Noctua Threadripper Cooler Review: NH-U9, NH-U12S & NH-U14S TR4-SP3 Range All Reviewed

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Noctua Threadripper NH-U9, NH-U12S & NH-U14S TR4-SP3 Feature

Noctua is one of the stalwarts of the PC cooling industry and we’ve dealt with them for years. In fact, all of our cooler reviews are done using their fantastic Noctua NT-H1 thermal paste. Up for review today is a trifecta of coolers specially designed for the AMD Ryzen TR4/SP3 Threadripper/EPYC socket. The Noctua NH-U9 TR4-SP3, NH-U12S TR4-SP3 and the NH-U14S TR4-SP3 all designed for different segments with the usual Noctua beige coloured design, robust Austrian engineering and with performance in mind; both noise and thermal performance!

The Noctua NH-U9 TR4-SP3 is currently retailing at Amazon UK for £60, the NH-U12S TR4-SP3 retails for £60 and the NH-U14S TR4-SP3 sells for the higher price of £70.

Let’s take a look at the specifications of all three of the TR4-SP3 coolers in our hands and then we can see what they look like…

Noctua NH TR4-SP3 Threadripper CPU Cooler Specifications & Features

Noctua NH-U9 TR4-SP3

Cooler Specification
AMD TR4 & SP3
Height (without fan)
125 mm
Width (without fan)
95 mm
Depth (without fan)
71 mm
Weight (without fan)
660 g
Height (with fan)
125 mm
Width (with fan)
95 mm
Depth (with fan)
120 mm
Weight (with fan)
895 g
Material
Copper (base and heat-pipes), aluminium (cooling fins), soldered joints & nickel plating
Max. TDP
Fan compatibility
2x 92x92x25mm
Scope of delivery
  • 2x NF-A9 PWM premium fan
  • 2x Low-Noise Adaptor (L.N.A.)
  • Y-split cable
  • NT-H1 high-grade thermal compound
  • SecuFirm2™ mounting kit for TR4/SP3
  • Noctua metal case-badge
6 Years

Noctua NH-U12S TR4-SP3

Cooler Specification
AMD TR4 & SP3
Height (without fan)
158 mm
Width (without fan)
125 mm
Depth (without fan)
45 mm
Weight (without fan)
695 g
Height (with fan)
158 mm
Width (with fan)
125 mm
Depth (with fan)
71 mm
Weight (with fan)
870 g
Material
Copper (base and heat-pipes), aluminium (cooling fins), soldered joints & nickel plating
Max. TDP
Fan compatibility
120x120x25
Scope of delivery
  • NF-F12 PWM premium fan
  • Low-Noise Adaptor (L.N.A.)
  • NT-H1 high-grade thermal compound
  • SecuFirm2™ TR4/SP3 mounting-kit
  • Anti-vibration pads and fan-clips for second NF-F12
  • Noctua metal case-badge
6 Years

Noctua NH-U14S TR4-SP3

Cooler Specification
AMD TR4 & SP3
Height (without fan)
165 mm
Width (without fan)
150 mm
Depth (without fan)
52 mm
Weight (without fan)
865 g
Height (with fan)
165 mm
Width (with fan)
150 mm
Depth (with fan)
78 mm
Weight (with fan)
1030 g
Material
Copper (base and heat-pipes), aluminium (cooling fins), soldered joints & nickel plating
Max. TDP
Fan compatibility
140x150x25 (with 120mm mounting holes), 140x140x25 (with 120mm mounting holes), 120x120x25
Scope of delivery
  • NF-A15 PWM premium fan
  • Low-Noise Adaptor (L.N.A.)
  • NT-H1 high-grade thermal compound
  • SecuFirm2™ mounting kit
  • Anti-vibration pads and fan-clips for second NF-A15 (optional)
  • Noctua metal case-badge
6 Years

Noctua NH TR4-SP3 Threadripper CPU Cooler Closer Look

With each of Noctua’s trio of TR4-SP3 coolers looking similar, but at the same time different, we’ve split the closer look into three sections; one for each cooler.

Noctua NH-U9 TR4-SP3 Closer Look

The Noctua NH-U9 TR4-SP3 is the smallest of the line-up and as expected, is designed with more a more compact footprint in mind. As with all of the TR4-SP3 coolers from Noctua, the cooling base plate is designed with a large surface area and isn’t compatible with any other socket. Users looking to purchase one of these particular coolers should and will have Ryzen Threadripper, or AMD EPYC processors in mind. The smaller NH-U9 stands at just 125 mm tall with both fans installed and would suit a user looking for a more compact cooler to go into a smaller low profile chassis.

Installed and ready to mount, the NH-U9 TR4-SP3 aluminium finned heatsink features two Noctua NF-A9 PWM 92mm fans which are in a push-pull configuration. The NF-A9 PWM fans have a maximum speed of 2000rpm and when used with the supplied low noise adapter, runs at a maximum speed of 1550rpm; still fast enough to cool, but with a lower noise output. Speaking of noise, the NH-U9 TR4-SP3 at full speed operates at 22.8 dba or a lower 16.3 dba when using the low noise adapter. Supplied with the cooler is a TR4/SP3 AMD mounting kit which is simple to install, a large Phillips screwdriver and a tube of Noctua’s NT-H1 thermal compound.

