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Noctua F12 or S12A for case fans

post #1 of 44
Thread Starter 
Hi,

I have my PC that I built last year and I was going to get another noctua fan to go on the CPU cooler. This is what I have:

Fractal define R4
3 x noctua F12 fans (front lower, front middle, top back)
212 hyper with stock fan

So, my plan was to get the correct ones this time seeing as I now read on the noctua site that the F12 is more for CPU cooling than a case fan and I just bought three of the same fan last year and chucked them in thinking they were all the same!

What I planned to do is use 1 x F12 on the 212 hyper to replace the stock fan. So I am left with which fans to put in the remaining 3 case locations.

The front fans are behind a fine mesh dust filter and the lower one also blows onto the HDD cage.

The noctua site says F12 for cooling/more obstructed space and S12A for less obstructed spaces with quieter (this is key to me) airflow but not totally sure what they mean.

I was thinking either 3 x F12 for both front fans and CPU and 1 x S12A for the top back one. Or 2 x F12 on CPU cooler and front bottom and 2 x S12A on front middle and top back.

Could do with a bit of advice here. Thanks in advance.
Edited by samwillc - 5/18/15 at 9:57am
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Noctua P14s redux 1200rpm Windows 10 27" Dell UltraSharp U2715H Antec Edge 650W 
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Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveCooling
500GB Samsung Evo 850 250GB Samsung Evo 850 1TB WD HDD Noctua NH-U9S 
CoolingOSMonitorPower
Noctua P14s redux 1200rpm Windows 10 27" Dell UltraSharp U2715H Antec Edge 650W 
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post #2 of 44
The P12 is a better choice than the F12 for a case fan. No one needs to hear 3 1500rpm case fans. Unless you like shouting at your system! ;-)

I installed F12s in a similar fashion a few months ago. There are now installed in a cardboard box on a shelf. In their place is a P12 and S12A. The F12 seems to work best in Noc's own U12 cooler. The P12 works better everywhere else. Even at lower rpms the P12 sounds smoother and quieter. A pair of P12s on the 212 is a great combo. The S12A is great for exhaust.
post #3 of 44
Thread Starter 
Lol, the fans aren't going at that rate though.

Open hardware reports (rough numbers from memory):

Fan #1 950rpm (chassis)
Fan #2 750rpm (CPU fan)
Fan #3 950rpm (chassis)
Fan #4 950rpm (chassis)

The three chassis fans do change a lot though, when I open a browser for example, those three jump up to like 1100rpm for a couple of seconds, it's not 'loud' but sounds like a sudden rush of wind, which I guess is what it is. It is a bit annoying though when the room is quiet. But even with a different fan, wont they just spin at the same rate? This is the first time I've ever really considered the differences between them all (other than simply being quieter).

I have a z87 gryphon and literally left everything on auto (CPU options) & standard (fans, gives the choice of standard, silent, turbo, manual) everywhere in the bios. Must crack open the instructions one day and see what this stuff actually does.

I can use the F12 on the cooler because they were expensive, and I have another build with a 212 in it that can have the other F12. Maybe keep the other one for a spare or something.

Anyway, you think P12 then as chassis fans 1, 2 & 3? Not S12A? I heard they're quieter but of course this is subjective, remember not too much heat in this rig, I don't overclock, just like it cool & quiet.

EDIT

Sorry, you meant P12 on the cooler and the 2 x front fans, S12A on the exhaust.
Edited by samwillc - 5/18/15 at 1:26pm
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Intel Core i5-4670K Asus H81i-plus itx Evga Nvidia GeForce GTX750 16GB Crucial Ballistix DDR3  
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveCooling
500GB Samsung Evo 850 250GB Samsung Evo 850 1TB WD HDD Noctua NH-U9S 
CoolingOSMonitorPower
Noctua P14s redux 1200rpm Windows 10 27" Dell UltraSharp U2715H Antec Edge 650W 
CaseAudio
Thermaltake F1 Suppressor RME Babyface USB 
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My System
(18 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i5-4670K Asus H81i-plus itx Evga Nvidia GeForce GTX750 16GB Crucial Ballistix DDR3  
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveCooling
500GB Samsung Evo 850 250GB Samsung Evo 850 1TB WD HDD Noctua NH-U9S 
CoolingOSMonitorPower
Noctua P14s redux 1200rpm Windows 10 27" Dell UltraSharp U2715H Antec Edge 650W 
CaseAudio
Thermaltake F1 Suppressor RME Babyface USB 
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post #4 of 44
If you already have F12s then best to use them on the cooler. Maybe with the LNA inline.

If there isn't too much intake restriction, then the S12A will be a little quieter. But, if there is some restriction, the P12 will actually be quieter since it won't have to work as hard, spin as high for the same airflow. Once either of them are above 1000rpm, not much to choose sonically between them imo. S12A is better for exhaust vs the P12 - certain restrictions may apply. ;-)

If you're not overclocking, sounds like the 'standard' profile is too aggressive for the case fans. Try the 'silent' mode in the BIOS.

You could also install the LNA adapters which will reduce the max speed to 900rpm and minimize the whoosh.

