Arctic P12 Max (Black – Double Ball Bearing) Fan Review


The Arctic P12 Max might not catch your attention once you unpack it from the box since it doesn’t weigh a ton, a typical characteristic of high-end fans, and its plastic construction doesn’t stand out from the crowd, although it looks like a sturdy fan. Once you plug it in and run it at full speed, you will immediately notice that this is not an average fan and provides a lot for its ten-dollar price. Besides the high performance, which I will further analyze below, Arctic also covers this fan with a hefty six-year warranty and mentions that its double ball bearing can live up to 500,000 hours without any issues! I firmly believe that the main problem with this product is the low price, which makes most of its future buyers skeptical about its quality and performance, thinking that such a low-priced fan can’t deliver all it promises!

In airflow and static pressure, the advertised performance is lower than the true one, which is super rare! Even huge and respectful brands usually make “honest” mistakes in their marketing material, promising higher performance than the true one, but Arctic did the opposite here. Only in power consumption were the readings over-optimistic, but power consumption is not a priority in fans since it is pretty low either way. This fan impressed me enough to provide it with two badges, not only one: an Editor’s Choice and a Budget award. Usually, these two badges don’t match, but this is exactly the case in this product!

At 40 dBA noise output, the P12 Max is very close to the Phanteks T30-120 in static pressure, delivering around 10 CFM less. Airflow is not of top importance for fans used in cooling solutions, and another asset of Arctic’s product is that there are no operation modes in the P12 Max, so you don’t have to deal with switches like in the T30-120. On top of that, you don’t have to pay the premium price of the latter. Moreover, the T30-120 is 30mm thick, while the P12 Max is 25mm. For a 360mm radiator, the T30-120s will cost around 85 dollars, while three P12 Max are 30 dollars! This is a HUGE price difference! The funny part is that both fans have the same warranty period! I don’t know how the Arctic delivers such high-performance per buck (or dollar) products, but I hope they continue doing that!


To check all alternative fan offerings, read my Best Cooling Fans article before investing in new cooling solutions. You help me a lot by using my affiliate links, which don’t increase the product’s price. I get a commission from Amazon every time you do it, which can make a difference for me, especially now that I am on my own, working exclusively for my media and not for someone else.


  • Highly affordable
  • Top performance
  • Noise optimized design
  • Decent build quality
  • PWM control
  • Rubber anti-vibration pads
  • Double ball bearing for increased tolerance to high temperatures
  • Long and flexible power cable
  • Six-year warranty
  • No daisy-chain option
  • Increased power consumption at high speeds
  • Lack of RGB might be a problem for some users



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14 thoughts on “Arctic P12 Max (Black – Double Ball Bearing) Fan Review

  1. Thanks, I am appreciating it.
    one note: „my internal DB-meter, which is located in/on my head“ …was kind of a joke … I meant my brain/ears :-D, and I noted the sound only from your and other recordings. I have no PC fan with dual-ball bearings (my PC fan portfolio consist of FDB/HDB … P12, TF 12 PRO, NF-A14 and Zephyr 50)
    (there was no Replay button, hence the new thread … this message can be deleted)

  2. Great review! Did you mean to say ”superior” here?:
    ”It uses a double-ball bearing, which is inferior to FDB and HDB at high operating temperatures but is typically noisier.”

        1. Noted! I don’t have the FDB P12 Max, but I can ask to send them.
          I actually have it, just checked the samples they sent me. Same RPM, noise looks similar, so I don’t expect any tremendous differences in performance.

          1. I can’t help myself, but my internal DB-meter, which is located in/on my head can clearly hears sound of the dual-ball bearings (I believe it’s somewhere around 4.5 to 5 kHz) in your recordings even/or especially on low RPM levels (10% and 25%) or here:
   or here:
   (similar to TL-B12 Extreme)
            And Arctic lists the exact same characteristics for 2 products with different bearings, which is strange. It would be easiest for the producent to use a cheaper type of bearings if that was the case.

            But I understand your point.

          2. Having a DB meter so close to the fan means that you get part of the airflow’s friction into account. This is why there is a specific quideline available on how you measure IT equipment.
            I comment the YT vids you mention.

            The same looks strange to me, too. Exactly the same performance etc, although different bearings.

            This is what I will do next, I will take another Black P12 Max (DBB) and compare it with a White P12 Max (FDB). Because also from fan to fan sample there can be notable variations.

        2. All P12 Max fans from ARCTIC are now equipped with fluid dynamic bearing. Some resellers may still be selling old inventory so best to double check if you have dual ball bearing.

  3. about daisy chain options. This is what they say about this on their subreddit:
    “We decided against the PST function for this fan due to the higher current.
    Each fan is taking around 0,3A.
    Most Motherboard-headers offer 1A. If you combine these fans with a Liquid Freezer you’re hitting the 1A pretty fast.
    Alternatively, we recommend our 4-pin PWM Fan Splitter Cable or the Case Fan Hub.”

    1. The Super MegaCool requires even more current but it has a daisy-chain option thanks to a special adapter it has, to draw power from a SATA connector, so everything is possible 🙂

  4. For the readers, i had Arctic 4× P12 Max and replaced them all with thermaltake toughfan 12 pro (45€ for 2×120mm and they exist in 140mm too). The build quality is really good and i would say same motor noise as noctua. Arctic it was an unpleasant experience ! Check the Nomalized Noise Tests on the recent 29/12/2023 Noctua NF-A12x25 PWM, the toughfan 12 pro are in the charts. Btw i’m curious, you include the 3×Phanteks T30 at 90€ why not the rest of your data ? I prefer to have the big list to peruse.
    Anyway thanks for the excellent review like always. It is a good budget fan.

    1. Hi, did you replace the P12 Max? For the Phanteks, I have the full review in the link, and they are included in the charts. I am curious, though, to hear what were the problems you had with the P12 Max.

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