Heatsink Reviews and Analysis
TOP 5 Heat Sinks     TOP 5 Low Profile Heat Sinks     TOP 5 Liquid Coolers    
 Reviews + Articless     News     HSF Mfg's Index     Advanced Search    

Noctua NH-U12 Low Noise Heatsink Review
Noctua  NH-U12 Low Noise Heatsink Review
Abstract: The large 155mm tall heatsink resembles a Soviet-era apartment block and optimized for use with large fans which can operate very quietly.

 Company link  Category  Published  Author 
Noctua   Cooling / Heatsinks   Feb 27, 2006   Max Page  

The Noctua NH-U12 heatsink arose from a collaboration between the Vienna, Austria based Rascom Computerdistribution Ges.m.b.H and Taiwanese manufacturer Kolink International Corp. Under the banner name of Noctua, the companies have released a set of heatsinks optimized for use with large fans which can operate very quietly, without restricting the underlying thermal performance of the heatsink... and as you'll soon see the Noctua NH-U12 is quite impressive in that regard.

Such is the background story behind the Noctua NH-U12, a large 155mm tall heatsink that resembles a Soviet-era apartment block. The Noctua NH-U12 heatsink comes with all the necessary mounting hardware, but no fans are included. Mounting clips will allow users to install a 120mm fan on either side of the unit if they desire, but we found a single 120mm fan more than sufficient for the job. The 38 nickel-plated aluminum cooling fins are connected by four copper heat pipes to a copper base plate that pushes the overall weight to around 700grams.

The Noctua NH-U12 is a little heavy and a bit bulky for smaller cases, so we'd suggest measuring first to ensure clearance. All joints between the copper heat pipes and base are soldered for the lowest possible thermal resistance, however RoHS compliance is not stated (per 2002/95/EU) so this heatsink may not be available in Europe for much longer.

Noctua NH-U12 Heatsink
Manufacturer: Noctua
Model No.: NH-U12
Materials: nickel plated aluminum fins, copper heat pipes, copper base plate
Fan Mfg: N/A
Fan Spec: N/A
Fan Dim: Accepts 120x120x25/35mm fans
Heatsink & Fan Dim: 155x124x70mm
Weight: 700 grams
Includes: Assorted mounting brackets, hardware, screws, PCB support plates, fan clips, printed instructions, thermal compound.

Compatible with Sockets: 478/775/754/939/940
Est. Pricing: $39USD ($42CDN)


Manufacturer Provided Mounting Kit Required to Support AMD Socket AM4 Motherboards? YES

Manufacturer AM4 Kit Request Form Link:

Noctua state: "Owners of Noctua CPU coolers can obtain the Noctua NM-AM4 SecuFirm2 Mounting-Kit free of charge via this form. A proof of purchase (electronic version, photo or scan of the invoice) of both a Noctua CPU cooler and either a socket AM4 mainboard or socket AM4 CPU are required. There is a dedicated upgrade kit  (NM-AM4-UxS) available for NH-U14S, NH-U12S and NH-U9S"

For more details, heatsink exceptions and a complete list of incompatible coolers, see here.

Noctua NM-AM4 SecuFirm2 Mounting-Kit supported on following Noctua heatsinks Frostytech has tested: NH-C12PNH-C14NH-D14NH-D15 , NH-D9L, NH-L12, NH-L9x65, NH-U12 , NH-U12PNH-U9, NH-U9B . Noctua NM-AM4-UxS Mounting-Kit: NH-U14S, NH-U12S and NH-U9S.

The Noctua NH-U12 comes with a variety of brackets for installing the heatsink onto different processor sockets, but the gist is that a set of plates are screwed into the copper base, the backplate positioned behind the motherboard, then everything is screwed down onto the CPU.

The fan is the last component to be attached, and because Noctua sell the NH-U12 without one, you'll need to source out a 120mm fan of your own choice first. If you try and install the heatsink with the fan in place you'll quickly discover that it blocks the screws for the heatsink mounting hardware... which makes the whole process a little annoying if the computer case is tight.

