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Noctua NH-U12P CPU Cooler Review

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So, would I have been happier if there was a hamster in the box instead of a heatsink? No. The Noctua NH-U12P holds its own against the Thermalright Ultra 120 (probably the NH-U12P's most closely matched competitor), and comes with what may well be the perfect fan to many: generous airflow at a very subdued noise level. It also comes with fan clips to let you run fans on both sides, which gives you further cooling performance.

However, the Noctua NH-U12P would have to be priced accordingly to be able to compete with the Thermalright Ultra 120, considering the slightly inferior cooling performance. The most annoying thing was probably the fact that there was barely anything to hold onto while attempting to get the fan clip wire into the fan hole. So, in cramped spaces, this becomes near impossible. I'd really like to see an alternative fan mounting method because the fan clip wires don't really stay in place when installing (they only just rest in the groove until you touch them and then they pop out).

The mounting brackets that create a raised platform stop the LGA775 socket lever from being functional, effectively locking your CPU in place unless you remove the bracket. This seems like a very poor fundamental design flaw to me, but luckily installing and removing a CPU isn't something most people do very often at all.

Why would you buy the Noctua NH-U12P instead of the Thermalright Ultra 120? Both have four dual heatpipes. One comes supplied with a fan. One performs better than the other. If you want a silent-running, high performance heatsink with everything you need to be up and running within minutes included in the box, then the Noctua NH-U12P is a very decent choice.


  • High-performance heatsink
  • Low-noise/silent fan included
  • Thermal paste included
  • Includes fan clips for a 2nd fan


  • Performance trails behind the market competitor
  • Mounting bracket blocks LGA775 socket lever
  • Fan clip wire ends are difficult to move into position

OCC Silver

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