Noctua NH-U12P CPU Cooler

Posted by on Tuesday, June 30, 2009 - 3:08pm

overviewNoctua has gone and improved on an old favorite. The U12P offers some improvements that were most needed over its predecessor, the NH-U12. These improvements range from better performance to easier mounting. And if that isnt enough how about a better fan included in the package. If you can recall, the original cooler was a big hit with enthusiants all over. With these tweaks who knows what the future has for those of us wanting it all from the newest CPU. Does the U12P have what it take to beat our reigning king, the Thermalright Ultra-120? Read on to find out.

Introduction

It’s a dog eat dog world out there and when it comes to overclocking on air you only want the best. As of late the Thermalright Ultra-120 has been the top dog. Many coolers have come close. Some actually beat it in the price-vs-performance category. Companies like Noctua and Scyhte are two of the companies that put out some really awesome coolers that performs very close to the Ultra-120. but when price isn’t an issue very close isn’t good enough. Here enters Noctua another contender to the crown.

Noctua has gone and improved on an old favorite. The U12P offers some improvements that were most needed over its predecessor, the NH-U12. These improvements range from better performance to easier mounting. And if that isnt enough how about a better fan included in the package. If you can recall, the original cooler was a big hit with enthusiants all over. With these tweaks who knows what the future has for those of us wanting it all from the newest CPU. Does the U12P have what it take to beat our reigning king, the Thermalright Ultra-120? Read on to find out.

Noctua view on the U12P

The NH-U12P continues the legacy of Noctua's classic NH-U coolers, which won over 150 awards and recommendations from leading international websites and magazines. While retaining the successful design and the well-proven SecuFirm™ mounting system, the newest revision has been reworked for enhanced main board compatibility and now comes with Noctua's NT-H1 pro-grade thermal compound. Fitted with the new NF-P12 premium fan, the NH-U12P brings its predecessors' much-acclaimed quiet cooling performance to a whole new level!


 

Packaging and contents

Big things come in big packages and that holds truth for the U12P cooler. About half the size of a shoe box, the burgundy themed package was well sleared with images and performance figures about the cooler. The overall packaging of the cooler is about as striking as you will find protecting any cooler on the market.

When you tear into the box not only do you get a very large cooler and all the necessary mounting hardware, you also get one of the best cooling fans on the market. The NF-12 with its various volt leads are also included. Meaning you can control voltage and speed of the fan by selecting the proper power adapter.

Noctua will not leave any current CPU socket out to dry, there is support for AMD AM2 and AM2 as well as the older AMD sockets down to the 754 socket. If you are an Intel supporter only the 775 socket is supported. To aid in the cooling effect Nocuta also includes the NT-H1 thermal compound. All in all, a great selection of bits and pieces seem to make up the NH-U12P. Let’s see if together the can put a dent in Thermalright’s hold on our performance crown.

Specifications

Socket compatibility

 

Intel Socket LGA 775, AMD AM2 & AM2+, Intel Xeon on request, AMD K8 (754, 939, 940) & Socket F on request

 
 
 

Height (without fan)

 

158 mm

 
 
 

Width (without fan)

 

126 mm

 
 
 

Depth (without fan)

 

71 mm

 
 
 

Height (with fan)

 

158 mm

 
 
 

Width (with fan)

 

126 mm

 
 
 

Depth (with fan)

 

95 mm

 
 
 

Weight (without fan)

 

600 g

 
 
 

Weight (with fan)

 

770 g

 
 
 

Material

 

Copper (base and heat-pipes), aluminum (cooling fins), soldered joints & nickel plating

 
 
 

Application

 

Intel all frequencies, AMD all frequencies

 
 
 

Fan compatibility

 

120x120x25mm / 120x120x38mm (2 fans can be installed)

 
 
 

Scope of Delivery

 

?h  NF-P12 premium fan
?h  Mounting-clips for 2 fans
?h  Ultra-Low-Noise-Adaptor (U.L.N.A.)
?h  NT-H1 high-grade thermal compound
?h  SecuFirm™ mounting kits for LGA & AM2(+)

 
 
 

Warranty

 

6 Years

 
 
 

Fan specifications

 

 

 
 
 

Model

 

Noctua NF-P12

 
 
 

Bearing

 

SSO-Bearing

 
 
 

Blade geometry

 

Nine Blade Design

 
 
 

Rotational Speed (+/- 10%)

 

1300 RPM

 
 
 

Rotational Speed with L.N.A. (+/- 10%)

 

1100 RPM

 
 
 

Rotational Speed with U.L.N.A. (+/- 10%)

 

900 RPM

 
 
 

Airflow

 

92,3 m³/h

 
 
 

Airflow with L.N.A.

 

78,5 m³/h

 
 
 

Airflow with U.L.N.A.

 

63,4 m³/h

 
 
 

Acoustical Noise

 

19,8 dB(A)

 
 
 

Acoustical Noise with L.N.A.

