Introduction

NF-A15 PWM, the successor of the NF-P14 fan, is an 140 mm enthusiast fan for high end coolers and also for cases with its 120 mm mounting compability. Noctua’s aim with NF-A15 PWM is to be a premium choice for those with the highest demands. Lets see how it performs, and what we think of it.

 

Quick key facts

Noctua NF-A15 PWM
Size 140x150x25 mm
PWM (Automatic self adjusting speed) Yes
Max fan speed 1200 RPM
900 RPM
with low noise adapter
Min fan speed 300 RPM
Max noise 19,2 dB(A)
13,8 dB(A)
with low noise adapter (NA-RC9)

 

Technical specifications

Noctua NF-A15 PWM
Size 140x150x25 mm
Mounting hole spacing 105×105 mm
(120 mm fan standard hole spacing)
Bearing SSO2 (Self-Stabilising Oil-pressure)
Blade Geometry A-Series with Flow Acceleration Channels
(lower noise and higher efficiency)
Max fan speed 1200 RPM
900 RPM
with low noise adapter
Min fan speed 300 RPM
Max noise 19,2 dB(A)
13,8 dB(A)
with low noise adapter
Airflow 115,5 m³/h
88,7 m³/h
with low noise adapter
Static Pressure 1,51 mm H₂O
0,89 mm H₂O
with low noise adapter
Max. Input Power 0,96 W
Max. Input Current 0,08 A
Voltage 12 V
MTTF > 150.000 h
Scope of Delivery Low-Noise Adaptor (L.N.A.) (NA-RC9)
4-Pin Y-Cable
30cm Extension Cable
4 Vibration-Compensators
4 Fan Screws
Warranty 6 years

 

Size compability

Height over motherboard case compability: Its only 140 mm high, which maintains very good combability with cases.

Fan case combability: While its 150 mm wide and 140 mm high, it mounts in the same mounting holes as for 120 mm fans. So as long as you got room for the 150 mm in width and 140 mm in height you can successfully mount this cooler in 120 mm and and 140 mm fan mounting slots since 140 mm case fan slots also usually have mounting holes for 120 mm fans.

 

Blade design

The blades on NF-A15 have “Flow Acceleration Channels”, on the end surface of each blade. These channels control the distribution, and speed up the air, which improves airflow effeciency and lowers vertex noise.

 

Frame design

The fan frame on NF-A15 have “Advanced Acoustic Optimisation” (AAO) which optimise the noise even more, basicly improving the effiency of the ratio between peformance and noise. The AAO consists of:

  • Integrated anti-vibration pads
    Vibrations are minimised with the extra-soft silicone pads. It is compatible with screw standard mounting.
  • “Stepped Inlet Design”
    The steps help the fan blade suck in more air, and improves the airflow. The steps also improves the noise profile making the character of the noise easier to blend into the background.
  • “Inner Surface Microstructures”
    On the inside of the fan frame is small dents which reduce the noise, and improves airflow and airpressure efficiency.

Bearing

The bearing on the NF-A15 fan has Self-stabilising oil-pressure bearing (SSO bearing), the second generation, SSO2. It is designed with improved and optimised stabilisation, precision and durability.

The bearing shell is made from brass, which raise production quality a lot, with manufacturing precision and long-term stability.

 

PWM custom design

Noctua has a smoother design for PWM, Smooth Commutation Drive (SCD) technology. The Noctua PWM driver NE-FD1 has a smoother signal, which makes the fan run more quiet, especially at low speeds. Without this smooth signal ticking or clicking noises can be produced as heared in other fans.

 

Silence enthusiast adaptor

Noctua include in the package, a “Low-Noise Adaptor” (L.N.A.). It reduce the maximum fan speed from 1200 RPM down to only 900. That RPM differance, makes the noise lower from 19,2 dB(A) at 1200 RPM, to 13,8 dB(A) at 900 RPM. The adapter works both at fixed speeds and with PWM.

 

Cabling options

The cable attached to the fan is 20 cm. If you need a longer cable you can use the included 30 cm extension cable for 50 cm total length. Cables feel premium due to the sleeving, and are of course 4-pin to allow PWM to work.

 

Ultra-Low Power Consumption

NF-A15 PWM only needs 0.96W, under 1 watt! This is an 20% improvement from its predecessor.

 

Warranty

Noctua has great faith in their products, and this fan has 6 full years of warranty! The “Mean Time Between Failures” is rated for 150 000 hours for NF-A15.

 

Performance & Noise

Room ambient temperature 23.4 C
Case Open case
Processor Intel Core i5-4690K overclocked 4.2 GHz
Cooler Noctua NH U14S with included Noctua NF A15 PWM 1500 RPM version
Low noise adapter (LNA), NA-RC8 for 1500 RPM version, and NA-RC9 for 1200 RPM version Off

 

Idle test (No load)
Using 1 fan
Noctua NF A15 PWM 1200 RPM version
SuperSilent

CPU: 36 C

Fan: 496 RPM

With LNA the fan decreased to 434 RPM.

 

Stress test (Load, Handbrake)
Using 1 fan
Noctua NF A15 PWM 1500 RPM version (the CPU cooler fan)
Silent

CPU: 64,5

Fan: 763 RPM

Sudden CPU load:
852 RPM

 

The only time the 1500 RPM version can be a bit annoying for a silence enthusiast, is when it get stressed at sudden CPU load*, however with the LNA, it was reduced about 10%, which helped.

* Sudden CPU load is when the CPU load gets raised to 90-100% for a few seconds, and the fan PWM IC thinks it needs to burst up the fan speed, even though the temperatures are still low.

 

Stress test (Load, Handbrake)
Using 1 fan
Noctua NF A15 PWM 1200 RPM version
Silent

CPU: 66 C

Fan: 657 RPM

Sudden CPU load:
651 RPM

The 1200 RPM version peaked at 651 RPM at very sudden high CPU load, which was very gentle, and not noticeable. With LNA, the 1200 RPM version got also about 10% decrease fan RPM at sudden CPU load, which is a decrease it didnt really need, since it was already very gentle, even at bursts / sudden CPU loads.

 

Stress test (Load, Handbrake)
Using X2 fans (Push-Pull)
Noctua NF A15 PWM 1500 RPM version (CPU cooler version)
+
Noctua NF A15 PWM 1200 RPM version
Silent

CPU: 62

Fan 1200 RPM version: 598 RPM

With LNA: The fan speed decreased to 546 RPM.

 

Load with LNA:

“CPU” = 1200 RPM version, “CPU OPT” = 1500 RPM version

 

Conclusion

Noctua NF A15 PWM 1200 RPM version got excellent automatic speed control (PWM), silence, sound character, and air flow. It is really in a class of its own! Impressive Noctua engineers! It is compatible with almost all cases with the standard 140 mm height. It will improve your current processor cooling, if you add it to your current cooler. Not only lower temperatures, but also lower noise with lower fan speeds as well for both your new and old cooler. It is delivered in a premium package with all the accessories you could need. With the 6 years warranty you can feel safe with Noctua!

 

Pros

Excellent automatic speed control (PWM)
Supersilent in idle and silent in load, no clicking, no burst noise
High airflow
Effecient cooling design
6 years warranty!
Included PWM-Y-cable (splitter)
Included entension cable

Cons

None

 

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