Most of us understand the necessity of keeping a computer as cool as possible. Lower temperatures allow for a better operation and for a healthy computer system.

There is much debate on whether or not water cooling is superior to air cooled machines and vice versa. I prefer to recommend what’s been used since the beginning and that’s air cooled machines. Water cooled systems run the risk of leakage, can be louder, and if there happens to be air in your system, could allow your CPU to overheat. Even large servers operate in an air cooled environment.

One thing's for certain; for most users, the recommendation for any operation is to stick with high quality Noctua grade fans. Optimized for quiet operation, high or low pressure systems, and available in every size imaginable, they are the recommendation of most.

Not too long ago, I had the opportunity to review Noctua’s newest fan series, the IndustrialPPC and Redux Series . As I concluded within my review, I found that they both shine in different ways. Now, Noctua is at it again with their new flagship A series fans, surpassing the previous award-winning B series.

In the upcoming review, I was provided with not one, not two, but three A series fans, all of which are unique in their own way. Available in three different sizes, customers can select a 40x10mm, 80mm, or 92mm fan size, all of which come with an outstanding six year warranty together with a performance guarantee.

Welcome to my review of the Noctua NF-A4x10, NF-A9, and NF-A8 fan review. Throughout my review, I will cover the unboxing, design, features, and my final thoughts. I would like to thank Noctua for providing these fans.

The Unboxing

The unboxing of each product was similar to the others with each box containing the necessary components for its fan. The outer packaging of the product boxes is filled with a plethora of knowledge. The front panel reveals a glimpse of what’s inside along with some colorful examples of air flow. The rear panel is the same, but displays the unit’s features.

Make your way inside the box to find the goodies Noctua includes. As with every Noctua product I review, I am always pleased to see that Noctua focuses on ensuring you have everything you could possibly need.

All three models are given four rubber anti-vibration mounts, metal installation screws, PWM cable extensions, power adapters, and finally a helpful user manual. In addition, the NF-A8 and NF-A9 models are equipped with a Molex to PWM power adapter.

As always, Noctua has fully wrapped the cables in their classic black rubberized material to ensure a clean look for users with a windowed case.

The Design

Starting with the NF-A4x10, this 40x10mm sized fan is one of the smallest I’ve ever encountered. Powered by a minimum of 5 volts, the tiny case fan operates effectively even at high RPMs, but has the slight drawback of a slightly high pitched noise at full power; the sound can reach to around 20db, although where this fan would be used, noise would clearly not be an issue. I found the NF-A4x10 to be perfect for users who use the popular Asus Sabertooth Mark 1 with TUF armor as the fan is small enough to be placed next to the rear I/O or underneath the TUF armor.

Moving on to the next model in the lineup, the NF-A8. With its 80mm specification, the NF-A8 is suitable for hard drive bay cooling or micro-ATX cases where space saving is crucial. Although the NF-A8 supports a larger form factor, the noise is significantly quieter at 16db.

Last in the arsenal is the NF-A9. Designed to operate as a rear case fan, CPU cooling fan, or inside a micro-ATX case, its 92mm size makes it the most desired out of the three models. At maximum performance, the NF-A9 is the loudest of the bunch reaching sound levels between 20db and 22db. However, compared to the NF-A4x10 the 92mm size allows it to be quieter without any pitched noise.

All three of the units support the traditional four rubber side bumpers to decrease noise, as well as the iconic tan and brown color scheme. Love it or hate it, the color scheme is the Noctua trademark and if carefully placed in a windowed case, the fans can easily disappear.

The Features

Out of the three units, the NF-A4x10 is the only one to have its own personalized features. The first is that due to the small size, the NF-A4x10 can run off of a 5 volt power lead. In network operation or when combined with the Asus motherboard I mentioned above, a 5 volt power allows for unlimited uses. To achieve this, Noctua includes the OmniJoin adaptor set so that the fan can be hard wired using 3M Scotchlok connectors.

The remaining list of features are ones that are found across all three models.

One of my favorites is Noctua’s flow acceleration channels. By adding slightly raised lines to each blade, the air flow is accelerated and reduces air suction that would normally decrease efficiency and lower the amount of air flow. Furthermore, the fans have inner surface microstructures on the blades that also boosts efficiency by decreasing suction.

Next, there is Noctua’s Advanced Acoustic Optimization frame. Combined with rubber bumpers, Noctua’s Stepped Inlet design and the microstructures help to create the perfect design frame of any fan on the market. This feature is what makes a Noctua fan, a Noctua fan.

Offered as a FLX or PWM unit, users have the opportunity to choose between adjustable fan speeds or a flexible design to maximize quietness. The models can operate between 1200RPM and 2000RPM, ± 15%.

Last, but certainly not least, is the SSO2 bearing inside the fan. Using the second generation SSO2, Noctua has positioned the inside magnet closer to the center axis allowing for better stabilization, precision, and durability. The entire bearing is self-stabilizing and oil-pressured to provide a smooth, quiet, and effective operation for many years to come.

My Final Thoughts

In the end, the NF-A4x10, NF-A8 and NF-A9 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. With pricing starting at $18.95 for the NF-A8, $19.99 for the NF-A9, and $23.99 for the NF-A4x10, you can’t go wrong buying these fans.

© 2014