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The NH-U12S is the latest 12cm model of Noctua’s classic U-series single tower CPU coolers, which have received more than 400 awards and recommendations from the international press. The S-version’s 45mm slim shape guarantees 100% compatibility with tall RAM modules and at the same time, its fine-tuned design and the class-leading NF-F12 FocusedFlow™ fan with PWM support for fully automatic speed control allow it to further improve its predecessor’s renowned quiet cooling performance. Topped off with the trusted, pro-grade SecuFirm2™ multi-socket mounting system, Noctua’s proven NT-H1 thermal compound and full 6 years manufacturer’s warranty, the NH-U12S is a complete premium quality solution that combines outstanding performance, quiet operation and excellent compatibility.
Details
Award-winning NH-U12 series

Award-winning NH-U12 series

The NH-U12S is the latest version of Noctua's award-winning NH-U12 coolers. First introduced in 2005, the NH-U series has become a standard choice for premium quality quiet CPU coolers and won more than 400 awards and recommendations from leading international hardware websites and magazines.
100% RAM compatibility

100% RAM compatibility

Thanks to its slim design with only 45mm fin depth, the NH-U12S will not overhang the RAM slots even with two fans installed. This gives the user full access to the memory modules on all current CPU sockets and guarantees 100% compatibility with tall heatspreaders or optional memory fans.*
Classic 120mm tower size for excellent overall compatibility

Classic 120mm tower size for excellent overall compatibility

Standing 158mm tall, the NH-U12S is short enough to fit most modern mid- or high-end tower cases. Measuring 125mm wide (including fan and fan clips), the cooler stays clear of the top PCIe slot on standard ATX or Micro-ATX motherboards, ensuring best compatibility with SLI and CrossFire setups.
NF-F12 120mm Focused Flow™ fan

NF-F12 120mm Focused Flow™ fan

Recommended by more than 150 hardware publications and thousands of enthusiasts world-wide, the Noctua's premium quality NF-F12 Focused Flow™ 120mm fan is renowned to combine superb static pressure, excellent heatsink performance and surprising quietness of operation.
PWM support and Low-Noise Adaptor

PWM support and Low-Noise Adaptor

The NF-F12 120mm fan supplied with the NH-U12S supports PWM for convenient automatic speed control through the mainboard. In addition, the maximum fan speed can be reduced from 1500 to 1200rpm using the supplied Low-Noise Adaptor for even quieter operation.
Anti-vibration pads and fan-clips for second NF-F12 (optional)

Anti-vibration pads and fan-clips for second NF-F12 (optional)

For users who want to achieve even better performance by adding a second, optional NF-F12 fan to create a push/pull setup, the NH-U12S includes fan clips and an extra set of custom-designed anti-vibration pads that allow to off-set the rear fan by 5mm to improve acoustics in dual-fan mode.
SecuFirm2™ mounting system

SecuFirm2™ mounting system

Noctua's SecuFirm2™ mounting systems have become synonymous with quality, safety and ease of use. Supporting Intel LGA115x (LGA1150, LGA1151, LGA1155, LGA1156), LGA2011 and AMD (AM3+, AM2+, FM1, FM2, FM2+), the SecuFirm2™ mounting included with the NH-U12S guarantees perfect contact pressure and maximum convenience on all current sockets.
Compatibility with past and future sockets

Compatibility with past and future sockets

Complying with the open SecuFirm™ standard, the NH-U12S can be made compatible with the older LGA1366 and LGA775 sockets using the optional NM-I3 mounting kit, which is provided by Noctua free of charge. If technically possible, Noctua will also provide upgrade kits for future sockets.
NT-H1 thermal compound

NT-H1 thermal compound

Having received more than 100 awards and recommendations from hardware journalists around the world, Noctua's NT-H1 is a proven professional grade TIM solution that provides minimum thermal resistance, excellent ease of use and outstanding reliability.
6-year manufacturer’s warranty

