPM
Min. Rotational Speed (PWM, +/-20%)
300 RPM
Acoustical Noise
24,6 dB(A)
Static Pressure
2,08 mm H₂O
Max. Input Power
1,56 W
Max. Input Current
0,13 A
Voltage
12 V
MTTF
> 150.000 h
Scope of delivery
  • 8x NA-AVP3 chromax.black anti-vibration pads
  • 8x NA-AVP3 chromax.blue anti-vibration pads
  • 8x NA-AVP3 chromax.green anti-vibration pads
  • 8x NA-AVP3 chromax.red anti-vibration pads
  • 8x NA-AVP3 chromax.white anti-vibration pads
  • 8x NA-AVP3 chromax.yellow anti-vibration pads
  • 4x fan screws
Warranty
6 years
NF-A15 HS-PWM chromax.black.swap
A-Series fans
chromax by Noctua
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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24.11.2017 // mod-your-case.de
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NF-A15 HS-PWM chromax.black.swap Review

Mit dem NF-A15 HS-PWM chromax.black.swap hat Noctua eine überarbeitete Version des NF-A15 PWM in sein Sortiment aufgenommen, welche sich nicht nur von der optischen Seite her von dem ursprünglichen NF-A15 PWM unterscheidet, sondern auch von der gebotenen Leistung her. Durch die schwarze Farbgebung in Kombination mit den farbigen Entkopplern kann der neue NF-A15 HS-PWM chromax.black.swap deutlich besser in einen Casemod integriert werden, als es noch bei dem ursprünglichen NF-A15 PWM der Fall war, welcher in den von Noctua bekannten Erdtönen gehalten ist. Durch die etwas höhere Drehzahl, welche der NF-A15 HS-PWM chromax.black.swap erreicht, konnte der Lüfter in unserem Test zudem eine bessere Leistung erreichen, als das ursprüngliche Modell.
Test verdict: "Durch die Möglichkeit den Lüfter mit verschiedenfarbigen Entkopplern ausstatten zu können, kann er ganz einfach an die eigenen Bedürfnisse bzw. die Farbgebung des eigenen Casemods angepasst werden." (Patrick Seus, mod-your-case.de)
21.11.2017 // Rendszerigény.hu
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NF-A15 HS-PWM chromax.black.swap Review

A Noctua tipikusan az a gyártó, aki nem úszik az árral, ha a szükség úgy hozza. A folyadékhűtéses megoldások megjelenésével nem próbálta felvenni a harcot a konkurens gyártókkal, hanem inkább a meglévő léghűtéses processzorhűtőit tökéletesítette annak érdekében, hogy a vásárlók igényeit maximálisan kielégítsék. A komplett processzorhűtők mellett a ventilátorok terén is sokak számára bosszankodásra adott okot, hogy a kezdetek óta barna színösszeállítást használja a gyártó. A Noctua aztán engedett a gyeplőn és piacra dobta Redux sorozatát, valamint az industrialPPC sorozatét, mely színben eltért a megszokottól.
Test verdict: "Ezen is tovább lépve aztán létrejött a chromax elnevezés, mely olyan termékeket gyűjt össze melyekkel más színbe öltözhetnek a processzorhűtők, ventilátorok és egyéb kiegészítők." (Kocsis Bence, Rendszerigény.hu)
18.11.2017 // HardwareField.com
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NF-A15 HS-PWM chromax.black.swap Review

منذ فترة بسيطة قدمت مراجعة لمشتتات Noctua الهوائية الشهيرة و كان لى تعليق بسيط ان منذ عام 2007 اى عشرة سنوات لم تقم Noctua بأى تغيير يشمل الشككل او اللون على مشتتاتها الهوائية فهى بنفس الالوان البنى و البيج . و قد كان الرد سريع من Noctua ان لديها لمسة جمالية و لا اروع مع الاحتفاظ بنفس قورة الاداء
Test verdict: "فقد اطلقت Noctua مجموعة كبيرة من الاكسسوارات التى يمكن ان تغير شكل المشتتات الهوائية الخاصة بها و تعطيها اللمسة الجمالية و هذه الاكسسوارات قد اتت تحت اسم Chromax و التى تتيح للمستخدم تغيير شكل و الوان المشتت الخاص به و البداية كانت تخص كلا المشتتان NH-D15 و NH-U12S من خلال عدة اغطية تغطى جسم المشتت بالكامل بعدة الوان و ايضا المراوح السوداء اللون و التى يأتى معها القطع المطاطية المضادة للصدمات و بعدة الوان و كابلات تطويل كابل توصيل المراوح و ايضا كابل لتشغيل مراوح مزدوجة على رأس واحد و سوف نقدم لكم هذه المنتجات تفصيليا فى هذا الموضوع." (Ahmed Mohamed Elsayed, HardwareField.com)
14.11.2017 // HWready.it
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NF-A15 HS-PWM chromax.black.swap Review

