November 13, 2014

Review: Noctua NF-A9, NF-A8, and NF-A4x10


Noctua has expanded and updated their A line of fans with new, smaller sized versions than the widely used 120mm and 140mm variants. The smaller 40mm, 80mm, and 92mm fans have finally been updated to feature some of their new built in vibration dampening frame, as well as new bearings and micro-structures. Noctua is know to have a high standard for their premium fans as well as a complete set or accessories for each one. The addition of the 40mm fan opens up options to replace the small noisy fan in your NAS or a rack mount server.

The NF-A9 is available in FLX and PWM versions, the NF-A8 is available in FLX, ULN, and PWM versions, and the NF-A4x10 is available in a 5V version only.

Each version of the fans come with it's own set of accessories which vary depending on version. All versions do include a 30cm extension cable, four fan screws, four Anti-vibration mounts, and a six-year warranty - which will most likely outlast the lifetime of the computer it is in.

NF-A4x10 - 3:2 pin adapter, OmniJoin Adapter Set

NF-A9 FLX - 33:4 Pin Adaptor, Low Noise Adapter, Ultra Low Noise Adapter

NF-A9 PWM - 4-Pin Y-Cable, Low Noise Adapter

NF-A8 FLX - 3:4 Pin Adapter, Low Noise Adaptor, Ultra Low Noise Adapter

NF-A8 ULN - 3:4 Pin Adaptor, Low Noise Adaptor

NF-A8 PWM - 4-Pin Y-Cable Low Noise Adapter

The inclusion of the OmniJoin adapter with the NF-A4x10 allows the use of the fan with proprietary connectors without additional soldering.



The fans come packed in the same brown and white packaging with a plastic clam shell package inside holding the fans and accessories. The front of the box opens up to show the contents and the back opens as well to show the technology that went into creating the fan. Noctua fans are the only fans I know of that include a user manual in the package.

NF-A9 (80mm)


The NF-A9 is the successor to the NF-B9 and incorporates the new technology found in the newer generation of fans such their AAO frame, stepped inlet design, and inner Micro surfaces. These all work together to provide improved and silent operation compared to their previous designs. The fans now also come with the integrated anti-vibration pads not found on the NF-B9. The fans also has the new SSO2 bearings which help improve performance, silence, and durability.


The FLX model runs at 1600 RPM without any adapters, 1250 RPM and 1050 RPM with the low noise and ultra low noise adapters respectively.

The PWM model has a max RPM of 2000RPM and a minimum of 450 RPM

NF-A8 (92mm)


The NF-A8 is the successor to the NF-R8, like the NF-A9, it incorporates the same new technology to improve upon itself. The AAO frame, stepped inlet design, and inner Micro surfaces all work together to provide improved and silent operation compared to their previous designs. The fans now also come with the integrated anti-vibration pads not found on the NF-R8. The fans also has the new SSO2 bearings which help improve performance, silence, and durability.


The FLX model runs at 2000 RPM without any adapters, 1650 RPM with the low noise adapters, and 1200 RPM with the ultra low noise adapter

The ULN model runs at a slower at 1400 RPM without any adapters and 1100 RPM with the low noise adapter.

The PWM model runs at 2200 RPM at its peak and 400 RPM at its minimum.

NF-A4x10 (40mm)


The NF-A4x10 is Noctua's first 40mm sized fan. It measures a mere 10mm thin and is the only fan to include the OmniJoin adapter. This adapter allows the use of a proprietary connector without needing to solder one on. There are 4 adapters included but only two are needed to attach a connector, nice to see Noctua include extras. The NF-A4x10 still includes all the the technology implemented in Noctua's larger fans and its cool to see them in such a tiny form. It is also the only Noctua fan to run off a 5V supply instead of the standard 12V.


Testing

The fan noise was measured using a Db meter with a sound floor of 26Db at 10cm from the fan. 30Db is considered silence in a normal room so the results are the difference between the sound floor and the measured sound.


The NF-A9 PWM seems to be the loudest fan of the bunch while the others maintain silent operation. The 40mm fan does run quite loud but is to be expected considering its size. The NF-A4x10 is designed to run on 5V but uses the same 3-pin connector as 12V fans. This can easily be plugged into a standard motherboard supply of 12V and it would have been nice to see Noctua include an adapter to prevent this. The only time I would see a NF-A4x10 used in a standard computer would be on ASUS' TUF series motherboards.

