Noctua NH-U12S CPU Air Cooler Review

  1. Introduction
  2. Packaging and Specification
  3. Closer Look
  4. Mounting and Motherboard clearance
  5. Installation Impressions
  6. Test Bench and Testing Methodology
  7. Temperature Readouts and Observations
  8. Conclusion
  9. Online Purchase Links

Noctua_NH_U12S_0020Noctua NH-U12S is a tower-type CPU air cooler with 158mm in height. The cooler is designed with 45nm fin depth to ensure that the cooler does not block any of the DIMM slots for installing memory kits- with or without tall heatspreaders. The height of the tower cooler is also designed in a way to ensure it fits in most cases. As usual, Noctua comes with its well-known SecuFirm2 mounts for Intel LGA 2011 and 115x sockets, along with AM3+, AM2+, FM1, FM2 and FM2+ AMD socket compatibility.

Two of the best part that I like about Noctua: 6 years warranty support and very detailed Mainboard compatibility list, even including the latest Intel 9 series chipset motherboards.

For Intel rigs, you can mount Noctua coolers in either horizontal or vertical orientation. Noctua also listed the specific compatibility issues as a remark, the common ones being in case mini-ITX motherboards where the cooler blocks the PCIe slot.

noctua_nm_ibp2_backplate_revisionsI also couldn’t help but notice that Noctua has three rev versions of backplates, in which certain known motherboards such as Maximus V Gene and many others. The cooler that I’ve received is with Rev 1.5 NM-IBP2 backplate, but the best part is that Noctua is willing to provide the new rev backplate to those owners who have rev 1 backplate and facing compatibility issue. However, a lot of time has passed, so most likely the newer CPU coolers are with Rev 2.

As far as AMD backplate is concerned, Noctua assures that you can use the ones that’s pre-installed on the motherboard. All you have to do is swap the retention bracket with Noctua secure amount and AMD-specific spacers. Both metal and plastic AMD backplates (yes, some manufacturers do use plastic backplates), but if it secures the retention brackets with plastic push-pins, Noctua will provide an AMD backplate. I never heard of AMD backplates that uses push-pins and not screws, but if they do they wouldn’t have threads to secure the screws that is needed to keep the AMD brackets in place!

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