Revisiting Noctua’s Best Coolers – NHD15S and U12A 2023 Re-Review

In recent months, we’ve had a fair few changes to our cooling testing. Mike took over that review section for a few years and has now moved on. I started a new test bench, and while it worked, it just wasn’t delivering the consistency we desired, nor was it particularly up to date. I updated the bench and started over, and a few reviews in, that wasn’t quite as consistent as it should be either. So here we are today, on our newest and most consistent test bench to date! But there was something that really stuck out, Noctua wasn’t coming out quite as favourable as they usually do… so it seemed time to really sit down and dive into why.

Noctua were the only ones on our test benches that were being retested with old samples that we’ve used multiple times. While all the other brands were brand new for 2023 products used for the first time. I found some inconsistencies in the Noctua bracket that was being used and some light damage to one of the coolers, and I said, right… let’s do this front a fresh start. Noctua was kind enough to send us two brand new stock coolers to see if I can settle something once and for all. Are the Noctua coolers still as good after all these years? Or have the likes of DeepCool and Cooler Master, to name but a few, finally caught up?

I’m not trying to dig at Noctua either, I’m a big fan of their stuff and use them extensively throughout the office. However, Noctua is well aware of its own long timelines for new product releases. The mighty Noctua D15 series came out in 2014, and its replacement is still at least another year away. The mighty Noctua NH-U12A offered more performance in a smaller form factor and their upgraded 120mm fan (the impressive NF-A12x25), which launched back in 2019, and there’s still no 140mm equivalent of that fan, but again that’s what’s seemingly going to be the D15S Ver 2’s star feature.

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Peter Donnell

As a child still in my 30's (but not for long), I spend my day combining my love of music and movies with a life-long passion for gaming, from arcade classics and retro consoles to the latest high-end PC and console games. So it's no wonder I write about tech and test the latest hardware while I enjoy my hobbies!

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