heading

The NF-A12x25 is a highly optimised next-generation 120mm fan that integrates Noctua’s latest innovations in aerodynamic engineering in order to achieve an unprecedented level of quiet cooling performance. It takes state-of-the-art technologies such as the AAO (Advanced Acoustic Optimisation) frame or Flow Acceleration Channels and combines them with a record tight tip clearance of only 0.5mm, which is made possible by using the novel Sterrox® liquid-crystal polymer (LCP) compound as well as a metal-reinforced motor hub and axis for ultimate precision. Following the approach of Noctua’s A-series, the NF-A12x25 is a true all-rounder that yields superb results in all types of usage, regardless of whether it’s in low-impedance, airflow-oriented applications such as case cooling, or high-impedance, pressure-demanding scenarios such as on heatsinks and watercooling radiators. The 3-pin FLX version provides 2000/1700/1350rpm speed settings via the supplied Low-Noise Adaptors so as to give full flexibility in configuring the fan for maximum cooling capacity or near-silent acoustics. Topped off with exceptional running smoothness, Noctua’s reference-class SSO2 bearing, a rich bundle of accessories and 6-year manufacturer’s warranty, the NF-A12x25 is a premium-quality product through and through. Its superior efficiency, cutting-edge construction and pioneering materials make it an elite choice for the most discerning demands.
NF-A12x25 further reading:
button Performance comparison to NF-F12 and NF-S12A
button Technical backgrounds and manufacturing challenges
button Interview with Lars Strömbäck (Noctua CTO)
button Which 120mm fan is right for me?
Details
Next-generation performance

Next-generation performance

Noctua’s 120mm fans such as the NF-F12 and NF-S12A are renowned as being among the best on the market and have received more than 400 awards and recommendations from the international press. With its further improved efficiency and novel, state-of-the-art engineering, the NF-A12x25 represents another step up in performance and manufacturing.
Highly optimised P/Q curve for all applications

Highly optimised P/Q curve for all applications

The NF-A12x25’s sophisticated aerodynamic design allows for a pressure to airflow (P/Q) curve that is extremely strong in the critical mid-section. This means that the NF-A12x25 is a true jack-of-all-trades with excellent performance in both static pressure demanding and airflow demanding applications.
Excellent on-application acoustics

Excellent on-application acoustics

While many fans produce unpleasant, high-pitched noises when installed in typical applications such as on heatsinks or radiators, the NF-A12x25 has been carefully fine-tuned for optimal on-application acoustics. It produces a smooth, pleasant frequency profile and surprisingly low sound pressure levels (SPL) when working against back pressure.
Flow Acceleration Channels

Flow Acceleration Channels

The NF-A12x25 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.
Ultra-tight tip clearance

Ultra-tight tip clearance

The NF-A12x25 has a record tight tip clearance (distance between the blade tips and the inside of the frame) of only 0.5mm. This highly ambitious design sets a new benchmark for 120mm fans and helps the NF-A12x25 to work more efficiently against back pressure, such as on heatsinks or radiators, by reducing leak flows through the gap between impeller and frame.
Metal-reinforced motor hub

Metal-reinforced motor hub

The centrepiece of the NF-A12x25’s motor hub is made entirely from steel and the axle mount is reinforced with an additional brass structure. In combination, both measures ensure ultimate precision and increased stability in the critical hub area.
Sterrox® liquid-crystal polymer compound

Sterrox® liquid-crystal polymer compound

The NF-A12x25’s impeller is made from Noctua’s novel Sterrox® liquid-crystal polymer (LCP) compound that features extreme tensile strength, an exceptionally low thermal expansion coefficient and damping characteristics that are ideal for reducing resonance and vibration phenomena in advanced fan-blade designs.
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.
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.
Anti-vibration gasket for watercooling radiators

Anti-vibration gasket for watercooling radiators

The NF-A12x25 includes a silicone gasket that can be used when installing the fan on watercooling radiators or other applications that benefit from a tighter seal with the fan. The gasket helps to damp minute vibrations and to reduce air loss between the fan and the radiator for optimal cooling performance.
SSO2 bearing

SSO2 bearing

The NF-A12x25 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-A12x25 sports a CNC milled bearing shell made entirely from brass.
3 speed settings for full flexibility

3 speed settings for full flexibility

Providing 2000, 1700 and 1350 rpm speed settings via the supplied Low-Noise and Ultra-Low-Noise Adapters, the NF-A12x25 FLX (Flexibility) can be fine-tuned for superior airflow or maximum quietness.
Smooth Commutation Drive 2