From @Cyclops' 120mm fan comparo

S12A:


P12:


Note: This test was at max rpm on a cooler, but at least the LNA results are shown too.
post #5 of 44
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the info. When we talk about intake restriction, this is what confuses me. The define r4 has a solid door on the front! Then a mesh in front of the fans behind that. Looks like air is sucked up from behind the door from the (wooden) floor and the into the case rather than going through the front (like on the arc mini r2, my other case).

So in this case, would a P12 do a better job?

I'm thinking remove HDD cages (use 5.25" bay for SSD/HDD, nothing in either of them anyway), 2 x P12 in front, 1 x S12A in rear and 1 x F12 on cooler. Sound like that would work based on my (bad) description of the front case design?
My System
(18 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i5-4670K Asus H81i-plus itx Evga Nvidia GeForce GTX750 16GB Crucial Ballistix DDR3  
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveCooling
500GB Samsung Evo 850 250GB Samsung Evo 850 1TB WD HDD Noctua NH-U9S 
CoolingOSMonitorPower
Noctua P14s redux 1200rpm Windows 10 27" Dell UltraSharp U2715H Antec Edge 650W 
CaseAudio
Thermaltake F1 Suppressor RME Babyface USB 
  hide details  
Reply
My System
(18 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i5-4670K Asus H81i-plus itx Evga Nvidia GeForce GTX750 16GB Crucial Ballistix DDR3  
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveCooling
500GB Samsung Evo 850 250GB Samsung Evo 850 1TB WD HDD Noctua NH-U9S 
CoolingOSMonitorPower
Noctua P14s redux 1200rpm Windows 10 27" Dell UltraSharp U2715H Antec Edge 650W 
CaseAudio
Thermaltake F1 Suppressor RME Babyface USB 
  hide details  
Reply
post #6 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by samwillc View Post

Thanks for the info. When we talk about intake restriction, this is what confuses me. The define r4 has a solid door on the front! Then a mesh in front of the fans behind that. Looks like air is sucked up from behind the door from the (wooden) floor and the into the case rather than going through the front (like on the arc mini r2, my other case).

So in this case, would a P12 do a better job?

I'm thinking remove HDD cages (use 5.25" bay for SSD/HDD, nothing in either of them anyway), 2 x P12 in front, 1 x S12A in rear and 1 x F12 on cooler. Sound like that would work based on my (bad) description of the front case design?

Across the floor. Inside the closed door. Through the mesh. Restricted? Nah...just convoluted. biggrin.gif

Definitely a case of restricted airflow. And noise flow, so that's not so bad. Good idea to remove any unused drive cages too. The cleaner the path to the cooler the better.

The P12s as intake would be the best option. S12A as out-take (How come we can say intake, but outake isn't a word?).
post #7 of 44
I always advise the use of fans with good good static pressure.

Define R4 has venting on both side near the door, so it has more airflow than you are describing .. but still not great. That said, 2x good front fans and a bottom intake will cool most anything inside it, especially if these intakes are speed controlled by CPU and GPU. Link in my sig to "Ways to better Cooling" has details .. Also a post about modified Define R2 case airflow and performance.
post #8 of 44
Thread Starter 
Lol. Thanks, I'll give it a shot with this arrangement and see what happens.
My System
(18 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i5-4670K Asus H81i-plus itx Evga Nvidia GeForce GTX750 16GB Crucial Ballistix DDR3  
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveCooling
500GB Samsung Evo 850 250GB Samsung Evo 850 1TB WD HDD Noctua NH-U9S 
CoolingOSMonitorPower
Noctua P14s redux 1200rpm Windows 10 27" Dell UltraSharp U2715H Antec Edge 650W 
CaseAudio
Thermaltake F1 Suppressor RME Babyface USB 
  hide details  
Reply
My System
(18 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i5-4670K Asus H81i-plus itx Evga Nvidia GeForce GTX750 16GB Crucial Ballistix DDR3  
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveCooling
500GB Samsung Evo 850 250GB Samsung Evo 850 1TB WD HDD Noctua NH-U9S 
CoolingOSMonitorPower
Noctua P14s redux 1200rpm Windows 10 27" Dell UltraSharp U2715H Antec Edge 650W 
CaseAudio
Thermaltake F1 Suppressor RME Babyface USB 
  hide details  
Reply
post #9 of 44
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by doyll View Post

I always advise the use of fans with good good static pressure.

Define R4 has venting on both side near the door, so it has more airflow than you are describing .. but still not great. That said, 2x good front fans and a bottom intake will cool most anything inside it, especially if these intakes are speed controlled by CPU and GPU. Link in my sig to "Ways to better Cooling" has details .. Also a post about modified Define R2 case airflow and performance.