Gli sdoppiatori e le prolunghe sono qualitativamente ottimi e utili da usare sia con le ventole di questa serie sia in qualsiasi altro PC. Le ventole della serie Chromax vantano la qualità che contraddistingue Noctua ma molto attente al design, con colorazione nera e la presenza dei pad colorati a spezzare e adattarle a qualsiasi build. Per ultimi le bellissime armature per i dissipatori! Grazie ad esse la personalizzazione della propria configurazione fa un grande balzo in avanti, permettendo inoltre con alcuni modelli di poter cambiare in corso d’opera la colorazione. Insomma un altro ottimo lavoro del produttore austriaco.
Test verdict: "La serie Chromax di Noctua è una vera e propria ventata di aria fresca da parte del produttore austriaco. Siamo abituati a considerare i loro prodotti qualitativamente superiori ma con design non proprio in corso coi tempi, da adesso quando parleremo di Noctua potremmo pensare anche ad un design “bello” e capace di adattarsi ai canoni estetici oramai richiesti dal mercato." (Mauro Santoro, HWready.it)
13.11.2017 // EnosTech.com
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NF-A15 HS-PWM chromax.black.swap Review

This level of customization is definitely expensive but it is worth it. Particularly for those who want to stick with the air cooler or even would want to use Chromax line of the fans and cables on the radiators for color customization. When it comes to the air coolers, the debate is on. Form over function or vice-versa. With the recent trends in the market there is a new definition which is Form with Function and this is where the Noctua has turned the table around for their coolers with their new Chromax add-ons which have allowed the users to color customize their fans, color customize their heatsinks to the extent that even the fan extension cables and the y-splitter cables are available in 6 colors for this level of the customization. The quality is top notch and why would it not be. After all, they are coming from the Noctua.
Test verdict: "With this level of the color customization, Noctua has turned their coolers and the fans all around and do we not love it, already! There is no surprise that the Noctua Chromax lineup has won our Must Have award." (Nauman Siddique, EnosTech.com)
11.11.2017 // Overclock3D.net
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NF-A15 HS-PWM chromax.black.swap Review

Well, it's been a long time coming, but Noctua have finally realised that not everybody loves the plain aluminium aesthetic of their heat sinks, and the diarrhea brown coupled with prosthetic limb beige of their standard fans. yes it's taken a while, but my God have they hit the ball out of the park with the Chromax Range. You can now get black, white and colour swap Black heat sink covers for the top end Noctua Heat sinks, as well as their leading fans in black with a choice of colour coordinating anti vibration pads. Not only that, but you can top off the whole buiild with a choice of six colours for fan splitter and fan extension cables. We're not expecting the products in the range to be dirt cheap, but what we have learned is that with Noctua, you get the quality you pay for, so yeah, the fans may cost a few quid more than your average fan, but it is, after all, a Noctua fan.
Test verdict: "Thanks Noctua, Thanks a bunch!" (Gary Wain, Overclock3D.net)
07.11.2017 // TechUniverse.it
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NF-A15 HS-PWM chromax.black.swap Review

Comprare questo dissipatore per poi comprare una delle cover sopra citate e per poi comprare una ventola da sostituire, possiamo arrivare ad un prezzo piuttosto esoso. L’unico consiglio che posso darvi, se proprio volete cambiare le ventole di questo dissipatore, è di acquistare una sola ventola Noctua NF-A15 HS-PWM chromax.black.swap. Il dissipatore Noctua NH-D15 ha originariamente due ventole, ma anche se ne acquistate una sola da collocare al centro del dissipatore, in realtà le temperature massime saranno solo di 2 o 3 gradi in più ma rispermierete il costo di una seconda ventola. Se volete acquistare questo dissipatore nuovo, sappiate che uno tra i più potenti prodotti di raffreddamento ad aria per processori Intel e AMD. Poi, se vorrete cambiare la sua estetica con l’acquisto di una cover chromax e con l’acquisto di una ventola chromax da 140mm, la scelta è solo vostra.
Test verdict: "Cover e ventola per dissipatore Noctua NH-D15 della nuova serie chromax per aggiungere più colore a questo pluri-premiato dissipatore." (TechUniverse.it)
03.11.2017 // RealHardTechX.com
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NF-A15 HS-PWM chromax.black.swap Review

Noctua pone en manos de los usuarios un producto total, que integra la tecnología más puntera dentro del mejor high-end informático, que proporciona un excelente ratio rendimiento / sonoridad, una espectacular y estricta calidad de construcción y una increible imagen, flexible hasta el extremo, que convierte la personalización en el sueño del más enfermo de los entusiastas. Soberbio ventilador a un precio muy contenido teniendo en cuanta la gama TOP a la que pertenece. Un "must have".
Test verdict: "Distinguimos al ventilador Noctua NF-A15 HS-PWM Chromax.black.swap con nuestro premio RealHardTechX Gold Award y recomendamos su compra a todos nuestros lectores." (José Romero, RealHardTechX.com)
02.11.2017 // Unboxing Treatment
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NF-A15 HS-PWM chromax.black.swap Review

