Noctua NH-U12S & NH-U14S Review

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One of the key areas that you need to consider when building a PC is how you plan to cool the processor.  A hot processor is never a happy one and is pretty inefficient to say the least.  The art of keeping the CPU cool is not down to sheer size, as some of the smaller coolers on the market pack a pretty powerful punch in terms of cooling and with AIO water coolers becoming ever more popular, how does air cooling compete in terms of performance?

Well Noctua are famed for their coolers, especially the DH-14 which has been considered one of the top performing CPU air coolers ever to be produced.  Sure some will disagree but at the time of release, it was literally un-touchable.

Noctua were founded in 2005 and hail from Austria, EU.  They strive to bring out some of the most cost effective cooling solutions on the market. Today I will be taking a look at 2 coolers from Noctua, their latest 12cm cooler (the NH-12S) and the larger 14cm (NH-14S).  How will they perform under the thermal conditions of Haswell and more importantly, how quiet are they? Will they be a big hit, or is there nothing out there that can tame the hot beast that is Haswell. Let’s find out, starting by taking a look at the specifications…

Socket compatibility Intel LGA2011 (Square ILM), LGA1156, LGA1155, LGA1150 & AMD AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, FM1, FM2 (backplate required)
Height (without fan) 158 mm
Width (without fan) 125 mm
Depth (without fan) 45 mm
Height (with fan) 158 mm
Width (with fan) 125 mm
Depth (with fan) 71 mm
Weight (without fan) 580 g
Weight (with fan) 755 g
Material Copper (base and heat-pipes), aluminium (cooling fins), soldered joints & nickel plating
Fan compatibility 120x120x25
Scope of Delivery
  • NF-F12 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-F12
  • Noctua Metal Case-Badge
Warranty 6 Years
Fan specifications
Model Noctua NF-F12 PWM
Bearing SSO2
Max. Rotational Speed (+/- 10%) 1500 RPM
Max. Rotational Speed with L.N.A. (+/- 10%) 1200 RPM
Min. Rotational Speed (PWM) 300 RPM
Max. Airflow 93,4 m³/h
Max. Airflow with L.N.A. 74,3 m³/h
Max. Acoustical Noise 22,4 dB(A)
Max. Acoustical Noise with L.N.A. 18,6 dB(A)
Input Power 0,6 W
Voltage Range 12 V
MTBF > 150.000 h

Noctua NH-14S

Socket compatibility Intel LGA2011 (Square ILM), LGA1156, LGA1155, LGA1150 & AMD AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, FM1, FM2 (backplate required)
Height (without fan) 165 mm
Width (without fan) 150 mm
Depth (without fan) 52 mm
Height (with fan) 165 mm
Width (with fan) 150 mm
Depth (with fan) 78 mm
Weight (without fan) 770 g
Weight (with fan) 935 g
Material Copper (base and heat-pipes), aluminium (cooling fins), soldered joints & nickel plating
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
Warranty 6 Years
Fan specifications
Model Noctua NF-A15 PWM
Bearing SSO2
Max. Rotational Speed (+/- 10%) 1500 RPM
Max. Rotational Speed with L.N.A. (+/- 10%) 1200 RPM
Min. Rotational Speed (PWM) 300 RPM
Max. Airflow 140,2 m³/h
Max. Airflow with L.N.A. 115,5 m³/h
Max. Acoustical Noise 24,6 dB(A)
Max. Acoustical Noise with L.N.A. 19,2 dB(A)
Input Power 1,56 W
Voltage Range 12 V
MTBF > 150.000 h

 

Both coolers come in literally identical boxes, with the only difference being the model number.  The coolers come presented in a mainly white box, with a dark brown fill.  The front of the box states the model number and some of the features including PWM fan control, a whopping 6 years warranty and the size of the fan included.   On the rear, there is a more detailed explanation of the coolers specifications.  It’s always nice to see informative packaging and in a retail environment, it’s paramount.   After opening the box, both coolers have different sections for each of the different mounting systems and accessories.  I really love this layout and although it’s simple, it’s very effective and shows just how much effort Noctua put into their packaging. Inside the compartments we have the mounting instruction manuals; I have displayed the Intel mounting kit as a guide.  Also packed with Noctua coolers is the fantastic NT-H1 thermal paste which is my general weapon of choice when it comes to thermal materials.  All the screws and bolts are also included.

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