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Noctua today presented its much-anticipated next-generation 120x25mm A-series fan and the complementary NA-SFMA1 adaptors that allow it to be used on 140mm based watercoolers. The new NF-A12x25 is the first fan made of Noctua’s novel Sterrox LCP material and integrates the company’s latest innovations in aerodynamic engineering in order to achieve an unprecedented level of quiet cooling performance. While the NF-A12x25 becomes the new flagship model in the 120mm range, the classic NF-P12 will be reissued in the streamlined, more affordable redux line.

“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 Lars Strömbäck (Noctua CTO): “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.”

noctua nf a12x25 launch

Whereas the award-winning NF-F12 and NF-S12A are specialised solutions that are either optimised for maximum static pressure or maximum airflow, the new NF-A12x25 follows the approach of Noctua’s A-series in being a true all-rounder that yields superb results in all types of usage, regardless of whether it’s in low-impedance, airflow-oriented applications such as case cooling, or high-impedance, pressure-demanding scenarios such as on heatsinks and watercooling radiators. In practice, the NF-A12x25 not only outperforms the renowned NF-F12 on 120mm based watercooling radiators, but combined with the new, optional NA-SFMA1 adaptor frames, it also offers better efficiency than many 140mm fans on 140mm based systems.

One of the cornerstones of the NF-A12x25’s next-generation performance is its record tight tip clearance (distance between the blade tips and the inside of the frame) of only 0.5mm. This highly ambitious design helps the NF-A12x25 to work more efficiently against back pressure, such as on heatsinks or radiators, by reducing leak flows through the gap between impeller and frame. Manufacturing a fan with such a small tip clearance is extremely delicate and was only made possible by Noctua’s new Sterrox liquid-crystal polymer (LCP) material, which features extreme tensile strength, an exceptionally low thermal expansion coefficient and excellent dimensional stability.

“We have never put so much research and effort into a single fan so far, both on the level of fine-tuning the aerodynamic construction and on the level of materials and manufacturing,” says Roland Mossig (Noctua CEO): “Many challenges had to be overcome, but now we’re proud with the end result and confident that the NF-A12x25 will become a new benchmark for premium-quality quiet 120mm fans.”

The NF-A12x25 will be available in a 4-pin PWM version for automatic speed control, 3-pin FLX version with Low-Noise Adaptors for three different speed settings as well as a near-silent 3-pin ULN (Ultra-Low-Noise) version. As the NF-A12x25 becomes the new flagship model in Noctua’s 120mm range, the classic NF-P12 moves to the streamlined, more affordable redux line. It will henceforth be available in 1700 and 1300rpm 4-pin PWM versions as well as 1300 and 900rpm 3-pin versions.

NF-A12x25 further reading
Performance comparison to NF-F12 and NF-S12A: https://noctua.at/en/nf-a12x25-performance-comparison-to-nf-f12-and-nf-s12a 
Technical backgrounds and manufacturing challenges: https://noctua.at/en/nf-a12x25-technical-backgrounds 
Interview with Lars Strömbäck (Noctua CTO): https://noctua.at/en/nf-a12x25-interview-lars-stromback 
Which 120mm fan is right for me?: https://noctua.at/en/which_fan_is_right_for_me? 

Detailed specifications and photos
NF-A12x25 PWM: https://noctua.at/en/nf-a12x25-pwm 
NF-A12x25 FLX: https://noctua.at/en/nf-a12x25-flx 
NF-A12x25 ULN: https://noctua.at/en/nf-a12x25-uln 
NF-P12 redux-1700 PWM: https://noctua.at/en/nf-p12-redux-1700-pwm 
NF-P12 redux-1300 PWM: https://noctua.at/en/nf-p12-redux-1300-pwm 
NF-P12 redux-1300: https://noctua.at/en/nf-p12-redux-1300 
NF-P12 redux-900: https://noctua.at/en/nf-p12-redux-900 
NA-SFMA1: https://noctua.at/en/na-sfma1 