6-year manufacturer’s warranty

Noctua products are renowned for their impeccable quality and outstanding longevity. Like all Noctua fans, the supplied NF-F12 features an MTBF rating of more than 150.000 hours and the entire NH-U12S package comes with a full 6-year manufacturer's warranty.
* Some AMD mainboards violate the 96x114mm keep-out zone specified by AMD, so the NH-U12S can only be used with RAM modules of up to 40mm height on these boards. Please consult our compatibility list for details.
NH-U12S
Cooler Specifications
Intel LGA2011-0 & LGA2011-3 (Square ILM), LGA1156, LGA1155, LGA1151, LGA1150 & AMD AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, FM1, FM2, FM2+ (backplate required)
Height (without fan)
158
Width (without fan)
125
Depth (without fan)
45
Height (with fan)
158
Width (with fan)
125
Depth (with fan)
71
Weight (without fan)
580
Weight (with fan/s)
755
Material
Copper (base and heat-pipes), aluminium (cooling fins), soldered joints & nickel plating
Max. TDP
see TDP guide
Fan compatibility
120x120x25
Scope of Delivery
  • NF-F12 PWM premium fan
  • Low-Noise Adaptor (L.N.A.)
  • NT-H1 high-grade thermal compound
  • SecuFirm2™ Mounting Kit
  • Anti-vibration pads and fan-clips for second NF-F12
  • Noctua Metal Case-Badge
Warranty
6 Years
FAN Specification
Bearing
Max. Rotational Speed (+/- 10%)
1500
Max. Rotational Speed with L.N.A. (+/- 10%)
1200
Min. Rotational Speed (PWM, +/-20%)
300
Max. Airflow
93,4
Max. Airflow with L.N.A.
74,3
Max. Acoustical Noise
22,4
Max. Acoustical Noise with L.N.A.
18,6
Input Power
0,6
Voltage Range
12
MTBF
> 150.000
NH-U12S
NH-U12S
06.05.2013 // TweakTown.com
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NH-U12S Review

The NH-U12S from Noctua brought me back to the days of my past. It just goes to show that you don't have to go and spend $80 to $100 to get something that can hold its own in our charts, and still be dead silent while doing it. I am sort of at a tossup at this moment thinking back to the Thermaltake NiC C5 that proved that a single tower cooled with 120mm fans can hang up there with the best of them, and may be slightly better, but the noise levels of that cooler are not something I am prepared to deal with every day. The NH-U12S offers similar features to what Thermaltake was showing with allowing users to have room to actually access everything without having to remove the cooler, but the Tt cooler had those ingenious fan shrouds. In defense of Noctua, they have never had to use a shroud, and with the line they have taken this far, I doubt they ever will. I like all of the new features found here as well. The hardware is easier to install for Intel users now that the screws are mounted into the back plate, where before you had to insert them all into the proper holes, and keep the heads from spinning. Since they dropped LGA775 and LGA1366 support, it allowed them to simplify and improve it. Another thing I liked was that the top bracket seemed much tougher to screw in because of the resistance from the springs, and I do believe this also increased the socket pressure being applied. Also something as simple as allowing the wire fan clips to just clip onto the fans without the use of the plastic inserts makes life easier, as well. I know it is sort of cheesy, but I even liked the way all of the hardware is in separated boxes now. It used to be that the cellophane bags would break in the larger box and sometimes spill their contents. Packaged as it is, there was none of that, and it keeps parts from rubbing against each other, and makes it easier to find later, if you keep the box. What I really like about this improved trip down memory lane is that the pricing seems to be a throwback as well. We have seen some really great air coolers over the last year, but in reality, most of the better performers, even some of the not so great ones, will cost you in excess of $100, and that doesn't sit well with the average buyer. Noctua delivering the NH-U12S with an MSRP of $64.90 puts this cooler in reach of most looking for better than average performance, and excellence in the limitation of noise level. A simpler look of yesteryear, and a cooler that allows you to have complete access to screws, memory, and connectivity for wiring, the NH-U12S is definitely a cooler you should spend some time pondering. I for one really like it and Noctua has shown you don't need a huge cooler, fancy shrouds, or anything "outside of the box" to contend. You just design and build a great cooler, and hopefully more people can get past the colors to enjoy what Noctua has offered for years, and I am glad to say, continues to do today.
Test verdict: "Noctua did not disappoint with this new NH-U12S cooler. It is dead silent, doeas really well for its size, and leaves users with room all around it, no matter what socket CPU you use." (Chad Sebring, TweakTown.com)
15.04.2013 // eTeknix.com
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NH-U12S Review

