Noctua NH-U12A CPU Cooler Review

Today we will present Noctua NH-U12A so the latest cooler for Intel and AMD desktop processors.

The new cooler is designed to fit into a standard PC case and deliver performance about as high as larger coolers. As an effect, we have a tower cooler with two 120mm fans. Sounds pretty standard but believe me, it’s something which beats every other single tower cooler, even though at first sight it looks so similar.

Noctua is well-known for its high-quality products, so we are sure that the NH-U12A will also be exceptional but how much does it really offer? To get an answer to this question you have to stay with us.

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The NH-U12A is the latest, 5th generation of Noctua’s award-winning NH-U12 series of 120mm size premium-quality quiet CPU coolers. Conceived to push the envelope of the 120mm form factor, it combines two of Noctua’s flagship model NF-A12x25 PWM 120mm fans with a completely redesigned heatsink featuring 7 heatpipes and an increased fin surface area for superior heat dissipation. This way, the NH-U12A can rival the performance of many 140mm size coolers while offering 120mm class case and PCIe compatibility. Topped off with the trusted, pro-grade SecuFirm2™ multi-socket mounting system, Noctua’s proven NT-H1 thermal compound and a full 6-year manufacturer’s warranty, the NH-U12A is a deluxe choice that combines top-tier performance with excellent compatibility and outstanding quietness of operation.
 
 

 

Award-winning NH-U12 series

Award-winning NH-U12 series

First introduced in 2005, Noctua’s NH-U12 series has won more than 600 awards and recommendations from leading international hardware websites and magazines. The NH-U12A is the latest addition to this prestigious series that has established itself as a benchmark for premium-quality quiet 120mm coolers.
 
140mm performance in 120mm size

140mm performance in 120mm size

Thanks to its completely revised, thoroughly optimized 7 heat pipe layout, 37% more fin surface area (as compared to the NH-U12S) and a dual fan push/pull configuration that uses the new, state-of-the-art NF-A12x25 fans, the NH-U12A pushes the performance envelope in the 120mm class and can actually match or even outperform many 140mm sized coolers.
 
100% RAM compatibility on LGA115x and AM4

100% RAM compatibility on LGA115x and AM4

Due to its asymmetric design, the NH-U12A does not overhang the RAM slots on Intel LGA115x and AMD AM4 based motherboards, which ensures easy access to the modules and 100% compatibility with tall heat-spreaders. On LGA2066, the rear fan will overhang the RAM slots on the left-hand side of the socket, so RAM modules should not exceed 42mm in height.*
 
Classic 120mm tower size for excellent case and PCIe compatibility

Classic 120mm tower size for excellent case and PCIe compatibility

Standing 158mm tall, the NH-U12A is short enough to fit most modern mid- or high-end tower cases. Measuring 125mm wide (including fan and fan clips), the cooler stays clear of the top PCIe slot on most standard ATX or Micro-ATX motherboards, ensuring optimum compatibility with multi-GPU setups.
 
Dual NF-A12 120mm fans

Dual NF-A12 120mm fans

The NF-A12x25 is a highly optimized next-generation 120mm fan that integrates Noctua’s latest innovations in aerodynamic engineering in order to achieve an unprecedented level of quiet cooling performance. Using this elite-class fan in a push/pull dual fan configuration is one of the cornerstones of the NH-U12A’s commanding performance and acoustic efficiency.
 
PWM support and Low-Noise Adaptors

PWM support and Low-Noise Adaptors

The NF-A12 120mm fans supplied with the NH-U12A support PWM for convenient automatic speed control through the motherboard: Full performance under load, virtually silent at idle! In addition, maximum fan speed can be reduced from 2000 to 1700rpm using the supplied Low-Noise Adaptors for even quieter operation.
 
SecuFirm2™ multi-socket mounting system

SecuFirm2™ multi-socket mounting system

Noctua’s SecuFirm2™ mounting systems have become synonymous with quality, safety and easy installation. Supporting Intel LGA115x (LGA1150, LGA1151, LGA1155, LGA1156) and LGA20xx (LGA2066, LGA2011-0, LGA2011-3), as well as AMD AM4, AM3(+), AM2(+), FM2(+) and FM1, the SecuFirm2™ mounting included with the NH-U12A is straightforward to install, provides perfect contact pressure and will stand the test of time even under heavy use.
 
Compatibility with past and future sockets

Compatibility with past and future sockets

Thanks to Noctua’s SecuFirm™ ecosystem, the NH-U12A can be made compatible with the older LGA1366 and LGA775 sockets using the optional NM-I3 mounting kit, which is provided free of charge. If technically possible, Noctua will also provide upgrade kits for future sockets, which makes the NH-U12A a safe long-term investment.
 
Soldered interface between heatpipes and fins

Soldered interface between heatpipes and fins

With many heatsinks, the fins are press-fitted to the heatpipes. Due to the different thermal expansion coefficients of copper and aluminium, this fit can loosen over years of thermal cycling, which may lead to reduced performance. By contrast, the NH-U12A’s fins are soldered to the heatpipes in order to guarantee a superior thermal interface that doesn’t deteriorate even after many years of usage.
 
6-year manufacturer’s warranty

6-year manufacturer’s warranty

Noctua products are renowned for their impeccable quality and outstanding longevity. True to this legacy, the NH-U12A heatsink is built to last, and like all Noctua fans, the supplied NF-A12x25 units feature an MTTF rating of more than 150,000 hours. The entire package comes with a full 6-year manufacturer’s warranty.

 

You can buy the Noctua NH-U12A CPU Cooler for around USD $99 from Amazon – https://amzn.to/2GVzxk5

 

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About Bartosz Waluk 279 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.