May 4, 2018 // 11:08 a.m.
Cooling specialist Noctua has announced the launch of its first fan to be constructed from Sterrox Liquid-Crystal Polymer (LCP), a material which it claims better resists thermal expansion: The NF-A12x25.
Designed for all-round use, being equally at home pushing against a radiator or pulling air into a case, the 120mm NF-A12x25 has been in the company's labs for a surprising amount of time. 'The NF-A12x25 is our most advanced fan today. We've spent more than 4.5 years developing it and it’s been easily the most thorny, intricate development project we've completed so far,' explains Noctua's chief executive officer Lars Strömbäck in his company's launch announcement. 'In order to achieve our goal of surpassing our renowned NF-F12 and NF-S12A, we went for a completely different approach and had to use a tip clearance of only 0.5mm, which poses various new difficulties in manufacturing.'
A small tip clearance - the distance between the very ends of the fan blade and the frame in which they are set - could spell problems for fans operating in high temperature environments owing to issues surrounding thermal expansion. That, however, Noctua claims to have addressed with a switch to a freshly-developed plastic: Sterrox Liquid-Crystal Polymer (LCP), which the company claims offers improved tensile strength, low thermal expansion coefficient, and increased dimensional stability compared to its previous plastics.
The new fan launches in three flavours, the company has confirmed: the flagship NF-A12x25 Pulse Width Modulation (PWM), the FLX variant with bundled low-noise adapter, and a three-pin Ultra Low Noise (ULN) variant. At the same time, the company announced a complementary mounting adapter, the NA-SFMA1, which allows the 120mm fan to be fitted to 140mm radiators.
Noctua is clearly pushing its new fan design heavily, and has a range of supporting materials up on its website including a head-to-head comparison to its existing NF-F12 and NF-S12A fans, a look at the design and manufacturing challenges it faced, and even an interview with Strömbäck.
All three models of fan are available to buy now on Amazon, priced at £26.49 (inc. VAT) per fan and £10.59 (inc. VAT) for the 140mm adapter, with stock expected at other suppliers imminently.