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Arctic F12 Pro PWM 120mm Fan Review

Even though it’s designed to be a case fan, we decided to test the Arctic F12 by attaching it to a CPU heatsink as this is one of the best ways to evaluate it’s performance.  We paired it with a Cooler Master TPC 800 heatsink and used it to cool an Intel Core i7-3770K overclocked to 4.6 GHz with a voltage of 1.26V.  For comparison purposes, we used a Be Quiet Shadow Wings 120mm fan to cool the same heatsink.

Test System:
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-3770K
  • Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme6
  • Heatsink: Cooler Master TPC 800
  • Thermal Paste: Arctic Cooling MX-2
  • Memory: Kingston HyperX Genesis 4 GB 1866 MHz
  • Graphics Card: AMD Radeon HD 6950
  • Power Supply: Corsair GS800
  • System Drive: Crucial M4 256 GB
  • Monitor: Viewsonic VX2260WM
  • Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)


To test the thermal performance of the fan, we loaded the test system using Prime95 for 20 minutes.  We recorded the maximum temperature reached by the CPU during the entire period using CPUID Hardware Monitor.  Ambient temperature was maintained at 18 degrees C for the duration of the tests.

As you can see from the graph above, the Arctic F12 managed to cool the heatsink more effectively than the Be Quiet Shadow Wings, resulting in a lower CPU temperature.

When we consider the acoustic performance of the two fans, both are excellent.  When we tested them on an open test bench with our dBA meter, neither registered above the minimum 30 dBA sensitivity when the system was under load.

Both fans were completely inaudible with the system idle but the F12 did make a slight whooshing sound when the system was under load.

The Shadow Wings is a fixed speed fan so remained inaudible throughout the test.  Even though the F12 wasn’t inaudible in the load test, if we put it inside a PC case we’re sure that it would be inaudible.  It was only noticeable because it was sat right next to us on the desk.

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