Aircooling Cooling Reviews

Noctua NH-U12A in test – Austria's air fight against the Ryzen 9 and the Core i9 | The new radiator reference

The fact that you can make very good products like Noctua's U-Series with the 120 fans is certainly always in it, but it is amazing how a relatively compact tower cooler from the same house can compete against the baroque competition of the cooling surface inflationary claim white. And since I will now test air coolers again, you need a kind of reference first of course. The NH-U12A from Noctua and its performance were just right for me. He can really set fragrance brands, against which others have to stink first with a lot of effort. So it's going to be quite interesting.

Important preliminary remarks

On the test methodology and the measurement setup in detail, I come straight to page 2, but I have to make a small preliminary remark at the beginning. This and the further tests are designed as practical as possible, including the obvious, this cooler with precisely staggered loads (instead of any fixed clock rates or fan speeds) and optimized for the current system. Fan curves on an Intel enthusiast system with very high power dissipation and rather low heat flux density, as well as a current Ryzen 9 system with extremely high heat flux density and thermal limitation.

You simply need both systems in order to be able to judge objectively later on. This applies in particular to the assessment of push-pull operation with two fans, which only brings real added value on one system. Of course, the higher the heat flux density, the more important the heat pipes are in order to dissipate the waste heat from the heat sink as quickly as possible. Maintaining this performance when it comes to the heat exchange at the Fin is the logical follow-up task, which causes much less problems with the Intel system.

The AMD system generates very asymmetric loads, which also require the heatpipes differently. The two series fans of the NH-U12A perform so well over the extremely large speed band that I will also use them as additional reference fans in the following articles, which is rather uninteresting for the buyer of other products due to the high price, but the comparability and highlights potential weaknesses.


Scope of delivery and radiator construction

The cooler is from 2019, so not quite fresh and there are now also massive reviews. Nevertheless, today I do not only want to measure and evaluate this cooler according to my very own methodology, but also briefly present it in advance. Compared to the large model NH-D15, the NH-U12A gets one more heatpipe and the two very good, already pre-assembled fans (Noctua NF-A12x25 PWM) impress with a very large speed band from 450 to 2000 rpm. Overall, the accessories are exemplary and comprehensive, as there are the mounting kits for all currently used sockets, NT-H1 thermal paste, two low-noise adapters (serial resistors) and a Y-splitter for the fans in push-pull mode.

Compared to the kit for the NH-D15, the cooler cannot be rotated on AMD systems, so it always blows from RAM towards the back. It's a pity, because for this price the two additional brackets would certainly have been included. The purchase price from approx. EUR 95 is already reasonably sporty, but it is also quite appropriate in view of the performance. But I don't want to spoil.

With a combat weight of 1220 grams (with 2 fans), the cooler is sometimes significantly lighter than some competitors. So you stay in the middle heavyweight, which doesn't have to be a disadvantage and should obviously do the motherboard well in the long run. The cooler has a very smooth and flat radiator bottom, which holds the total of 7 soldered heatpipes made of nickel-plated copper composite. The cooling fins are made of aluminium and bent at the respective outer ends in such a way that the cooler remains closed on the side.

The fans are fastened with simple metallic retaining clips (D7rahtbügel), which is quite practical and also saves space on the side. Hanging higher always goes, especially with full assembly with very high bling bling memory. The holding system of the cooler is almost self-explanatory and very easy to assemble for all sockets. With 75 Newtons for the AM4 system, Noctua is still well below AMD's requirements (< 100 Newton) und es hält trotzdem. 100="" newton)="" und="" es="" hält=""></ 100 Newton) und es hält trotzdem.> This is no different with Intel systems.

Here again the technical data of the cooler and fan at a glance:

Noctua NH-U12A

equipprAuf Lager, 1-3 Werktage Lieferzeit98,40 €*Stand: 23.04.21 12:52
galaxusAuf Lager, 1-2 Werktage98,90 €*Stand: 23.04.21 12:46
Coolblue1 Werktag (Vor 17:00 bestellt)99,99 €*Stand: 23.04.21 12:54
*Alle Preise inkl. gesetzl. MwSt zzgl. Versandkosten und ggf. Nachnahmegebühren, wenn nicht anders beschriebenmit freundlicher Unterstützung von

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About the author

Igor Wallossek

Editor-in-chief and name-giver of igor'sLAB as the content successor of Tom's Hardware Germany, whose license was returned in June 2019 in order to better meet the qualitative demands of web content and challenges of new media such as YouTube with its own channel.

Computer nerd since 1983, audio freak since 1979 and pretty much open to anything with a plug or battery for over 50 years.

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