CPU Cooler Charts 2008, Part 1

Noctua NH-U12F - The Silent Type

The NH-U12F by Austrian company Noctua relays the heat produced by the CPU to the cooling fins via four heatpipes. We should note that the manual that comes with this cooler is the most easily understandable one in the entire roundup - thank you, Noctua! Only a few glances at the manual tell you everything you need to know about how to install the cooler. Commendably, Noctua also includes a Phillips head screwdriver with its product. The only thing we could criticize about the installation is that it requires the motherboard to be removed from the case. Overall, the Austrians prove that even a cooler that is mounted using screws can be very easy to install.

Noctua NH-U12F

Whether the cooler is used at its highest or lowest speed, it remains completely inaudible inside the computer enclosure. A fan-speed regulator is not included.


Mounting Components

We recommend setting the cooler to run at its maximum fan speed, where it cools the CPU to 71°C. This is average cooling performance.

Retail box

In light of the cooling performance offered, we consider the price of $65 rather steep.

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Technical Data
CPU100% loadidle
Temperature 12V71.5°C37.5°C
Temperature 5V84.5°C42.5°C
Noise39.4 dB(A)36.4 dB(A)
Fan Speed1300 RPM500 RPM
Weight802 gramsRow 5 - Cell 2
Intel Socket775Row 6 - Cell 2
AMD SocketAM2AM2+
Row 8 - Cell 0 939754
Row 9 - Cell 0 940Row 9 - Cell 2


  • Thank you, been wondering what cooler to buy for an OCed Quad, and high temps are good when dying :D
  • sorrii
    ... must be stupid ...! The fan is istalled at wrong side of the cooler ...
  • Thermalright FTW!! Every time.
  • suspect
    I cant believe that photo...sorrii I am with you only a nutjob would use or test it in that configuration!!!
    Noctua clearly state orientation of their coolers and that is ass about.
    Every other review I have read rates the NH-U12F much more highly... always near best in class
  • wkornf
    your numbers of near 70C on every cooler is outrageous, if those numbers are true not a single one of these coolers would keep a computer stable in a closed case outside the northeast. and a couple minutes isnt a good measure of cpus final temp, if u look over a temp log after a long game session you know it creeps up. to many factors.
  • dragunover
    Bullshit article.I agree with wkornf.

    If my Artic silver 5 + Scythe Katana 2 cooler(for only a massive price of 25 USD! I can keep my outdated Pentium D under 100 degrees fahrenheit,infact around HALF of these tests,even under water cooling? Wow,according to this,I should actually worry about getting a quad core because of the heat.And no,I don't have any fans in my case,it's open,only fans are from my GPU,CPU,and my PSU.
    No extra 4 250mm performance fans.And an X38? That's just unbelievable.
  • eaglestrike7339
    Do you guys get the point? They maxed out everything, so the cooler could show off the best that it could do in the most extreme conditions.

    A good article, i especially like the tests for installation and sound, as those are what i would look into most when purchasing a cooler, and unlike CPUs, there are usually no charts to go along with.
  • suspect
    eaglestrike... do you see mounting the noctua fan in the wrong direction as good testing???
    They have it on the top side of the sink flowing in a downward direction!!!
    it goes against basic laws of physics and logic.
  • cliffro
    alot of the coolers listed of a particular design are installed all goofy like, Of course on their open setup it doesn't make much difference(i think)

    but when installed in a normal ATX case, would be detrimental to the coolers performance. Especially coolers designed similar to the Noctua and Scythe Ninja plus.

    I can't be certain about others but Arctic Cooling's Freezer 7 Pro is supposed to be installed like this(one would assume others of similar design would be the same)
  • suspect
    cliffro I think to some degree you are correct but it still does not follow good practice when supposedly collecting data to represent consumer products.
    As these have published manufacturer recomended installations why would you reverse it.
    I recently read a review of the latest Noctua cooler at Legitreviews
    where Noctua actually contacted them on this very issue... as a result they retested and found some improvement in cooling.