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Testing Participants

Arctic Cooling ARCTIC F12 PWM

The ARCTIC F12 PWM fan from the renowned Swiss firm Arctic Cooling is shipped in a compact white cardboard box with a picture of the fan on the face side, a description of the product’s applications on the back, and the product specifications on the left and right sides. The fan is accompanied with four self-tipping screws, a couple of stickers and a brief installation guide.

 

The ARCTIC F12 PWM is manufactured in Switzerland and comes at a recommended price of only $8.5. The warranty period is 6 years.

The fan has a black frame and a white 9-blade impeller attached to four spokes.

 

The impeller is 112 millimeters in diameter. Three of the spokes are 4 millimeters wide and the fourth spoke with cable is 6 millimeters wide. The rotor is 35 millimeters in diameter. Running a little ahead, I can tell you that this is the smallest rotor among the fans included into this test session.

The blades of the fan’s impeller are very slim and narrow at the base but get wider towards the ends. Each blade is curved like a sail:

The ends of the blades are quite sharp. The interior of the frame has two characteristic ribs which are going to generate more noise at near-maximum speeds of the fan. As its name suggests, the Arctic Cooling ARCTIC F12 PWM controls its speed automatically through pulse-width modulation. Its speed range is 300 to 1350 RPM. The fan is specified to produce an air flow of 57 CFM at max speed, the noise level being no higher than 0.5 sones. The fan’s static pressure is not specified. The ARCTIC F12 PWM weighs a mere 108 grams.

According to the voltage and current ratings indicated on the sticker attached to the fan’s rotor, the fan has a max power draw of 1.8 watts.

However, I measured the power consumption of my ARCTIC F12 PWM to be 2.7 watts, which is higher than specified. The start-up voltage is very low at only 2.8 volts. This must be due to the high-quality electronics as well as to the fan’s fluid-dynamic bearing with a guaranteed service life of 6 years.

The ARCTIC F12 PWM supports the exclusive PWM Sharing Technology. Its point is that one ARCTIC fan can share the PWM signal to control the speed of up to five fans. There is a special wire with connector for that purpose, besides the main cable.

These cables are 300 millimeters long. Now let’s check out the test results of this fan model.

The “%” column of the table shows by how much the fan’s speed is lower in the tunnel compared to its speed on the open testbed, the voltage being the same. Theoretically, the higher this percentage, the lower the static pressure of the fan is, but this is just theory and only applies to the specific testbed. Therefore I won’t emphasize this when analyzing the results.

Despite its good airflow results, the Arctic Cooling ARCTIC F12 PWM is not a very good fan because it produced a barely audible rustle. The impeller was throbbing slightly, too. This fan is subjectively comfortable at speeds up to 1050 RPM and quiet at speeds up to 830 RPM. That’s a mediocre performance compared to the other tested products.

 
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