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Noctua NF-F12 & NF-A14 Industrial PPC Fan Review

Price: Fans $25 to $30

Noctua NF-F12 & NF-A14 Industrial PPC Fan: Introduction

You can't talk about great CPU coolers without talking about Noctua, and of course great coolers are backed up by great fans. For years the NH-D14, more commonly known as the D14, was the go-to cooler if you needed dependable, high performance cooling.  The D14 was backed by a two-fan combination of the NF-P14 and the NF-P12. The D14 is now discontinued and has been replaced by the very capable NH-D15 which has taken over as the leader. (There are also two variations of the D15: the D15S and the D15 SE-AM4.) The D15 takes cooling to a new level with dual NF-A15 140mm fans. Along with CPU coolers to cover many applications, Noctua also have a complete line of high-performance fans for your PC.

But did you know that Noctua also have a line of industrial fans? Today we have two industrial fans to review: the NF-F12 and the NF-A14, and along with the fans are some cool mounting and dress-up accessories to look at.  Something to note is that the model numbers for the fans are NF-F12 industrialPPC-24V-2000 IP67PWM and NF-A14 industrialPPC-24V-3000 IP67PWM. Both of these have been recently updated to include an AEC-Q100 rating. AEC stands for Automotive Electronic Council and per the Noctua website, the Q100 fans "use Noctua’s AEC-Q100 qualified wide input range NE-FD4 motor driver IC in order to support 24V-based industrial and automotive applications. Its sophisticated inrush current suppression and extreme electrical robustness with extended burst and surge immunity allow it to operate safely in sensitive or hostile electronic environments." Clearly industrial fans have some tight specifications that you don't see on a standard PC fan.

So what makes a fan "industrial"?  Several things, acutally. An industrial fan has to work in an environment that is often not very friendly. It can be wet and very dirty and sometimes there are temperature extremes - things that a typical PC fan would never encounter. A big factor in the design of an industrial fan is protecting the internal components. There are several IP (Ingress Protection) rathings which describe how well the fan is protected from foreign material getting inside, and there are different levels of protection. These fans carry a rating of IP67.  The first number is for protection from object intrusion with 6 indicating total protection from dust.  The second number is for water intrusion or exposure and 7 means that the fan can handle being under 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes.



Noctua NF-F12 & NF-A14 Industrial PPC Fan: Closer Look

Visually, there are no obvious hints that indicate the two fans were made for industrial applications. Maybe the extra long cables give a hint, but it is not until you look at the specs that you can see that these fans go beyond what you normally see with consumer grade PC fans. The heavy duty fibre-glass reinforced polyamide construction makes these fans tough and well-suited for industrial applications. The fans come with the removable brown anti-vibration pads at each corner and I have already installed some of the red pads (sold separately) on the 120mm fan on the right.



A closer look at the back panel of the box shows the details for each fan including the IP67 rating and the 24V power rating. They will both run fine on a 12V system, but 24V is required to obtain the max RPM of 2000 or 3000. The MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures) shows greater than 150,000 hours. Some basic math shows that the fans can run 24/7 for roughly 17 years.



The data tag on the back of the fan hubs shows you everything you need to know about each fan before you ever plug them in. Notice that the fan blade (impeller) and frame shapes are considerably different between the two fans. More info about the tech behind these designs can be found on the Specifications & Features page.



Time for some dress-up and vibration dampening at the same time. Noctua has an interesting line of colorful ways to add some bling to your fans. There are two items here: the anti-vibration pads and the anti-vibration mounts. Each come in red, blue, green, yellow, black, and white. Let's talk about the pads first. Each box comes with 16 pieces, or enough to do two fans.  They attach at the corners and are easy to change. Per the Noctua website, the pads "minimise the transmission of minute vibrations while maintaining full compatibility with standard fan screws and most other mounting systems." The anti-vibration mounts offer a unique way to install your fans. These little rubber mounts take the place of the typical screw style of securing the fan to the chassis. They pop right into the corner holes and provide additional vibration dampening while giving you a little visual kick. Each box contains 20 mounts so you are covered for up to 5 case fans. Per the Noctua website, "The NA-AV2 mounts are designed to work with most open-flange fans with standard 4.3mm mounting holes. They are compatible with all current Noctua fans (including redux and industrialPPC models) as well as many third-party fans."  There is a full fan compatiblity list for the pads and the mounts on the Noctua website.



Here are the anti-vibration mounts installed to the corner holes of the fan. Next, you pull the short end through the mounting holes in the case, as shown in the picture on the right, for a secure fit. This is a really nice idea. No more dropping a screw into the case.


Here is the simple test setup, with everything out in the open. The goal here is to see how much thermal difference each fan makes with the system under the same load. I don't really expect to see a huge difference as the stock Noctua fans are great performers. Since part of the testing involves supplying 24 volts to the fans, I have to use an external industrial 24 volt power supply made by SOLA.


Now it is time for the video review. Check out how the fans perform at 12 and 24 volts and see the thermal imaging of the fans as they run at different speeds.

  1. Noctua NF-F12 & NF-A14 Industrial PPC Fan: Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Noctua NF-F12 & NF-A14 Industrial PPC Fan: Specifications & Features
  3. Noctua NF-F12 & NF-A14 Industrial PPC Fan: Testing
  4. Noctua NF-F12 & NF-A14 Industrial PPC Fan: Conclusion
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