Noctua NF-R8 (80mm) and NF-S12 (120mm) Fanshardnrg -
Despite producing less airflow than the noisy Delta and Panaflo performance fans, I was blown away by the sound of near-silence! It is so hard to hear these fans that even at the full 12 volts, they are quieter than ANY of the fans in all of my computers. They're so quiet that all I could think of while testing them was "wouldn't it be nice to switch out all the fans in my music PC (digital audio workstation) for Noctua fans throughout".
I've bought quiet fans from Papst and Zalman before, and also get to test fans at work like the Akasa Amber series, and nothing comes close to these Noctua fans. The blade design of the 120mm fans strays from the norm and certainly would appear to benefit the low noise levels in operation. The 80mm fan is only moderately different in blade design, but nevertheless, you can also hear the difference it makes compared to a regular 80mm fan.
These fans are a must for anyone who wants to make their PC not only quiet but inaudible. You might think I'm exaggerating or deaf, but I'm dead serious. These fans are what you are after for a HTPC, a silent office PC, or a bedroom PC that won't disturb you or others in the middle of the night if you leave it on 24/7...
But...it has to be asked: why are these fans beige and brown?! Of all the colors, what was Noctua thinking when it came up with this two-tone combination? What's wrong with black and black? Like shoes, black goes with everything. Beige and brown shoes? Am I going bowling? Am I wearing my dad's shoes from the 70's? Haha. Ok, jokes aside, I think it was a bold move by Noctua to choose such a color combo as it may well put people off buying fans that will clash with the rest of the case. For a typical media center PC (HTPC), the fans are out of sight, so it doesn't matter. Maybe this is what Noctua was thinking: "the fans will be out of sight, so let's make them beige and brown, that'll show 'em". The thing is though, many people take pride on the inside of their computers and will have a side panel window, maybe even a clear acrylic case, and then these beige/brown fans will stick out like a sore thumb.
The colors are the only thing I can fault about these fans...perhaps the price as well. At somewhere around £11-14 a fan, things can add up quite quickly if you have 6 or 7 120mm fans in your case like I have in my main rig. But I've already learned that lesson because the Panaflo fans I bought were about the same price and they are much, much louder than the Noctua fans.
- Possibly the quietest fans available
- Maintain impressive airflow even at low speed
- Supplied speed reduction adapters allows you to select between quiet and inaudible
- If that's still not silent enough, the Vibration Compensators (rubber grommets) will eliminate noise transmitted to the case chassis
- The two-tone beige/brown colour combo may clash with the case colour-scheme if the fans are visible
- The best comes at a price