Noctua NF-12x15 Slim Fan Performance Review
Performance and Testing.
The Performance and testing in this review is going to be a little different to how we normally do it, as we're not actually here to test an AIO or Tower heat sink, and see where it fits into our graphs, but rather to see what sort of impact, if any these slimmer fans have on the performance of a system. As already discussed, the main selling point of the NF-A12x15 is it's slim 15mm depth. In the image below you can see it atop a standard 25mm thick unit. The big question of course is will the NF-A12x15 be effective enough when partnered with an AIO.
For the testing we will be mating a pair of NF-A12x15s to a CoolerMaster MasterLiquid Pro 240 AIO. As a means of comparison we'll also be mating the Pro 240 to a pair of standard Noctua NF-12s
When we mount the NF-A12x15s on the rad of the AIO, it suddenly becomes apparent that this drop of 10mm might just make it possible for some rads and AIOs to be fitted into cases that don't have room for a rad and a standard fan. OK, so they don't exactly create an aethetic colour palette, but thankfully, as the fans will be tucked away up in the roof of the case they shouldn't be seen.
As you can see, the slim fans drop the thickness of this particular combination from 55mm to 45mm. A drop of 10mm is undoubtedly an advantage when it comes to getting things into tight spaces, but what impact will there be on performance?
The test set up consisted of the following
Intel Kaby Lake i7 7700K
4.8GHz @ 1.25v, 5.0GHz @ 1.3v
Asus Maximus VIII Ranger
2x8GB Corsair Vengeance LPX Memory 3200MHz
Corsair Force GT 60GB
Coolermaster MasterCase Pro5
We're only going to be testing Kaby Lake at 5.0GHz, as it will serve as a metric for performance across the board. As you can see the two fans performed almost identically, with one main difference that can't be seen on the graph below. For the slim fans to produce the Air flow and static pressures they do, Noctua have had to ramp up the RPMs giving the x15s a fan speed of 1850 as opposed to the more sedate 1300 of the NF12s. This of course means that the x15s are noticeably noisier, producing a given 23.9dB(A) as opposed to the quieter 19.8dB(A) of the standard NF-12s