Noctua is one of the known names in the industry, and they’re famous for their quality air coolers and fans. Recently, the company added a new product to its stable line of cooling solutions, the NH-U12A. Today in this Noctua NH-U12A review, we’re focusing on this cooler’s features, specifications, and what it has to offer.
Generally, there isn’t any more room to improve air cooler technology. It’s already as good as it can get, and manufacturers often focus on AIOs today.
But of course, Noctua attempted to make things a bit more interesting. So, they created the NH-U12A as an upgrade to the NU-U12 series. This unit comes with two fans (in push/pull setup), and they aren’t your typical fans as well. Noctua made use of the NF-A12x25 for this unit, making it quite promising.
Noctua made a couple of improvements to this unit. They include a 7-heat pipe layout and a bigger surface area for the fin. Also, the company created a new design to make the cooler more compatible with RAM sticks.
The NH-U12A delivers top-notch cooling performance while remaining entirely quiet even when the processor is working. The cooler is also a bit pricey, but it does include a 6-year warranty anyway.
Now, let’s go and read further through our Noctua NH-U12A review.
Noctua NH-U12A Packaging
The NH-U12A comes in a box measuring 21.6 x 17.9 x 17.1xm (L x W x H). If you look at the top of the package, you’ll find information about various features like its 100% RAM compatibility. Other than that, you’ll also find details about its dual NF-A12x25 fans, and the six-year warranty.
Looking at the front, you’ll find the same details but with a close-up image of the unit’s base. There are thorough explanations on the left portion regarding the cooler’s features for convenience.
At the box’s rear, there’s a portion that speaks of the cooler being the NH-U12’s 5th generation design. You’ll also find a couple of specifications for the fans and heatsinks on the right. Plus, there is information about the scope of delivery and a mechanical illustration detailing the measurement of the cooler.
Inside, you’ll find your standard Noctua packaging, which guarantees a protected cooler. All mounting hardware are in their separate boxes, while the fans and heatsinks are in smaller cardboard trays.
The SecuFirm2 mounting system from Noctua has everything you need for installing the NH-U12A on lots of modern sockets.
Noctua packs their NH-U12A with mounting hardware to accommodate the latest Intel and AMD processors. These include the usual mounting brackets, standoffs, and backplate that accompanies a collection of PWM extensions. You’ll also find an angled Phillips screwdriver, a metal adhesive-backed case badge from Noctua, and an NT-H1 thermal compound.
On the next portion of our Noctua NH-U12A review, we’re going to be dealing with its design and functionality.
Noctua NH-U12A Review – Design and Functionality
This dual 120mm tower cooler offers a pair of the company’s NF-A12 fans. They come in the signature tan and brown theme and has a design to push/pull ambient air efficiently. It moves through a collection of seven nickel-plated copper heat pipes while staying quiet at all times.
The worker of the unit is the bundle of cooling tower fins soldered to the seven nickel-plated heat pipes. These meet up and collect at the cooler’s base as part of the built-in mounting base that sports spring-tension screws. The counterbalanced heat pipes equally allocate thermal load while simultaneously allowing airflow around.
The cooler’s base displays a nickel-plated and polished base plate that offers a huge matting surface. It’s to accommodate the whole surface of your preferred CPU. The cooling tower’s sides feature an enclosed design, allowing airflow to move through the fin stacks.
The company ships two NF-A12 fans that are rated up to 2000 RPM. The fans are secure and fit to the cooling tower with wire-spring clips. These snap on the cooling fin’ side groove. The 120mm PWM fans enhance Noctua’s brown and tan colour scheme. With the included fan splitter, you can run these independently or manage them as dual fans.
Key Features of the Noctua NH-U12A
This portion of our Noctua NH-U12A review is about the cooler’s unique features.
100% RAM compatibility on LGA115x and AM4
With only 45mm fin depth, the NH-U12A won’t extend over RAM slots even if you install two fans. It allows for access to the memory modules on all-new CPU sockets and provides 100% compatibility with tall heatspreaders. Also, you can use optional memory fans.
Classic 120mm Tower Size for Chassis and PCIe Compatibility
The NH-U12A has a total height of 158mm, making it short enough to fit most of today’s tower chassis. Being 125mm wide with the fan and its clips, it stays clear of the top PCIe slot on most motherboards. The NH-U12A provides the highest compatibility with systems that have multiple GPUs.
Coming from the Award-Winning NH-U Series
The NH-U has become everyone’s choice for quiet, high-performance CPU coolers. It has earned more than 400 awards and recommendations from the most popular hardware websites and magazines worldwide.
