Tom's Hardware Verdict
Just like the original NH-U12S, the Threadripper-ready Noctua NH-U12S TR4-SP3 is poised as a long-term, benchmark CPU cooler for AMD enthusiasts.
Excellent cooling performance
Very low noise levels
Adjustable cooler base
Love-it-or-hate-it traditional Noctua color scheme
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Features & Specifications
Traditional Noctua design and the world-class cooling ability of the NH-U12S is now available for Threadripper, and the result is marvelous, just as we expected. The slim design cooling tower sparkles with its five, polished nickel heatpipes tower while barely uttering a whisper with its NF-F12 PWM (pulse width modulation, for controlling fans) 120mm fan while providing great thermal cooling to AMD’s flagship CPU line.
Arguably fewer products of Austria have had greater global impact than a certain Mr. Universe bodybuilder / action movie star / former Governor of California and high-quality CPU cooling solutions from Noctua. Known for exceptional build quality and nearly unbeatable cooling prowess, Noctua has time and again offered up cooling solutions that reach the apex of nearly every cooling comparison chart. Today is no different.
Dedicated solely for AMD's Threadripper and Epyc sockets, the NH-U12S TR4-SP3 is aptly named for the processors it supports. Shipping with dedicated accessories allows for simple, focused installation and little fuss. Vibration-reducing fan pads give a head start in the event you wish to employ another 120mm fan, and the included syringe of NT-H1 thermal compound means nothing should prevent the cooler from getting straight to work. Noctua also includes an actual metal logo badge with adhesive backing, unlike simple vinyl case stickers you see from other products. Noctua also bundles in a speed-reducing resistor wire in the event you opt for a nearly silent experience.
|6.37 inches / 161.8mm
|4.93 inches / 125.2mm
|1.78 inches / 45mm6.37 inches / 72.5mm (w/fan)
|1.25 inches / 31.5mm
|0.0 inches (centered) 1.1 inches / 27.94mm (w/fans)Adjustable -3mm, -6mm
|(1) 120 x 25mm
|(1) 4-pin PWM
|30.6oz / 868g
The ever-polarizing Noctua cream and brick red/brown color is present on the NF-F12 120mm PWM fan, which contrasts against the metallic hues of the cooling tower. Noctua chose to nickel plate the 5 heatpipes on the NH-U12S TR4-SP3, which lends to a seamless design finish and professional presentation. The entire cooler has a quality weight, most of which is centered in the base of the mounting platform structure.
The solid copper, full coverage cooling base is handsomely plated in nickel with a reflective finish. Since the NH-U12S is meant specifically for AMD Threadripper and Epyc CPUs, the mounting hardware is integrated into the base of the cooler, which naturally improves stability. The mounting bolts are self-contained, spring-tensioned hardware that align perfectly over the TR4 motherboard mounting studs.
Noctua cleverly designed sliding rails to allow for cooler offset to account for clearance of larger or multiple graphic cards, if needed. The included hex wrench fits both the mounting hardware main bolts and the smaller adjustable machine screws. The NH-U12S has the ability for offset of zero (the default) as well as 3mm and 6mm. This configuration of the mounting hardware, however, has to be made prior to affixing the cooler to the motherboard.
Precision engineering of the NH-U12S TR4-SP3 mounting hardware aligned perfectly with the TR4 mounting studs on our MSI X399 Gaming Pro Carbon AC motherboard. The lengthy, angled hex wrench provided simple torque down of all 4 mounting bolts, due to the slim design of the cooling tower. Once secured, the Noctua NF-F12 fan clipped easily around the fin cutouts and provided enough clearance for standard memory DIMMs, although modules with larger cooling apparatus may require adjustment of the fan a bit higher to avoid hardware mounting conflict.
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Garrett Carver is a contributor for Tom’s Hardware, primarily covering thermal compound comparisons and CPU cooling reviews; both air and liquid, including multiple variations of each.