Some times I feel like a bit of a stuck-record when it comes to reviewing Noctua products because they deliver time and time again and there is very little to criticise. The Noctua NH-U12S is no exception as I am once again impressed by a very solid product. Noctua’s NH-U12S will cost €59.90/$64.90 which translates into UK pricing of approximately £52.99. For the interests of referring to our push-pull testing, an additional NF-F12 120mm fan costs about £14.99. At this price we can see the Noctua NH-U12S compares favourable to the Thermalright Archon SB-E X2, which costs around £60, and it beats the ever other air cooler we have tested. When you make this product push-pull, its RRP of £67.99 means it is still competitive managing to come very close to Corsair’s (£70-75) H90. Acoustic Performance on the Noctua NH-U12S was consistently strong thanks to the NF-F12 fan used. The build quality was second to none and Noctua are one of few companies who make heatsinks with fins that don’t bend. The accessory pack, mounting kit and attention to detail with the presentation was second-to-none as I have come to expect from Noctua. Consider also that the tube of NT-H1 that they include as standard would cost £9.99 to purchase separately. The design of the Noctua NH-U12S is excellent in that it is 100% RAM compatible on all platforms and it excels in being only 158mm tall which is a golden height as nearly all mid tower cases support CPU coolers up to 160mm in height. The fan mounting system is simple and effective and because Noctua NF-F12 fans come pre-fitted with anti-vibration rubber you don’t have to worry about vibrations at all. Noctua even include extra anti-vibration padding should you need it.
Test verdict: "I have literally struggled to find anything substantially bad with the Noctua NH-U12S. It is a stupendously good CPU cooler for the money in every aspect of consideration [...] The Noctua NH-U12S ticks every box if you want something that has high performance, is expandable, looks good, is quiet, offers good value for money and includes those little extras that make everyone happier. What’s more I strongly encourage you to consider adding another Noctua NF-F12 fan as the push-pull performance scales really well. With all that said the Noctua NH-U12S is a clear Editor’s Choice product." (Ryan Martin, eTeknix.com)
03.06.2013 // techPowerUp.com
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NH-U12S Review

The Noctua NH-U12S simply blows me away when it comes to noise levels. At lower fan speeds, this cooler will be impossible to hear over other parts in the average user's case. This cooler is insanely quiet in its default single-fan setup. Noise levels are extremely low even with a second fan. Users can, should they be able to justify the price of a second Noctua fan, look forward to great cooling at nearly silent noise levels. The Noctua NH-U12S is an exceptional cooler. It might not be the best in terms of pure cooling performance, but it still gets the job done. At stock clocks, the cooler is simply fantastic for its size, doing extremely well against much more expensive competitors, such as the Corsair H90. The fact that it performs as well as it does is astonishing when you look at the noise it creates, or the lack thereof. This cooler is for the most part utterly silent. If a user needs a traditional cooler that keeps noise levels down, the NH-U12S is the best choice. It simply dominates the noise-level charts, being the quietest cooler I have tested thus far. Noctua is mostly competing against itself in that category. The ability to add a second fan to improve cooling performance is also a welcome sight as another fan increases the NH-U12S's cooling ability even more. Best yet, noise levels hardly suffer with a second fan, increasing by just 1-2 dBA at worst. The easy-to-use mounting hardware makes for an easy install, and the exceptional build quality really gives the cooler some extra value. The quality itself is something pictures cannot convey—holding the cooler in your hands and seeing it for yourself is the only way to really grasp the difference between a Noctua NH-U12S and its competition. The warranty is a nice treat as well.
Test verdict: "The Noctua NH-U12S is ultimately an exceptionally quiet cooler with performance that is great for its size. If you are in the market for a cooler that needs to perform well while being quiet, this is the choice for you." (Raymond Lemar, techPowerUp.com)
05.12.2013 // OverclockersClub.com
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NH-U12S Review

