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Having received more than 100 awards and recommendations from international hardware websites and magazines, the NF-S12A is one of Noctua’s most renowned and popular 120mm fans. Its outstanding airflow efficiency and superb acoustics make it ideal for case cooling and other low-impedance applications. The chromax.black.swap edition combines the NF-S12A’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, additional anti-vibration pads 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-S12A 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-S12A design

Award-winning NF-S12A design

Having received more than 100 awards and recommendations from the international press, Noctua's NF-S12A has become a proven premium choice for 120mm 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-S12A PWM chromax.black.swap comes with 4 black, white, red, blue, green and yellow NA-AVP1 anti-vibration pads respectively. By combining the various colours with black or leaving off the pads on one side, the fan can be coordinated with most popular build colour schemes out of the box. Additional NA-SAVP1 sets for outfitting both sides in one colour can be purchased separately.
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.
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.
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-S12A PWM chromax.black.swap
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
Min. Rotational Speed (PWM, +/-20%)
300 RPM
Acoustical Noise
17,8 dB(A)
Static Pressure
1,19 mm H₂O
Max. Input Power
1,44 W
Max. Input Current
0,12 A
Voltage
12 V
MTTF
> 150.000 h
Scope of delivery
  • 4x NA-AVP1 chromax.black anti-vibration pads
  • 4x NA-AVP1 chromax.blue anti-vibration pads
  • 4x NA-AVP1 chromax.green anti-vibration pads
  • 4x NA-AVP1 chromax.red anti-vibration pads
  • 4x NA-AVP1 chromax.white anti-vibration pads
  • 4x NA-AVP1 chromax.yellow anti-vibration pads
  • 4x fan screws
Warranty
6 years
NF-S12A PWM chromax.black.swap
29.01.2018 // eTeknix.com
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NF-S12A PWM chromax.black.swap Review

We’re huge fans of Noctua here at eTeknix, and more accurately, we’re fans of their fans. Since reviewing their now legendary NH-D15S cooler a couple of years ago, we use them on all our test benches. Right so too, they’re as cool as almost any AIO cooler and as quiet as a mouse. However, as many fans and coolers of theirs that we use, we often get readers poking fun at us for using brown fans. I say shut your face, I love the look of them, a lot of people do. However, there are just as many out there that think they look… well, brown I guess; they’re not wrong. Noctua has always been performance first and that’s fantastic. Aesthetics are easy, and I bet Noctua is the last in the world to touch RGB. If anything, they’ll do RGB when everyone else stops doing it. However, after all these years they’ve come up with a way to provide customisation and colour to their products, without impacting the core design of their products, or their performance. Of course, I’m talking about their new Chromax range.
Test verdict: "[T]rying to build an all black, or white, or red gaming PC with Noctua wasn’t easy. Now with the Chromax range, you can keep the same high-end performance you know and love, and dress it up to match your other hardware." (Peter Donnell, eTeknix.com)
06.12.2017 // modding.fr
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NF-S12A PWM chromax.black.swap Review

