Cooling PC Hardware Reviews

Noctua NH-U12A Review | A ‘Fan’Tastic Cooler

Quite some time ago, Noctua sent over their NH-U12A for review, unfortunately I had misplaced for a while by putting it on the wrong shelf…

But nevertheless, i have finished testing and here’s my review.

Big thanks to Noctua for sending this out for review.

Design and First Impressions

opened box

When I first opened the box, my first thought was, “This is a BIG cooler”.

The cooler has a single fin stack with 14 soldered heat pipes, which is better than most heat sink manufacturers who normally just press the heat pipes in place.

Included in the box is two NF-A12 PWM fans, 2 low noise adapters, a PWM splitter, NT-H1 thermal paste, mounting hardware a metal Noctua badge and some documentation.

The box has Noctua’s classic look to it, all brown and white. On one side of the box is a list of features for the NH-U12A, with the other side giving you the specs.

side of box

Upon opening the box, you will be greeted with the box of mounting hardware and accessories and it also gives you a nice guide of the bits you will need depending on your CPU socket.

accessories box
cooler in pc

Features

140mm performance in 120mm size,

The way Noctua designed the NH-U12A is to outperform a lot of 140mm air coolers on the market, With 27% more finspace and soldered heatpipes. And by using a push pull fan design, This means the cooler is able to dissipate more heat and quicker.

100% RAM compatibility on LGA115x and AM4,

Because of the way the fans are mounted on the NH-U12A, It should not interfere with your system memory as the fan height is adjustable with the two metal wire brackets.

Classic 120mm tower size for excellent case and PCIe compatibility,

The NH-U12A stands about 158cm tall making it fit in most mid tower cases and also not to wide that it will encroach onto the PCIe slots giving you full GPU compatibility.

PWM support and Low-Noise Adaptors,

The two NF-A12 fans come included with low noise adapters as well as being supported by PWM, By using a combination of both, you can get nearly silent cooling with the NH-U12A and it only gets a little loud on full load.

bottom of cooler

SecuFirm2 multi-socket mounting system,

Noctua’s New SecuFirm mounting system gives you a great range of supported CPU sockets, meaning you can install the NH-U12A on basically any CPU from this decade and before. The SecuFirm system also makes it super easy to install and gives just the right amount of pressure and thermal paste spread.

Soldered interface between heatpipes and fins,

With many heatsinks, the fins are press-fitted to the heatpipes. Due to the different thermal expansion coefficients of copper and aluminium, this fit can loosen over years of thermal cycling, which may lead to reduced performance. By contrast, the NH-U12A’s fins are soldered to the heatpipes in order to guarantee a superior thermal interface that doesn’t deteriorate even after many years of usage.-Noctua

Installation

The installation of the NH-U12A is super easy. Just mount the back plate, screw on the CPU brackets around the socket and mount the cooler, PLEASE, don’t forget thermal paste.

While I didn’t personally film an installation video. Noctua has one that shows how to mount the NH-U12A really well, In the future I do plan on filming installation guides.

Fans

The fans included with the NH-U12A are Noctua’s legendary NF-A12x25 PWM fans.

  • They have a max RPM of 2000 RPM
  • A Max RPM with the low noise adapters of 1700 RPM
  • Their minimum RPM is 450 RPM
  • A Max air flow of 102 cubic meters per hour and with the L.N.A’s a max of 84 cubic meters of air per hour.

Noctua states that without the low noise adapters the maximum sound output is 22.6 DB but I clocked it in at 20 DB* on 2000 RPM.

Your mileage may vary depending on your pc and ambient noise.

side view

Compatibility

The NH-U12A is compatible with basically every modern* CPU socket under the sun from LGA 2011 to FM1, thanks to Noctua’s new SecuFirm mounting system. Just follow the simple to read instructions for your specific CPU.

Benchmarks

I recently got my hands on a few AIO liquid coolers and the performance of the NH-U12A compared to them might surprise you.

idle temps
load temps

Noise Levels

noise levels

*Your results may vary depending on a range of factors like ambient noise*

Conclusion

For only being 120mm this thing is a beast, i really enjoyed using it and i think a lot of you will too. It performed flawlessly and made very little noise.

Buy one from the Noctua website

Read my review of the Noctua NF-A14 Chromax Fans

  • Design
  • Features
  • Performance
  • User Friendly
  • Value for Money
4.3
Caleb
Answering questions, writing reviews and playing with tech is what i do best. Love myself some pizza and a good game to play, after i finish my work of course. My #1 skill would have to be procrastination, but once i get stuck into my work i can do it for hours. I love what i do and hope you all love reading it and interacting with me!
http://www.clebstech.com

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