Noctua is a name well known to computer enthusiasts for its legendary 120mm fans. The NF-F12 has long been a top choice for water cooling, and the NF-S12A is a popular choice for case cooling. Noctua claimed the new fan strikes a balance between the two.
Noctua is simply calling this the next generation 120mm A-series fan (that is, there's no special product name), and it replaces the outgoing NF-P12. The company said development on the next generation fan started three years ago, with nearly a year spent simply refining manufacturing processes to accommodate the 0.5 mm gap.
This small of a gap is said to require more rigid construction of the fan blades, but Noctua claimed this is a key part of the design. The company said that the tighter fan blade clearance aids in combating back-pressure caused by radiators and heat sinks.
Noctua said the new A-series fans have been fine-tuned to provide the best balance between airflow and static pressure in mid-impedance situations, outperforming both the NF-F12s during internal tests on a closed loop radiator. The company found the next-generation fan provided a two-degree improvement in temperature, and produced 2.1 dB less than the previous flagship.
Noctua's new fan does not perform as well in high-pressure situations as the NR-F12, and an NF-S12A is still much better in low impedance applications, but the company claimed the next generation A-series is a better solution to cool your CPU cooler.