Will the Noctua NH-U12P make my PC quieter?

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Marty McFly
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Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2009 2:33 pm
Location: UK

Will the Noctua NH-U12P make my PC quieter?

Post by Marty McFly » Sat Dec 26, 2009 3:11 pm

Hi there (my first post!)

I’m building a new PC for the first time in many years — aiming for the quietest system I can get this time. (This site has been immensely helpful). I’ve already got all my components (listed below), and today I ordered the Noctua NH-U12P, based on all the reviews (including SilentPCReview) saying it’s really quiet and recommending it to anyone building a quiet system.

But I’ve just looked at a few charts comparing the sound levels of the NH-U12P with the stock Intel cooler (for example there’s one on www anandtech dot com) and the difference in noise level seems to be extremely marginal.

So… is the NHU12P going to make my system any quieter than the retail Intel cooler? If so, why do the charts show otherwise? And if it won’t make it any quieter, why is this website (among others) recommending it to people wanting noise reduction? Can anyone please clarify this for me because I feel I may have just wasted £50.

My specs:
Case: Antec Solo, PSU: Corsair VX450W, Mobo: ASUS P7P55D iP55, CPU: Intel Quad Core i7 860 2.80GHz, GPU: Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 4670 (Ultimate Edition), HDD: Seagate 2tb ST32000542AS, RAM: Crucial 6GB, no sound card.

I use a lot of CPU intensive programs like Photoshop and InDesign, but I have no interest in overclocking, and I don’t really care about temperature at all, I just want a quiet system.

NeilBlanchard
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Post by NeilBlanchard » Sat Dec 26, 2009 4:16 pm

Hello & welcome to SPCR!

Lots of sites run the fan at 12v, to get the maximum cooling. SPCR goes the other way, because the heatsink is capable of cooling well enough with a slow fan, the noise can be minimized and still often get lower temps than the stock cooler.

I'm not sure that this heatsink would have been my first choice, but, I' sure it will be quieter than the stock heatsink, and also still be cooler running. It has a stock bracket that bolts through, right? This alone will be better than stock.
Sincerely, Neil
http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/

hybrid2d4x4
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Post by hybrid2d4x4 » Sat Dec 26, 2009 4:18 pm

Welcome! Sites like Anadtech (which, in all other respects, is an excellent tech site) don't have a leg to stand on when testing noise levels because they test at really high ambient noise levels (probably in a office building in a commercial/industrial zone) where a lousy cooler such as the intel retail units don't sound any worse over the background noise. SPCR tests in an anechoic chamber where the baseline sound level is in the low teens. If you look at AT or Tom's charts, their baseline noise level is ~30-45dB which is way higher than the quiet fans they test. Their testing platform isn't really quiet either (in the AT article you mention, they use the Corsair HX620 PSU, which even at low loads never goes below 22dB, which isn't all that great by SPCR standards today). In a quiet home, you could probably get down to the low 20s or high teens depending on whether you live near major roads/airports/train tracks/etc., so the tests other sites do are almost irrelevant except to point out the major offenders.

As far as the Noctua goes, it's a definite improvement over stock cooling for the reason that it moves heat away from the CPU a lot more effectively than the small intel heatsink, and doesn't need to spin it's fans as fast. Since you're not overclocking and the CPU you chose isn't some 140W beast, you could make do with something cheaper than the Noctua without losing much in noise reduction. I'm not familiar with pricing in the UK, so maybe someone from that region will point you to a more cost effective solution. Some popular alternatives include the AC Freezer 7 Pro, Xigmateks and Scythes.
[size=75][url=http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=436979]Gaming rig[/url]: Tt Tsunami,P5Q Pro,Q9450 w Ninja,8GB RAM,4870 1GB w S1,WD 640GB,SB X-Fi Plat,ZM-MFC2.Kama PWM in PSU,others S-FlexEs.
[url=http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=49965]HTPC[/url]: NSK2480,GB GF9400,E5200 w/ Minja,4GB RAM,WD GP 1.5TB,Nova DVB-S. Minja PSU fan,S-FlexEs case fans.[/size]

reddyuday
Patron of SPCR
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Location: Birmingham, UK

Re: Will the Noctua NH-U12P make my PC quieter?

