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  • Noctua U12A 120mm Performance Air Cooler Review
  • Noctua U12A 120mm Performance Air Cooler Review



    While the Noctua NH-U12A might be a new cooler the design has been around for quite some time.  According to the Noctua website this is a 5th generation cooler indicating that there have been several versions released before it.  Some of you may remember the NH-U12S SE-AM4 that I reviewed which was a smaller U12S released with a special AM4 mounting kit for the launch of the Ryzen.  Each of these coolers was designed for the systems of the time and matched with the best fans available. 

    The Noctua NH-U12A is the latest edition featuring a much larger 7 heatpipe array and wider radiator for increased cooling performance.  To help ensure the best balance between performance and noise the cooler is matched with two Noctua NF-A12x25 cooling fans to be used in a standard push/pull configuration.  This new fan is a multipurpose design that really is a work of engineering art with super tight tolerances between the fan blade and frame,  The motor is powerful and spins true with the ultimate in precision.

    Installing the NH-U12A is extremely simple and works just like any Noctua Cooler with a two screw mounting system to a universal base that can be adapted to any modern and several “classic” processor platforms.  In this review I tested on both LGA 2066 and LGA 115x with a flawless installation on each.

    In terms of performance I tested with both fans installed allowing the motherboard to control the fan curve.  To ensure the best cooling performance I did tweak the curve slightly to shift the RPM range up so that full RPM would hit sooner.  This did create a little more fan noise especially when testing on the hotter LGA 2066 however, wasn’t too bad.

    Overall I am extremely impressed with the Noctua NH-U12A.  The build quality is excellent offering a solid cooler with perfect sizing for modern processors.  Radiator fins are security mounted and the fan clips offer a solid connection for the rubber vibration tabs on the NF-A12x25 fans to work as they should.  Installation was painless and performance was on par with many 140mm coolers I have tested in the past.  So, if you are an aircooling enthusiast and have a system with limited space the NH-U12A might just be the solution you are looking for.

    Good Things

    Excellent Performance
    Noctua Mounting System
    Seven Heatpipe Solution
    Wider Radiator Fin Array
    Compact 120mm Design
    Dual Fan Design

    Bad Things

    Larger size may not fit all motherboards
    Works best on systems with dual channel memory

    Hardware Asylum Rating