Noctua NH-U12P CPU Cooler

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Product(s): Noctua NH-U12P CPU Cooler
Provided By: Noctua

Price: $59.99 CAD Online

 

Introduction: 

In the world of silent cooling, Noctua is a name that has become very famous, and for good reason. In the past we've taken a look at products such as the Noctua NF-P12 Vortex-Control Fan (Reviewed Here), the Noctua NC-U6 Northbridge Cooler (Reviewed Here), as well as their NF-R8 and NF-S12 fans (Reviewed Here), and every time we have been impressed by their performance and ability to reduce noise dramatically and when we were offered a chance to take a look at Noctua's NH-U12P CPU cooler we jumped at the chance. Let's see if their cooler can perform like their other products....

 

First Impressions:

Right out of the box you immediately see the trademark Noctua colors, and you also see this is a beefy cooler. The cooler looks similar to other heatpipe tower coolers, but I found it to be a bit wider than others I've tested. The fan on this cooler is the Noctua NF-P12 Fan (Which we reviewed here), so we can assume this is going to be one quiet cooler and it will be very interesting to see how the cooler can perform overall.

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Noctua NH-U12P - Box Front
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Noctua NH-U12P - Box Back
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Noctua NH-U12P - Top
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Noctua NH-U12P - Top
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Noctua NH-U12P - Base
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Noctua NH-U12P - Base
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Noctua NH-U12P - Side
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Noctua NH-U12P - Front

In the pictures below you can see that Noctua NF-P12 fan that is included, this is a nice and quiet fan, and should make this cooler nearly silent.

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Noctua NH-U12P - Fan
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Noctua NH-U12P - Fan



Noctua NH-U12P CPU Cooler Accessories and Manual:

 

Now we move onto the manual and accessories section, which normally would be one or two pictures and that's all, but I can't not mention the manual and accessories that come bundled with the Noctua NH-U12P Cooler, and therefore I've given the Manual and Accessories their very own section.

First of all, let's look at the manual (pictured below, Left), they have a booklet that opens up and inside are two different sides that give complete instructions for LGA775 Sockets and then another set of instructions for AM2 Sockets, so you're not going to have to try and find the instructions for your socket and try and skip over the sections you don't need. This might not seem like a big deal, but I've seen a few coolers in the past that have terrible instructions and it's not the easiest task to find the section in their manual that you actually need. I've got to give credit to Noctua for really thinking this through and they've made it simple even for the most inexperienced user to complete the installation easily.

Now we move onto the accessories (pictured below), at first glance they might look quite normal until I point out a couple things.

First of all, the LGA775 hardware is individually packaged, as is the AM2 accessories, no need to try and separate what you need and don't need.

Second of all, you'll notice that it comes with a full tube of Noctua NT-H1 thermal paste, enough for a few installations no problem, which is a nice change from some coolers that we've seen that barely have enough thermal paste to complete more than two installations, good on Noctua for including a little extra.

Third you might notice what looks like a screwdriver, and yes it is in fact a screwdriver. Now you might be saying "Ok... I already own a screwdriver, why do I need another?", well if your anything like me, you first have to find that screwdriver that you placed somewhere for safe keeping and now have to sort through the stack of papers on your desk to find, and then you have to hope it's actually the right screwdriver. Noctua has thought about this and have made things easy by including their own with the cooler, so you have no excuses why you can't have this cooler installed in under 10 minutes. Now this screwdriver will definitely not make you run out and buy this cooler, it's just worth noting that Noctua has gone the extra mile and really made things easy for the consumer who purchases their coolers, and I think a lot of people will appreciate that.

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Noctua NH-U12P - Manual
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Noctua NH-U12P - Accessories
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Noctua NH-U12P - Accessories
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Noctua NH-U12P - Accessories

 


Noctua NH-U12P CPU Cooler Specifications:


Taken from Noctua.at

 

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The NH-U12P continues the legacy of Noctua's classic NH-U coolers, which won over 150 awards and recommendations from leading international websites and magazines. While retaining the successful design and the well-proven SecuFirm™ mounting system, the newest revision has been reworked for enhanced main board compatibility and now comes with Noctua's NT-H1 pro-grade thermal compound. Fitted with the new NF-P12 premium fan, the NH-U12P brings its predecessors' much-acclaimed quiet cooling performance to a whole new level!

Socket compatibility Intel Socket LGA 775, AMD AM2 & AM2+, Intel Xeon on request
Height (without fan) 158 mm
Width (without fan) 126 mm
Depth (without fan) 71 mm
Height (with fan) 158 mm
Width (with fan) 126 mm
Depth (with fan) 95 mm
Weight (without fan) 600 g
Weight (with fan) 770 g
Material Copper (base and heat-pipes), aluminium (cooling fins), soldered joints, nickel plated
Application Intel all frequencies, AMD all frequencies
Fan compatibility 120x120x25mm / 120x120x38mm (2 fans can be installed)
Scope of Delivery
  • NF-P12 premium fan
  • Mounting-clips for 2 fans
  • Ultra-Low-Noise-Adaptor (U.L.N.A.)
  • NT-H1 high-grade thermal compound
  • SecuFirm™ mounting kits for LGA & AM2(+)
  • Warranty 6 Years


    Fan specifications
     
    Model Noctua NF-P12
    Bearing SSO-Bearing
    Blade geometry Nine Blade Design
    Rotational Speed (+/- 10%) 1300 RPM
    Rotational Speed with U.L.N.A. (+/- 10%) 900 RPM
    Airflow 92,3 m³/h
    Airflow with U.L.N.A. 63,4 m³/h
    Acoustical Noise 19,8 dB(A)
    Acoustical Noise with U.L.N.A. 12,6 dB(A)
    Input Power 1,08 W
    Voltage Range 12 V
    MTBF > 150.000 h

     

    Noctua NH-U12P CPU Cooler Testing and Installation:

     

    Installation:

    Installation does require removal of the Motherboard from your case, but once you get the bracket installed onto your board, you're going to appreciate how easy it is to remove your cooler if you ever decide to change your CPU down the road.