The Noctua NH-U12 is being tested on an AMD Athlon64 K8 compatible synthetic temperature test platform in this review. We picked out the necessary brackets with the aide of the multi-language manual, and set about the installation task in the course of a few minutes.

Getting the large Noctua NH-U12 into position on the CPU die and affixed with the spring-tensioned screws wasn't too difficult. It was just a matter of attaching the clear rubber anti-vibration strips to the back vertical edges of a 120mm fan and locking that into place with the included wire clips.

The important bit is to stick on the anti-vibration strips to the rear of the fan first, or you'll quickly find yourself repeating steps. Leaving the strips out is not advisable unless you like the sound of rattling metal bits. The fan is oriented such that air blows through the fins of the Noctua NH-U12 heatsink, so hot air should be blowing towards the rear or top of an actual PC case.

Retroactive Socket 1366 Intel Core i7 Processor Compatibility

One of the nice aspects of this heatsink is that Noctua has released a new mounting kit to make it compatible with Intel's Core i7 socket 1366 processor! The Noctua SecuFirm2 mounting kit works with any Noctua CPU heatsink going back to 2005, and best of all it's available for free from Noctua's website. Socket 1366 processors use slightly wider spaced motherboard mounting holes for heatsinks to attach to - 80mm vs. 72mm for LGA775 chips - so existing socket 775 brackets are not compatible with this new Intel CPU in spite of the fact the heatsink is probably still well suited.

The Noctua SecuFirm2 bracket (shown above) uses spring tensioned screws to securely mount the Noctua heatsink on the new Core i7 processors, and ensures optimal contact pressure thanks to identical Z-height between LGA775 and LGA1366 CPU formfactors. Frostytech will be testing this Noctua heatsink shortly to see how it performs with socket 1366 processor thermal demands... stay tuned!

FrostyTech's K8 Test Methodology is outlined in detail here if you care to know what equipment is used, and the parameters under which the tests are conducted. Now let's move forward and take a closer look at this heatsink, its acoustic characteristics, and of course it performance in the thermal tests!

° Next Page 

Table of Contents:

 1: — Noctua NH-U12 Low Noise Heatsink Review
 2:  360° View - Noctua NH-U12 Heatsink Review
 3:  Surface Roughness and Acoustic Comparisons
 4:  Final Heatsink Temperature Comparisons

List all Noctua heat sinks that Frostytech tested?

Follow Frostytech on FacebookFrostytech News RSS FeedFollow frostytech on Twitter
° Got Feedback?
° Mk.II Test Platform
° Where To Buy?
° Manufacturer Index
° Industry Dir.
° Cooling Projects

Noctua NH-L9x65 Low Profile Heatsink Review

Noctua NH-D9DXi4-3U LGA2011 Xeon Server/Workstation Heatsink Review

Scythe Fuma SCFM-1000 Heatsink

Scythe Ninja 4 SCNH-4000 Heatsink Review

DeepCool Maelstrom 240 Liquid Cooling System Review

DeepCool Gamer Storm Lucifer K2 Heatsink Review
...More Articles >>

Websites you may also like:

Google Search Frostytech

Time stamped: 11:19PM, 12.10.2018
In Case You Missed it...
°  GELID Solutions Radiant – Extreme Performance RGB Fans

°  Notebook cooling solutions provider Anli sees bright prospects for 2019

°  Reeven Kiran Cooling Fan Review

°  Arctic BioniX P120 Review

°  Cooler Master MasterAir G100M CPU Cooler

°  Corsair K70 RGB MK.2 Low Profile Review
Since June 1999

Find a Heatsink / RSS Feeds
Latest Heatsink Reviews
Top 5 Heatsinks Tested
News RSS Feed
Reviews RSS Feed

Social Media
Pinterest Info
Contact Us / Heatsink Submissions
Submit News
Suite 66
© Copyright 1999-2018 All Rights Reserved. Privacy policy and Terms of Use
Images © and may not be reproduced without express written permission.
Current students and faculty of accredited Universities may use Frostytech images in research papers and thesis, provided each image is attributed.