Noctua NH-U12S Review (Page 3 of 4)

Page 3 - Test Results

Our test configuration is as follows:

CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 3700X @ 3.6GHz
Motherboard: ASUS Prime X470-Pro
RAM: Ballistix Elite DDR4-4000 2x8GB DDR4
Graphics: MSI GeForce GTX 1070Ti Titanium
Chassis: Antec P120 Crystal
Storage: Western Digital Blue SN500 NVMe SSD 500GB, OCZ ARC 100 240GB, Patriot P200 512GB
Power: Seasonic FOCUS Plus 850 Gold 850W
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 10 Pro

Compared hardware:
- Noctua NH-U12S
- Noctua NH-U12A (Dual NF-A12x25)
- Noctua NH-U12A (Single NF-A12x25)

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 24c. 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 a maximum number of worker threads for the tested CPU for a minimum of ten minutes or until the temperature was deemed stable. Temperature results were measured with HWiNFO, 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.

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-U12S was in close contention with the NH-U12A, with a result of 48c. Compared to the NH-U12A, this is the same temperature for its single fan configuration, while three degrees warmer than when two fans are installed. Otherwise, a total difference of three 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 and threads. Unsurprisingly, the NH-U12S is at a warm 67c, which falls in line to expectations compared against the single- and double-fan configuration on the NH-U12A. Considering the competition uses a larger heatsink, it is no surprise the single fan configuration is slightly cooler than the NH-U12S This delta temperature is also within error, so this makes the cooler that much more impressive. As such, this is a great result for a 120mm class CPU heatsink.

As for the sound analysis section of the Noctua NH-U12S, 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 2.0/10 during idle and around 3.5/10 under full load for a single fan. The NF-F12 PWM fan, 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 is still relatively quiet.

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