Alleged Noctua Manufacturing Discrepancies Put to the Test
Ashley Allen / 2 years ago
Last month, a redditor alleged that Noctua fans varied in build quality depending on their country of manufacture. According to Kendalf, Noctua NF-A14 PWM fans built in China are noticeably inferior to those made in Taiwan. However, in-depth tests of these fans by Gamer Nexus suggests the criticism is unwarranted.
Alleged Noctua Manufacturing Discrepancies
In their initial reddit post, Kendalf reported the following “noted differences” between Noctua fans made in China and Taiwan:
- The fan blades on the Taiwan made fans are noticeably smoother and more rounded than the ones made in China, which have rough edges at points.
- The “Flow Acceleration Channels” on the blades of the Taiwan fans are much more defined than the channels on the made in China fans; the channels on the Chinese fans are barely raised from the blades
- The “Inner Surface Microstructures” of the made in Taiwan fans have a distinct waterdrop shape, whereas the made in China fans just have a shallow triangular cutout.
- The “Stepped Inlet Design” is sharp and distinct in the fans made in Taiwan, whereas the Chinese fans are rounded and less cut out.
- There is a noticeable difference in frame color.
- The made in China fans have a noticeably louder drone when spinning at the same RPM as the other fans.
Noctua responded to the above claims. According to Kendalf, Noctua said “the differences are within their manufacturing tolerances and do not affect performance.”
Allegations Put to the Test
Kendalf’s report caused quite a stir. However, their allegations remained purely anecdotal. Thankfully, Steven Burke of Gamer Nexus decided to put Kendalf’s claims to the test. Specifically, Burke aimed to determine whether these cosmetic differences affected performance:
As you can see from the slides above, there is little discernable difference between fans made in China and those made in Taiwan. Any cosmetic distinctions between the two are just that: cosmetic.