In both the stock and overclocked idle tests, the Noctua NH-U12S was able to deliver temperatures consistent with the highest performing air coolers in this comparison field, which contains coolers costing much more. Looking at the load results, the NH-U12S does an excellent job of shedding the thermal load generated by the processor. At stock speeds it delivers cooling results on par with the best air coolers I have tested, including 140mm fans and dual-tower-equipped designs. When overclocked, its smaller size hinders performance slightly, but still outperforms all but three air-cooled heat sinks. These of course have multiple towers and a larger heat pipe matrix. When you take that into consideration, the NH-U12S performs above its weight class both stock and overclocked. Noctua continues to put together cooling solutions to meet the needs of the enthusiast market by leveraging the engineering behind the company to deliver an excellent product. That design excellence does come at a cost, but that cost is tempered by the long term cooling performance you get in return for your hard-earned dollar!
Test verdict: "When you get to the point of making a choice on your cooling solution, you really cannot go wrong with the NH-U12S. It has got enough technology built in to make your head spin, runs dead silent, looks great, fixes one of the greatest cooling challenges, and comes with a six-year warranty to make sure you are happy with your purchase in the long term. The NH-U12S does it all and does it well!" Frank Dimmick, OverclockersClub.com)
30.09.2013 // PC-Max.de
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NH-U12S Review

Beide Kühler wissen absolut zu überzeugen. Der größere NH-U14S setzt sich fast durchgehend an die Spitze des Testfeldes. Lediglich im Vergleich bei einer Lautstärke von 31 Dezibel wird er vom Thermalright Archon SBE auf den zweiten Platz verdrängt. Der kleinere NH-U12S hinkt nur wenig hinterher und kann selbst viele deutlich größere Kontrahenten in die Schranken weisen. Fassen wir unsere Eindrücke noch einmal zusammen: Beide Noctua-Kandidaten lassen kaum Raum zur Verbesserung. Sämtliche Komponenten wurden sorgsam ausgewählt und zusammengestellt, sodass ein rundes Gesamtpaket nur die logische Konsequenz zu sein scheint. Von der Materialgüte über die Montage bis zur Wahl des Lüfters, gibt es kaum Grund zur Kritik. In Hinsicht auf die Kompatibilität scheint Noctua auf den ersten Blick auf ein wenig Kühlleistung zu verzichten. Schaut man sich allerdings die Resultate an, in denen die beiden Kühler teils deutlich wuchtigere Kühler in die Schranken weisen können, bleibt so eine Kritik allerdings aus.
Test verdict: "Positiv ist uns am Noctua NH-U12S vor allem die - nicht nur in Bezug auf die geringe Größe - hervorragende Kühl-Performance aufgefallen. Darüber hinaus ist der Kühler mit nahezu jedem Mainboard (jenseits von Mini-ITX) und RAM vollständig kompatibel. Die Verarbeitung des Kühlkörpers ist piekfein und befindet sich auf höchstem Niveau. Auch der Lüfter kann durch ein großes Drehzahlband, Nebengeräuschfreiheit und der somit einhergehenden Silent-Tauglichkeit überzeugen." (Niklas Dietzek, PC-Max.de)
05.08.2013 // PureOverclock.com
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NH-U12S Review