    As you can see below, you will need to attach a bracket onto the cooler (pictured below, left), as well as installed the brackets onto the board (pictured below).

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    Noctua NH-U12P - Bracket installed on Cooler
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    Noctua NH-U12P - Bracket installed on Motherboard

    The bracket on the back of the board is pretty standard (pictured below, Left). Nothing too tricky about getting it installed. Once you get the brackets on the cooler installs very, very, very easily, two screws hold it in place, and they have springs on them so they get started nice and easy. Installation (after the board is removed) should take no more than 10 minutes.

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    Noctua NH-U12P - Back Bracket
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    Noctua NH-U12P - Installed
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    Noctua NH-U12P - Installed
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    Noctua NH-U12P - Installed (Top View)

     

    There we go, all installed and ready to go. Let's move onto testing to see how it stacks up against some other coolers.

     

    Test Setup:

    Our testing of CPU coolers is pretty straight forward, we test them at stock clock speeds at both idle and full load speeds. For the overclocking results I took temperatures at idle and full load. All temperatures were taken after the processor had been running for 12 hours on each test to ensure a consistent result.

    I have taken all temperatures using CoreTemp. CoreTemp takes a temperature from the CPU core, and allows for much more uniform results across different motherboard and CPU platforms. These temperatures may seem higher than other temperature recordings, because chances are they are taking temperature recordings using the diode underneath the CPU, which isn't able to be as accurate, and can really fluctuate between different brands of motherboards.

    For stock tests the Intel Core 2 Duo CPU ran at stock speeds of 1.86Ghz, for Overclocked tests the CPU was running at 2.13Ghz.

    For all tests I used Arctic Cooling MX-2 High-Performance Thermal Compound.

    Test System

     

     

     

    Well, I guess the testing is really the section where a CPU cooler really proves itself, most people could care less about the looks, it's all about the performance, let's see how the Noctua NH-U12P performs.

     

     

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    Click on Chart for Larger View

     

    Well the results shocked me, I wasn't expecting a silent cooler to perform like it did, but even at ~950 RPM this cooler still was able to keep up with most coolers we've tested in the past. I don't know what else to say, other than the results speak for themselves, this cooler is one of the best performing air-coolers that we've tested so far. We've reviewed a ton of coolers lately (as you can see in our chart that keeps growing and growing), so it's even more impressive to see it come out ahead of some other pretty big name coolers.

     

     

    Noctua NH-U12P CPU Cooler Final Thoughts

     

    We've taken a look at a lot of coolers over the years at BCCHardware.com and its not very often that I've been truly surprised from a cooler. Normally right out of the box you can tell approximately how well it is going to perform, but the Noctua NH-U12P truly caught me off guard. I was expecting a silent cooler from Noctua, but I wasn't expecting this kind of performance.

    This cooler comes with 3 different fan settings (thanks to fan adapters), and they allow you to run the cooler at its stock ~1500 RPM with no adapter, at ~1150 RPM with the Black adapter, and at ~950 RPM with the Blue adapter. Even while running at full speeds with no fan adapters, this cooler is silent, but if you need even more silence you can slow down the fan without sacrificing much performance at all.

    As I mentioned in the Accessories section of this review, Noctua has really out-done themselves with the accessories and manual for this cooler, normally I don't mention much about the Accessories or Manual, but this bundle deserves noting, and it's nice to see a company go the extra mile.

    This is the section where I would make notes of anything that I wasn't impressed by....... Well, that's it for this section. Not having automatic fan control (PWM) might be an issue for some people, but this cooler is so quiet even at full speed, there is no need for automatic fan control. I've left this cooler running for 2 weeks and I can't hear a thing while it is running at full speed, but if you're really sensitive you can put on a fan adapter that is included and make it super silent (is that possible?).

     

    At the end of the day this is a great cooler, and not only is it quiet, but it performs spectacularly, and if you're looking for a new cooler you really need to consider this cooler, you won't be disappointed. Thanks to the silent performance and great cooling, the Noctua NH-U12P has easily gained our "Top Pick" award.

     

    Pros:

    • Extremely Quiet
    • Excellent Performance
    • Great Accessories and Manual Included
    • Reasonably Priced for what you get
    • Did I mention Quiet?

     

    Cons:

    • None

     

    BCCRating

    We don't hand out a perfect 10.0 score very often at BCCHardware.com, but after using this cooler for a couple weeks I had no other choice, and wasn't able to come up with anything negative for this review. This is definitely a quiet cooler that can still perform with the best Air-Cooling solutions on the market today, and if you're looking for something that can cool the hottest CPU's and not have it drive you crazy with noise, the Noctua NH-U12P deserves your consideration.

     

    Uber Pick

    I'd like to thank Noctua for sending us the NH-U12P Cooler . If you have any questions, comments, or general feedback, please leave it at the "Comments" link below.