Test platform contains exactly the same components as you could see in Noctua NH-L9x65 SE-AM4 review so AMD Ryzen R7 1700X processor and ASUS Prime X370-Pro motherboard with 0502 BIOS. Also the same as last time I have to point out that this platform is not mature enough to provide comparable results on various motherboards or even BIOS releases. Your motherboard can read it a bit different ( difference even up to 10°C ).
Below are our results in four test scenarios. Idle is obvious, it’s a state when are no main applications running and operating system is only doing something in the background. Mixed tests are based on PCMark 8 tests what include various popular office applications and simple games. High CPU load is an AIDA64 CPU stability test which is about what you will see in longer rendering or other more demanding tasks. Maximum load is Prime95 torture test which is heating up CPU the most.
Below is a graph which in a visual way shows differences between Noctua coolers. As you can see there is quite big difference in temperature. At the end it affects mainly generated noise as all temperatures are way below throttling point of the CPU.
Since I mentioned generated noise then couple of words about fans and their work. Current motherboards are not perfect and they’re setting a bit too high fan speed. It’s because of some issues with thermal sensors. I guess it will be fixed in new BIOS releases.
As you can see in the table Noctua NH-U12S SE-AM4 is offering quite low fan speed and also low noise. During normal work it’s nearly silent while we can hear it at maximum speed. However even in games processor never works at full load so I guess that most users will be more than satisfied with culture of work.
Fan speed is scalling close to higher model, the NH-D15 SE-AM4. The main difference is fan size what affects fan speed and general performance. Smaller fan used in NH-U12S SE-AM4 will of course spin faster to deliver optimal performance.
At the end couple of words about overclocking. On our R7 1700X processor we were able to set fylly stable 3.9GHz using Noctua NH-U12S SE-AM4. You can say that it’s only 50MHz more than smaller, NH-L9x65 SE-AM4 but at the same time larger cooler is quieter at high processor load.
Overall Noctua NH-U12S SE-AM4 offers great performance and is clearly interesting option to all who are thinking about high performance cooling for their new AMD Ryzen processor.