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Thread: Noctua chromax.black.swap Fans

  1. #1
    Xtreme Reviewer
    Join Date
    Apr 2011

    Noctua chromax.black.swap Fans


    We're huge fans of Noctua here at Xtremesystems.org, and more accurately, we're fans of their fans. Since reviewing their now legendary NH-D15 cooler a couple of years ago, we use them on all our test benches. Right so too, they're as cool as almost any AIO cooler and as quiet as a mouse. However, as many fans and coolers of theirs that we use, we often get readers poking fun at us for using brown fans. I say shut your face, I love the look of them, a lot of people do. However, there are just as many out there that think they look.... well, brown I guess- they're not wrong. Noctua has always been performance first and that's fantastic. Aesthetics are easy, and I bet Noctua is the last in the world to touch RGB. If anything, they'll do RGB when everyone else stops doing it. However, after all these years they've come up with a way to provide customization and colour to their products, without impacting the core design of their products, or their performance. Of course, I'm talking about their new Chromax range. Today we'll be taking a look at their new black fans with colourful anti-vibration mounts. It's that simple, add-on items to jazz up your Noctua products.

    The new chromax.black.swap versions of the award-winning NF-A20 PWM, NF-A12x15 PWM, NF-A9 PWM, NF-A9x14 HS-PWM and NF-A8 PWM fans as well as the anti-vibration pads now give customers the option to colour-coordinate Noctua 200 mm, slim 120 mm, 92 mm, slim 92 mm and 80 mm fans with individual build designs and popular colour schemes such as all black, black and white or black and red etc.

    Packaging & Contents

    The front side is in black color. It is filled with multiple colors highlighting the new colored approach taken by the Noctua. The complete model of the fan is printed under the Chromax. On the top left side, Noctua Premium Fan with the dimension of each model is printed. To highlight the colors effect, Swappable Anti-Vibration Pads in 6 colours is printed under the main line. The fan's diagram is printed under that and there are 6 square boxes on the left side of the fan diagram each with a different color. The Noctua's brand logo is printed on the far right side.

    The specifications of the fan are printed on the backside. The EAN and the UPC labels are printed on the bottom right side. The fan is made in China and carries the Noctua's 6 years warranty. The sides of the packing box are done in brown color with the Chromax and the fan's model printed on them.

    Let's open the box and see all the magic that the Noctua has done. On the center, we have the fan itself nicely tucked inside. On the front side, we can see 6 anti-vibration pads in different colors. Notice that the fan does not have any pad out of the box pre-installed. The idea is that user will decide which ones to use depending upon the build's color scheme.

    The backside of the black color container has the power cable (NA-SEC1) in black color placed around. There is another box placed there. It is the Chromax anti-vibration pads container box. It has all the anti-vibration pads placed inside.

    It has M3 screws inside as well. The total count of each color supplied with the NF-A20 PWM chromax.black.swap are:

    8x NA-AVP6 chromax.black anti-vibration pads
    4x NA-AVP6 chromax.blue anti-vibration pads
    4x NA-AVP6 chromax.green anti-vibration pads
    4x NA-AVP6 chromax.red anti-vibration pads
    4x NA-AVP6 chromax.white anti-vibration pads
    4x NA-AVP6 chromax.yellow anti-vibration pads

    The total count of each color supplied with the NF-A12x15 PWM chromax.black.swap are:

    8x NA-AVP7 chromax.black anti-vibration pads
    8x NA-AVP7 chromax.blue anti-vibration pads
    8x NA-AVP7 chromax.green anti-vibration pads
    8x NA-AVP7 chromax.red anti-vibration pads
    8x NA-AVP7 chromax.white anti-vibration pads
    8x NA-AVP7 chromax.yellow anti-vibration pads

    The total count of each color supplied with the NF-A9 PWM chromax.black.swap are:

    8x NA-AVP5 chromax.black anti-vibration pads
    4x NA-AVP5 chromax.blue anti-vibration pads
    4x NA-AVP5 chromax.green anti-vibration pads
    4x NA-AVP5 chromax.red anti-vibration pads
    4x NA-AVP5 chromax.white anti-vibration pads
    4x NA-AVP5 chromax.yellow anti-vibration pads

    The total count of each color supplied with the NF-A9x14 HS-PWM chromax.black.swap are:

    8x NA-AVP8 chromax.black anti-vibration pads
    8x NA-AVP8 chromax.blue anti-vibration pads
    8x NA-AVP8 chromax.green anti-vibration pads
    8x NA-AVP8 chromax.red anti-vibration pads
    8x NA-AVP8 chromax.white anti-vibration pads
    8x NA-AVP8 chromax.yellow anti-vibration pads

    The total count of each color supplied with the NF-A8 PWM chromax.black.swap are:

    8x NA-AVP5 chromax.black anti-vibration pads
    4x NA-AVP5 chromax.blue anti-vibration pads
    4x NA-AVP5 chromax.green anti-vibration pads
    4x NA-AVP5 chromax.red anti-vibration pads
    4x NA-AVP5 chromax.white anti-vibration pads
    4x NA-AVP5 chromax.yellow anti-vibration pads

    A Closer Look

    According to Noctua's own comparison table, the Chromax.black.swap edition fans are basically identical to the standard "beige and brown" version fans in every aspect. They both feature the same SSO2 bearing and the fiber-glass reinforced PBT frame, as well as the designs and technologies, such as the stepped inlet design and inner surface microstructures. We should see very similar, if not exact cooling performance for both fans.

