Aaaaah fans, I always find it difficult to write a fan review. I mean really they are “just” fans right?
It’s a spinning thing that moves air…. I agree with that idea on one end, on the other however there are a lot of differences between them. Companies like Noctua actually put some proper research in them, whilst you might not see it straight away it is reflected in their products.
I’ll go ahead and highlight some feature that otherwise might have been overlooked but are certainly helping in creating a fan that moves heaps of air and doing it silently.
I’ll be looking at 3 of Noctua’s new fans: the NF-A14 FLX, NF-A14 ULN, and the NF-A15 PWM
Those might be strange names but they actually represent what you get with the fans. For example the FLX stands for Flexible as you have choices in fan speeds I quote:
3 speed settings for full flexibility (NF-A14 FLX)
Providing 1200, 1050 and 900 rpm speed settings via the supplied Low-Noise and Ultra-Low-Noise Adaptors, the NF-A14 FLX (Flexibility) can be fine-tuned for superior airflow or maximum quietness.
ULN stands for Ultra Low Noise, quote:
2 speed settings for maximum quietness (FA-A14 ULN)
Providing 800 and 650 rpm speed settings via the supplied adaptor, the ULN (Ultra-Low-Noise) version is tailor made for serious silent enthusiasts who demand super-slow running speeds and utmost quietness of operation.
And then we have PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation). Basically PWM means a power source is turned on and off in rapid succession and shortening the periods of on and off means you can slow down or speed up. PWM is also used in dimming LED lights these days as you can’t dim LEDs by ramping down the voltage thus PWM is used, you can actually see these pulses with the naked eye, just pay close attention to the LED rear lights on cars these days and swiftly shake with your head and you will see what I’m on about.
Custom designed PWM IC with SCD
Supporting fully automatic PWM speed control, the NF-A15 PWM uses Noctua’s novel, custom designed NE-FD1 PWM IC that integrates Smooth Commutation Drive (SCD) technology. By providing smoother torque impulses, SCD suppresses PWM switching noises and thus makes the fan quieter at low speeds
For more info about that check out http://www.noctua.at/main.php?show=ne_fd1_pwm_ic
So let’s have a closer look at the 2 NF-A14 series, well as said before they are computer fans. But better, some good research and proven techniques have been applied into creating what could be the ultimate fan, or until they find something else to improve upon at Noctua labs.