Anyone who has ever built a PC in recent years has with no doubt heard of Noctua and more likely than not has at least checked out some of their products. Noctua Fan 40mm to 200mm Cooling Fans produces high-quality cooling fans for computer systems. The size of their fans scales from 40mm to 200mm and offers quiet operation and efficient cooling performance.
Today is going to be an overview of various fans that they have on offer for different purposes, and they will range from 40mm through 200mm – yep, a huge variety in terms of sizing! We have had the pleasure of looking at some of Noctua’s fan offerings in the past – both fans and coolers alike – and we are fans (get it!?) of their products.
In today’s lineup, we have everything ranging from 5v 40mm fans that spin at an obnoxious 5000 RPM to some PWM based 200mm airflow behemoths.
Quite the array of fans, I’d say. Noctua also gave us one of their little fan testers. It isn’t available to the general public (sorry!) but it will prove useful for both today’s review and future reviews.
I feel that a small insight into Noctua’s ‘FLX’ branding is in order, so what does it mean? FLX is short for flexibility – in other words, you can tune it to your own liking with various included voltage reduction cables. In doing so, you are able to raise/lower the operating voltage and therefore affect the noise ratio in its respective way.
Noctua’s FLX varieties all come with their various voltage reduction cables, then you’ve also got the option (on newer motherboards at least) to control them in the UEFI by voltage rather than PWM. Remember, FLX is a 3-pin design, no PWM here.
I won’t continue to drag on the introduction for as long as I possibly can, but I will leave you with a little bit of Noctua’s history anyway. Also, read the article on Noctua Chromax Cooling Fans.
The 40 mm Showoff
Within this category, we have four fans from Noctua that are supposedly ranging from 5v to 12v, and most of them spin at 5000 RPM. Whether or not they will be loud is a huge question begging to be answered, but we will get to that real soon… I promise!
For now, let’s take a look at what we have within the boxes of their respective fans and brush over a few key specs for each. I’m not going to mention that there’s a fan in every box … because if that wasn’t obvious, well, you probably wouldn’t be reading this! Anyway, forward, march!
I’ve got to ask, even if it is a silly question… do the fans perform? Well, let me elaborate on my findings and let you in on them.
Silly question, am I right? Well, I mean, sort of! Whenever you’re buying premium components, whether it be fans or anything else for that matter, you come to expect certain levels of performance in their various forms.
So, there are a few things that we can measure ‘performance’ on, which to me would comprise airflow and acoustics. Being a Noctua fan, we expect the best of both worlds, without fail. I spent a lot of time trying to get the smaller 40 mm fans to produce reliable results, but they just didn’t have the power to shift the air required in our setup.
If you’ve read Josh’s previous review, you’ll know how he set his up. I copied him and tried to do the same thing, but the numbers were so far off of the specs that I didn’t feel happy to post them. They do shift air, of course, but the setup wasn’t right. I will absolutely retest this in the future with slightly more sophisticated gear.
Another issue that I ran into is the fact that Noctua Fan 40mm to 200mm Cooling Fans are so incredibly quiet that I was not able to pick them up with my dB meter. The ambient noise in my condo is above that of the fans, and the only one I can audibly hear over anything else any more than a foot away is the 120 mm fan. At 70% speed (thanks again for the awesome tool, Noctua!), I was only able to hear it at the same distance as the other fans.
It becomes audible above 70%, but not intrusively. I have an absolutely maddening obsession when it comes to rig silence, so for me to say this, it tells you something. Even the 40 mm fans did me very proud indeed.
At the end of the day, there is ultimately a single question and multiple answers to a said question that spring to mind when reviewing – overview, in this case – such a product. The million-dollar question that I always get asked and want to ask is … drum roll, please … “is it worth my money?”
One final thing to say is a huge thanks to Noctua for sending the fans over for us to look at. Hopefully, we will have a more sophisticated testing procedure in the next round of fans, and then we will be able to revisit Noctua Fan 40mm to 200mm Cooling Fans with more accurate results that aren’t flawed by my condo’s ambient noise.