Introduction

If you know about world-famous MX-4 then you already know of ARCTIC! They started in 2001 with the name ARCTIC Cooling and has evolved into a much more popular and reliable cooling solution provider now known as ARCTIC. Their bases of operation are in Switzerland, Germany, Hong Kong, and the USA with the availability of their products in over 45 countries. Quiet cooling without performance compromise is their motto. Their product lines include CPU Coolers, Case Fans, Thermal Pastes, Charging solutions, Audio solutions, and monitor stands to name a few.

The P series fans from ARCTIC are famous all around for their silent operations and good performance. ARCTIC has released several iterations of their P12 series fans. We have earlier taken a spin on BioniX P 120 A-RGB fans and this time we are taking a look at P12 PWM PST RGB 0dB fans (Value pack of 3). These are 120mm fans with 12V based RGB lighting. They are also available in the A-RGB version. These are designed for use as PC Case fans having a static pressure of 1.85mmH₂O and airflow rating of 48.8 CFM. Their most salient feature is the low noise operation which is highlighted by 0dB in the model of the fan.

 

Item:                        P12 PWM PST RGB 0dB Value Pack

Manufacturer:   ARCTIC

Pricing:                 MSRP at the time of the Review

P12 PWM PST RGB 0dB (Value Pack of 3 fans) $39.99 / 35.99 €
P12 PWM PST RGB 0dB (Single fan) $14.99 / 11.99 €
P12 PWM PST A-RGB 0dB (Value pack of 3 fans) $42.99 / 37.99 €
P12 PWM PST A-RGB 0dB (Single fan) $16.99 / 12.99 €

 

We have also listed the pricing of the A-RGB version of these fans.

Specifications

ARCTIC P12 PWM PST RGB Specifications

 

Packaging and Unboxing

The value pack edition is shipped inside a cardboard box with minimal packaging and packaging information.

ARCTIC P12 PWM PST RGB Box

There is an information label pasted showing the major specifications of the fans. This is a Value pack and fans are in black color which is giving a hint that other colors (white) may also be available. We have not confirmed the color scheme from ARCTIC.

As is the case with the ARCTIC products, there is no manual or user guide provided with the fans. The user can scan the label which will take to their website address where the comprehensive user guide with visuals is available.

There are only three fans and self-tapping screws provided in the Value Pack. There is no lighting controller provided with it.

ARCTIC has provided 12x silver color self-tapping screws to install the fans on the chassis.

 

Closer Look

It is time to take a look at the fans.

ARCTIC P12 PWM PST RGB

One thing that ARCTIC is doing well is maintaining the core design element of their P series fans. We still have 5 blades in the same design as the original P12 fans have though the layout is different due to RGB lighting implementation. The fans are rated for up to 2000 RPM speed with the ability to come at a standstill hence the term 0dB in the model name. Please note that this capability will only work if the motherboard supports the fan stop function. These fans feature a wide range of RPM and using the PST (PWM Sharing Technology) one can achieve the same speed across all the fans.

The P12 PWM PST RGB 0dB fans have a dimension of 120x120x25mm. The difference between any two mounting holes is a standard 105mm. the thickness of the frame on the mounting holes is 3.50mm. The mounting hole has a diameter of 4.50mm. The above picture is taken from the ARCTIC website for this content only.

We have a standard black color frame of the fan. The blades are translucent and their tips are connected to the translucent ring running across the diameter of the outer frame. The center has ARCTIC branding on it. The P12 PWM PST RGB 0dB has 12 analog RGB LEDs in the center housing. These can be controlled uniformly and are compatible with the common RGB (12V) standards of leading motherboard manufacturers. Keep in mind that ARCTIC is not providing an external controller with these fans.

Each mounting corner of the fan has a gray color cut-to-size anti-vibration pad pasted.

There are two arrow symbols on the side frame. These indicate the direction of airflow and the direction of blades movement. These arrow symbols provide a visual aid to novice users in identifying the directions before the installation.

There is a 4-arms assembly on the backside holding the fan motor and blades to the frame. There is a black color sticker on the center with a power rating of the fan with respect to the fan motor and LEDs.

These fans are using Fluid Dynamic Bearings. ARCTIC has mentioned that they have used a combination of alloy/lubricant developed in Germany to reduce the friction within the bearing. This in turn would generate less heat and improves efficiency. This will increase the service life of the fans.

Each fan has two sets of cables routing out of the center. One is the 4-pin PWM cable with the socket and the other is 4-pin 12V RGB female connector with an extended length on the male connector. This would allow for daisy-chaining the fans for a synchronous operation and uniform effect. The starting voltage of the fan is 5V. The fan is rated for 12V using 0.11A.