Prices and availability
All new models can already be purchased on Amazon and will be available via other retailers shortly:
Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/s/?field-keywords=noctua+nf-a12x25 
Amazon.ca: https://www.amazon.ca/s/?field-keywords=noctua+nf-a12x25 
Amazon.co.uk: https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/?field-keywords=noctua+nf-a12x25 
Amazon.de: https://www.amazon.de/s/?field-keywords=noctua+nf-a12x25 
Amazon.es: https://www.amazon.es/s/?field-keywords=noctua+nf-a12x25 
Amazon.fr: https://www.amazon.fr/s/?field-keywords=noctua+nf-a12x25 
Amazon.it: https://www.amazon.it/s/?field-keywords=noctua+nf-a12x25 

The suggested retail prices are as follows:
NF-A12x25 (all versions): EUR 29.90 / USD 29.90
NF-P12 redux (all versions): EUR 13.90 / USD 13.90
NA-SFMA1: EUR 11.90 / USD 11.90

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During its history, when Intel hires a famous or rising star CPU engineer, the things don't end well. We can mention Bill Lattin, a hungarian rising star CPU Engineer when he was hired by Intel, in order to develop a new Arch in the late 1960s. He’s project was so futuristic ... that Intel managers shot down it. They decided to develop 8086 instead (An advanced version of 8080, just like x86-64 was an advanced version of x86). 8086 was a success (The begin of x86 era), while Lattin’s project has been forgotten. And Lattin, too. Why? Because:

  • Intel managers are always in a hurry;
  • engineers can’t do what they think it’s better for Intel (Only managers know it);
  • engineers grown up with Andy Groove’s mentality (Only paranoid survive);
  • Intel never hired external star engineers with success. All its top engineers were “Home Made” (John Crawford, Vinod Dham, etc).

 

 

That’s Intel … at least until today, we suppose. Jim Keller never lets anyone push him around. He knows what to do. He is the first top x86 engineer hired from outside.

This look like when AMD had K5 and Intel had Pentium. AMD was so surprised by the new Intel uArch (Pentium), so far superior to K5, that Jerry Sanders hired Vinod Dham and Atiq Raza, the fathers of K6. It's the same story, but with different characters.

Another interesting thing is that Intel has lost its FAB Technology leadership, this year. Thanks to the progress of advanced fabrication technology, Intel has been the leader of the market for 20 years, despite the missteps. Now, without that superiority, Intel has to innovate. How? Thinking different. Intel engineers are all son of a 20 years old mentality. That’s why the monolithic Skylake-X is a failure (And the “glue” of AMD is the future).

Last, but not the least, we don’t have to think that Intel is now save, with Raja Koduri and Jim Keller. 15 years ago, Intel had to battle just against AMD. Now Intel has to face different issues:

  • Foundry Business (TSMC, Samsung, GlobalFoundries)
  • HPC (NVIDIA, IBM, AMD)
  • Cloud Computing (AMD, ARM, Qualcomm)
  • FPGA (Xilinx)
  • Automotive/IA (Almost the whole IT industry)
  • Chinese market (VIA/Zhaoxin)

Intel is big, sure. But now it has a lot of enemies. And they are even bigger than Intel.

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Thanks to AMD Italia, now we know that the AMD PSP vulnerability is - actually - a non existent problem. First of all, in order to take advantage of this exploit, an hacker has to have physical access to the server.

Consequently, he has to update/replace the SPI-Flash manually. SPI-Flash can't be flashed from OS or remotely. In other words, this vulnerability isn't subject to remote code execution.

So, the hype among the forums about a new "Meltdown bug" AMD-Only is 100% wrong. However, AMD and its partners are working on a fix, available during this month, in order to cancel even this remote event.

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Raven Ridge is still MIA in Desktop (AM4 Socket) market, but it seems AMD will commercialize a Raven Ridge 2 APU in 2018 (Maybe a stopgap until Picasso, or a rushed Picasso).

We don’t know a lot, now AMD is very reserved (Even my sources have difficult to say something!), but we know that AMD is working on Raven Ridge 2 APU. It will be probably produced on 12nm of GlobalFoundries, and it will be an enhanced version of current Raven Ridge APU (Raven Ridge will be used in Embedded and Server markets, too. Just like Ryzen is used in Enterprise market via the EPYC SKUs).

It seems AMD is trying to produce a CPU (Pinnacle Ridge) and an APU (Raven Ridge 2) able to be clocked higher, dedicated to the Consumer market, waiting for Ryzen @ 7nm (2019). In our opinion, it’s a good strategy in order to put pressure on Intel and to commercialize better products dedicated to gaming, VR and content creation (Threadripper) markets.

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