Conclusion


The new A-series fans bring all the improvements from the new 120mm and 140mm fans into the smaller sized fans of the A-series. Its nice to see Noctua continue to improve on less popular fan sizes as most computers use 120mm or 140mm fans now. People with older computers will be glad that they have not been left out and can take advantage of the new Noctua fans in their older cases. The 40mm NF-A4x10 is also an interesting addition to their lineup. Noctua is the only consumer fan manufacture I know of that has a 40mm version of their fan and considering Corsair and BitFenix don't even have 80mm or 92m version, is very nice to see. Smaller fans tend to run louder than larger versions so users with older computers or smaller HTPC cases may find the quiet Noctua fans a extremely pleasant upgrade.

November 12, 2014

Noctua presents three new 92mm premium coolers


Noctua today announced three new 92mm class CPU coolers. Whereas the NH-U9S and NH-D9L are retail models that suceed the popular NH-U9B SE2, the NH-D9DX i4 3U targets Intel Xeon LGA2011 based workstations and servers. All three models use the recently announced NF-A9 PWM 92mm premium fan to achieve class-leading quiet cooling performance.

"Providing a great balance between high efficiency and compact size, the NH-U9B SE2 is still one of our most popular models", says Mag. Roland Mossig (Noctua CEO). "The NH-U9S and NH-D9L stay true to this proven formula but now offer even better performance, better compatibility and PWM support for automatic fan speed control."

Continuing the renowned legacy of Noctua's award-winning NH-U9 series, the NH-U9S is a premium quality quiet CPU cooler in classic 9cm size. Its asymmetrical design with 5 heatpipes not only provides even better cooling performance than the previous generation but also improves compatibility: Thanks to its 95x95mm footprint, the NH-U9S clears the RAM and PCIe slots on all Intel and most AMD based mainboards, including µATX and ITX.

The NH-D9L features 4 heatpipes and is 15mm lower than classic 9cm coolers such as the NH-U9 series (110mm vs. 125mm), which doesn't only guarantee full 3U compliance but also makes the NH-D9L ideal for compact HTPC and Small Form Factor cases that have airflow paths parallel to the mainboard. Like the NH-U9S, the NH-D9L has a 95x95mm footprint and thus provides 100% RAM and PCIe compatibility on all Intel and most AMD based mainboards.

The NH-D9DX i4 3U is the same heatsink as the NH-D9L but comes with LGA2011 mounting for both Square ILM and Narrow ILM Xeon platforms as well as support for LGA13x6.

"Our DX i4 series are renowned among builders of LGA2011 based Intel Xeon systems and one of the few available quiet cooling solutions for Narrow ILM platforms", explains Mag. Roland Mossig (Noctua CEO). "With the new NH-D9DX i4 3U model, we can now offer a cooler for 3U cases that offers similar performance as the previous 4U model NH-U9DX i4."

All three new models come with the new NF-A9 PWM for further improved quiet cooling performance. Topped off with the trusted, pro-grade SecuFirm2™ mounting systems, Noctua's proven NT-H1 thermal compound and full 6 years manufacturer's warranty, the NH-U9S, NH-D9L and NH-D9DX i4 3U are premium grade solutions through and through.

Prices and availability
All three models are currently shipping and will be available shortly. The manufacturer suggested retail prices are as follows:
NH-U9S: EUR 54.90 / USD 59.90
NH-D9L: EUR 49.90 / USD 56.90
NH-D9DX i4 3U: EUR 56.90 / USD 59.90



October 21, 2014

Google announces line up of new Nexus devices


Another year means another addition the the Nexus Family. Google has just announced three new devices that will be added to the Nexus line up, the Nexus 6, 9, and the Nexus Player. All three devices are manufactured by different companies all working alongside Google - Motorola, HTC, and Asus respectively - to provide a pure Android experience. All of the new devices will launch with the latest version of Android, Android L, dubbed "Lollipop".

The Nexus 6 as the name suggests sports a six'' (5.9 actually) display, which even compared to the Note 4's 5.7'' display, is huge. The Nexus 6 is set to release on the 23 October for $649, a huge leap from the $350 Nexus 5. With the price tag that competes with other high end phones, you get a 2560x1440 2K display, a 13MP rear facing camera, 3220mAh battery, Adreno 420 paired with a  2.7GHz quad-core processor and 3GB RAM in 32GB and 64GB packages. The large battery capacity sounds promising as well as the quick charge feature that should give 6 hours of usage from a 15 minute charge.