Thanks for the link. After looking at it, I decided to check out the manual to see whether the fan headers are PWM or not:





I notice the CHA_FAN(n) do not say PWM on any of the pins. Your post here:

http://www.overclock.net/t/1455377/airflow-question/20#post_21540663

...made me wonder if I have the fans attached correctly, seems my PWM fans are connected to non-PWN headers. The noctua fans came with a Y splitter, so I have 3 of those. Should I be using that on CPU_OPT and CPU_FAN and igoring chassis fans? Still a bit confused about what PWM does (does it mean the fans can be controlled via software? Or they dynamically change rpm depending on heat?). My chassis fans do speed up and down when connected to CHA_FAN(n) so what is controlling the speed change on them? The F12 fans themselves are all 4 pin PWM.

A quote from an amazon uk review for a PWM splitter http://www.amazon.co.uk/Akasa-AK-CB002-PWM-splitter-smart/dp/B001J2YRUC:
Quote:
"if you want a Silent PC and have PWM fans then this cable is a MUST. In my opinion having a high-end PC is great but how can you enjoy it if it sounds like an helicopter everytime you switch it on, experience as taught me that PWM fans are a MUST for a silent PC, most cases come with standard fans, and even though they can utilise the BIOS technology to keep the PC quiet such as AMDs cool & quiet or Intels speedstep, let me just say when you buy PWM fans you will never regret it, but simply buying a few PWM fans is not going to make your PC silent, and on 95% of motherboards only the CPU Fan Header supports PWM, so the rest of the case fans will still run at full or half speed, PWM or not. This is WHY this CABLE is a MUST, this allows you to connect your fans to the one splitter, so all your case fans are connected to the cable and the only fan connected to the motherboard is your CPU FAN, this is how your get a much quiet and at times totally silent PC."

Does this sum it up nicely? Trying to work out what I need here to complete the job. So far:

2 x P12 fans
1 x S12A fan
1 (is this right?) x http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/akasa-5-pwm-fans-from-single-pwm-header-cable-a96nl?gclid=CNTM79OlzcUCFeiWtAodQScAKg
1 x drive bay adaptor to stick in 5.25"

This was my first ever build and it seems I was rather casual about what goes where! The help is very much appreciated and will certainly make my next build better! biggrin.gif
Edited by samwillc - 5/19/15 at 12:46am
My System
(18 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i5-4670K Asus H81i-plus itx Evga Nvidia GeForce GTX750 16GB Crucial Ballistix DDR3  
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveCooling
500GB Samsung Evo 850 250GB Samsung Evo 850 1TB WD HDD Noctua NH-U9S 
CoolingOSMonitorPower
Noctua P14s redux 1200rpm Windows 10 27" Dell UltraSharp U2715H Antec Edge 650W 
CaseAudio
Thermaltake F1 Suppressor RME Babyface USB 
  hide details  
Reply
My System
(18 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i5-4670K Asus H81i-plus itx Evga Nvidia GeForce GTX750 16GB Crucial Ballistix DDR3  
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveCooling
500GB Samsung Evo 850 250GB Samsung Evo 850 1TB WD HDD Noctua NH-U9S 
CoolingOSMonitorPower
Noctua P14s redux 1200rpm Windows 10 27" Dell UltraSharp U2715H Antec Edge 650W 
CaseAudio
Thermaltake F1 Suppressor RME Babyface USB 
  hide details  
Reply
post #10 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by samwillc View Post

...made me wonder if I have the fans attached correctly, seems my PWM fans are connected to non-PWN headers. The noctua fans came with a Y splitter, so I have 3 of those. Should I be using that on CPU_OPT and CPU_FAN and igoring chassis fans? Still a bit confused about what PWM does (does it mean the fans can be controlled via software? Or they dynamically change rpm depending on heat?). My chassis fans do speed up and down when connected to CHA_FAN(n) so what is controlling the speed change on them? The F12 fans themselves are all 4 pin PWM.

A quote from an amazon uk review for a PWM splitter http://www.amazon.co.uk/Akasa-AK-CB002-PWM-splitter-smart/dp/B001J2YRUC:
Does this sum it up nicely? Trying to work out what I need here to complete the job. So far:

2 x P12 fans
1 x S12A fan
1 (is this right?) x http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/akasa-5-pwm-fans-from-single-pwm-header-cable-a96nl?gclid=CNTM79OlzcUCFeiWtAodQScAKg
1 x drive bay adaptor to stick in 5.25"

This was my first ever build and it seems I was rather casual about what goes where! The help is very much appreciated and will certainly make my next build better! biggrin.gif

Yes, you want to use CPU_OPT and CPU_FAN for your PWM fans. Otherwise, they're voltage controlled and won't spin as low at idle.

The benefit of PWM control for all fans is less noise at idle, but possibly more noise at full load, but with better temps with proportionate airflow. I prefer that option, since I don't mind some fan whoosh if the computer is working hard - but when it's idle and I'm staring at screen waiting for the muse to arrive, I need it as quiet as possible. Muses scare easy. The slightest fan generated whoosh, hum or click has been known to chase them away for hours.

Your proposed list looks good. Since your board has two PWM headers, you could dedicate CPU_FAN to the cpu fan and put the splitter on CPU_OPT to control the case fans. Then if your bios offers different profiles for the PWM headers, you can tweak to get the best balance of cooling to noise. Experiment with inserting the LNA adapters to get the lowest noise possible. Are you overclocking your system?
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