Noctua étoffe largement sa gamme Chromax et ce n’est pas pour nous déplaire que cette dernière intègre maintenant quelques ventilateurs. Certes les ventilateurs Noctua ont une sacré réputation associant des performances à un niveau sonore relativement bas mais surtout à une très bonne fiabilité. Mais la ou plutôt le duo de couleurs d’origine se révèle être un frein pour des potentiels acheteurs… La gamme Industrial PPC propose d’ors et déjà des ventilateurs arborant une tenue noire, même si les silentblocs restent de couleur marron … Mais c’est surtout leur vitesse de rotation élevée qui engendre un niveau sonore conséquent (même si nous pouvons toujours adapter leur vitesse de par une gestion PWM). Aujourd’hui nous disposons d’un panel de 4 ventilateurs issus de la gamme « classique » des ventilateurs Noctua. [...] La gamme Chromax a débuté avec des silentblocs colorés ainsi que des attaches souples du même ordre. Avec ses nouveaux ventilateurs, Noctua équipe ces derniers d’un lot de silentblocs proposant ainsi chacune des couleurs (Noir, Blanc, Bleu, Rouge, Vert et Jaune). Cependant, mis à part le NF-A15 HS PWM, nous n’avons qu’un jeu de 4 silentblocs de chaque couleur ne permettant d’équiper qu’une seule face du ventilateur. Alors, avons nous besoin d’équiper les 8 coins du ventilateur avec la même couleur? Ou pouvons nous simplement mettre les noirs du coté radiateur et laisser la couleur sur la face opposée? La question reste dans le domaine esthétique et donc totalement subjective… Il reste que Noctua propose toujours à la vente séparée les kits NA-SAVP1 contenant 16 silentblocs de même couleur. On apprécie le système de câblage modulaire présent sur cette nouvelle gamme de ventilateurs. Cela permet de troquer l’extension de couleur noire incluse dans le bundle par une extension (NA-SEC1) adoptant la couleur des silentblocs que l’on a choisi de mettre en place. Voire de mettre directement en place l’adaptateur en Y que propose les kits NA-SYC1, utile dans le cas d’un ventirad comportant deux ventilateurs. La cerise sur le gâteau du geek est que la gamme Chromax propose aussi d’habiller deux des nombreux ventirads Noctua : NH-U12S et NH-D15 et les versions qui se déclinent de ses produits. Car il est un « défaut » esthétique qu’ont tous en commun ces ventirads, c’est l’extrémité des caloducs qui émergent de la dernière ailette… Avec le carénage que propose Chromax, on habille littéralement le radiateur d’une robe noire ou blanche avec ou sans petites touches de couleur. On peut même laisser libre cours à notre imagination pour remettre une seconde couche de peinture sur la base poudrée dont est revêtue la structure en aluminium, histoire de pousser encore plus loin la personnalisation !!! Amis artistes, à vos pinceaux… On rajoute que le montage est simple tout en étant efficace donc que du bon.
Test verdict: "Après quelques « hésitations » en nous présentant sa gamme Redux ou Industrial, Noctua élargit sa gamme Chromax à quelques uns de ses ventilateurs en les habillant d’une robe entièrement noire ! Mais on ne s’arrête pas là car cette gamme Chromax touche aussi des câbles ainsi que certains ventirad…." (Bertrand Curras, modding.fr)
11.11.2017 // Overclock3D.net
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NF-S12A 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)
22.02.2018 // PureOverclock.com
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NF-S12A PWM chromax.black.swap Review

Noctua always has unprecedented quality and performance, and their design has adapted to reach a wider range of builders. If you're willing to pay for it, the fans will make an excellent addition to your system.
Test verdict: "Solid Build Quality, Excellent Noise/Airflow Ratio, Great Professional Aesthetic" (Brendan van Varik, PureOverclock.com)
05.02.2018 // PC-Max.de
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NF-S12A PWM chromax.black.swap Review

Noctua und das Beige-Braun - für Modder und Show-Builds die Pest, wenn man sich in der Community umhört. Die Qualität und Leistung die die Produkte des österreichischen Unternehmens an den Tag legen bleibt davon aber unberührt. Kühler wie der NH-D15S sind die Referenz und gehören der Leistungsspitze an, hatten im Punkt Design in modernen Builds, in denen auch eine Beleuchtung für Akzente sorgt aber das Nachsehen. Chromax ist das Zauberwort, mit dem Noctua Optik-Fetischisten locken möchte. Zur Serie gehören Abdeckungen für die weitverbreitesten Kühler-Modelle, Kabel sowie Lüfter. Letztere behalten den Rotor-Aufbau bei, kommen aber in komplett schwarz daher und können mithilfe von Gummi-Dämpfen geringfügig in der Farbe akzentuiert werden. Wir prüfen, wie sich die auf Optik getrimmte Chromax-Linie in der Praxis schlägt.
Test verdict: "Was lange währt, wird endlich gut - oder viel besser gesagt: schön! Noctua hat sich dem Trend mehr als lang genug wiedersetzt, um mit der Chromax-Serie aus den schnöden, aber starken Kühlern nun auch starke UND schöne Kühler zu machen. Das ganze hört aber bei der Aufwertung der Kühlkörper nicht auf. Ins Bild passen auch die Lüfter in frischem Look mit den einsetzbaren Entkopplern. Das I-Tüpfelchen sind da die Kabel" (Issam Ammour, PC-Max.de)
22.01.2018 // PC Ekspert
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NF-S12A PWM chromax.black.swap Review