The Gelid was unable to hang with the Noctua boys with a 4.5GHz clock on our 3770k under load. At idle however the Gelid bested the NH-U12S and only slightly lost to the NH-U14S. The Noctuas even did very well with their LNAs installed. During testing I noticed that the 150mm fan on the NH-U14S was slightly quieter than the 120mm unit on the NH-U12S, but both were easily the quietest I’ve tested to date. [...] The prices are high in comparison to the other coolers I’ve tested but that does come with the added benefit of performance. The Gelid couldn’t keep up with the heat, so the Noctua gets the nod for the recommended buy. You honestly couldn’t go wrong with either version we tested here so it really comes down to your needs. If you have 4 sticks of RAM in your LGA115x board, then the NH-U12S is for you. If you only have 2 and want max cooling performance, then scoop up the NH-U14S with an additional NF-A15 PWM and enjoy. The coolers performed amazingly well and did so with near total silence so I have no hesitations about giving them our Great Hardware award.
Test verdict: "Noctua did an amazing job with the NH-U12S and NH-U14S CPU coolers. They’re built extremely well and no detail was left untouched. Their performance is stellar and all the while they make the least amount of noise of any CPU cooler I’ve ever tested." (Will Lyon, PureOverclock.com)
09.07.2013 // ComputerBase.de
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NH-U12S Review

Da die leistungsspezifischen Anforderungen an Prozessorkühler in den vergangenen Jahren kaum gestiegen sind, haben Kühlerhersteller bei der Pflege ihres Produkt-Portfolios ein vermeintlich leichtes Spiel. Scheinbar ohne die Bemühung gestalterischer Finesse oder revolutionärer Ideen gelingt es, ein empfehlenswertes Produkt abzuliefern. Ganz so einfach macht es sich Noctua bei den vorgestellten NH-U-Kühlern jedoch nicht, denn viele Verbesserungen stecken im Detail. Die Kühlkörper von NH-U12S und NH-U14S lassen wenig Raum zur Optimierung. Hochwertige Materialien stehen sauber verlötet in stabiler Verbindung. Die vollständige Nickel-Legierung verleiht dem metallenen Auftritt eine einheitliche Optik ohne Spielerei. Aus Sicht der Kühlleistung verzichtet man zwar aufgrund der sehr schmalen Bauform auf etwas Potential, dafür sichert Noctua die Kompatibilität auch zu hochbauenden RAM-Riegeln – ein Umstand, den viele High-End-Kühler dieser Tage außer Acht lassen. Dennoch offenbaren die Kühler im Leistungsvergleich sehr gute Werte. Insbesondere der NH-U14S überzeugt mit ausgesprochen hoher Rohleistung. Dabei harmonieren beide Kühler sowohl mit Einzel- als auch mit Doppelbelüftung.
Test verdict: "In Summe liefern sowohl der NH-U12S als auch der NH-U14S in bester Tradition sehr gute Gesamtpakete, die man so bei der Konkurrenz nur selten findet." (Martin Eckardt, ComputerBase.de)
28.04.2013 // TheLab.gr
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NH-U12S Review

