Noctua NH-U12S Slim Tower Heatsink

Cooling
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Heatsink Comparison Table

°C Rise Comparison: Reference 120 mm Fan (CPU Temperature)
SPL (dBA@1m)
18
17
16
15
14
13
12
Thermalright TRUE Spirit 120M
-
31
-
32
-
34
Prolimatech Panther
-
31
-
-
33
36
Noctua NH-U12S
-
34
-
-
35
-
36
Noctua NH-L12
-
-
-
34
-
37
Scythe Big Shuriken 2 Rev.B
-
-
-
36
-
39
Scythe Big Shuriken
-
-
-
-
41
-
43

The results using our Nexus 120 mm as a reference point shows the U12S slightly lagging behind the Prolimatech Panther and the TRUE Spirit 120M, both of which are also modestly sized tower coolers, though the U12S is narrower than both.

°C rise Comparison (CPU Temperature)
SPL (dBA@1m)
20
19
18
17
16
15
14
13
12
Noctua NH-U12S
(ref. 120 mm fan)
-
-
-
34
-
-
35
-
36
Noctua NH-L12
(120 & 92 mm fans)
33
-
-
34
-
35
-
36
Thermalright TRUE Spirit 120M
-
32
-
-
-
34
36
38
Noctua NH-U12S
-
33
-
34
-
-
35
38
Noctua NH-L12
(120 mm fan)
-
-
37
-
-
38
-
39
42
Prolimatech Panther
-
-
-
-
-
35
-
42
-
Scythe Big Shuriken 2 Rev.B
-
39
-
-
-
43
-
48
Reeven Arcziel
-
-
-
-
42
-
-
47
-
Scythe Samurai ZZ
-
-
45
-
-
46
-
52
Noctua NH-L12
(92 mm fan)
42
-
44
-
47
-
51
57
Scythe Big Shuriken
43
-
-
-
-
46
-
61
Cooler Master GeminII M4
-
-
-
53
56
-
64
Noctua NH-L9i
-
-
56
-
-
61
-
-
-
Scythe Kozuti
-
-
57
-
-
62
-
65
Phanteks PH-TC90LS
-
-
67
-
-
-
69
-
-
Reeven Vanxie
-
66
-
-
-
-
77
-
F

The U12S fares a bit better when stock fans are used, just a single degree off the TRUE Spirit 120M's mark, while also having a better sounding fan. The Panther's fan has the best acoustic profile of the three, but its cooling performance is noticeably worse at very low noise levels.

°C rise Comparison (VRM Temperature)
SPL (dBA@1m)
20
19
18
17
16
15
14
13
12
Noctua NH-L12
(120 & 92 mm fans)
17
-
-
19
-
21
-
23
Thermalright TRUE Spirit 120M
-
21
-
-
-
24
26
27
Prolimatech Panther
-
-
-
-
-
24
-
30
-
Noctua NH-L12
(120 mm fan)
-
-
24
-
-
26
-
27
32
Noctua NH-U12S
-
29
-
30
-
-
31
33
Noctua NH-U12S
(ref. 120 mm fan)
-
-
-
32
-
-
34
-
34
Scythe Big Shuriken 2 Rev.B
-
29
-
-
-
34
-
39
Noctua NH-L12
(92 mm fan)
28
-
31
-
33
-
38
43
Reeven Arcziel
-
-
-
-
38
-
-
41
-
Scythe Big Shuriken
28
-
-
-
-
30
-
47
Cooler Master GeminII M4
-
-
-
34
38
-
49
Scythe Kozuti
-
-
36
-
-
40
-
45
Scythe Samurai ZZ
-
-
38
-
-
39
-
47
Noctua NH-L9i
-
-
40
-
-
46
-
-
-
Phanteks PH-TC90LS
-
-
46
-
-
-
48
-
-
Reeven Vanxie
-
45
-
-
-
-
56
-
F

The U12S is not nearly as efficient cooling the area around the processor, losing to the TRUE Spirit by a whopping six degrees in VRM temperature at noise levels of 14 dBA@1m and below, but it's still superior to most of the smaller downblowing models.

MP3 SOUND RECORDINGS

These recordings were made with a high resolution, lab quality, digital recording system inside SPCR's own 11 dBA ambient anechoic chamber, then converted to LAME 128kbps encoded MP3s. We've listened long and hard to ensure there is no audible degradation from the original WAV files to these MP3s. They represent a quick snapshot of what we heard during the review.

These recordings are intended to give you an idea of how the product sounds in actual use — one meter is a reasonable typical distance between a computer or computer component and your ear. The recording contains stretches of ambient noise that you can use to judge the relative loudness of the subject. Be aware that very quiet subjects may not be audible — if we couldn't hear it from one meter, chances are we couldn't record it either!

The recording starts with 5~10 second segments of room ambiance, then the fan at various levels. For the most realistic results, set the volume so that the starting ambient level is just barely audible, then don't change the volume setting again.



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