[SFFn] Noctua's Sterrox - The Next Generation

confusis

John Morrison. Founder and Head writer SFF.N
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Evolution in the fan space is slow. We've reached the era of incremental improvements, whilst the core design of fans stay the same. None of the crazy early days experimentation is found nowadays, sounding a death knell to the likes of hub motors, and even the pure Sandia designed CPU cooler. Instead, small improvements are made (notwithstanding RGB, because that's an entirely different story), in pursuit of a better cooling device.

Material tech is the route chosen by Noctua for improving their fans in this instance, eschewing the fan frame changes shown by DeepCool, CryoRig et al. Better materials can mean tighter tolerances, higher reliability, improved aural characteristics, or a combination thereof. Enter Sterrox, Noctua's Liquid Crystal Polymer. Using this relatively new form of plastic, tighter fan impeller tolerances can be specified, creating more airflow than the usual "just make the hub smaller" methodology that people usually suggest.

Read more here.
 

Biowarejak

Maker of Awesome | User 1615
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Mar 6, 2017
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I really love the finish on the blades, and I'm curious how it would look in other colors :)
 
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sgtspiff

Caliper Novice
May 25, 2018
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You should take a round of 800rpm and see the results in the quiet part of cooling. IMHO everything above will make the movement of the air noisy.
 

Sean Crees

Airflow Optimizer
Jan 1, 2017
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You can't compare fans at different RPM speeds. Of course the fan spinning the fastest gave the best results. You need to set them all to the same RPM at varying speeds. Like 800rpm, 1200rpm, 1600rpm etc. Then compare them.
 
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dagathon

Efficiency Noob
Sep 17, 2017
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Was this meant to be a review? The message at the top of the forum says "Noctua's Sterrox Based NF-A12x25 Reviewed!" but this doesn't seem like a review to me.

You tested this fan on one heatsink? Didn't test it in push vs. pull configuration. Didn't test it as a case fan to see if it keeps the ambient air in case cooler or hotter? And then you change the setup only to show no statistical difference in the fans tested at 1230 rpm. And if the other fans in the system are drowning out the Noctua fans, why aren't you turning them off? It's no wonder you can't tell any difference, you've setup this test in a way that you can't tell an audible difference. Plus, you're not even measuring that audible difference, you made one comment on how it seems more audibly pleasant.

You even note a bad cooler mount. Why post this?

There is more marketing material here from Noctua than there is actual data in which to judge how well this fan performs, in which situations it performs well/not-well in and how that compares to other, similar fans.
 

MarcParis

Spatial Philosopher
Apr 1, 2016
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Thanks for this review.

At leastn you demonstrate that this new fan is not a breakthrough as noctua marketing is claiming..:)
Honest fan but you convinced me to stay on my gentle typhoon on radiator..:D
 
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McTeags

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Feb 18, 2017
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When people talk about PCs they usually talk about CPU, GPU or SSDs. This is a fan but it’s just so damn cool :cool:
 
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confusis

John Morrison. Founder and Head writer SFF.N
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You can't compare fans at different RPM speeds. Of course the fan spinning the fastest gave the best results. You need to set them all to the same RPM at varying speeds. Like 800rpm, 1200rpm, 1600rpm etc. Then compare them.
Hence the second test, where I compare all the fans at the top speed of the slowest fan. :)

Was this meant to be a review? The message at the top of the forum says "Noctua's Sterrox Based NF-A12x25 Reviewed!" but this doesn't seem like a review to me.

You tested this fan on one heatsink? Didn't test it in push vs. pull configuration. Didn't test it as a case fan to see if it keeps the ambient air in case cooler or hotter? And then you change the setup only to show no statistical difference in the fans tested at 1230 rpm. And if the other fans in the system are drowning out the Noctua fans, why aren't you turning them off? It's no wonder you can't tell any difference, you've setup this test in a way that you can't tell an audible difference. Plus, you're not even measuring that audible difference, you made one comment on how it seems more audibly pleasant.

You even note a bad cooler mount. Why post this?