Εν ολίγοις η NH-U14S τα πήρε όλα σβάρνα και έφυγε, αδιαφορώντας για το αν οι άλλες ψύκτρες διαθέτουν μεγαλύτερο βάρος, περισσότερους ανεμιστήρες και αν κοστίζουν ακριβότερα. Κατάφερε και έβαλε τα γυαλιά ακόμη και στην NH-D14 η οποία υποτίθεται ότι ανήκει σε μεγαλύτερη σειρά, αλλά δυστυχώς έχει αρχίσει και δείχνει τα χρονάκια της και καλά θα κάνει η Noctua να την ανανεώσει/βελτιώσει σύντομα, μιας και δεν πρέπει να αφήνεις τέτοιους θρύλους να σβήνουν άδοξα στο τέλος. Αν θέλετε να ξεμπερδεύετε μια και καλή με το θέμα της ψύξης του υπερ-χρονισμένου επεξεργαστή σας και δε βρίσκεται βολικές τις ωτοασπίδες, τότε προμηθευτείτε μια NH-U14S με έναν επιπλέον ανεμιστήρα και θα ξεχάσετε το θέμα ψύξη για πολύ μεγάλο διάστημα. Όσον αφορά τώρα τη "μικρή" NH-U12S, σε καμιά περίπτωση δεν μπορεί να σταθεί δίπλα στη μεγάλη της αδερφή από πλευρά επιδόσεων, αλλά παρόλα αυτά κατάφερε και άντεξε το πλήρες φορτίο του Jalapeno, σημειώνοντας αξιοπρεπείς θερμοκρασίες. Το κύριο μειονέκτημα της αποτελεί η μικρή διαφορά τιμής που τη χωρίζει από τη μεγαλύτερη NH-U14S, αλλά ούτως η άλλος παίζει σε εντελώς διαφορετική κατηγορία και στο κάτω κάτω θα την επιλέξει κάποιος που δεν μπορεί να χρησιμοποιήσει μεγαλύτερων διαστάσεων ψύκτρα. Για τα κυβικά της πάντως αποδίδει αρκετά καλά και ο θόρυβος που παράγει σε γενικές γραμμές είναι χαμηλός. Πάντως σε αυτές τις διαστάσεις υπάρχουν και άλλες προτάσεις, πολύ πιο οικονομικές αλλά και με κατά πολύ χαμηλότερη ποιότητα κατασκευής και αρκετά πιο θορυβώδεις.
Test verdict: "Νομίζω ότι δε χρειάζεται να πω (γράψω καλύτερα) πολλά μιας και οι αριθμοί και τα γραφήματα των προηγούμενων σελίδων τα αποκάλυψαν όλα. Η Noctua για άλλη μια φορά έδειξε γιατί είναι μια από τις κορυφαίες εταιρίες κατασκευής λύσεων ψύξης για επεξεργαστές. Πρόκειται άλλωστε για μια εταιρία που δεν ασχολείται με τίποτε άλλο παρά μόνο με αυτό τον τομέα, οπότε η τεχνογνωσία και η εμπειρία που έχει αποκτήσει είναι τεράστια. Αν συνδυάσουμε τα παραπάνω με την κορυφαία ποιότητα κατασκευής που χαρακτηρίζει όλα τα προϊόντα της, τότε το αποτέλεσμα δεν μπορεί να είναι τίποτα λιγότερο από εξαιρετικό." (Aristides Mpitziopoulos, TheLab.gr)
26.04.2013 // AnandTech.com
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NH-U12S Review

There's a lot of data to digest here. First, it looks like the very best air cooling has to offer is only really hugging the bottom of what closed loop cooling can do, but that's a bit deceptive. The breaking point is actually when you go beyond a 120mm radiator, and even then it's not certain: Noctua's new NH-U14S, at its fastest, is a better performer than Corsair's H100i at its quietest setting. [...] Almost all of the air coolers are relatively silent under load, while the closed loop coolers produce a tremendous amount of racket if they're not configured for silent running. [...] Also note that the two new Noctua coolers are meeting or beating their old standard, the NH-D14, and they're doing it while being quieter.
Test verdict: "What surprised me was just how well the two new Noctua coolers performed. The NH-U12S is basically at least as good as the stalwart NH-D14, but it's smaller and it's cheaper. Meanwhile, the big brother NH-U14S puts in a solid performance of its own, but losing that top PCI Express port for just a couple more degrees of performance is a major drag. These are both excellent air coolers in their own right, but if you're looking to spend premium cash on an air cooler, I'd go with the NH-U12S and then probably tack a second NF-F12 PWM fan on to the order." (Dustin Sklavos, AnandTech.com)
29.08.2015 // ITPC.net.pl
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NH-U12S Review