The above picture shows the 4-pin PWM connector with the 3-pin socket connector.

The above picture shows the standard 12V RGB female and male connectors.

 

RGB Lighting

Here are a few pictures of these fans in action:

 

Testing

The following test bench is used for thermal performance testing: –

  • MSI MAG Z490 TOMAHAWK Motherboard
  • Intel i7 10700k [4.7GHz, 1.25V]
  • Noctua NH-U12S
  • T-Force NightHawk RGB 16GB @ 3200MHz
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 FE
  • Addlink S70 256GB NVMe SSD
  • bequiet! Straight Power 11 850W Platinum PSU
  • Open-air Test bench

AIDA64 Extreme is used to stress test the CPU cooler using FPU.

Please note that not every run of the stress test may yield the same result. This could well be due to many factors like mounting pressure, thermal paste application, varying ambient temperature. Not to mention the silicon differences even among the same category of the chips. Hence, it is pertinent to mention the testing methodology along with the specifics.

For comparison, we have tested the stock Noctua NF-F12 fan on the Noctua NH-U12S and compared the performance against the ARCTIC P12 PWM PST RGB 0dB fan.

Let’s take a look at the results.

There is roughly a difference of 2.1°C between the Noctua NF-F12 and ARCTIC P12 PWM PST RGB 0dB fan. The ambient was roughly at 30°C. The ARCTIC fan achieved 2101 RPM at 100% PWM duty cycle.

Here is a table showing RPM range and corresponding airflow and speed measurements of the ARCTIC P12 PWM PST RGB 0dB fan:

PWM Duty Cycle (%age) Speed (RPM) Airflow (CFM)
20 422 0
30 678 18
40 925 26
50 1147 34
60 1352 42
70 1532 48
80 1731 53
90 1892 59
100 2102 68

 

The above plotting is showing the graph of three metrics (PWM Duty Cycle, Speed, and Airflow) of the values shown in the table above.

Acoustic

The fans at 100% of their speed were doing approximately 45 dB(A) at an ambient of 33 dBA. This is too good an acoustic performance from these fans.

Conclusion

ARCTIC P12 PWM PST RGB/A-RGB 0dB fans are budget-friendly offer from the manufacturer without much compromising the performance. These fans are available in RGB and A-RGB configurations. One can get these fan in a Value pack of 3 or a single fan edition. These fans are 120mm in size having a dimension of 120x120x25mm. They have a speed rating of 0 ~ 2000 RPM with a maximum airflow rating of 48.8 CFM and a static pressure rating of 1.85 mmH₂O. Their sound level is rated at 0.30 Sone.

These fans feature the same design concept as is on the original P12 series fans with 5 specially designed blades. The difference is these fans boast translucent blades with a translucent ring for vivid and dynamic light effects as we have 12 RGB LEDs in the central housing of the fan. The RGB version of these fans have standard 4-pin (12V) RGB connectors compatible with multiple motherboard manufacturers’ 12V, 4-pin headers. The A-RGB version of these fans has standard 3-pin (5V) A-RGB connectors compatible with multiple motherboard manufacturers’ 5V, 3-pin headers. The use of standard connectors makes these fans compatible with the majority of the motherboards and external controllers. The fans were working fine on MSI MAG Z490 TOMAHAWK motherboard using the MysticSync app.

ARCTIC has mentioned that these fans can be used as case ventilation as well as on the heatsink and radiator though we found the 1.85 mmH₂O rating a mediocre one. The fans feature a 0dB mode implying that under no-load or on idle, these fans can come to stop provided your motherboard supports this function. At 20% PWM cycle, the blades of the fan were hardly spinning and the anemometer registers 0 airflow confirming the specification. Another good feature is the low noise operation of these fans even at full speed.

The ARCTIC P12 PWM PST RGB 0dB single fan pack has an MSRP of $14.99 whereas the value pack of 3 has an MSRP of $39.99. The MSRP of the A-RGB edition single fan pack is $16.99 and the MSRP of the value pack of 3 A-RGB fans is $42.99. None of these options includes an external controller. The ARCTIC P12 PWM PST RGB 0dB fan (Value Pack of 3) offers comparable performance in this price range with a nice feature set including the RGB lighting, low noise operation, and 0dB support. These fans come with 6 years warranty which is an added advantage with the pocket-friendly pricing. We have found these fans a compelling offer for budget-conscious users who would want no compromise on the quality and performance yet without breaking the wallet. The ARCTIC P12 PWM PST RGB/A-RGB 0dB fans come recommended by us as these fans could possibly be the best buy option at this price.