Post by reddyuday » Sat Dec 26, 2009 11:21 pm

Marty McFly wrote:So… is the NHU12P going to make my system any quieter than the retail Intel cooler? If so, why do the charts show otherwise? And if it won’t make it any quieter, why is this website (among others) recommending it to people wanting noise reduction? Can anyone please clarify this for me because I feel I may have just wasted £50.
If you ordered it by mail, under the European distance selling regulations, you are entitled to return the product within a week for a full refund with no questions asked. Something to consider.

Noctua makes decent fans and also decent coolers. This particular cooler is not their best. If you run Core i7 at full blast and run the CPU fan at around 16dbA, the expected temperature is around 50 C. Theoretically, based on extrapolating SPCR tests. In practice, it could be worse. Prolimatech Megahalems and Thermalright Ultra Extreme (TRUE) keep it at close to 40C.
My specs:
Case: Antec Solo, PSU: Corsair VX450W, Mobo: ASUS P7P55D iP55, CPU: Intel Quad Core i7 860 2.80GHz, GPU: Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 4670 (Ultimate Edition), HDD: Seagate 2tb ST32000542AS, RAM: Crucial 6GB, no sound card.
Have you considered the cooling for the Graphics card?
I use a lot of CPU intensive programs like Photoshop and InDesign, but I have no interest in overclocking, and I don’t really care about temperature at all, I just want a quiet system.
I don't know these applications all that well, but interactive graphics applications are not likely to stress the CPU much except for short bursts of activity. So your CPU may not reach 60 C in practice and you should be ok.

Uday Reddy
[size=75][b]Case:[/b] Antec NSK1380 / [b]PSU:[/b] PicoPSU-150-XT + Dell DA-2 / [b]Mobo:[/b] ASRock G43Twins-FullHD / [b]CPU:[/b] E6750 Core2 Duo @ 2.66GHz / [b]Cooler:[/b] Akasa Evo 120 + Scythe Kama PWM / [b]GPU:[/b] GeForce 6800GT / [b]RAM:[/b] 4GB G.Skill DDR3 @ 1600MHz / [b]Drive:[/b] Corsair X64 SSD / [b]Drive:[/b] Seagate Momentus 7200.4 2.5" HDD / [b]OS:[/b] Win XP Pro x64
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Marty McFly
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2009 2:33 pm
Location: UK

Post by Marty McFly » Sun Dec 27, 2009 3:42 pm

NeilBlanchard wrote:Hello & welcome to SPCR!
Thanks Neil! :)
NeilBlanchard wrote:I'm not sure that this heatsink would have been my first choice, but, I' sure it will be quieter than the stock heatsink, and also still be cooler running.
What would have been your first choice? I am, honestly, quite clueless here and appreciate any advice anyone can offer.

I only chose the NH-U12P because I read the SPCR recommended list of heatsinks (here) and due to my lack of knowledge of which ones would work with my motherboard/CPU I chose that one, because it mentioned “i7â€

reddyuday
Patron of SPCR
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Joined: Sat Jul 25, 2009 12:47 pm
Location: Birmingham, UK

Post by reddyuday » Sun Dec 27, 2009 5:42 pm

[quote="Marty McFly"]I only chose the NH-U12P because I read the SPCR recommended list of heatsinks (here) and due to my lack of knowledge of which ones would work with my motherboard/CPU I chose that one, because it mentioned “i7â€
[size=75][b]Case:[/b] Antec NSK1380 / [b]PSU:[/b] PicoPSU-150-XT + Dell DA-2 / [b]Mobo:[/b] ASRock G43Twins-FullHD / [b]CPU:[/b] E6750 Core2 Duo @ 2.66GHz / [b]Cooler:[/b] Akasa Evo 120 + Scythe Kama PWM / [b]GPU:[/b] GeForce 6800GT / [b]RAM:[/b] 4GB G.Skill DDR3 @ 1600MHz / [b]Drive:[/b] Corsair X64 SSD / [b]Drive:[/b] Seagate Momentus 7200.4 2.5" HDD / [b]OS:[/b] Win XP Pro x64
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Marty McFly
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2009 2:33 pm
Location: UK

Post by Marty McFly » Mon Dec 28, 2009 6:16 am

Thanks again Reddyuday! :)

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