Noctua NF-A12X25 chromax review: a great upgrade for your AIO Liquid cooler?
Recently I switched to Noctua NF-A14 Chromax fans for my setup after getting to test these out (review here). As much as I like these fans, I know in the back of my head a new version of these fans is coming up. The 120mm fans already got a successor in the form of the NF-A12X25, so let’s take a look at these in the meantime!
Specifications of the NF-A12X25 Chromax
Size: 120x120x25 mm
Mounting hole spacing: 105×105 mm
Connector & pin-configuration: 4-pin PWM
Cable length: 1cm + 30cm NA-EC1 extension cable
Blade geometry: A-Series with Flow Acceleration Channels
Frame technology: AAO (Advanced Acoustic Optimisation)
Material: Sterrox® LCP
Rotational speed (+/- 10%): 2000 RPM
Min. rotational speed @ 20% PWM (+/-20%): 450 RPM
Acoustical noise: 22,6 dB(A)
Static pressure: 2,34 mm H₂O
Max. input power: 1,68 W
Max. input current: 0,14 A
Operating voltage: 12 V
Voltage PWM signal: 5 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 NA-AVP1 grey anti-vibration pads
- NA-AVG1 chromax.black anti-vibration gasket for water cooling radiators
- Fan screws
Unpacking the NF-A12X25 Chromax
The packaging is consistent with the rest of the products in the Chromax line-up I have seen so far. The fan sits neatly in a plastic shell inside the box with one of each included colored anti-vibration pads. In contrast to the NF-A14 thought, additional grey anti-vibration pads come pre-installed. Underneath is a little box which contains 4 screws and the rest of the colored anti vibration pads. The fan cable is detachable, this can come in handy if using a fan splitter for example like the NA-SYC1. Another included accessory is an anti vibration gasket made of silicon. Using this ensures a tighter seal when placing the fans on a radiator.
A closer look at the fan
Metal-reinforced motor hub
The first thing that catches the eye is the big motor hub in the center of the fan. It’s not just for show though. The hubs centerpiece is made from steel with a brass reinforced axle mount. This prevents the fans from wobbling around, something I already noticed being almost absent in the NF-A14 when comparing this to the P14 from Arctic which wobbled around a lot in my setup.
The NF-A12X25 is on Sterrox
Looking closely at the fan blades you can see they aren’t made of the usual solid black PBT or other plastic kind of material. Noctua used its own customized fiber-glass reinforced Liquid Crystal Polymer or LCP. The Austrian based company calls this tech Sterrox. You can check out the link to read about all the technical ins and outs. Using the Sterrox technology allowed Noctua to make a gap of just 0,5mm between the blades and the frame.
Perfect for liquid cooling
Mounting is as easy as every other fan. The included anti-vibration gasket ensures the fans sit tight on the radiator and prevent air leakage. I have tried these kinds of afterparty rubber frames before but always ended up trashing them because they wouldn’t fit nicely. These actually do; Noctua already has the cutouts for their anti vibration pads, and the anti-vibration gasket makes good use of these.
Replacing my stock AIO fans with the NF-A12X25
I mounted the fans on the radiator of my Deepcool Castle 360EX RGB cooler. The Castle is a very capable liquid cooler with a beautiful infinity mirror design on the pump and some good looking rgb fans. The included fans do their job at cooling very well, but they make quite noise doing so and the build quality is not that amazing. The Noctua fans on the other hand feel very sturdy and hefty. The switch was done fast and simple and I used the Deepcool fan-splitter that came with the AIO to hook them up in sync with each other.
My 5900X is being used with PBO enabled and resides in a Phanteks P600S case. I currently use 3 Noctua NF-A14 Chromax fans as intake and one as outtake at the rear. My radiator is mounted on the top of my case. For thermal paste I used Noctua’s NT-H2.
Cooling is excellent as expected; going full out the results are absolutely great with the cpu hitting 67,3 °C max. This is with an ambient temperature of 22,5 °C.
Going to 65% fan speed the max temperature reached 68°C, which is still very good.
When adjusting the fans to a noise normalized setting at 35 dB it is clear the Noctua beats the stock fans Deepcool provides with the AIO. With a higher total package power the Noctua cooler performs better while giving no humming sounds (like the Deepcool fans do).
Sound produced by the NF-A12X25
Let’s continue with the noise a bit here. Like I said before Deepcool included some capable fans, but they do make a lot of sound when spinning these boys up. The NF-A12X25 are something else for sure! The cooling itself was, as expected very good, but the real threat here is the silence at which these fans can do their job! I can easily run these fans at 75% which translates to +/- 1525 rpm while still barely hearing them spin at my desk. Opening up the case I could hear them do their job but this was still very respectable hearing these babies go at high speed! Running the fans to their absolute max the sound I measured on my desk was just 28dB on average and 25,6 at my ear height that is just amazing. I never would consider running fans at max speed before, but this is next level stuff.
Noctua prices are usually higher than that of its competitors. Other companies have stepped up their game in recent years and Noctua isn’t the only one making great fans anymore. The NF-A14 fans and their smaller version have gotten tough competition from brands like Arctic which offer insane value for money with their NP12 fans. The NF-A12X25 however shakes up the market once again. The cooling is outstanding, but even more is the sound, or rather the lack of it these fans put out while cooling at high speeds. Normally I avoid 120mm fans and 360 rads like the plague because of the sound, not an issue anymore with these.
The construction and build quality are also really top notch, so you really get what you pay for with these fans.
Are these worth the asking price of around €32,-? In my opinion they are, considering these come with a solid 6 years warranty and can provide years of outstanding cooling while keeping things quiet. The included silicon gasket is a nice bonus. If you are going for a high-end build components these fans can be a great investment. Personally I can’t wait for the 140mm fans to come out the gates of Noctua so I can replace my NF-A14 fans!
As for RGB, well still a big no here! But there are other ways around that. I bought a Deepcool RGB 200 PRO kit which I could connect to the hub included with my Castle 360. But there are many other options out there ofcourse. I chose this set because it can work in sync with the AIO without needing any software.