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Noctua NH-U12P CPU Cooler Review

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First you attach small metal "wings" to the base with screws.

Now the heatsink is prepared for mounting.

Time to prepare the motherboard. Peel off the strip over the adhesive foam and stick the backplate to the motherboard, taking care that the holes line up on all four corners. The backplate is identical to the Thermalright 775 backplate apart from the screw holes.

Then you attach two platform type brackets to each side of the socket with screws through to the backplate. One thing that struck me as very odd is that I can't fully release the CPU socket lever with the brackets in place, so you can't install or remove a CPU with the lower bracket installed! Say, if you wanted to swap CPUs and continue using the NH-U12P, you'd have to undo one of the bracket screws and swing it out the way. Why Noctua, why?

The instructions say to apply a small blob of the included thermal paste at the centre of the CPU. Then you place the heatsink on the CPU and use the spring-loaded screws to clamp it down.

From the side, you can see that the screws are quite close to the fins, so you'd need a long Philips screwdriver, maybe longer than you have to hand. Maybe you don't even have one long enough. Disaster? No! This is why you get a free screwdriver. Sort of like Ikea I suppose, people who buy self-assembly furniture have no tools, and people who buy 3rd-party CPU cooling don't have long screwdrivers. Well, two of mine were hiding somewhere at the time, so it really WAS useful!

Behold, the installed heatsink (making the chipset heatsink look like a munchkin version).

When you install fans, you add the noise reducing silicone strip, and then slot the fan clip wires in position ready for the fan.

Tada. Fan. Pretty much like earlier when I was looking at how the fan clip wires work. This was actually a lot harder this time because the chipset heatsink was kind of in the way (even though I turned it around to be further away). There isn't really much to hold onto when trying to get the ends of the fan clip wires in place, so it was about as equally annoying as Thermalright's latest fan clip design.

Notice how little you have to hold onto in order to move the end of the fan clip wire.

You get two pairs of the silicone strips too, so you can have noise reduction on both sides, and the clip wires don't interfere with each other.

It's easier to see from the exhaust side how the blades differ to regular blades with the notched trailing edge. This is to reduce noise as the fans are intended for low-noise or silent use while still being capable to force air through densely packed fins on a CPU heatsink.

It certainly looks convincing as a heatsink/fan package, but how does it perform?

  1. Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Closer Look (Continued)
  3. Installation
  4. Specifications & Features
  5. Testing
  6. Conclusion
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