Noctua NH-U12F HSF review

In this review, I'm taking a look at the Noctua NH-U12F processor cooler. Noctua is an Austrian company that specializes in silent cooling gear for PCs. Their NH-U12F cooler features a big and heavy HSF which uses a very silent 120mm fan to provide nearly noiseless cooling.

The NH-U12F is compatible with the latest sockets from Intel and AMD, it supports Socket LGA775, Socket 754/939/940, and Socket AM2.

Earlier this month I already reviewed Noctua's 80mm and 120mm fans and I was amazed how silent they were. The exact same 120mm fan is included in the NH-U12F bundle so even before I unpacked the product I already knew this would be a pretty quiet cooling solution.

But being quiet isn't enough to be a good CPU cooler, the cooling performance also matters greatly. Read on to find out more about the Noctua NH-U12F's cooling performance.

The Noctua NH-U12F HSF ships in this cardboard box. Compared to boxes from other heatsinks this one looks pretty plain and it doesn't really give a good look at how the cooler looks like.

First lets take a look at the specifications of the NH-U12F:
  • Socket Compatibility: Intel Socket LGA 775, AMD K8 (754, 939, 940) & AM2
  • Height (without fan): 155mm
  • Width (without fan): 126mm
  • Depth (without fan): 70mm
  • Height (with fan): 155mm
  • Width (with fan): 126mm
  • Depth (with fan): 95mm
  • Weight (without fan): 640g
  • Weight (with fan): 790g
  • Material: Copper (base and heat-pipes), aluminium (cooling fins), soldered joints
  • Supported fan sizes: 120x120x25mm / 120x120x38mm (2 fans mountable)
  • Included fan: Noctua NF-S12-1200
  • Bearing: SSO-bearing
  • Blade geometry: Straight-Blade-Design
  • Fan rotation speed: 1200RPM (+/- 10%) or (800RPM with U.L.N.A.)
  • Airflow: 47.7CFM (or 24.1CFM with U.L.N.A.)
  • Noise level: 17dBA (or 8dBA with U.L.N.A.)
  • Input power: 1.44W
  • Input current: 0.12A
  • Voltage range: 4-13V
  • MTBF: more than 150 000 hours
  • Warranty: 6 years
  • The features are also pretty well described on Noctua's website. Here's a summarized version:
  • 4 dual u-shaped heatpipes for optimal heat absorption.
  • 38 aluminum cooling fins which provide a total surface area of more than 5000cm³ to dissipate the heat.
  • The heatsink features soldered joints for optimal heat-transfer
  • Low-noise 17dBA fan (or 8dBA if you use the Ultra-Low-Noise adaptor)
  • Screwless fan mounting system. Also includes anti-vibration strips for extra quietness.
  • Easy installation on socket LGA 775, K8 (754, 939, 940) & AM2
  • SecuFirm mounting system - guarantees optimal contact pressure and maximum security thanks to the use of a backplate and spring-loaded screws. As a result, the SecuFirm mounting system makes it possible to safely transport the assembled system without any risk even though the cooler exceeds the 450g weight specification established by Intel and AMD. Perfect for LAN gamers!
  • Heatsink can be rotated 90 degrees for improved compatibility and optimal positioning within the case
  • When you open the box the first thing you see is this 120mm fan. I've already reviewed this fan a couple of weeks ago so if you want to learn more about it I suggest you read my Noctua NF-SF12 fan review :-).

    Before we move on to the cooler I'm first going to present all the hardware and tools which can be found inside the box:

    On the photo above you can see the manual, a bag with all kinds of tools and one of the mounting tools. The manual is very detailed and contains all the installation steps to install the cooler. The bag which you can see in the photo includes the following items: 2 anti-vibration strips, a tube of thermal paste, 2 pressure springs, some screws, 2 pair of fastening brackets, the Ultra-Low-Noise adapter, and 4 steel clips to mount the fan. Although only one fan is included, Noctua included an extra pair of fan clips so you can add an additional 120mm fan to the heatsink. This allows you to create a "push-pull" fan configuration.

    And this photo shows all the mounting hardware for the AMD K8 (754/939/940), AMD AM2 and Intel LGA775 sockets. Each plastic bag contains a backplate, four washers, stepped spring screws and the mounting bars.

    Head over to the next page for a look at the heatsink.

    Added: June 1st 2007
    Product reviewed: Noctua NH-U12F HSF
    Reviewer: Thomas De Maesschalck
    Score: 9/10
    Page: 1/4

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    About the Author

    Thomas De Maesschalck

    Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

    Loading Comments

    Comment #1 posted by Anonymous on 2007-06-14 15:43:24
    best cooler I ever had, ULTRA quiet, very effective cooling ==>> A must have (C2D4300 1.8@2.77GHz)