Smooth Commutation Drive 2

The latest version of Noctua's advanced Smooth Commutation Drive system ensures superb running smoothness by eliminating torque variations and switching noises. This makes the fan remarkably quiet even at very close distances.
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 the supplied 3:4 pin adaptor allows the connection of the fan directly to the power supply.
Optional adaptor for 140mm watercooling radiators

Optional adaptor for 140mm watercooling radiators

Thanks to its superior efficiency, the NF-A12x25 can outperform many 140mm fans. Combined with the optional NA-FMA1 adaptor frame that allows it to be installed on 140mm radiators, the NF-A12x25 is a great upgrade for 140mm-based watercoolers.
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-A12x25 features an MTTF of more than 150.000 hours rating and comes with a full 6-year manufacturer’s warranty.
NF-A12x25 FLX
General
FAN Specification
Size
120x120x25 mm
Mounting hole spacing
105x105 mm
Connector
3-pin
Bearing
Blade Geometry
Material
Rotational Speed (+/- 10%)
2000 RPM
Rotational Speed with L.N.A. (+/- 10%)
1700 RPM
Rotational Speed with U.L.N.A. (+/- 10%)
1350 RPM
Acoustical Noise
22,6 dB(A)
Acoustical Noise with L.N.A.
18,8 dB(A)
Acoustical Noise with U.L.N.A.
14,2 dB(A)
Static Pressure
2,34 mm H₂O
Static Pressure with L.N.A.
1,65 mm H₂O
Static Pressure with U.L.N.A.
1,05 mm H₂O
Max. Input Power
1,68 W
Max. Input Current
0,14 A
Voltage
12 V
MTTF
> 150.000 h
Scope of delivery
  • Low-Noise Adaptor (L.N.A.)
  • Ultra-Low-Noise Adaptor (U.L.N.A.)
  • 3:4-pin power supply adaptor
  • 30cm extension cable
  • NA-AV2 anti-vibration mounts
  • Anti-vibration gasket for water cooling radiators
  • Fan screws
Warranty
6 years
NF-A12x25 FLX
05.08.2018 // techPowerUp.com
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NF-A12x25 FLX Review

Well, Noctua took their sweet time with this and looks like it was all worth it in the end. [...] The NF-A12x25 is a fantastic fan for this purpose, and I am quite pleased to see a product that has had performance and noise as metrics for R&D over RGB lighting. Indeed, we see that the NF-A12x25 is among the very quietest of the fans tested so far (which includes some of the very best fans in the market) while performing in the better half of the segment. To provide more context, it is about as quiet as the Phanteks PH-F120MP (which I used to recommend to those prioritizing noise while still maintaining decent performance) while performing as well as the CORSAIR ML120 PRO RGB (which I used to recommend as an excellent performing fan). As it stands today, and pending the cost factor which we will get into in the next page, the Noctua NF-A12x25 is my overall top recommendation for watercooling fans from a performance/noise basis.
Test verdict: "The NF-A12x25 is a throwback from a company that revels in it, and the end results speak for themselves: it is a fantastic fan, and my top recommendation for PC watercooling enthusiasts looking for something that is tangibly better from a performance/noise basis." (Varun Shenoy Gangoli, techPowerUp.com)
02.07.2018 // Guru3D.com
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NF-A12x25 FLX Review

Make no mistake, all fans tested today are already in that 'good to a very good range, the NF-A12x25 FLX and PWM however exceptional. You know the tale by now, anything that is exceptional isn't cheap. The NF-A12x25 series fans cost 30 bucks a piece. Some will be shocked, others can see and understand where that money went. That is what it is, but I'll just leave things at a simple compliment to Noctua, well done you guys, well done. All these fans come recommended as they are sweet in their class. And while it feels weird to hand out awards to some fans, the new NF-A12x25 fans, and especially the FLX and PWM, will get our very hard to earn best hardware award, these are just very impressive. And remember, Noctua gives you a 6-year warranty on both series as well.
Test verdict: "I knew the new NF-A12x25 series fans would be impressive, I did not expect them to be this good." (Hilbert Hagedoorn, Guru3D.com)
17.05.2018 // Vortez.net
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NF-A12x25 FLX Review