Klasična Noctua kakvu smo poznavali prije pojave Chromax proizvoda je bila smeđa i kromirana, a sada je s ovim što novim, što osvježenim proizvodima unijela više živosti u svoju ponudu. Sa svim ovim dodacima moguće su razne kombinacije i modderi će konačno doći na svoje, kao i svi oni koji su samo htjeli crne ventilatore za kućišta i radijatore. Da se nas pita, za U12S ili D15 bi bili dovoljni samo crni ventilatori, crni pokrovi i crni kabeli, no nema ništa loše i u svim ovim ostalim kombinacijama.
Test verdict: "Noctua je poslušala želje kupaca i predvidjela neke pa su ponudili dovoljno boja za razne kombinacije i sve ukuse." (Krešimir Matanović, PC Ekspert)
30.12.2017 // Le Comptoir du Hardware
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NF-S12A PWM chromax.black.swap Review

Noctua ne succombe pas encore à l'appel du RGB, mais trouve le moyen d'apporter de la couleur à ses créations. La marque autrichienne avait amorcé son virage avec les ventilateurs des séries IndustrialPPC et Redux, aux cadres noirs ou gris, bien plus séduisants. Elle continuait cette percée en lançant timidement les premiers éléments de la gamme Chromax il y a deux ans. Si, rappelez-vous de l'arrivée des patins antivibrations et des attaches de ventilateur colorés. C'était en décembre 2015, déjà. Cette année, Noctua est allé plus loin en proposant une gamme plus complète de câblage et de ventilateurs. Elle se concentre sur ses best-sellers, ce qui est déjà bien puisqu'il n'est pas nécessaire de vous rappeler leurs qualités (on ajoutera juste la couleur plus passe-partout). Enfin, les éléments d'habillage permettent de relooker vos ventirads sans aucun effort. Alors est-ce qu'on aime ça ? L'idée est sympathique et dans le cadre de l'achat des accessoires (câbles et attache pour ventilateur de boîtier), pas besoin de posséder des produits Noctua. Ils s'adapteront facilement à tous les modèles si vous voulez simplement ajouter une touche de couleur. En ce qui concerne les ventilateurs, le noir arrive enfin sur les modèles les plus cotés.
Test verdict: "La gamme Chromax de Noctua est un coup de coeur de cette fin d'année" (Thierry Comtesse, Le Comptoir du Hardware)
18.12.2017 // CowcotLand.com
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NF-S12A PWM chromax.black.swap Review

Avec ses accessoires Chromax, Noctua met en avant de très nombreuses possibilités qui ne seront finalement limitées que par le budget alloué à la décoration du PC. [...] Toujours est-il que les produits sont d'une qualité de haut niveau, comme toujours avec la marque, et tous sont garantis six ans.
Test verdict: "Bref, nous sommes juste sous le charme de cette solution différente des classiques diodes RGB, et nous avons hâte de voir la suite." (Sébastien Vandeborre, CowcotLand.com)
18.12.2017 // WhatNext.pl
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NF-S12A PWM chromax.black.swap Review