Noctua NH-U12S TR4-SP3 Closer Look

The Noctua NH-U12S TR4-SP3 is the mid-range offering of the line-up and as a result, has a larger overall footprint. It has the same large baseplate as other TR4 specific CPU coolers and also works with the AMD EPYC range (SP3 socket). With a larger tower than the NH-U9, the NH-U12S has a total height of 158 mm and is better equipped to keep those monstrous high core, high thread AMD Ryzen Threadripper processors even cooler.

Due to the larger size, the Noctua NH-U12S has two NF-F12 120mm fans which have a maximum speed of 1500rpm, or 1200rpm when used with the inclusive low noise adapter. Both fans are PWM compatible and have a maximum noise output of 22.4 dba, or a quieter 18.6 dba when used with the LNA. Also bundled with the cooler is a tube of the trusted Noctua NT-H1 thermal paste, a TR4/SP3 mounting kit and a long Phillips screwdriver for installing.

Noctua NH-U14S TR4-SP3 Closer Look

The biggest of Noctua’s TR4 compatible CPU coolers is the NH-U14S TR4-SP3 and theoretically should offer the best thermal performance from the three. With or without the single 140 cm Noctua NF-A15 high-performance fan installed, the total height of the NH-U14S TR4-SP3 tops out at 165 mm. The NH-U14S is also the heaviest of the three coolers on test today with a weight of just over 1 KG with the cooling fan installed.

Supplied along with the NH-U14S are the tower cooler, the NF-A15 PWM fan, a single LNA adapter, a tube of NT-H1 thermal paste, anti-vibration pads, a case badge and the TR4-SP3 mounting kit. Also included is extra fan clips for an optional NF-A15 fan to be installed allowing for users to operate these in push/pull. The NF-A15 has a maximum speed of 1500 RPM, while the noise pumped out at full-speed sits at 24.64 dBA. With the low noise adapter installed the max speed sits at 1200 RPM with a lower noise output of just 19.2 dBA.

The Noctua NH-U9, NH-U12S & NH-U14S TR4-SP3 CPU Cooler Review: The Performance And Final Verdict

Noctua NH TR4-SP3 Threadripper CPU Cooler Thermal Performance

It should be noted that the reason we omit acoustic/noise testing is due to an inaccuracy within the readings and method. To provide truly accurate readings, you need a lab setting with the same ambient noise on an hour by hour, day by day and week by week basis. As ambient noise can increase at different times of the day, we believe that it’s pointless providing noise testing if we can’t measure consistent and accurate data due to our office being a busy setting.

Test Setup

  • CPU – AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X @ 3.4 GHz, Stock Voltage
  • Motherboard – MSI X399 SLI PLUS
  • GPU – MSI GTX 1080 Armor 8G OC
  • RAM – Crucial Ballistix Elite 16GB DDR4 3000MHz
  • PSU – BeQuiet Dark Power Pro 11 1000w
  • SSD – Crucial MX300 525GB SSD
  • Monitor – MSI Optix MPG27CQ

Thermal Performance

AMD Threadripper 1950X Performance Idle

AMD Threadripper 1950X Performance Load

It’s no surprise that the more expensive Thermaltake Water 3.0 ARGB 360mm has better cooling performance than the three air-cooled Noctua TR4-SP3 coolers. At idle the difference isn’t substantial, but at maximum load, the Noctua NH-U14S TR4-SP3 proves the best of the Noctua based coolers which are expected. The higher performance NF-A15 PWM fan made all the difference and with more weight and a slightly bigger frame, for performance users, the U-14S proves the cream of the crop. For users looking for a lower profile option and don’t perhaps want to overclock a processor such as the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X, the Noctua NH-U9 performs superbly in our testing, dropping around 5-6c from the U-14S which was surprising. The Noctua NH-U12S as expected sits middle of the road and competes pretty well with the bigger U-14S model.

Noctua is famed for their CPU coolers and the NH-D14/D15 are some of the most recognisable on the market. With a more specialist and high-performing socket such as TR4, or the professional SP3 socket, a good quality product is needed.

What’s hot:

  • NH-U9S is small and suits low profile situations and has decent cooling performance.
  • NH-U12S sits in the middle with a good balance of size and cooling performance under its belt
  • NH-U14S is the best of the bunch in terms of cooling, but it also costs more and is the biggest in terms of size and weight
  • Build quality on all 3 Noctua TR4-SP3 coolers is exceptional
  • Noctua’s mounting it is one of the best for a CPU cooler on the planet

What’s not:

  • Some like beige, others not (I personally like it)
  • Can cost quite a bit, but nowhere near as much as larger AIOs

It isn’t a surprise that the Noctua NH-U14S performs the better of the three TR4-SP3 coolers, but it also comes with the most expensive price tag, albeit not by much. It’s bigger, it’s cooler and for those looking to do a little overclock on their Threadripper processors, this is the one to go for. The NH-U9S has its uses with its lower profile design and for people looking to build a slightly smaller form factor system, you can’t go wrong with this. The NH-12S also performs well without as much fuss as the NH-14S, but it only costs around £5 cheaper and in my personal opinion, I would opt for the NH-14S for its cooling performance, it’s quite quiet with the PWM function in use and it looks great too.

awards-gold - Noctua TR

Thanks to Noctua for sending a sample of the NH-U9 TR4-SP3, NH-U12S TR4-SP3 and the NH-14S TR4-SP3 in for review.

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