Four and a half years of investment into research and development, for any product, would almost certainly yield impressive results, but when all of that effort is focussed onto one fan, available in one colour and one size, the results are amazing. Our testing showed this fan blows everything else out of the water, including the Corsair ML-120, a fan known for its excellent performance. The construction of the fan is “no compromise” in every single way, going to unbelievable lengths to ensure optimal performance and minimal noise in the process. The fan is easily the heaviest we’ve encountered, tipping the scales at a mighty 201g. A Corsair ML Series 120mm fan, for example, weighs 148g. Noctua believe in their product so much, they tag it with a 6-year warranty; not shabby at all! To round up, if you’re after the best performance or silent operation, this is the only fan we can recommend, full stop. Yeah, it’s pricey at £26, but that is absolutely warranted in our opinion.
Test verdict: "Noctua’s design team have definitely earned their bonus this year; the NF-A12x25 is incredible in every way" (Matthew Hodgson, Vortez.net)
29.08.2018 // Le Comptoir du Hardware
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NF-A12x25 FLX Review

Les nouveaux produits que propose la marque autrichienne profitent de tout son savoir-faire, aussi bien qualitatif que technique. Des technologies maison déjà éprouvées, au tout nouveau polymère mis au point pour l'occasion, rien n'est laissé au hasard pour faire de ces ventilateurs des "Must have" si l'on recherche l'efficacité. Le ratio performances / nuisances sonores est tout simplement excellent comme nous avons pu le voir. En ce qui concerne la fabrication, les modèles ne souffrent d'aucun défaut. Ils profitent d'une qualité d'assemblage haut de gamme comme nous le propose souvent Noctua. On remarquera juste que la couleur des pâles est plus claire qu'à l'habitude et surtout moins uniforme. Ce n'est pas une négligence, loin de là, mais juste un effet dû à la particularité du matériau utilisé. Vous êtes prévenus. En ce qui concerne le prix de vente, nous l'avons déjà annoncé en début de dossier. Comptez 30€ environ pour l'achat d'un NF-A12x25, quelle que soit la version que vous choisirez. Nous apprécions totalement le travail réalisé par Noctua pour la conception de son nouveau ventilateur, c'est pourquoi il est difficile pour nous de ne pas vous le conseiller. Les versions PWM et FLX conviendront sans problème sur radiateur ou ventirad, tandis que nous réserverons la version ULN à un usage "boîtier".
Test verdict: "Une fois encore nous saluons l'efficacité des produits Noctua. Les NF-A12x25 seront des rivaux redoutables sur le plan des performances" (Thierry Comtesse, Le Comptoir du Hardware)
12.07.2018 // Hardwareluxx.de
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NF-A12x25 FLX Review

Subjektiv empfinden wir die Akustik des Lüfters als sehr angenehm. Im Alltagsbetrieb mit automatischer Steuerung wird man von dem Lüfter ohnehin kaum einmal etwas zu hören bekommen. Dabei fällt die offizielle Minimaldrehzahl mit 450 U/min (+/-20 Prozent) noch nicht einmal besonders niedrig aus. Zumindest unser Exemplar konnten wir aber auch auf bis zu 330 U/min herunterregeln. Im Silentbetrieb sind uns auch keinerlei störender Lagergeräusche aufgefallen, und zwar weder bei horizontaler noch bei vertikaler Nutzung.
Test verdict: "Es spricht aber auch für die NF-A12x25-Lüfter, wenn man praktisch nur aus optischen Gründen über Alternativen nachdenkt. Wer einen möglichst vielseitigen Premiumlüfter sucht, hat ansonsten eigentlich keinen Grund, sich nicht für Noctuas NF-A12x25 zu entscheiden. Damit hat sich der innovative Allrounder auch unseren Excellent-Hardware-Award verdient." (Philipp Moosdorf, Hardwareluxx.de)
15.06.2018 // BenchmarkReviews.com
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NF-A12x25 FLX Review

Performance is outstanding. There isn’t much else to say about this. The group of fans I had at my disposal for testing is relatively small, but the Noctua NF-A 12X25 PWM beat them all handily.
Test verdict: "I can’t say enough good things about the Noctua NF-A 12X25 PWM fans. They are solid, quiet, and beat the other fans performance in this article easily. If you want some of the best fans money can buy, Noctua is a great option." (Jason Maxfield, BenchmarkReviews.com)
12.06.2018 // PC Ekspert
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NF-A12x25 FLX Review

