Noctua NH-U12S CPU Cooler Review

/ 11 years ago

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Some times I feel like a bit of a stuck-record when it comes to reviewing Noctua products because they deliver time and time again and there is very little to criticise. The Noctua NH-U12S is no exception as I am once again impressed by a very solid product.

Noctua’s NH-U12S will cost €59.90/$64.90 which translates into UK pricing of approximately £52.99. For the interests of referring to our push-pull testing, an additional NF-F12 120mm fan costs about £14.99. At this price we can see the Noctua NH-U12S compares favourable to the Thermalright Archon SB-E X2, which costs around £60, and it beats the ever other air cooler we have tested. When you make this product push-pull, its RRP of £67.99 means it is still competitive managing to come very close to Corsair’s (£70-75) H90.

Acoustic Performance on the Noctua NH-U12S was consistently strong thanks to the NF-F12 fan used. The build quality was second to none and Noctua are one of few companies who make heatsinks with fins that don’t bend. The accessory pack, mounting kit and attention to detail with the presentation was second-to-none as I have come to expect from Noctua. Consider also that the tube of NT-H1 that they include as standard would cost £9.99 to purchase separately.

The design of the Noctua NH-U12S is excellent in that it is 100% RAM compatible on all platforms and it excels in being only 158mm tall which is a golden height as nearly all mid tower cases support CPU coolers up to 160mm in height. The fan mounting system is simple and effective and because Noctua NF-F12 fans come pre-fitted with anti-vibration rubber you don’t have to worry about vibrations at all. Noctua even include extra anti-vibration padding should you need it.

As with all my newer reviews I want to go over the general pros and cons quickly before giving my judgement.


  • Premium Build Quality – fins do not bend
  • Excellent Acoustic Performance
  • Top Tier Cooling Performance
  • Strong, Simple and Effective Mounting Kit
  • Quality Accessory Package – includes extra fan clips and thermal paste
  • Very affordable price relative to what you get
  • Push-Pull scaling is strong
  • 6 Year Warranty


  • “Marmite-style” (either love it or hate it) Noctua colour scheme
  • Multi-coloured cables on fan

I have literally struggled to find anything substantially bad with the Noctua NH-U12S. It is a stupendously good CPU cooler for the money in every aspect of consideration, except maybe the colour. Something that surprised me more than anything was the excellent Bang-for-Buck/Price-to-Performance ratio this product offered. Normally Noctua products bring premium at a premium price but with the Noctua NH-U12S they bring premium without the premium price tag. The Noctua NH-U12S ticks every box if you want something that has high performance, is expandable, looks good, is quiet, offers good value for money and includes those little extras that make everyone happier. What’s more I strongly encourage you to consider adding another Noctua NF-F12 fan as the push-pull performance scales really well.

With all that said the Noctua NH-U12S is a clear Editor’s Choice product.

Thank you to Noctua for providing this review sample.

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