I have reviewed a good number of Noctua heatsinks over the years and can honestly say they are some of the best air coolers you can buy. They are designed well, have solid construction and are configured for silent running with efficient thermal dissipation. Of course one of the great things about Noctua coolers is their dedication to the market and offering up mounting hardware upgrades when new processors and socket types are released.
In this review I will be looking at the Noctua NH-U12S SE AM4 U-Type heatsink. Like with all Noctua coolers the name can tell you a lot about the construction. With this cooler we have a 120mm U-Type tower (single tower design) that is designed exclusively for the AM4 platform.
The cooler comes with the awesome NF-F12 Focused Flow fan that is not only powerful and quiet but features a ring of focusing fins to help direct airflow in a straight column instead of the typical conical shape. This keeps more air where you want it for improved cooling.
Another thing to note are the radiator dimensions and construction. Like most heatpipe coolers you will find locking tabs along the side to connect and separate the radiator fins. You will also notice that the NH-U12S uses these tabs as a shroud to prevent air from escaping out the side ensuring maximum fin exposure. It also has a side benefit of lowering the noise footprint.
The radiator itself is also considerably thinner than most coolers of this size. The reduction in thickness will impact overall cooling performance but allows the cooler to clear tall memory modules by avoiding them altogether. You will find a total of five heatpipes on the NH-U12S SE AM4 that are bent into a U shape as they make contact with the coldplate. The base, or coldplate, features a micro-texture to help spread thermal compound and ensures the best possible thermal connection between CPU and heatsink.