Tym razem dane mi było testować sprzęt troszkę mniejszy, tańszy, ale równie ciekawy co poprzednio. Spisał się on rewelacyjnie w każdym z testów i potwierdził zapewnienia producenta.
Test verdict: "Jest to propozycja idealna dla pasjonatów ciszy i bezkompromisowej wydajności." (Karol Kaszubowski, ITPC.net.pl)

Installation Manual (PDF)

Information Sheet (PDF)

FAQs

How can I check whether my case is wide/high enough for the cooler?

I can't open the socket due to the mounting bars!

Does the package include a backplate for AMD AM2(+)/AM3(+)/FM1/FM2(+)?

The supplied y-cable is missing a wire at one of the two connectors, is it faulty?

I get a CPU fan error despite the fan is running!

How can I check whether my AMD mainboard has a standard AMD backplate that’s compatible with the SecuFirm2™ mounting system and how should I proceed with the installation?

I get a CPU fan error using my Noctua PWM fan, is it faulty?

Does the mounting-system support LGA2011 based Xeon CPUs?

How should I clean my Noctua cooler?

Is the cooler compatible with AMD FM2+?

Which Noctua coolers are compatible with LGA1150?

How big is the NH-U12S and how much clearance does it provide for RAM and chipset coolers?

Why is the cooler’s contact surface slightly convex?

Is the cooler compatible with LGA775 and LGA1366?

I’ve used all the NT-H1 thermal compound that came with the cooler, can you send me more?

Which sockets are supported or can be supported using upgrade kits?

How can I determine which backplate revision I’ve got?

Is the cooler compatible with the LGA2011-3 socket?

Is it a problem that the CPU heatspreader is not covered completely by the heatsink base on LGA2011-3?

My Noctua PWM fan starts to spin when the PC boots but then stops, what is wrong?

My Noctua PWM fan runs at a much higher minimum speed than advertised, what is wrong?

What Thermal Design Power (TDP) is this cooler recommended for and how much Watt (W) of heat can it dissipate?

Can I install a Noctua cooler in my system from Dell, HP or Lenovo?

I'm experiencing fan speed issues with my motherboard from Supermicro, what can I do?

Is the cooler compatible with the LGA1151 socket?

Why doesn't the supplied backplate fit my LGA2011 motherboard?

My case supports CPU coolers of up to XXXmm height, which model should I choose?

Why doesn't the base of Noctua coolers have a polished, mirror like finish?

How to remove the base protection cover?

Can the cooler be installed turned by 90° on AMD sockets?

I have difficulties installing the cooler, can you help?

Should I take the cooler off before transporting my system?

Are there any concerns using Noctua CPU coolers on Intel Skylake (LGA1151) CPUs?

How can I check whether my case is wide/high enough for the cooler?

In order to check whether the cooler isn’t too high for your case, please measure the distance from the motherboard tray to the side panel (tower cases) or top panel (desktop cases). If this distance is bigger than the height of the cooler + 15mm (mainboard spacers + mainboard + CPU), the height/width of your case should be sufficient.

I can't open the socket due to the mounting bars!

Please first loosen one of the two thumbscrews that hold the mounting bars in place. Then untighten the second screw so that you can swivel the mounting bar and open the socket. Depending on the position of the mounting bars, you may need to swivel both.

Open Socket

Open Socket

Does the package include a backplate for AMD AM2(+)/AM3(+)/FM1/FM2(+)?

No. As most AMD mainboards come with a stock backplate preinstalled, the cooler doesn’t include an AMD backplate. If your mainboard doesn’t have a backplate, please contact our support team at support@noctua.at.

amd backplate

The supplied y-cable is missing a wire at one of the two connectors, is it faulty?