Świetnym pomysłem są wentylatory z nakładkami. Dzięki nim nie musicie się obawiać o wygląd całego sprzętu – można dowolnie dopasować kolor. Poza tym są to dobre śmigła, które zapewnią świetny przepływ powietrza przy dobrej kulturze pracy. Jeśli chcecie polepszyć wygląd waszych konstrukcji od Noctuy albo zastanawiacie się nad nowymi śmigłami to warto brać pod uwagę najnowszę ofertę tej firmy.
Test verdict: "Noctua wreszcie zasłużyła na odznaczenie, którego nidgy wcześniej nie dostała – design. Nowe dodatki oraz wentylatory Chromax wyglądają świetnie oraz potrafią zmienić wygląd konstrukcji od tej firmy. Są one także najwyższej jakości." (Michał Andruszkiewicz, WhatNext.pl)
13.11.2017 // EnosTech.com
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NF-S12A 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)

NA-SEC1 chromax.white

  • 4x NA-EC1 chromax.white 30cm extension cables
  • 4-pin connector supports both 3-pin and 4-pin fans
  • White sleeving: ideal for creating PC builds with neat, focused aesthetics
NF-S12A PWM chromax.black.swap

NA-SEC1 chromax.yellow

  • 4x NA-EC1 chromax.yellow 30cm extension cables
  • 4-pin connector supports both 3-pin and 4-pin fans
  • Yellow sleeving: ideal for creating PC builds with neat, focused aesthetics
NF-S12A PWM chromax.black.swap

NA-SEC1 chromax.red

  • 4x NA-EC1 chromax.red 30cm extension cables
  • 4-pin connector supports both 3-pin and 4-pin fans
  • Red sleeving: ideal for creating PC builds with neat, focused aesthetics
NF-S12A PWM chromax.black.swap

NA-SEC1 chromax.green

  • 4x NA-EC1 chromax.green 30cm extension cables
  • 4-pin connector supports both 3-pin and 4-pin fans
  • Green sleeving: ideal for creating PC builds with neat, focused aesthetics
NF-S12A PWM chromax.black.swap

NA-SEC1 chromax.blue

  • 4x NA-EC1 chromax.blue 30cm extension cables
  • 4-pin connector supports both 3-pin and 4-pin fans
  • Blue sleeving: ideal for creating PC builds with neat, focused aesthetics
NF-S12A PWM chromax.black.swap

NA-SYC1 chromax.black

  • 3x NA-YC1 chromax.black y-cables for running two fans on one fan header
  • 4-pin connector supports both 3-pin and 4-pin fans
  • Black sleeving: ideal for creating PC builds with neat, focused aesthetics
NF-S12A PWM chromax.black.swap

NA-SYC1 chromax.blue

  • 3x NA-YC1 chromax.blue y-cables for running two fans on one fan header
  • 4-pin connector supports both 3-pin and 4-pin fans
  • Blue sleeving: ideal for creating PC builds with neat, focused aesthetics
NF-S12A PWM chromax.black.swap

NA-SYC1 chromax.yellow

  • 3x NA-YC1 chromax.yellow y-cables for running two fans on one fan header
  • 4-pin connector supports both 3-pin and 4-pin fans
  • Yellow sleeving: ideal for creating PC builds with neat, focused aesthetics
NF-S12A PWM chromax.black.swap

NA-SYC1 chromax.white

  • 3x NA-YC1 chromax.white y-cables for running two fans on one fan header
  • 4-pin connector supports both 3-pin and 4-pin fans
  • White sleeving: ideal for creating PC builds with neat, focused aesthetics
NF-S12A PWM chromax.black.swap

NA-SYC1 chromax.green

  • 3x NA-YC1 chromax.green y-cables for running two fans on one fan header
  • 4-pin connector supports both 3-pin and 4-pin fans
  • Green sleeving: ideal for creating PC builds with neat, focused aesthetics
NF-S12A PWM chromax.black.swap

