Noctua NH-U12S Slim Tower Heatsink

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Noctua NH-U12S Slim Tower Heatsink

May 7, 2013 by Lawrence Lee

Noctua NH-U12S
CPU Cooler
Street Price

Noctua is not the most innovative player in the PC cooling market but their brand has withstood the rigors of time better than most. Their strategy of offering a small selection of premium CPU coolers and fans, has for the most part, paid off. Today, the competition is fiercer than ever and we've noticed Noctua starting to react to the market more quickly than in years past. The last two of their products we reviewed, the NH-L12 and NH-L9i, were new low profile heatsinks, a response to the increasing popularity of SFF systems.

U12S on the left, U12P on the right.

Their latest, the NH-U12S, is based on the NH-U12P, a former flagship tower cooler that debuted five years ago. As a testament to its design, a variant is still being sold to this day. The U12S isn't a replacement however, rather an attempt to take everything we like about the U12P and stuff it into a smaller form factor. The older, bigger U12P measures 71 mm across, making it one of the widest single tower heatsinks we've encountered, so wide that it extends over a DIMM slot on most motherboards. If you have standard sized memory, this is a minor inconvenience but over the past few years we've noticed a proliferation of desktop memory with large fanciful heatspreaders which pose a more serious problem.

At 158 mm, the U12S is the same height but it's only 46 mm wide, almost a full inch narrower. While it is more compact, it surprisingly weighs almost the same as the U12P. Noctua equipped the U12S with an additional heatpipe and extra fins packed in a tighter formation, so despite its lack of size, the heat dissipation area remains high. As a result, the heatsink body is fairly dense.

NH-U12S box contents.


Once again we applaud Noctua for a fastidiously organized package. The heatsink and accessories are split up into four separate well-organized boxes. The smaller containers hold the mounting gear for AMD and Intel installations, while the longer box houses a screw driver, case badge, thermal compound, 4-pin PWM low noise adapter, fan isolation strips, and dampeners and extra clips for a second fan.

Noctua NH-U12S: Specifications
(from the product web page)
Socket compatibility
Intel LGA2011 (Square ILM), LGA1156, LGA1155, LGA1150 & AMD AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, FM1, FM2 (backplate required)
Dimensions (without fan)
158 x 125 x 45 mm (H x W x D)
Dimensions (with fan)
158 x 125 x 71 mm (H x W x D)
Weight (without fan)
580 g
Weight (with fan)
755 g
Copper (base and heat-pipes), aluminum (cooling fins), soldered joints & nickel plating
Fan compatibility
Scope of Delivery
NF-F12 PWM premium fan
Low-Noise Adaptor (L.N.A.)
NT-H1 high-grade thermal compound
SecuFirm2™ Mounting Kit
Anti-vibration pads and fan-clips for second NF-F12
Noctua Metal Case-Badge
6 Years
Fan Specifications
Noctua NF-F12 PWM
Max. Rotational Speed (+/- 10%)
1500 RPM
Max. Rotational Speed with L.N.A. (+/- 10%)
1200 RPM
Min. Rotational Speed (PWM)
300 RPM
Max. Airflow
93,4 m³/h
Max. Airflow with L.N.A.
74,3 m³/h
Max. Acoustical Noise
22,4 dB(A)
Max. Acoustical Noise with L.N.A.
18,6 dB(A)
Input Power
0.6 W
Voltage Range
12 V
> 150,000 h

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