In short, Noctua Chromax.black.swap fans are the standard fans painted in black with the inclusion of the colored anti-vibration pads. This means the Chromax fans are capable of providing the legendary cooling performance from the standard edition fans.
Test verdict: "The black fan frame combined with the anti-vibration pads in six colors give users a subtle but customizable computer component to match their overall PC builds' color schemes. You no longer need to sacrifice either your PC's performance, or its aesthetic with the new Chromax fans." (Chan Long Yin, Unboxing Treatment)
31.10.2017 // XtremeSystems.org
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NF-A15 HS-PWM chromax.black.swap Review

COLORS!!! That’s right. NOCTUA is finally giving consumers a broad range of colors to customize their fans beyond brown or beige (I suppose there were those grey colors too). Personally, all it took for me to fall in love with a NOCTUA fan was to see how it performed in person, but I totally understand people who don’t go in on one of them because of the color scheme. Now there are Chromax accessories that allow the user to customize each fan to have a splash of color that matches a build better, while still having the professional look that comes from having a NOCTUA fan over a flashy LED fan. For the modding crowd, I think Chromax is where the bread and butter lies with these recent releases from Noctua. Now, finally, the entire enthusiast PC community can quit griping about Noctuas only coming in brown! You can get the best fans out there in customizable color schemes. The Chromax accessories bring a flash of color to your builds. A-series fans can truly be well-dressed, and spice up your rig. And because they are made of the same soft foam as the brown originals, they do just as well at cutting down vibrations.
Test verdict: "One of my favorite things about Noctua is how quiet its fans are without sacrificing thermal performance. Noctua pushes the boundaries of continually making improvements in all aspects of its products, and the latest from Noctua doesn't disappoint. These fans are truly knock-outs and the Chromax accessories add an awesome level of customization that Noctua fans have always lacked." (Ambrosidou Nat, XtremeSystems.org)

Information Sheet (PDF)

Can use the NF-A15 fan on my Noctua CPU cooler?

The NF-A15 is fully compatible with the NH-U12P, NH-C12P and NH-C12P SE14. On the NH-D14 and NH-C14, the NF-A15 fan can only be installed using optional fan clips. For this, please contact our customer service.

Does the NF-A15 PWM that comes with Noctua coolers run at a different speed (1500rpm) than the retail model (1200rpm)?

Yes, the NF-A15 PWM bundled with our heatsinks is specified to run at 1500rpm (see cooler specifications for details) and the retail model is specified to run at 1200rpm (see fan specifications for details). The 1200rpm retail model is ideal for setting up push/pull configurations in combination with the coolers’ 1500rpm stock fan because the combination of the 1500 and 1200rpm models provides a better balance of performance and noise than the combination of two 1500rpm versions. On dual-tower coolers such as the NH-D15S, we recommend to run the 1500rpm version in the center and the 1200rpm version on the front. On single-tower coolers such as the NH-U14S, we recommend to run the 1500rpm version on the front and the 1200rpm version on the back of the cooler. The NA-YC1 y-cable supplied with the retail fan can be used in order to control both fans via one PWM fan header. In this case, both fans will scale individually according to the PWM duty cycle supplied by the motherboard, e.g. they will run at ~1500/1200 respectively at 100% duty cycle, ~750/600rpm at 50% duty cycle, etc. Both at 100% and lower speeds, the speed difference between the fans reduces resonance phenomena and thus helps to achieve the best balance of performance and noise.

I get a CPU fan error despite the fan is running!

Some mainboards display a CPU fan error when the fan speed falls below a certain threshold, e.g. 900rpm. If you want to run the fan below this speed (e.g. using the supplied U.L.N.A.), please adjust the threshold in the BIOS or disable CPU fan error warning.

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.

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.

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 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).

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.

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

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).

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.

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.

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 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 switches, routers or other network devices?

Noctua fans such as the 40, 60, 80 or 92mm NF-A series models are ideal for replacing noisy stock fans in switches, routers and other network devices in order to make them quieter and thousands of users have managed to significantly reduce the noise levels of their 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 network device before purchasing a Noctua fan for this purpose. Some of the common issues that can occur when replacing pre-installed fans are:

  • Different pin assignment: Whereas Noctua fans use the standardised pin assignment for PC fans (see this FAQ for details), some network devices use different assignments. For example, some devices have the power and GND or rpm and PWM pins swapped. Therefore please carefully verify that your 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 network devices 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 device uses the same pin functions.
  • Firmware speed control: Some network 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 network 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 device to display errors or even shut down because it suspects a fan failure.
  • Different power draw: Some network 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 network device 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. 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 fans 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 pre-installed fans in network devices. Please note that since there are so many different devices 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 pre-installed fans. Please contact your network device manufacturer for any questions regarding aspects such as the device’s pin alignment or fan monitoring and control.

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