NA-SYC1 chromax.red

  • 3x NA-YC1 chromax.red y-cables for running two fans on one fan header
  • 4-pin connector supports both 3-pin and 4-pin fans
  • Red sleeving: ideal for creating PC builds with neat, focused aesthetics
NF-S12A PWM chromax.black.swap

NA-SEC1 chromax.black

  • 4x NA-EC1 chromax.black 30cm extension cables
  • 4-pin connector supports both 3-pin and 4-pin fans
  • Black sleeving: ideal for creating PC builds with neat, focused aesthetics
NF-S12A PWM chromax.black.swap

NA-SAVP1 chromax.black

  • Anti-vibration pads
  • chromax.black edition
NF-S12A PWM chromax.black.swap

NA-SAV2 chromax.yellow

  • Anti-vibrations mounts
  • chromax.yellow edition
NF-S12A PWM chromax.black.swap

NA-SAV2 chromax.white

  • Anti-Vibration mounts
  • chromax.white edition
NF-S12A PWM chromax.black.swap

NA-SAV2 chromax.green

  • Anti-Vibration mounts
  • chromax.green edition
NF-S12A PWM chromax.black.swap

NA-SAV2 chromax.blue

  • Anti-Vibration mounts
  • chromax.blue edition
NF-S12A PWM chromax.black.swap

NA-SAV2 chromax.red

  • Anti-Vibration mounts
  • chromax.red edition
NF-S12A PWM chromax.black.swap

NA-SAV2 chromax.black

  • Anti-Vibration mounts
  • chromax.black edition
NF-S12A PWM chromax.black.swap

NA-SAVP1 chromax.red

  • Anti-vibration pads
  • chromax.red edition
NF-S12A PWM chromax.black.swap

NA-SAVP1 chromax.white

  • Anti-vibration pads
  • chromax.white edition
NF-S12A PWM chromax.black.swap

NA-SAVP1 chromax.yellow

  • Anti-vibration pads
  • chromax.yellow edition
NF-S12A PWM chromax.black.swap

NA-SAVP1 chromax.green

  • Anti-vibration pads
  • chromax.green edition
NF-S12A PWM chromax.black.swap

NA-SAVP1 chromax.blue

  • Anti-vibration pads
  • chromax.blue edition
NF-S12A PWM chromax.black.swap

NA-SRC7

  • 4-Pin Low-Noise Adaptors
NF-S12A PWM chromax.black.swap

NA-FC1

  • Compact, highly flexible controller for 4-pin PWM fans
NF-S12A PWM chromax.black.swap

Information Sheet (PDF)

My chromax fan came with 4 pads per colour, shouldn’t there be 8?

As stated in the product description and specifications, the NF-A14, NF-F12 and NF-S12A chromax.black.swap contain 4 black, white, red, blue, green and yellow NA-AVP1 anti-vibration pads. By combining the various colours with black or leaving off the pads on one side, this starter kit allows the fan to be coordinated with most popular build colour schemes out of the box. Additional NA-SAVP1 chromax kits can be purchased separately in order to outfit all 8 corners with the same colour. The reason why we decided not to include 8 pads of all colours is that this would have made it necessary to increase the price of the fan significantly. As most customers don’t need 8 pads of all six colours, we think it makes more sense to keep the price of the fan reasonable and allow customers who need more pads of a particular colour to purchase them separately. Even for users who want to use 8 pads of one colour on several fans, this is more economical: For example, outfitting four fans with 8 red pads each only requires one NA-SAVP1 chromax.red set (EUR 6.90 / USD 6.90), so the extra cost per fan is only 1.7 € / USD, whereas the retail price of the fan would have to be at least 3€ / 3 USD higher if it included 8 pads of all colours.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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).

Can I paint my Noctua fan in order to change its color?

Since even small variations in the layer of paint can lead to an imbalance of the impeller, resulting in vibrations, higher noise levels, increased stress on the bearing and thus reduced lifespan, we do not recommend painting the fan. Please note that for the reasons stated above, painting the fan will void your warranty.

Can I 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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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