Noctua NH-U12A CPU Cooler Review


Performance of the NH-U12A cooler has been tested on the above-average gaming rig. Its most important part (at least for our tests) is the i7-9700K processor which is one of the more popular processors used in gaming computers in last months. It also generates less heat and is easier to overclock than the i9-9900K. Of course, it’s also cheaper what is one of the main reasons for its popularity.

Our comparison includes three tests. The idle mode is a PC left without any load besides standard Windows services running in the background. The mixed mode base on a PCMark 10 extended test which uses popular applications and simple games. The max load is a CPU+FPU AIDA64 stability test. Shows about maximum CPU load during the most demanding work on all CPU cores.

Our results show that the Noctua NH-U12A performs slightly worse than the 280/360 AIO coolers. In the same time beats every other type of cooler which we used in this comparison. Even if we compare it to AIO coolers, then we have to remember that these are really good series and there is nothing much better on the market. The temperature of 1-3°C higher than that of our best results is not significant, and the NH-U12A can easily replace popular AIO cooler series.

What is interesting, coolers like Scythe Kotetsu or Arctic Freezer 34 have similar build as Noctua NH-U12A, but both perform worse. The Freezer 34 offers quite good performance staying behind the NH-U12A by 6°C, but the Kotetsu is already 14°C worse what is a vast difference.

The generated noise has been measured about 1m from the PC in which was installed the NH-U12A. While idle, the NH-U12A was barely spinning the fans, but the motherboard was keeping them at about 500 RPM. In this mode, Radeon RX Vega 56 graphics card was keeping its fans off. The same PSU wasn’t spinning the fan. In 3D games and benchmarks, both CPU and GPU fans were spinning but not at its maximum speed. Noctua NH-U12A fans had about 1000-1200 RPM. The maximum load tests with additional 3D graphics gave us the result of 36dB so not low but acceptable for longer work.


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About Bartosz Waluk 284 Articles
Bartosz Waluk aka Woomack is from Poland. He's been interested in computer hardware and extreme overclocking for over 15 years. Bartosz has also over 12 years experience in IT what includes sales, technical support and computer building ... but not only. He joined the Funky Kit team in January 2013.