Weight: 940g Size (with fan): 158 mm (H) x 126 mm (W) x 95 mm (D) Fan Speed: 1,300 RPM Stated Noise Level: 19.8 dB(A) Warranty: Six Year Standard Warranty Supported Sockets: Intel LGA 1366 only
The Noctua NH-U12P has long been a favourite of ours here at bit-tech, with the cooler a constant feature in our monthly buyer's guide since we started running the feature. It combines excellent cooling with whisper quiet operation thanks to the inclusion of an excellent Noctua NF-P12 fan.
With the release of Core i7, Noctua, along with giving away 1366 mounting kits for any of its compatible coolers on presentation of a valid proof of purchase of the cooler and i7 CPU, has decided to re-release the NH-U12P with the i7 mounting kit included, along with a second NF-P12 cooling fan to help tame the 130W TDP requirements of Intel’s new CPUs.
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Other than the extra mount bracket and cooling fan though, this is the exact same heatsink Rich looked at back in January last year. It uses four bi-directional nickel coated heat-pipes running through a nickel coated copper base to transfer heat to the cooler’s meaty stack of aluminium cooling fins.
The base is also notable for the slightly rough texture of the thermal contact surface. This is an intentional design decision, allowing the TIM to fill the tiny fissures and cracks on the cooler’s base (and they are absolutely tiny), improving thermal transfer above that of a usual flat, mirror finished cooler base.
There are other similar touches about this cooler that really put the NH-U12P a cut above the rest though, such as the included rubber strips which are then stuck onto the cooler’s fan mounts to dampen vibrations and the two different pairs of voltage step down cables, capable of dropping the NF-P12 fans from 1,300 RPM at 19.8 dB(A) to either 1,100 RPM and 16.9 dB(A)or an ultra low noise 900 RPM at just 12.6 dB(A).
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Considering that using even two of the fans at full speed produces very little noise to start with, using the step down cables (and especially the 900 RPM cable) makes the NH-U12P practically silent!
The fans themselves are still some of the best on the market today, with the anti-vortex notches cut into the blades making a real difference which means that even at low noise levels they don’t compromise too much on airflow. We always say that finding the right compromise between cooling and noise is one of the most important factors when reviewing cooling kit, and Noctua seems to have a good grasp of this.
At £52.20 it’s not too bad value either, and while obviously expensive, this is very much a premium cooler. The LGA 775 and AM2 version sells for just £5 less and doesn’t include the second fan (which sells for £18 on its own!) or the two pairs of voltage step down cables you get in this premium bundle, which makes it stonking value once you get past the initially high price tag.
Add to that the six year warranty and continued excellent customer support Noctua has demonstrated and the NH-U12P soon becomes very attractive, although with just the LGA 1366 mount this deal is unfortunately only open to those who've already splashed the cash on Core i7.
So How is it to Mount?
Not Bad. While the new LGA 1366 mounting still requires a back plate mounting, which means the removal of your motherboard is required to install the cooler, it’s certainly one of the better back-plate base mounts we’ve used. The back plate is secured to the motherboard separately using four bolts, with the cooler then attaching itself to two standoffs on either side and thanks to the layout of the bracket system can be orientate the cooler to be mounted either horizontally or vertically, depending on the cooling layout in your case.