 

16,9 dB(A)

 
 
 

Acoustical Noise with U.L.N.A.

 

12,6 dB(A)

 
 
 

Input Power

 

1,08W W

 
 
 

Voltage Range

 

12V V

 
 
 

MTBF

 

> 150.000 h

Features

4 dual heat pipes
4 dual heat pipes, soldered joints and 36 widely-spaced aluminium cooling fins guarantee optimal heat dissipation even at low fan speeds.
Award winning NH-U design
Noctua's NH-U coolers allow for perfect airflow direction and have received more than 150 awards and recommendations from leading international websites and magazines.
NF-P12 premium fan
The NF-P12 has been specifically developed for applications like CPU cooling and brings the performance of the NH-U12 to a whole new level. Thanks to psycho-acoustic optimizations and Noctua's premium-grade SSO-bearing, the NF-P12 achieves exceptional quietness and long-term stability.
Improved compatibility
Thanks to its raised fin-stack, the NH-U12P offers improved compatibility with main boards featuring very high chipset coolers.
SecuFirm™ multi-socket mounting system
Noctua's professional SecuFirm™ mounting system for LGA 775, AM2 and AM2+ provides superior reliability and contact pressure.
Incl. Noctua NT-H1 high-end thermal compound
Noctua's NT-H1 is a pro-grade TIM solution that provides minimum thermal resistance, excellent ease-of-use and long-term stability.


 

Closer look

Once out of the box you will have in front of you one of the best looking coolers on the planet. I never figured I would be using the word sturdy in a cooler review but here it is. The U12P is built very sturdy and solid. The U12P weighs in at 600 grams before mounting the fan on it. This is in all facets a heavy cooler although not as heavy as some units we have seen here lately.

A lot of the weight is in the aluminum fins which are connected to and supported by four nickel plated copper heat pipes. If you look at how dense the fins are you might think they are thicker than they are. We like the touch of the Noctua logo in the top of the cooler.

The base of the cooler is made up to two pieces mated together. Where the two parts meet are a set of grooves which the heat pipes run through. This makes for better contact  and quicker heat transfer. The top half is made of aluminum while the bottom and more important half is made of copper plated with nickel. The base of the cooler is about as shiny as you can get and is, more importantly, level as well.


 

Assembling and Mounting

No matter the socket you plan on using the U12P provides you with a lot of individual pieces you will have to deal with. And a lot pieces means some time will be needed to put it all together.

Installation begins with mounting these y-shaped brackets to the base of the cooler with the supplied screws. The two holes that are at each end of the brackets are oval shaped for proper adjustment of the cooler.

Next up will be prepping the motherboard for the mounting of the cooler. This begins by placing the backplate on the back of the motherboard and using 775 brackets on the front side of the board to secured it all together. Don’t think you will be able to easily switch out the CPU once the brackets are all in place, because they interfere with the little lever of the socket.

Lastly, place your thermal paste to the CPU and nice and slowly secure the cooler to the motherboard.

Here we have the cooler, motherboard and processor all ready to go. As you can see all this was done while the motherboard was out of the case. This is the only way it can be done.


 

Testing

When we tested the original Noctua cooler it ranked right up there with the better coolers like the Thermalright Ultra-120 and the Scythe Infinity. And since we still have the Ultra-120 around we will once again put it up against the new NH-U12P cooler.

Testing Experiment

Gigabyte P35C DS3R

Intel Core2Duo E6400

Super Talent PC2 8500

 

Leadtek 6800GT

Maxtor Diamond 10 100GB

HP DVD740 drive

Ultra ProX 800 power supply

Noctua cooling fan

The test started with us using each of the voltage adapters. Doing this took a little time, but was simple to accomplish. After that we moved along to using dual Noctua fans in a push-pull configuration.

Results

The U12P is the closest cooler to date that has given our Thermlright cooler any competition. But this was done only when in push-pull configuration. Despite this the NH-U12P was beaten by three degrees in some cases.


 

Conclusion

I have always enjoyed Noctua products, from the NC-U6 chipset cooler  to the NF-P12 ultra silent fans, and the NH-U12P continues the fondness I have in the company. Noctua continues to put out quality products at a casual rate. You won’t find them releasing products every other week. You may see a product once every five to six months. But when a new product is released it is a good one.

The NH-U12P is a great cooler that is in the class of the Thermalright Ultra-120 and some other high end coolers. With the two being about the same price it would be hard to decide which one to buy. If we based it on performance alone the Ultra-120 is the winner. Then again, the U12P comes with everything needed to assemble it including the fan. Price vs. performance vs. fan the Noctua would come out on top. Nothing against either company, both are great and dependable and to top it off they perform the best.

The assembly of the U12P is time consuming and requires motherboard removal. But once its all said and done you will not regret your choice. A great cooler from a great company.

 

 

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