Noctua NH-U12S Review
Published by Christian Ney on 12.12.13 (26630 reads)
With their NH-U12S, Noctua has yet another single tower cooler in its portfolio. The company, which has it's roots in Austria, is very well known for making high-end after market coolers, which offer great cooling performance as well as a low noise levels. We're quite curious to find out if Noctua is able to continue with this tradition and the fact, that this cooler is rather slim makes it quite interesting.
Noctua is that very company that almost re-invented the market for aftermarket coolers, when they first launched their NH-U12P tower cooler. The build quality of their products was exceptional already years ago, which also meant they were raising the bar by quite a bit, when it comes to high-end aircoolers. If everything goes according to Noctua's plan, the NH-U12S might be another great successor of the U12P. Like its predecessor, the NH-U12S is a single tower cooler and it features the same, exceptionally high build quality. There is a total of five heatpipes, which all have a diameter of six millimeter. All of them pass through a nickel plated copper base plate. Additionally there is Noctua's NF-F12 PWM fan, which starts rotating already at 300 RPM and then it can go all the way up to a very reasonable 1'500 RPM.
Some of you might remember the NH-U12P SE2, compared to this model the NH-U12S looks rather small. The reason for that can be found with the fact that the NH-U12S is quite a bit slimmer around the waist than the NH-U12P SE2 - 45 milliemter in case of the NH-U12S and 71 millimeter for the U12P SE2. On the other hand it's actually quite surprising that both of these coolers are equally heavy.
A closer look at the materials used, shows you get the usual Noctua mix. There is a nickel plated base plate, five - also nickel plated - copper heatpipes, which all feature a diameter of six millimeters as well as an aluminum fin stack, that has been nickel plated too and soldered to the heatpipes. For optimal heat transfer the heatpipes have not been aligned to cover a large surface. Examining the base plate reveals there isn't a mirror finish but still manufacturing quality, also with this part of the cooler, is very high.
When it comes to the fan it is nothing short from the heatsinks build quality. The NF-F12 PWM fan comes with bearings that allow RPM to go all the way down to 300 RPM. In the end this means, that it's definitely possible to run this fan at speeds, where you won't be able to hear it. We also liked that there are anti vibration rubber pads in all four corners and on both sides of the cooler.
What's worth noticing is that although cooler and fan combined don't take a lot of space, the fan has to be unmounted in order to install the heatsink on the motherboard.
Basically, when you buy a Noctua cooler the fun starts with the unboxing. You will notice, that everything is perfectly packed. Inside, there is the SecuFirm2 mounting kit, which supports AMD sockets, Intel LGA115x as well as LGA2011 sockets, a screw driver, Nocuta's NT-H1 thermal compound, a metal case badge, a low noise fan adaptor and additional mounting parts for a second fan including anti vibration pads and fan-clips.
In case of warranty this cooler get backed by a 6 years plan, which is rather long, especially when you compare it to competitor's products.