Noctua NF-A4, NF-A8, NF-A9 Reviewmrwooshoo -
Price: A4~$15, A8-A9 (ULN, FLX)~$17, ~A8-A9(PWM)$19~$20
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Noctua NF-A4, NF-A8, NF-A9: Introduction
Noctua has more than just a solid reputation. The Austrian-based company has worked hard to obtain a gleaming one, and keep it quite well maintained. Noctua updates often and always improves upon its designs. Noctua leaves no party out of the technological leaps that are developed and released. It doesn't matter if you are a dedicated overclocker, or a regular Internet surfer, there is a Noctua product that you would appreciate. I have even underestimated in just how many places you can fit a Noctua fan. In this round up of Noctua's super efficient fans, there is even a 40mm one. That's small, like the size of a US half dollar. I think it is pretty clear that they are trying quite hard to cover all of its bases.
This set of fans is an update to its 92mm, 80mm, and 40mm fans. It is a revamp to include all of the newer tech on some smaller fans. Included in this review will be the: PWM, ULN, and FLX models of the 80mm fan, the PWM and FLX models of the 92mm fan, and the 5V version of the 40mm fan. This review will be a bit different compared to the usual ones. As OCC does not have a standard test device for use with these small form factor fans I will simply be going over their features and perhaps (If I find it helpful or informative) comparing them to their predecessors. Despite the odd way in which this review must be accomplished I am looking forward to how much of a punch these little fans pack.
Noctua NF-A4, NF-A8, NF-A9: Closer Look
These fans come packaged much like the earlier fans, meaning they did not take after the redux or industriallPPC color schemes. They are all dressed in the same packaging with only minor differences, so I will only be describing one or two for the packaging, but for the fans themselves I will take pictures of the relevant technology differences. I will be starting off by looking at the box for the 40mm fan. The front of it has the good old brown, white, and black with the signature silver stamp on the top right corner. The silver stamp for the 40mm says 5V version and the rest of them all state the fan that they are "succeeding". The main picture on the front is a stylized angle of the fan itself and the picture is the same for all of the 92mm and 80mm with 40mm one being the only odd one out. There is a list of features on the picture itself with the model above the picture and to the side of it. There is not a whole lot on the sides, just the model, bar-codes, and a fan depiction in black and white. On the back of the box, there are the fans' running specifications and a short paragraph to the consumer in a bunch of different languages.
Looking behind the door, on the front of the box, shows a window with a full view of the fan and four rubber fan mounts, as well as a list of included items. Adjacent to the window is a description of how the SSO2 bearing and flow acceleration channels work. Behind the back door there is a list with descriptions of all of the fans features. The list varies slightly from fan the 80mm and 92mm to the 40mm.
The inside of the box houses the manual, the plastic shell with the fan, cables, mounting screws, and the anti-vibration rubber mounts. The cables differ between all three fans. All of them have a 30cm extension cable, the ULNs, and the FLXs all have a 3:4-pin adapter for direct power supply connection and low noise adapters for slowest RPM speeds, and the FLXs and PWMs have standard low noise adapters. Finally, the PWMs have a splitter cable for other PWM fans to be added to match RPMs. Also, note that all of the cables for the PWMs have 4-pin headers and are thus slightly different from the others.
The NF-A's (8,9,4) all share nearly the same technology. They all have the stepped inlet design, flow acceleration channels, inner surface microstructures, smooth communication drive 2, and the AAO frames (which includes the anti-vibration pads). There are a few differences between the 40mm and the others, these are the reduced motor hub size, 3-2 pin adapter, and omnijoin adapter set(I know this isn't technically the same, but I forgot it above).
Finally the fans themselves, They are the usual brown and cream color that never really matched any color scheme a case ever came in. They have the same brown and blue label that graced the older larger fans. This label has the model and owl mascot on it. On the corners are the rubber noise cancelling mount covers. These can be removed on all models except for the 40mm. You can pretty easily see the flow acceleration channels on the blades and stepped inlet design (even on the little one even though it is hard to see). This basically wraps up the outer physical appearance of the fans (mostly due to the fact that the only major difference is that they are different sizes).