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Noctua NH-U12S Review


Noctua NH-U12S Testing:

Testing of Noctua's latest high performance tower design, the NH-U12S, will be accomplished installing the cooler into the test system mounted into a case, not a test bench. Most systems are built and mounted into a (relatively) sealed chassis, so this method will be used to generate the load and idle results to give a real world view as to what kind of cooling performance one can expect, based on the test system listed below. Of course, your results may vary due to case design and ambient air temperature by several degrees. The CPU load is generated by Prime 95 version 27.7 for a period of two hours, with a cooldown period of one hour after the computer has returned to an idle state. Real Temp 3.70 is used to log the temperatures over the time frame with the highest and lowest averages across the four cores of the Core i7 2600K test CPU. Ambient temperatures are kept at 24 °C throughout the testing to minimize the impact of a variable temperature. Each cooler is tested with the manufacturer-supplied thermal compound as delivered. Many of us have our own TIM favorites, but for the end-user without a half dozen tubes of thermal paste laying around, the supplied TIM will have to do and thus how these coolers will be tested.

Testing Setup:


Comparison Coolers:






In both the stock and overclocked idle tests, the Noctua NH-U12S was able to deliver temperatures consistent with the highest performing air coolers in this comparison field, which contains coolers costing much more. Looking at the load results, the NH-U12S does an excellent job of shedding the thermal load generated by the processor. At stock speeds it delivers cooling results on par with the best air coolers I have tested, including 140mm fans and dual-tower-equipped designs. When overclocked, its smaller size hinders performance slightly, but still outperforms all but three air-cooled heat sinks. These of course have multiple towers and a larger heat pipe matrix. When you take that into consideration, the NH-U12S performs above its weight class both stock and overclocked.

  1. Noctua NH-U12S: Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Noctua NH-U12S: Closer Look (Continued)
  3. Noctua NH-U12S: Specifications & Features
  4. Noctua NH-U12S: Testing Setup & Results
  5. Noctua NH-U12S: Conclusion
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