Noctua NH-U9 TR4-SP3 Review: Strong Threadripper Cooling, Compact Form

Noctua has released a trio of coolers directly targeted at AMD's Threadripper and Epyc sockets in the NH-U12S TR4-SP3, NH-U14S TR4-SP3 and, today's subject, the dual-fan NH-U9 TR4-SP3. Designed with a shorter cooling tower, the twin, 92mm NF-A9 PWM fans team up in push/pull configuration to direct airflow through the six-heatpipe cooling stack and produce the same cooling potential of larger coolers. As a somewhat compact cooling powerhouse, the NH-U9 TR4-SP3 is impressively capable of taming overclocked Threadripper CPUs in cramped system builds.


Shipping as a dedicated socket cooler for both AMD TR4 and SP3 CPUs, the NH-U9 TR4-SP3 requires only the accompaniment of PWM (pulse width modulation, for controlling fans) splitter and speed reduction cables, a tube of Noctua NT-H1 thermal compound and an angled hex-key wrench for torquing down the necessary cooler mounting hardware. Never skimping on the quality of components, Noctua also includes a metal case badge in the accessory box, complete with adhesive backing.

Specifications

Height

4.94 inches / 125.4mm

Width

3.8 inches / 96.3mm (fin assay.), 4.62 inches / 117.4mm (mount base)

Depth

2.81 inches / 71.3mm, (4.65 inches / 118.1mm w/fans)

Base Height

1 inch / 25.1mm

Assy. Offset

0.0 inches (centered), 1.1 inches / 27.94mm (w/fans), Adjustable -3mm, -6mm

Cooling Fans

(2) 92 x 25mm

Connectors

(2) 4-pin PWM

Weight

30.2oz / 856g

Intel Sockets

AMD Sockets

TR4, SP3

Warranty

6 years

The NH-U9 TR4-SP3 is shorter than most standalone cooling towers, with all six of its nickel-plated copper heatpipes clustered closely together across the depth of the cooling tower. Utilization of dual 92mm fans also enable the the NH-U9's narrow shape. 

Seen as small machine screws along the mounting rails, the NH-U9 TR4-SP3 allows adjustment of the cooler to account for any hardware offset and prevent mounting incompatibility. The hex-key wrench fits both the adjustment screws and the spring-tensioned mounting bolts at the cooler’s perimeter corners.

The cooler's thickness requires two NF-A9 PWM fans to focus airflow through the cooling tower stack for maximum cooling potential. The fans come equipped with rubberized mounting tabs to prevent vibration noise and come in everyone’s favorite color combination, Noctua’s traditional cream and reddish-brown brick tones. The NF-A9 fans are rated up to 2,000 revolutions per minute (RPM) and are 4-pin PWM capable.

At the base of the NH-U9 TR4-SP3 rests a solid copper base plate that is nickel-plated to match the heatpipes and aluminum cooling fins of the tower.  The base itself retains very fine orbital milling traces, but is otherwise smooth. At 2.76 x 2.21 inches (70 x 56mm), the base makes for complete coverage of the entire Threadripper CPU IHS package.

Installation of the NH-U9 TR4-SP3 ws relatively simple since the mounting hardware aligned perfectly over our MSI X399 Gaming Pro Carbon AC motherboard’s mounting inserts. With or without the fans mounted, we could easily torque the bolts properly with the hex-key wrench. We used our rear 140mm Corsair fan as a sizing reference to put the compact size of the NH-U9 into better perspective.

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  • ubercake
    For my own builds, I use nothing but Noctua coolers and fans. They are a great company to deal with and respond to any inquiry in a timely manner.

    That being said, I can only imagine the noise coming out of tiny fans like these would be close to a rack-mounted server's (tinier fans seem to run at higher speed more often = noisy), but they'd be quieter than anyone else's out there where the application requires a cooler on the smaller side.
  • rubix_1011
    Surprisingly, it isn't nearly as noisy as one would imagine. The NH-U9 TR4-SP3 runs quieter than most 240 AIOs with fans at 50% and almost all at 100%.

    The cooler is very efficient with how well it handles thermal exchange.
  • hannibal
    How does these compare to new stock cooler for treathripper?
  • SkyBill40
    While the performance and cooling are excellent as has become a Noctua standard, good lord that color combination leaves much to be desired. I know that some of their stuff is available in black (thank goodness), but I'll never understand why they chose the main color combination.
  • mahanddeem
    Can this support Intel socket 1151 CPUs?
  • JQB45
    Need to be an old computer nerd to understand the colors.
  • john.k.torset
    I would like to see what all three TR4 Noctua air coolers are capable of doing with an Threadripper 2990WX on full overclock. Please do such a comparison.
  • photonboy
    1) Why bother with an 8-core TR CPU?
    That's what was tested but I don't see the point when the R7-2700 exists. I'd rather see a 16-core TR CPU tested which I doubt this cooler can handle.

    2) COMPACT build?
    What case does this make sense in?
    I'm really curious as it's too small to make sense in a larger case and I'm not sure what smaller cases it would fit in.
  • g-unit1111
    Nice to see TR4 get some much needed air support! Especially with the second gen TR4 CPUs coming soon.
  • nibir2011
    I also dislike test on 8 cores. This makes no sense. Threadripper is 16 core period. Thats also confirmed by AMD to be most sold. Although noctua is a good brand. I fail to see the viability of using this or any Air Cooling solution on a 16 core processor. Can it be done? Yes. Should it be done? IMHO no. If you don't want peak performance you probably also don't need threadripper.

    As this is Tomshardware I shouldn't just leave comments. But also provide some proof here https://www.guru3d.com/articles_pages/noctua_nh_u9_nh_u12s_nh_u14s_tr4_sp3_for_ryzen_threadripper_review,10.html this same cooler hits around 85-90 degrees on 4 GHZ. Yup. You are welcome.
  • SkyBill40
    Anonymous said:
    Need to be an old computer nerd to understand the colors.


    I'm certainly old enough to understand; however, it doesn't change the point that the colors are terribad.