Noctua NH-U12A Review (Page 3 of 4)

Page 3 - Test Results

Our test configuration is as follows:

CPU: Intel Core i5-4670K @ 3.8GHz
Motherboard: Gigabyte Z87X-D3H
RAM: Kingston HyperX Fury DDR3 2x8GB
Graphics: MSI GeForce GTX 1070 Ti Titanium 8G
Chassis: Fractal Design Define S2
Power: Seasonic FOCUS Plus 850 Gold 850W
Storage: OCZ ARC 100 240GB, Western Digital Blue EZEX 1TB
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 10 Professional x64

Compared hardware:
- Noctua NH-U12A (Dual NF-A12x25)
- Noctua NH-U12A (Single NF-A12x25)
- CRYORIG H7 Quad Lumi
- Reeven E12 RGB RC-1208RGB

All tests were run in our custom built computer to best reflect real life performance. The computer remained in the same location in the same room throughout all tests. The room temperature in our testing lab was around 21c. Stock thermal paste respective to all coolers were used to rate its performance; all pastes were given a proper amount of time for them to fully settle. The fans on all heatsinks were directly connected to the motherboard's 4-pin connector. Computer was turned on and idling for at least one hour for the idling tests. High CPU load results were obtained using the Prime95 in-place large FFTs test with four worker threads for a minimum of ten minutes or until the temperature was deemed stable. Temperature results were measured with AIDA64, which reports the CPU's integrated digital thermal sensor for maximum accuracy. Each temperature result was calculated by taking the maximum value of the cores inside the CPU. With the Noctua NH-U12A, I tested this heatsink with a single and dual fan setup, just in case you decide you want less noise from the fans.

After letting my computer sit idle for a while, I shook my mouse to wake the computer to check the temperature. From the first graph, you can see the Noctua NH-U12A was already at the lead of the pack with a result of 27c on dual fan configuration. It should be noted, the other two heatsinks were utilizing only a single fan in their respective results, which is why it made sense to us to test it with a single fan too. Otherwise, a total difference of two degrees over all of the cooling options is an uninteresting result. Idle results do not give an accurate representation of what CPU coolers can do, so we opened up Prime95 and started the tests to see what would happen.

With a sufficient amount of time to load the processor, you can see how each of the coolers performed with the peak temperatures across all the cores. Unfortunately, I did not have a 140mm sized cooler to test against the NH-U12A, but you can see it was indeed the top performer compared to the other similar sized heatsinks. The two NF-A12x25 fans do a great amount of work with the NH-U12A to keep maximum load temperatures at 74c. Taking off one fan increased the results by one degree. Compared to the CRYORIG H7 Quad Lumi, you can see how this was seven degrees cooler. It is not often we see such a delta in similarly sized heatsinks, so it is great to see this sort of result.

As for the sound analysis section of the Noctua NH-U12A, on a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 is silence, and 10 is the definition of loud, I would rate the NH-U12A at 2.5/10 during idle and around 4.0/10 under full load for both fans. The NF-A12x25 fans, on a day-to-day use, are very quiet and spins without much noise. When you push your computer to greater loads, as we did in Prime95, you will start hearing the fans whirring on, but this not much louder than our single-fan competition.

Page Index
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Hardware; Installation
3. Test Results
4. Conclusion