Even with the massive 5.9'' display, the phone is only marginally taller (~1mm) compared to the 5.5'' iPhone 6 Plus. Speaking of appearances, since the phone is manufactured by Motorola and not Google itself, the phone shares many visual similarities to the much cheaper Moto X such as the ring flash around the rear shooter and the back of the phone.


The Nexus 9 tablet fits somewhere between the now "old" Nexus 10 and the small, inexpensive, but powerful Nexus 7. It sports a 8.9 inch IPS display with a 2048 x 1536 resolution and the choice to use a 4:3 aspect ratio instead of the 16:9 we have all been accustomed too (unless you're an iPad user). Under the 8.9'' display lies the first Nexus 64-bit processor courtesy of NVIDIA and its K1 chip. The processor runs at 2.3GHz and is paired with a Kepler DX11 graphics chip and 2GB of RAM. The camera gets a welcome upgrade to 8MP, up from the 5MP on the Nexus 7. The storage stays the same with Google's 16GB and 32GB offerings.


The detachable keyboard accessory is also a first for the Nexus lineup. It acts as a protective folio cover when closed and a physical bluetooth keyboard when open. They keyboard will cost you the large sum of $129 though.

With the larger screen, we see a larger 6700Mah battery which is significantly larger than the Nexus 7's 3950mAh.

The last new product to the table is the Nexus Player, possibly Google's second attempt at the not so successful Google TV. The Nexus Player comes with a reasonable enough $99 price tag and does feature more apps that the Google TV. Users can also purchase the optional $44.99 gamepad to play games on their TV. The Nexus Player does offer features found on the chromecast so you can send content from your Android phone or tablet to your TV.

Devices are available for preorder, as of now!

October 20, 2014

OnePlus One Available for Pre-Pre-Order


Tired of entering contests or chasing after OnePlus One invite codes? Well, you're in luck. The OnePlus One is available for pre-pre-order. Yep, you read that right. Pre-pre-order. Just like teasers for movie trailers, that's now a thing.

So... what's a pre-pre-order you ask? Well, because OnePlus is anticipating large amounts of pre-orders, they're allowing you to setup your order now and actually pre-order the device on 27 October 2014 at 15:00-16:00 GMT, which translates to 11 AM - 12 noon on the East Coast (that's 8-9 AM for those of you on the West Coast).

All you need to do is setup an OnePlus account, choose items you want (up to two of each), throw in your shipping and billing address, and save your order. All you need to do from here is to come back on the 27th and put in your PayPal information to process your pre-order.

From what I can tell, you can only pre-order the 64GB Sandstone Black model, which retails for $349. It features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 CPU with 3GB of RAM, powered by a 3100 mAh battery to support its 5.5'' screen and LTE radio.

Of course, if you were lucky enough to get a OnePlus invite code, you can still purchase before pre-orders start, but once they do, you can use your code to "skip the queue". You can also send a tweet which enters you to win a phone - this is available on their pre-order site.

Looking to pre-pre-order your very own OnePlus One? Check out the ordering site, or if you want a bit more information about the phone, try the main site!

October 19, 2014

Forget 4K, Apple Announces 5K iMac





At Apple’s October event, Apple has announced their brand new iMac. The main focus of the new model is its display. According to Apple, the 17’’ iMac has the highest resolution display in the world. It is a pixel dense “Retina 5K Display” with a resolution of 5120x2880. This comes to a whopping total of 14.7 million pixels on a single display.

With the new super high-res display, the contrast ratio is now greater which maximizes color and detail. Apple is also using new power saving LEDs which can save up to 30% in power consumption.

It also includes faster processors with a 3.5 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5, with turbo boost to 3.9 GHz in the base model, which is upgradeable to a 4.0 GHz Intel Core i7, which turbos to 4.4 GHz. Apple’s fusion drive is also now standard on the base model with 8GB of RAM. Apple says the new iMacs are 45% faster in graphics than the previous model. They will also feature Thunderbolt 2 ports for faster I/O.

The aesthetics of the iMac are largely unchanged. In fact, it looks identical to its predecessor. It still features a thickness 5mm at its thinnest point, an aluminum body design, and an edge-to-edge glass panel.

Apple is nearing an all-Retina product line up. The few devices left waiting to receive Retina Displays are the Thunderbolt displays and the very popular MacBook Airs.

The Retina iMacs are available today starting at $2749 CAD.