There is more marketing material here from Noctua than there is actual data in which to judge how well this fan performs, in which situations it performs well/not-well in and how that compares to other, similar fans.
Let me cover your points in brief;

-A bad cooler mount won't make a difference to overall results - much like testing on a 95w vs a 65w processor, the results will be comparable in delta, rather than overall numbers. I'm testing the fan's ability to cool in a given circumstance, of which the circumstances don't change. I could be wrong though!
-I don't have tools to hand that can accurately measure audible difference to the noise floor that these fans get to. Working on sourcing one though!

Thanks for the feedback :D

As an aside, I've adjusted the forum notice above to better capture the essence of the article.
 
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confusis

John Morrison. Founder and Head writer SFF.N
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Another note;

I've updated the article with a disclaimer about the results section. Retesting will follow soon. (in the next few days, hopefully)
 

confusis

John Morrison. Founder and Head writer SFF.N
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Update:
-Reseated the cooler three times, no changes in temps. Thus my cooler seating wasn't bad!
-Turns out the monitoring software, supplied by the board vendor itself doesn't take into account the correct offset
-As an offset, my fan results are the same comparable to eachother
-Further testing will follow in time. Will also see what coolers I have to hand with denser fin stacks (I don't have any waterblocks to do water cooling testing, alas)

Noted and adjusted article to correct this.
 

MarcParis

Spatial Philosopher
Apr 1, 2016
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Update:
-Reseated the cooler three times, no changes in temps. Thus my cooler seating wasn't bad!
-Turns out the monitoring software, supplied by the board vendor itself doesn't take into account the correct offset
-As an offset, my fan results are the same comparable to eachother
-Further testing will follow in time. Will also see what coolers I have to hand with denser fin stacks (I don't have any waterblocks to do water cooling testing, alas)

Noted and adjusted article to correct this.
Thanks for triple checking your results...:)
You are our shield versus crazy claim from marketing..:)

To be honest, the nf a12-25 should be better suited on wc radiator as its blade shape is so similar to gentle typhoon. This last one is just average on air cooler, despite being the best on radiator.
Cpu air cooler are less restrictive on air flow than radiator, thus many fans are completely fine on air cooler..:)
 
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GuilleAcoustic

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Jun 29, 2015
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Of course the fan spinning the fastest gave the best results
Wrong, neither static pressure, noise nor air flow are solely dependant on fan speed. Else there would be no point in reviewing fans.

Plus, you're not even measuring that audible difference, you made one comment on how it seems more audibly pleasant.
As someone who spent the 20 past years living with severe tinnitus and hyperacusis in both ears, I can attest that db is not what annoys me the most. Some sound signatures / frequencies, even close to being impossible to hear, are really unbearable while louder sound can be pleasing (Engine27 for example is pleasing).

Being plagued with hyperacusis means that there are almost no such thing as silence. Knowing how a noise feel is more valuable to me than how many db are delivered.
 
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Aichon

Average Stuffer
Oct 16, 2017
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Being plagued with hyperacusis means that there are almost no such thing as silence. Knowing how a noise feel is more valuable to me than how many db are delivered.
Does dBA do a good job at indicating "noise feel" for you?

To summarize very briefly, dB measures sound pressure, whereas dBA (i.e. A-weighted dB) measures perceived sound pressure (a.k.a. loudness). Because humans perceive certain frequencies (e.g. crying babies) as being louder than others, dBA—which weights the results based on our understanding of how humans hear—provides a better sense of how loud something will seem to us. Most decibel meters I've seen even allow you to toggle between measuring in terms of dB and dBA with the tap of a button.

Relatedly, I'd love to see tests conducted where you control for dBA and then provide performance numbers at various dBA levels (though it seems like that may not be possible in the current setup). The only reason anyone controls for RPMs in the first place is as a stand-in proxy for how much sound the fan will produce, but if you can control for dBA directly with a meter (even a free app on your phone would be sufficient), it'll let you compare how much performance each fan can provide at a given perceived sound level, which is of far more interest to most consumers, particularly when we have a fan that is being billed as sounding quieter at the same RPMs.
 

owliwar

Master of Cramming
Lazer3D
Apr 7, 2017
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thanks for the review!

I wasn't aware of the material change, that was a very interesting read!
nice to see they used it to make moulding easier as well. and dang, glass fiber in the plastic? I can see where the 17 year lifetime is comming from. Really interesting indeed.

it would look sick in black though. I love the swirls in the material
 
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