Noctua NH-U12S Review

If you’ve seen or read our other reviews about Noctua products, then you’re most likely familiar with the company’s presentation and branding when it comes to their CPU coolers. Their product’s performance often speaks for themselves, yet these aren’t always up to the visual preferences of system builders.

Today, we’ll learn more about Noctua’s NH-U12S, and we’ll take an in-depth look at what this 120-millimeter fan has to offer. We’re expecting it to have the same high-end, high-quality, and professional-grade coolers that the company has been releasing for years. But of course, we won’t miss out on checking if it’s really worth investing in, if it performs excellently, and if it’s something that’s up to your preferences and needs.

Noctua NH-U12S Review – What’s in the Box?

The top of the NH-U12S’ packaging features the brown and white theme that we’re used to seeing on Noctua’s packages. This panel is also present on the front, so we’re just going to mention the chromed sticker that displays the NH-U12 series’ award-winning nature.

Now for the front of the box, while the image somewhat changed along the brown area, the same features that can be found at the top can be seen in this portion as well. These cover the classic size, memory compatibility, Focused Flow fan, socket compatibility, hardware, the NT-H1, and of course, the 6-year warranty that the company offers. To the right of the box would be the specifications area. You’ll get to see three different charts for each of the specifications of the fan, heatsink and scope of delivery. On the lower right corner, you’ll see a 2-D drawing of the cooler that you can instantly refer to.

Now for the back of the package, there are other explanations regarding the design of the NH-U12, what it offers, and why the company opted for this type of cooler to release. The details that are displayed are written in eight different languages to cater to each of Noctua’s market base. The last panel features a complete list of the device’s features, and it is covered with images and well-written details as to why this cooler is better than the rest.

Inside the box, you’ll immediately see that the item is shipped rather differently. Instead of having a huge package with the hardware in it, the company decided to break these up into three separate containers. Their aim is to make things easier and prevent any possibility of losing an item.

Beneath the hardware and an extra layer of cardboard, you’ll see the NH-U12S plus the fan that’s connected to it. It is set in another cardboard package to further protect the device from any possible damages. Noctua made sure to include all of the tools, fittings, as well as the thermal paste for the supported Intel and AMD CPU sockets. You’ll also find additional rubber installation mounts that are necessary for the second fan, as well as spring mounts too.

The Product

Noctua NH-U12S Review

The NH-U12S from Noctua is their classic tower-type of heatsink. Its fans are made from aluminum and its heatpipes and base are crafted from nickel-plated copper. It doesn’t really have a unique build, but it sure is sturdy and durable just like what you’d expect from Noctua.

The company selected the NF-F12 PWM fan for this device, and it features rotational speeds of 300 to 1,500 rpm. The fan maxes out at 1,200 rpm with Noctua’s LNA or low noise adaptor. It’s also nice that the fan features great design elements, and we think that the quality is amazing as well. Generally, it’s great that the company decided to produce a top-grade fan that goes perfectly with their good heatsink.

The heatpipes that are available extend through the heatsink’s fin stack, and are given enough space to give off an even distribution of heat from the heatpipes to the cooling fins. The base of the cooler is really smooth and we didn’t see any gaps between the fins and heatpipes which is actually very nice, in our opinion. Based on these observations, we can already say that this NH-U12S from Noctua is indeed a promising product, and it does live up to the company’s good reputation when it comes to outstanding build quality.

Let’s go ahead and talk about the NH-U12S’ specifications and start off with its socket compatibility. Here, the company has removed both the 775 and LGA-1366 sockets but the good thing is that they ensured that the NH-U12S is able to cover all the other latest sockets from AMD and Intel.

The NH-U12S cooler is 158 millimeters tall, is 125 millimeters wide, and is 45 millimeters thick which is without the fan connected to it. Its overall weight is 755 grams in total.

The fan that cools this tower is the NF-F12 PWM which has been included in the package of this product. This cooler is also designed to allow for push / pull configurations. The included fan also functions adequately, and can spin at an rpm of 1,500 at maximum. To drop the speed, it comes with the LNA connection that will decrease it to 1,200 rpm. This will make the fan go idle and shift close to 300 rpm. At its highest rotational speed, the NF-F12 PWM offers 93.4 m3/h of airflow and gives off 2.61 mmH2O of static pressure. Also, the device has a 150,000 lifespan which helps the company justify the six-year warranty that the product offers.

Product Features

Fully Compatible RAM

The NH-U12S features a slim design with a fin depth that measures only 45 millimeters. With that, the cooler will not overhang the RAM slots even if two fans are installed. This provides users complete memory module access on all new CPU sockets. It also offers full compatibility with large heat spreaders and optional memory fans.

Fan Clips and Anti-Vibration Pads for Optional Fans

If you want to your cooler to perform better, you can add an extra NF-F12 fan and create a push and pull setup. The NH-U12S also arrives with fan clips and an additional set of customized anti-vibration pads which help improve acoustics when in dual fan mode.

Outstanding Series

The NH-U12S is the newest version of Noctua’s product-winning NH-U12 series of coolers. This series has become the best choice for top-notch CPU cooler that are quiet and it has won more than a hundred international awards and recommendations.

120-millimeter NF-F12 Focused Flow Fan

Noctua’s top-quality NF-F12 Focused Flow fan combines superior static pressure, absolutely quiet operation, and outstanding heatsink performance.

Classic 120-millimeter Tower for 100% Compatibility

The NH-U12S stands at 158 millimeters tall which is short enough to fit in most of the new tower cases. Its width of 125 millimeters keeps the top of the PCIe slot clear on most ATX and micro-ATX motherboards. This guarantees total compatibility with multiple GPU setups.

Low-Noise Adapter and PWM Support

The NF-F12 120mm fan that arrives with the cooler supports PWM for easy speed control via the mainboard. Additionally, the highest fan speed of 1500 rpm can be reduced to 1200 rpm with the LNA or low noise adaptor.

NT-H1 Thermal Solution

The NT-H1 from Noctua has already received a hundred recommendations and awards from different parts of the world. It is a proven high-quality TIM solution that offers less thermal resistance and convenience since it’s really easy to use.


Using the Product

We find this cooler’s stock performance really good. Among the other similar products that we’ve tested, it’s actually one of the coolers that delivered the best performance. Although the NH-U12S is not really designed for overclocking, we tried it just to see the results and surprisingly, it performed really well despite the company claiming that it shouldn’t be used for such.

With just one fan, it kept our CPU cool so we tried attaching an extra one to see if it would really bring better results. We liked that the second fan greatly enhanced the cooler’s performance and it was able to lower the temperature of the CPU.

When it comes to the cooler’s sounds, we only got a reading of around 42 dB which was really silent during our tests. This increased slightly during overclocking but it was still almost inaudible. All in all, the NH-U12S was quiet, performed well, and it gave us great performance which is something we really liked.


We were extremely delighted with the new features of the NH-U12S. It’s easier and simpler to install since the screws are already mounted on the back plate. Another thing we liked was the resistance from the springs at the top bracket which makes it much tougher to screw; this adds the socket pressure that is being applied. The presence of fan clips makes installation of an extra fan easier too since plastic inserts are no longer needed.

Just like the other models from Noctua, the NH-U12S has the same mounting system that is easy to install. The cooler is exceptionally quiet and surprisingly, its cooling performance is excellent even with its small size. If you need a CPU cooler that delivers the best performance and stays quiet, then Noctua’s NH-U12S is the perfect choice for you. We highly recommend this cooling fan for its quality and its features.

Where to Buy

You can pick up the Noctua NH-U12S for around $99AUD. For more information take a look at the Noctua product page.

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