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Thread: Noctua NF-A20 5V & PWM

  1. #1
    Xtreme Reviewer
    Join Date
    Apr 2011

    Noctua NF-A20 5V & PWM


    Noctua expands its award-winning A-Series premium and ultra-quiet cooling fans with two new 200mm fans models. The new 5V and 5V PWM versions of the award-winning NF-A20 (200mm) aim to open up new markets that range from bigger devices and home appliances all the way to cabinet cooling, green walls and room ventilation. Designing a high quality fan of that size isn't as easy as it sounds. The company said the mass of a 200mm impeller is about four times greater than that of its 120mm fans. Through the use of a new fiberglass reinforced polypropylene material, designers were able to reduce the mass of the NF-A20 impeller by 26%. In addition, the diameter of the axis and the bearing were increased from 3mm to 4mm to better distribute the load over a larger bearing surface.


    NF-A20 5V.

    NF-A20 5V PWM.

    Packaging & Contents

    Before taking a look at each cooling fan and what it has to offer, let's take a look at all of them fans to be covered. The below image shows the front of the boxes for the two 200mm fans. The packaging may seem fairly serious, but you do get a brief summary of each fan's capabilities on the front cover.

    The back side of the cover shows a brief description of the fan in nine different languages and provides the fan specifications, the Scope of Delivery, and the Six Years of Warranty disclaimer.

    Noctua really does a great job with their packaging in terms of providing something that is informative, well thought out, and able to protect the contents from damage. Opening the box gets you Noctua's installation manual (it is also online here) on top. At the bottom you find the fan snuggled in its recyclable plastic case.

    Under that is a box of accessories for your particular fan.

    The next image shows their accessories removed from their boxes. The set is the same for both fans.
    It includes:
    -30cm extension cable
    -NA-AV3 anti-vibration mounts
    -Fan screws
    -OmniJoin adaptor set
    -USB power adaptor cable

    The fan's short 20cm primary cable minimises cable clutter in typical applications while the supplied 30cm extension provides extended reach when necessary. Both cables are fully sleeved. The fan includes a USB power adaptor cable that allows it to run on power banks, devices with USB host ports or USB power supplies such as those used for smartphones, giving you near endless possibilities for using the fan in your home, in your car or wherever a need for cooling occurs!

    Many devices featuring 200mm fans use proprietary fan headers, so the fans comes with Noctua's OmniJoin Adaptor Set. Just cut the original fan's cable, fix it to the adaptor using the supplied 3M Scotchlok connectors and you can plug the fans to proprietary fan headers!

    A Closer Look

    With the 20cm NF-A20, Noctua's biggest fan yet, the key challenge was that the mass of the impeller is about four times greater than that of 12 or 14cm fans and thus creates a significantly higher load on the bearing. In the end, the difficulties were overcome by increasing the diameter of the axis and the bearing from 3mm to 4mm in order to distribute the load over a larger bearing surface, as well as by using a new fibreglass reinforced polypropylene (PP) material, which reduces the mass of the impeller by 26% as compared to Noctua's standard fibreglass reinforced PBT material.

    In order to ensure broad compatibility with today's PC cases, the NF-A20 features three sets of mounting holes: While the 154x154mm and 110x180mm spacing allow it to replace most 200mm fans, the 170x170mm spacing is used by many 230 and 250mm fans, which can thus also be replaced by the NF-A20.

    Both of the fans are equipped with absolutely identical pressure optimized propellers featuring 9 very wide and not very sharply angled blades. As many devices using 5V fans feature proprietary connectors, and documentation of the pin alignment may not be available, the fan features an integrated diode for polarity protection. This way, you're on the safe side if you accidentally connect it with reverse polarity.

    The AAO frame comprising of the stepped inlet design, inner surface microstructures and integrated vibration pads alleviate noise problems that may arise or at least keep it as low as possible relative to the airflow produced. The tips of the blades have flow acceleration channels in the intake side for speeding up airflow on the outer edges which reduces vortex noise related to flow separation.

    The latest version of Noctua's advanced Smooth Commutation Drive system ensures superb running smoothness by eliminating torque variations and switching noises. This makes the fan remarkably quiet even at very close distances.

    The NF-A20 features the further optimised second generation of Noctua's renowned, time-tested SSO bearing. With SSO2, the rear magnet is placed closer to the axis to provide even better stabilisation, precision and durability.

    Test System & Methology

    Testing the Noctua NF-A20- PWM & FLX fans required pushing my hardware to heat things up! Testing involved recording temperatures for the CPU, GPU, and chipset during idle and load conditions. Load conditions were simulated by running Prime95's small FFTs and 3Dmark Vantage for one hour. The maximum load temperatures were recorded using HW Monitor and the idle temperatures were taken after a 30 minute cool down time.I replaced the front 200mm stock fan with the Noctua NF-A20 5V PWM fan.

    Testing Setup:

    Processor: Core i7 2600K @ 4.4 GHz 100 x 44
    CPU Cooling: Noctua NH-U12P SE 1366
    Motherboard: GIGABYTE Z68AP-D3
    Memory: Mushkin 993997 Redline PC3-17000 9-11-10-28 16 GB
    Video Card: XFX HD 7970
    PSU: Antec TruePower New TP-750
    Hard Drive: Corsair Force GT 240 GB
    Optical Drive: N/A
    OS: Windows 7 Pro 64-Bit SP1
    Case:Cooler Master HAF XM


    The Noctua's fan configuration provided a good drop in temperatures.

    Noise Level

    Noctua again offering a near-silent experience.


    There should be no doubt that a cooling fan from Noctua is going to be a high quality product. The 200mm 5V fans provided for this review confirmed this. While more and more PC cases support 20cm intake, side-panel or exhaust fans, many of the bundled stock units and available aftermarket options are of questionable quality. By contrast, the NF-A20 5V PWM is a true premium grade solution worthy of Noctua's award-winning A-series. Another great thing about each of these fans that was not covered in detail within the review is the bundle of accessories. With all the adapters and mounting hardware options provided, you have the flexibility to custom tailor your installation to meet your expectations. The construction, styling, and quality of these fans is evident the instant you pull them out of their packaging.

    Noctua fans are renowned for their outstanding longevity. Like all Noctua fans, the NF-A20 5V features an MTTF of more than 150.000 hours rating and comes with a full 6-year manufacturer's warranty.
    The suggested retail prices are as follows:

    NF-A20 5V PWM: EUR 29.90 / USD 29.90
    NF-A20 5V: EUR 29.90 / USD 29.90

    They are a bit pricy compared to the fans I would normally put in my machines (which do tend to lean much closer to function over form than anything else) but after seeing them and seeing what kind of performance they can deliver I have to say I'm happy with them. They took the Cooler Master HAF XM from being a case with great cooling to a case with nearly unbeatable cooling potential! Improving upon a case that already has such good cooling capabilities is no small achievement and on top of that, they did it without making a racket. The fans are all high quality and will help keep your system cool and quiet. That said, they universally earn the "Excellent" award.

    Last edited by testman78; 07-22-2018 at 01:40 AM.



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