When I first got into desktop computing, it wasn’t how cool the computer looked or how well it performed, it was just about getting it working and completing the accomplishment of building my very first machine.
My first computer build was constructed out of computer parts I could find and in the end it turned out pretty nice. In fact, it’s still in use today running Windows 7 32bit like a dream.
I have since moved on to my secondary build where I took years of observing experience and applied it to this build. This was the time for perfection and ensuring that everything was exactly to my liking. It passed the “cool” status by having LED lights and nice cable management plus it performs like a Ferrari.
When you take a look inside my H440 side panel, you see my enormous CPU cooler, the Noctua NH-D15. It’s the centerpiece of this build, mainly because you can’t help but notice it. There’s just one thing I wish it had…
Noctua has always been known for the perfect computer case fan. Some of their fans are water-proof, others are meant for silent operation.
Nevertheless one complaint I always hear about Noctua from virtually every reviewer is how they get away with selling a bland tan and brown colored fan.
I’ve always wanted my NH-D15 CPU cooler to have better stylized fans. A while back, Noctua released their new IndustrialPPC fans which were black in color with brown accents. Following my review of them, I was tempted to replace my standard Noctua fans with these for the better color scheme, but I couldn’t live with the increased noise.
So what was I to do? Replacing my Noctua fans was an option, but their features, quietness, and indestructible build had me held captive. For a while now the world, including myself, has just been waiting for the Austrian company to come up with a new design any day now. That day, is now here.
Welcome to my review of the Noctua Chromax. Throughout this review, I will be discussing the following topics: the design, functionality, and my final thoughts. A special thank you to Noctua for providing me with this product.
As I said above, Noctua fans have always had a bland style to them and while they still fit in with most build color schemes, it wasn’t perfect. For those computer perfectionists, I’d imagine they had to give up the Noctua performance for another brand that matched.
Before we dive deeper into the review, Noctua still has a problem with their solid tan fans, but the Chromax products help smooth over that slight blemish; especially for enthusiasts like me who want the Noctua fans, with an improved look.
Side note, it would be neat if Noctua offered a service like the Microsoft Xbox Design Lab, where you could customize your Noctua fan(s) to have different colors all around. Similar to how you can customize Xbox controllers for Microsoft.
The Chromax lineup consists of small rubber attachments that can connect to Noctua fans, excluding their redux and standard cooler series fans.
While sold independently, the Chromax lineup is a two-part styling kit. The first part is the Noctua anti-vibration pads. These are the rubber pads that sit between the fan and the mounting bracket, whether that be a CPU cooler or the PC case. Of course, as stated in the name, the rubber fittings absorb any vibrations made by the rotation of the fan. Second, there is the Noctua anti-vibration mounts. Instead of using screws to mount your fans, Noctua provides rubber pull tabs that act in place of screws.
Naturally, being an American, I was sent some red, white, and blue Chromax pads and mounts. When comparing the colors to each other and other objects, the best way I can describe the color is strong and precise.
Noctua’s coloring is spot on and offers a strong dye to the rubber. My blue Chromax pads are a nice deep royal blue and there aren’t any teal shades in the color. Red can be best visualized by the iconic red American fire truck, or London bus. Then, white is a marble dye that is similar to paper or my NZXT H440 computer case, a perfect match!
The colors are a perfect match between the pads and mounts, plus since the box comes with a ton of these things (16 pads, 20 mounts), the colors were all the same throughout.
Noctua’s color range includes black, blue, green, red, white, and yellow. If you can’t choose between those colors, then white would be your best bet.
As with Noctua fans, the expected Noctua quality standard is found in the Chromax. The rubber material used in the Chromax is incredibility strong. With significant tugging, bending, crushing, and folding, each time the Chromax piece would fold back into its default position.
Apart from the redux fans, which are already designed for silent operation, I’ve never used Noctua fans without the preinstalled brown mounts. So I decided to take them off to see if I could notice a difference. At idle operation, it sounded about the same.
It was gaming without my headphones on that I began to hear the slightest increase in fan noise. I figured it was my imagination, expecting to hear a different result since I made a change. I continued leaving them off, but that slight noise continued to be there. Could it have been that the rubber mounts actually produced that much of a difference?
Sure enough, they do. I applied my new Chromax pads and the volume from the fans had faded away. While it wasn’t a massive improvement, I was astounded that there was any difference at all.
The best improvement you can make though is the anti-vibration mounts. Replacing the screws with these does offer a better vibration control.
Finally, installation of the Chromax is straight forward and takes about ten seconds for the pads. The mounts will require a little bit of force to get them through the screw holes. I couldn’t break the mounts, so you should be fine.
My Final Thoughts
While there isn’t much to say about rubber accessories to fans, these Noctua Chromax pads and mounts really speak for themselves. They help improve a tan/black fan that needs a better color scheme and they help add a slight flare if you are going for a certain color all around the case. Prices for the Chromax are very fair in my opinion, with either the pads or mounts regardless of color priced at $6.90. I am very happy with Noctua’s Chromax lineup and I recommend them to anybody looking to improve their setup.
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