While Noctua has been around since 2005, I surprisingly haven't heard about them until a year or two ago. I say surprisingly because the quality of their products is truly outstanding. They have received thousands of awards throughout the years, and the rightly so as their tagline of "Designed in Austria" shines through and through.
They have been kind enough to provide me with a NH-L12 low-profile CPU cooler, eight 140mm fans, and two boxes of Chromax vibration pads so I'll primarily be looking at these. Of course, I will look at some other aspects of the company as well.
- Extremely high quality
- Fantastic performance
- Brilliant company overall
- Not the cheapest, but worth it
- Nothing I could find so far
As you might suspect, Noctua products aren't the cheapest on the planet. However, they aren't expensive either, and they are brilliant for value for money. Their CPU coolers come in the range of $100, and fans are around $20, of course, there is some variance depending on the product you wish to purchase.
While they do a lot of targeting for people wanting to build quiet PCs, they haven't neglected performance. No matter which product you will purchase, you will get something that's not only quiet but also performs great.
Have a look at the assembly video of the Noctua NH-L12 below and see how easy it is to use, how good it looks, and how quiet it runs.
As stated, with Noctua products you will get a high-quality, well-designed, and quiet piece of equipment. While I won't go into the details of all of their products, let's have a brief look at the products they were kind enough to provide me with.
Of the approximately 20 different types of fans that Noctua sells, the NF-A14 is by far one of the most popular models. Not only does it deliver great air flow, it's also extremely quiet. Air flow improvements have been made through the design of channels and fan shape design. While noise reduction and smooth operation is aided by the rubberized corners and SSO2 bearing. On the whole, it's a perfect fan for upgrading your current chassis or just the performance of your water-cooled system. It's also worth noting that, even though it's on the lower end airflow wise, I saw excellent performance in both use cases.
There is not much to say about the SAVs as they are simple yet effective. By replacing your mounting screws with these rubberized mounts, you reduce the vibrations transmitted from your fan to your rig and thereby have a quieter system. Just like with the rubberised corner pieces, the NA-SAV2 comes in six different colors, to match the color scheme of your build.
The NH-L12 is another great product by Noctua. It's not one of their biggest or most powerful CPU coolers out there, but it's damn good. It's expressly designed for small builds e.g. ITX size, but if you want a small but powerful cooler for your PC, then it's also a perfect choice. You can have a look at some of the cooling results below, but I was gobsmacked with the performance they could achieve in such a small package. The NH-L12 also has the great addition, that you can use it with just the 92mm fan at the bottom or with an additional 120mm fan on the top as well, for improved performance.
The Website and Support
When it comes to the Noctua site and support, it's easily one of the best tech sites I have seen. There is literally everything short of CAD models that you would ever need to decide whether one of their products is the right size, performance, or option for you build. Their support is also extremely knowledge and if you're unsure will help you find the best product for you, not the most expensive one. Therefore, it's wasn't a surprise to me that their installation instructions are also extremely well done, and you shouldn't have any problems installing any of their products.
Unboxing, Installation, and Performance
You can see in the above video that unboxing and installing the product is quick, easy and straight forward. Performance wise, the eight NF-A14s helped reduce the temperatures in my copper tube mining rig by 10C, and the anti-vibration mounts meant that the system remained silent.
With regards to CPU cooler, I measured temperatures while running Cinebench, Geekbench and Passmark tests. The stock cooler showed temperatures of: 66C, 60C, and 58C. With the Noctua cooler they were: 50C, 46C, and 46C. As the results show, the cooler helped reduce the CPU temperature by 14C on average, which is considerable. In fact, this change in operating temperature, would allow you to perform some minor overclocking as well.
Noctua Overview Conclusion
On the whole, my experience with Noctua has been fantastic. It's the first time in history that I can't think of an "I wasn't so sure about" point when reviewing a product. Therefore, if you get the chance, definitely purchase their products, as you won't be disappointed!