NT-H1 Thermal Compound
The NT-H1 thermal compound is Noctua’s high-quality and user-friendly TIM solution. It’s highly reliable and offers superior thermal resistance, making it earn more than a hundred awards and recommendations worldwide.
The NH-U12A complies with the SecuFirm standard. If you use the optional NM-I3 mounting kit, it’s compatible with older LGA775 and LGA1366 sockets. Noctua will also provide upgrade kits for the next generation sockets if possible.
Dual 120mm NF-A12x25 fans
The highly optimised NF-A12x25 fans measure 120mm each. These integrate Noctua’s newest aerodynamic engineering innovations to achieve exceptional levels of silent cooling performance. With A-series’ approach, the NF-A12x25 are all-rounder fans that deliver superior results in all usage types.
AAO – Advanced Acoustic Optimisation
Modern technologies like the AAO frame and Flow Acceleration Channels to have a tight tip clearance of 0.5mm. It’s only possible with the use of Sterrox LCP compound and metal-reinforced motor hub and axis for maximum precision.
4-Pin PWM Fans and SSO2 Bearing
The NF-A12x25 are 4-pin PWM fans that support automated speed control using PWM fan headers. These feature a Low Noise Adapter to reduce the maximum speed of 2000 RPM by 300. With its SSO2 bearing and premium accessories, the NF-A12x25 fans deliver outstanding performance. Its excellent construction makes it the perfect choice for the most demanding users.
This section of our Noctua NH-U12A review deals with the cooler’s specifications. Let’s start with the heatsink.
The heatsink is 155.6 x 127 x 60.5mm (H x W x D) and weighs 1,143g. With the fans, its depth is 114.3mm, while its base height is 38.1mm. Its assembly offset measures 6.35mm and is 38.1mm with the fans. Speaking of fans, they measure 120 x 25mm.
The heatsink has two 4-pin PWMs. For its Intel sockets, it’s compatible with 115x, 2011x, 1366, and 2066. AMD sockets it works with include FM2+, AM2+, FM1, AM3+, and AM4.
Lastly, the heatsink comes with a 6-year warranty from Noctua.
For the fan, the cooler uses the NF-A12x25 PWM model and measures 120 x 120 x 25mm. It has a speed of 40 to 2000 RPM (PWM), maximum of 60 CFM, and noise that’s 22.6 dBA. For the acoustical noise with LNA, it reaches 18.8 dBA.
The fans’ static pressure reaches 2.34mm, and with LNA, it’s 1.65mm H₂O. The input power it uses is 1.68W with a 1.14A of input current. The NF-A12x25 operates at 12V and 5V for its Voltage PWM signal. It also has MTTF >150.00 hours.
Now, let’s proceed to the performance part of our Noctua NH-U12A review.
Hands on with the Noctua NH-U12A
On our Noctua NH-U12A review, it’s time we talk about the thermal and acoustic performance of the cooler.
With light loads, Noctua NH-U12A delivered exceptional performance. Even after increasing the load, the NH-12UA’s temperatures remained low.
At heavy loads, the NH-U12A didn’t get too hot. It’s noteworthy to note that thermal performance always complements the acoustic performance. We were pleased that even when the fans were at maximum speed, these were audible but not too loud.
We reduced the maximum speed of the fans using the PWM fan headers to keep it silent. And despite that, the cooler delivered impressive thermal performance. These results make the NH-U12 an excellent choice for quiet environments like workspaces.
Overall, the Noctua NH-U12 delivered outstanding thermal and acoustic performance, and it can compete with 140mm coolers. Because of this, we’re giving five stars for this CPU cooler’s quietness and cooling efficiency.
Noctua NH-U12A Review Summary
The NH-U12A offers everything you’d need – a plated heat pipe cooling tower with the company’s top-performing fans. Like all of Noctua’s coolers, it’s a premium thermal solution that delivers superior thermal performance with low noise levels.
At its price, the NH-U12A offers an excellent balance between price and performance compared to other solutions. As a result, more builders rely on Noctua’s cooling components.
A higher price doesn’t always guarantee impressive performance, but Noctua ensures that every dollar you spend is worth the purchase.
The NH-U12A is a top-tier CPU cooler in 120mm design which is more compact than conventional coolers. Its size and performance make it a perfect choice, especially for those who are building compact and transportable rigs. To conclude our Noctua NH-U12A review, we highly recommend it. If you want to purchase this, check out the company’s store locator for authorised dealers near you.