There are a lot of different models of computer fans in the market. Some of them only cost a couple dollars, but turn into turbines after switching on. While some premium fans can cost up to $30 USD, with carefully engineered blade and motor designs. However, are they worth it? In this review/comparison, we will take a look at Noctua’s NF-F12 iPPC-2000 PWM and Noiseblocker’s NB B12-P fans.
The two fans have very similar specifications. Both fans are PWM-controlled (Pulse-Width Modulation), and capable of spinning up to 2000 RPM. Both of them have comparable noise level, at around 29 dB/A.
However, the Noctua NF-F12 iPPC has a higher static pressure performance, which may benefit in restricted environment (hard drive cages and radiators). Also, the NF-F12 fan is designed for heavy duty applications, with IP52 Ingress Protection and a longer MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures). The Noiseblocker B12-P has a better airflow performance at 77.9 CFM, which moves air in a larger volume.
The Noctua NF-F12 iPPC is packed in a hard cardboard box. The model name is printed in the center, with the Noctua logo on the top right. Flipping to the bottom, detailed specifications and a tiny picture of the fan are located here.
Inside the box are the NF-F12 iPPC fan and four standard fan mounting screws. The attached braided 4-pin PWM cable is about 40 cm (15.7 inches) long. Unlike the normal NF-F12 fan, Y-cable, extension cable, low-noise adapter and anti-vibration mounting screws (vibration-compensators) are not included.
The NoiseBlocker B12-P is in a white thin cardboard packaging. At the front, a photo of the fan is shown, along with some important features. A long list of technical data is printed on the back.
The B12-P gets more accessories than the NF-F12 iPPC. A 50 cm and a 20 cm long 4-pin PWM cables are included. Four long fan screws, four knurled nuts and eight silicon pads are packed inside a small zipper bag.
The NF-F12 iPPC is constructed entirely from fibre-glass reinforced polyamide, which Noctua claims the material can withstand up to 140°C and less prone to break. The fan is based on the design and technologies of the original NF-F12, that is proven to be performing exceptional well. The RPM range of the three-phase motor and the SSO2 bearing is pretty wide, with a very low power draw (1.2W/0.1A).
There are removable anti-vibration pads on every corner, coloured in brown. The 4-pin cable is sleeved, but it is not all the way up to the end. About 2 cm of the cable will be visible.
The Noiseblcoker NB B12-P is made out of reinforced fibreglass PBT. Different from any conventional PC fans, the B12-P has a very innovative blade design. Each single blade connects with one another, which is called the Bionic fan. Noiseblocker claims it helps dissolve the air vortexes at the blades’ tips. Hence, it reduces both noise level and power usage.
There are also anti-vibration pads on each corner. However, the pads are integrated into the fan frame, and cannot be removed. In addition, the cable of the B12-P is detachable. You can choose between a 20 cm and a 50 cm cable, or even a custom length cable. Although the cables in the packaging is fully sleeved, the connector at the fan is not, showing about 2 cm of coloured cables.
The B12-P uses a tool-free fan mounting method. There are four pairs of a long fine thread screw, a knurled nut and two silicon pads. This method is extremely easy to install, while providing great vibration absorption (the screw and fan frame only make contact with the pads).
Without considering the performance, both the NF-F12 iPPC and the NB B12-P fans have excellent build quality and a lot of technologies and engineering efforts are put into designing the fans.
To find out how the two PC fans perform, the benchmarks are done using AIDA64 to run a CPU stress test. The fans are put onto the 120 mm slim radiator of an all-in-one liquid cooler (Cooler Master Seidon 120V Plus). CPU, FPU and system cache are stressed during the test. Ambient temperature is around 28°C.
Results will be taken at two different RPM, 1000 RPM and 2000 RPM. The fan speeds will be controlled via PWM using SpeedFan. At idle, the hottest CPU core temperature will be recorded. Both the temperature of the CPU package and the hottest core will be recorded at full load. For reference, the default fan of the cooler (Cooler Master Jeflo 120) will also be included.
CPU: Intel Xeon E3-1230 v3 @ 3.3 GHz
RAM: 16 GB HyperX Fury DDR3-1600
At idle, all three fans did the same at around 35°C for the hottest CPU core. The Noctua NF-F12 iPPC performed the best at load, with a 64°C CPU package and 74°C CPU core. It took a 7.5% lead from the CM Jetflo 120 and about 2% from the Noiseblocker B12-P. The B12-P cooled about 5% better than the Jetflo 120.
When the fans’ speeds were increased to 2000 RPM, the idle temperature remained at low 30s. Again, the NF-F12 iPPC did the best across the three fans, but the margins reduced. The CPU package was at 59°C and the hottest CPU core was at 69°C. It was a 5.7% and a 2.8% advantage over the Jetflo 120 and B12-P. At the same time, the B12-P performed 2.7% better than the Jetflo 120.
Overall, the Noctua NF-F12 iPPC and the Noiseblocker B12-P have a similar cooling performance, with Noctua’s performing slightly better. The NF-F12 iPPC did get a little louder when at full speed, not noticeable in normal use. The B12-P stayed relatively quiet across the RPM range, with little audible wind noise at higher speed.
For the Noctua NF-F12 iPPC, it performs exceptionally well when using it on radiators. The higher rated static pressure performance does contribute in better cooling. The fan’s more durable construction and its IP52 dust resistance rating are useful, especially for servers or other industrial uses.
The Noiseblocker B12-P is a well-balanced design, that have a decent airflow and static pressure performance. Although it does not perform as well as the NF-F12 iPPC, it still has a significant advantage over many cheaper priced PC fans.
Both of the two fans have an astounding 6-year warranty by Noctua and Blacknoise, and a long MTBF. I think if you need reliable and powerful fans, they can definitely meet your requirements in most of the situations and environments.
|Noctua NF-F12 iPPC-2000 PWM|
|Noiseblocker eLoop NB B12-P|
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