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Noctua NH-U12S CPU Cooler Review

Manufacturer: Noctua

Introduction and Technical Specifications


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Courtesy of Noctua

Noctua is well known among enthusiasts for their high performance and sonically tolerable processor cooling solutions. Their U-series coolers combine unrivaled cooling performance with an innovative design to ensure quiet operation and motherboard compatibility. The NH-U12S is composed of a single aluminum-finned radiator with five nickel-plated copper heat pipes seamlessly integrated into the copper base plate. For performance testing of the NH-U12S cooler, we put it up against other high-performance liquid and air-based coolers. With a retail MSRP of $69.99, the NH-U12S CPU cooler is an affordable solution offering superior cooling potential.

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Courtesy of Noctua

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Courtesy of Noctua

Noctua construct the NH-U12S cooler for optimal heat transfer between the processor and its 125mm wide aluminum radiator. The NH-U12S contains a total of five heat pipes directly integrated into the copper base plate, terminating on each side of the aluminum-finned radiator. The use of copper heat pipes allows for optimal heat transfer of heat from the processor to the aluminum radiator fins and ultimately the air medium. To facilitate this transfer, Noctua paired the NH-U12S with their NF-F12 120mm, 1500RPM fan. The fan features rubber cover plates on all four corners to minimize fan vibration and vibration transfer to the radiator, further reducing fan noise. The CPU base plate is seamless and polished to a mirror finish, ensuring an optimal mating surface.

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SecureFirm2™ LGA115x mount kit
Courtesy of Noctua

Noctua bundles their SecureFirm2™ mounting kits for using the NH-U12S with any current AMD or Intel socket motherboard. Also included are the Noctua-branded NF-F12 120mm 1500RPM fan, NT-H1 thermal paste, a PWM power splitter cable, and two sets of fan mounts (four mounts total) for use with up to two fans with the unit.

Continue reading our review of the Noctua NH-U12S CPU air cooler!

Technical Specifications (taken from the Noctua website)

NH-U12S Cooler Specifications
Socket compatibility Intel LGA2011 (Square ILM), LGA1156, LGA1155, LGA1150 & AMD AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, FM1, FM2, FM2+ (backplate required)
Height (without fan) 158 mm
Width (without fan) 125 mm
Depth (without fan) 45 mm
Height (with fan) 158 mm
Width (with fan) 125 mm
Depth (with fan) 71 mm
Weight (without fan) 580 g
Weight (with fan) 755 g
Material Copper (base and heat-pipes), aluminium (cooling fins), soldered joints & nickel plating
Fan compatibility 120x120x25
Scope of Delivery NF-F12 PWM premium fan
Low-Noise Adaptor (L.N.A.)
NT-H1 high-grade thermal compound
SecuFirm2™ Mounting Kit
Anti-vibration pads and fan-clips for second NF-F12
Noctua Metal Case-Badge
Warranty 6 Years
Fan specifications
Model Noctua NF-F12 PWM
Bearing SSO2
Max. Rotational Speed (+/- 10%) 1500 RPM
Max. Rotational Speed with L.N.A. (+/- 10%) 1200 RPM
Min. Rotational Speed (PWM, +/-20%) 300 RPM
Max. Airflow 93.4 m³/h
Max. Airflow with L.N.A. 74.3 m³/h
Max. Acoustical Noise 22.4 dB(A)
Max. Acoustical Noise with L.N.A. 18.6 dB(A)
Input Power 0.6 W
Voltage Range 12 V
MTBF > 150,000 h


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June 24, 2014 | 03:53 PM - Posted by H1tman_Actua1

why not spend $10-15 dollars more and buy a nice closed loop water cooler and get better performance, better looking and save space. Not to mention this monstrosity is butt ugly.

June 24, 2014 | 05:09 PM - Posted by Troispoint (not verified)

Huh? It's quieter, cheaper and performs nearly as well. I would actually buy this over a H100i.

June 28, 2014 | 03:45 PM - Posted by H1tman_Actua1

then your a straight up tart. nothing is quite about the Noct. and any closed loop if you actually own or have used one is silent.

June 24, 2014 | 07:59 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

AIOs are loud, overpriced, poorly built, and risk leaks. If you want the ultimate performance shy of custom water cooling, the D15 is really the only choice.

June 24, 2014 | 06:12 PM - Posted by Qrash

Ugly? It's a classic tower design as stated early in the review. Not everyone is ready to try liquid cooling. For several years now Noctua has pushed the development of quiet fans for PCs, doing original research and design in Austria. Look, I don't like the colours either, but there's no mistaking a Noctua fan for any other brand. Plus, they just announced two new lines that are more muted in colour.

June 25, 2014 | 07:59 AM - Posted by demaksi

Is this much better than 35€ Raijintek Ereboss? In Serbia this Noctua is 60€.

June 25, 2014 | 11:46 AM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

I have not tested that unit, but based on the specs and build of the Ereboss, I would expect similar or better performance.  The only odd thing with teh Ereboss that *may* work against it is the included fan.  With the thickness of the Ereboss' radiator tower, a thin fan may not cut it well if you plan to o/c because the fan does not have the power to push air with enough force though the radiator to effectively cool it.

Again though, the above is only based on looking over the specs of the Erebus in combination with my knowledge of how both air and water coolers function...

June 27, 2014 | 01:20 AM - Posted by Oblyvious (not verified)

I would check out the Raijintek Themis. From what I hear it actually does a better job at cooler due to the larger fan and is a bit cheaper.

June 26, 2014 | 08:42 PM - Posted by FernanDK (not verified)

Why Haswell has lower/better temps when being cooled by an watercooler?

June 26, 2014 | 08:54 PM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

I assume you referring to the differences between the Silver Arrow air cooler and the XSPC DIY water cooler and the Corsair H100i all in one water cooler.  Haswell CPUs tend to produce quite a bit of heat and a water-based cooling system will tend to be able to keep up better with dispensing the heat because of the liquid medium's heat carrying capacity.  While the heat is dispersed via radiator in both water and air coolers, the water cooler radiator has a lot more surface areas within the radiator to transfer the heat out to so the the fans can dissipate the heat from the radiator.

June 28, 2014 | 03:47 PM - Posted by H1tman_Actua1

oh this must be where all the nay saying air cooled people rally. Afraid people of water cooling.

June 30, 2014 | 11:59 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Custom water cooling is great, no premade solution (air or water) can match the performance, but closed loop coolers only really offer less obstruction compared to air coolers, which are better in almost every other way.

Closed loop coolers combine all the disadvantages of custom water cooling (price, noise, risk of leaks) without actually performing better than a good air cooler.

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