NF-A12x25 ventilatori donose neke nove tehnologije i materijale, a uz odlične radne karakteristike i zadovoljavajuće nisku radnu buku. Ovo je svakako najtiši ventilator na 2.000 okretaja koji smo čuli, a uz vrlo respektabilne brojke propusnosti i statičkog pritiska. Kao i uvijek, potrudili su se izbaciti nekoliko modela kako bi svatko pronašao opciju za sebe, a sve dolaze po istoj cijeni. Cijena kod Noctue nikada nije bila niska, a to je pogotovo tako kod premium proizvoda, pa A12x25 ventilatori koštaju preporučenih 29.99 €. Ako ih poželite ugraditi na 140-milimetarska mjesta, SFMA1 adapter s dva okvira će vas koštati 11.90 €. Za one koji ne žele izdvojiti za nove ventilatore, razveselit će činjenica kako se dobri stari P12 modeli u Redux seriji prodaju po prihvatljivih 13.90 € bez obzira na izvedbu.
Test verdict: "Neupitno je kako je Noctua oduvijek bila sinonim za kvalitetu, inovativnost i pouzdanost, a to i dalje potvrđuju novim serijama proizvoda koje izbacuju." (Krešimir Matanović, PC Ekspert)
08.06.2018 // WhatNext.pl
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NF-A12x25 FLX Review

Wszystkie pokazane dzisiaj konstrukcje są godne polecenia. Wersja Redux jest głośna, ale także dosyć wydajna. Brakuje jej jednak dodatków czy nakładek na boki – trzeba wtedy dokupić nakładki Chromax. Nowe śmigła NF-A12x25 fascynują jakością wykonania oraz kulturą pracy. Sprawdzą się one świetnie w obudowie, jak i na chłodnicy. Na podobnym poziomie głośności są wydajniejsze od konkurencji, więc wynik jest znakomity. Wszystkie przedstawione dzisiaj produkty polecam, bo naprawdę warto się nimi zainteresować.
Test verdict: "Wszystkie przedstawione dzisiaj produkty polecam, bo naprawdę warto się nimi zainteresować." (Michał Andruszkiewicz, WhatNext.pl)
04.06.2018 // modding.fr
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NF-A12x25 FLX Review

Certes le gain n’est pas des plus exceptionnels mais quand on possède un ventilateur déjà performant (NF-F12 PWM), le petit degrés de gagné est une victoire en soi. Cela permet aussi d’obtenir un ventilateur extrêmement fiable sur la durée à défaut d’être « beau » mais ce dernier argument est totalement subjectif…. Mais quand même cette partie métallique qui se pointe au milieu des pales… La garantie est toujours portée à 6 ans ce qui reste supérieur aux autres constructeurs. Le bundle est toujours aussi conséquent avec deux types de fixations et surtout plusieurs type de câbles. Noctua rajoute un accessoire dédié à la mise en place sur radiateur avec son joint d’étanchéité spécifique.
Test verdict: "Toutes ces améliorations permettent au NF-A12x25 d’allier la performance avec la discrétion." (Bertrand Curras, modding.fr)
03.06.2018 // EnosTech.com
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NF-A12x25 FLX Review

Our graphs are showing the good improvement in the thermal performance when tested on the Alphacool Eisbaer 360 CLC and Noctua NH-U12S. Their airflow and speed ratings have been validated. These fans are a MUST HAVE, if you are looking for a complete solution be it fans required for chassis airflow or for high impedance. Noctua has managed to bring the further improvement in thermal performance yet at the same sound level that their previous generation fans were offering. Their design team has done their job with perfection and they definitely deserve a big round of applause. With the new generation of fans, Noctua has once again established that they mean business when it comes to silent operations without compromising the performance and no doubt they are leading in the category of noise-to-performance ratio.
Test verdict: "These fans are now on my top recommended list. Noctua, you did it, again!" (Nauman Siddique, EnosTech.com)

NA-SFMA1

  • Allows the installation of Noctua NF-A12x25 120mm fans on watercooling radiators that are designed for 140mm fans
  • Improves the performance of all-in-one (AIO) or custom (DIY) 140mm-based watercooling systems through the superior efficiency of the NF-A12x25 fan!
NF-A12x25 FLX

NA-SAC5

  • S-ATA to 4-pin power adaptor cable for fans
NF-A12x25 FLX

NA-SAV4

  • 16 NA-AV4 silicone anti-vibration mounts for up to 4 fans
  • Flat case-side end for clean exterior look
  • 5 defined, numbered pawls
  • Compatible with all Noctua fans
NF-A12x25 FLX

NA-SYC2

  • 3-Pin Y-Cables
NF-A12x25 FLX

NA-SEC2

  • 3-Pin Extension Cables
NF-A12x25 FLX

Installation Manual (PDF)

Information Sheet (PDF)

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.

How much torque should be used for fan screws?

Please use 0.6Nm to tighten fan screws. Make sure not to overtighten the screws as this may damage the fan frame.

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

Noctua fans such as the 40, 60, 80, 92 or 120mm 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 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.

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.

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 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

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.

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

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).

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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