    You can put your desired colored anti-vibration pads on the 4 corners of the fan and on both sides. You will need a total of eight pads for each fans. The pads work as well as the usual brown pads, absorbing most of the vibration noise coming from the cooler and the fan.

    It is extremely simple to install or swap the anti-vibration pads. There are two rubber pins to hold each pad to the fan. In my experience, it is both faster and easier to install the pads by firmly pushing the pins into their respective holes first. After you feel a click that the pins are secured, you can wrap/unfold the pads edges around the fan. The use of premium-grade silicone makes the pads both extra soft and highly tear-proof, allowing them to combine efficient decoupling with excellent longevity and ease of use.

    The other big change with each of the fans is the replaceable cords. You get a sleeved black cable with the fan, but this is where the Chromax fan extension cables come into play.

    There is just a short nub of a cord built on to the fan and then you can plug whatever color you need into it.

    In order to ensure broad compatibility with today's PC cases, the NF-A20 PWM chromax.black.swap 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.

    Having a thickness of only 15mm, the NF-A12x15 PWM chromax.black.swap is much slimmer than standard 120x25mm fans. This makes it ideal for typical slim fan applications such as low-profile CPU coolers as well as for freeing up space by replacing standard 120x25mm fans on tower coolers, radiators or in PC cases.

    With many larger-diameter slim fan designs, the shorter axis and bearing lead to a reduced running stability and lifespan. The NF-A12x15 uses a metal-reinforced motor hub, a measure typically found in high-speed industrial fans, in order to guarantee Noctua's signature stability and longevity.

    The fan is equipped with identical propellers entirely in black with 7 pretty narrow and at the same time not very sharply angled blades, which are optimized to deliver the best possible performance and noise level balance. Of course, the propellers themselves are designed with the very well know flow acceleration channels which speed up the airflow at the crucial outer blade regions. This measure reduces suction side flow separation and thus leads to better efficiency and lower vortex noises when the air passes through the blades. When the fan is set to 0% PWM duty cycle by the motherboard or PWM fan controller, it will stop. This makes it ideal for creating setups with semi-passive cooling that automatically turn the fans off and thus run completely silent at idle if thermals allow.

    Measuring only 14mm in thickness, the NF-A9x14 HS-PWM chromax.black.swap is much slimmer than standard 92x25mm fans. This makes it ideal for all applications where standard fans would take up too much space, such as low profile CPU coolers in HTPC builds or server environments.

    Supporting fully automatic PWM speed control, the NF-A9x14 uses Noctua's novel, custom-designed NE-FD1 PWM IC that integrates Smooth Commutation Drive (SCD) technology. By providing smoother torque impulses, SCD suppresses PWM switching noises and thus makes the fan quieter at lower speeds.

    With the tips of the fan blades ploughing through the boundary layer created by the Inner Surface Microstructures, flow separation from the suction side of the blades is significantly suppressed, which results in reduced blade passing noise and improved airflow and pressure efficiency.

    Offered as a PWM unit, users have the opportunity to choose between adjustable fan speeds or a flexible design to maximize quietness. The NF-A9 PWM chromax.black.swap can operate between 400RPM and 2000RPM.

    Noctua's Stepped Inlet Design adds turbulence to the influx in order to facilitate the transition from laminar flow to turbulent flow, which reduces tonal intake noise, improves flow attachment and increases suction capacity, especially in space-restricted environments.

    From the fan to the plug, as before, the cable is sleeved.

    The NF-A8 PWM chromax.black.swap features the further optimized 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 stabilization, precision and durability.

    Smaller fans tend to run louder than larger versions so users with older computers or smaller HTPC cases may find the quiet Noctua fans a extremely pleasant upgrade.

    Final Thoughts

    Regarding the new chromax line fans I can easily say that the top notch quality is here, combined with great appearance and tons of possibilities. Please note that these are not new fans but simply black color versions of their predecessors which are still available but in brown color. These fans are implemented in the total black color and for color customization, the Noctua has supplied 6 colors anti-vibration pads in each pack. The black fan frame combined with the anti-vibration pads in six colors give users a subtle but customizable computer component to match their overall PC builds color schemes. You no longer need to sacrifice either your PC's performance, or its aesthetic with the new Chromax fans. For further customisation, a wide range of accessories such as coloured cables are available separately.

    All models are available and the manufacturer's suggested retail prices are as follows:

    NF-A20 PWM chromax.black.swap: EUR 34.90 / USD 34.90
    NF-A12x15 PWM chromax.black.swap: EUR 24.90 / USD 24.90
    NF-A9 PWM chromax.black.swap: EUR 19.90 / USD 19.90
    NF-A9x14 HS-PWM chromax.black.swap: EUR 19.90 / USD 19.90
    NF-A8 PWM chromax.black.swap: EUR 19.90 / USD 19.90

    The Prices for Noctua products are typically a bit higher than most, but that's to be expected given they're pretty much the best quality and performance available. Not saying other brands can't compete, but Noctua does have a solid reputation for quality. I am pretty sure the new visual options will definitely attract more attention to the products and most of all will definitely lure curious eyes to peek inside every modern case or modding project. In the end, the NF-A20 PWM, NF-A12x15 PWM, NF-A9 PWM, NF-A9x14 HS-PWM and NF-A8 PWM chromax.black fans comply with Noctua's Premium Fan statement. Backed by an outstanding six year warranty, these fans should last a computer's life time without you needing to replace them.

    Last edited by testman78; 02-06-2020 at 11:05 PM.



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