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At first glance the NH-U12P differs very little from the NH-U12.
The dimensions are almost identical (the NH-U12P is 3mm taller and 2mm wider).
The NH-U12P, sans fan.
The NH-U12's base and heatpipes were composed of copper and exposed
to the elements. The NH-U12P improves upon this by using nickel-plating to protect
these components from oxidation. In addition, the fin stack has been raised
to create more clearance. The NH-U12 had very little room beneath the fins,
making compatibility an issue for some.
In most other ways, the NH-U12 and NH-U12P are virtually identical.
The body is comprised of four, staggered U-shaped heatpipes and a large mass
of fins stacked together. Stability is provided by the heatpipes as well as
flaps in each fin layer at the edges and in the interior. It's a very secure
design, making it difficult to bend or damage them.
Two changes mentioned specially in a direct email from Noctua were 1) improved soldering during manufacturing, and 2) a better base. The former is impossible for us to verify except by thermal test results (which are subject to sample variances) and the latter is merely visible.
From the side.
The fins measured to be about 0.44mm thick with gaps of approximately 2.63
mm, basically the same as the NH-C12P. They are fairly thick and the spacing
is moderate compared to other CPU coolers.
The heatpipes are staggered giving them more access to direct airflow as well
as creating some separation between one another for better heat dissipation.
While this is better than being in a straight line, they are still packed pretty
The NH-U12P's base was very flat and smoothly finished. Like the NH-C12P,
there were some very light machine marks as well as some tarnishing,
possibly a byproduct of soldering. A look at the base of the original NH-U12 shows shows minor differences but it's difficult to judge whether or why they should lead to better performance.
Original NH-U12 base.
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