No. As mainboards can process only one rpm-signal per fan header, it would cause problems if the cable transmitted rpm-signals of both fans. For this reason, one of the two connectors does not have an rpm wire and only the fan on the other connector will transmit an rpm signal. Automatic speed control of both fans will work independent from the second fan’s rpm signal.

I get a CPU fan error despite the fan is running!

Some mainboards display a CPU fan error when the fan speed falls below a certain threshold, e.g. 900rpm. If you want to run the fan below this speed (e.g. using the supplied U.L.N.A.), please adjust the threshold in the BIOS or disable CPU fan error warning.

How can I check whether my AMD mainboard has a standard AMD backplate that’s compatible with the SecuFirm2™ mounting system and how should I proceed with the installation?

The SecuFirm2™ mounting system requires a standard AMD backplate (either plastic or metal) with screw threads as shown on the pictures below. These backplates are pre-installed on the rear side of most AMD mainboards (see first picture below) and fixed to the retention module with four screws (see second picture below). If your retention module is fixed with plastic bolts instead of metal screws, please contact support@noctua.at in order to obtain an appropriate backplate.

In order to proceed with the installation of your Noctua cooler, please remove the four screws and the retention module but keep the backplate in place so that you can see the screw threads from the top side of the motherboard (see third picture below). You can then proceed with the installation of the SecuFirm2™ mounting kit as described in the manual (see fourth picture below).

AMD backplate

AMD backplate

AMD backplate

AMD backplate



I get a CPU fan error using my Noctua PWM fan, is it faulty?

Noctua PWM fans feature a minimum speed of 300rpm to allow for ultra quiet operation when your CPU is at idle state and doesn’t require higher cooling performance. Some mainboards display error messages such as “CPU fan error” during the booting process when the fan speed is below a certain level. If you get such error messages using your Noctua PWM fan and if such options are available in your BIOS, please either adjust the minimum fan speed monitoring limit to 200rpm or increase the minimum PWM duty cycle. If your BIOS doesn’t offer these options, please disable CPU fan errors. For detailed information on BIOS fan settings, please consult your mainoard’s manual or contact your mainboard manufacturer.

Does the mounting-system support LGA2011 based Xeon CPUs?

There are two different types of ILM (Independent Loading Mechanism) for Intel’s LGA2011 based Xeon CPUs: Square ILM with 80x80mm hole spacing and Narrow ILM with 56x94mm hole spacing. The Square ILM socket is mechanically identical to the LGA2011 socket for Core i7, so the mounting-system is fully compatible, but it is not compatible with Xeon mainboards that use the Narrow ILM:

Xeon Compatibility

How should I clean my Noctua cooler?

Dust: Fans and heatsinks inside computer cases tend to accumulate dust over longer periods of usage. In order to maintain maximum performance, please clean your fan and heatsink regularly. For cleaning, please first remove the fan from the heatsink and clean it using a duster, slightly moist tissue or canned air. Please be careful not to use too much force in order to prevent any damage to the fan. Please do not use a vacuum cleaner as this may apply excessive force to the fan and do not put the fan under running water as water residues inside the motor may lead to short circuits. Please also note that the fan is not designed to be taken apart by the user. Removing the impeller from the frame will break the sealing of the bearing and results in a loss of warranty. Before reinstalling the fan, clean the heatsink itself with a duster or vacuum cleaner. Finally put the fan back on and connect it to your motherboard fan header or fan controller.
Thermal paste residues: Whenever you take off the heatsink from the CPU, we recommend to clean the CPU as well as the base of the cooler before re-applying thermal paste and re-installing the cooler. You can either just wipe the base and the CPU clean with a dry, lint-free tissue or, for more thorough cleaning, use a lint-free tissue moistened with either a mild solution of washing-up liquid or isopropyl alcohol. Do not put the cooler or CPU under running water. Note that both the base of the heatsink and the CPU should be dry, free from residues of thermal compound and free from grease before re-applying thermal paste and re-installing the cooler.

Is the cooler compatible with AMD FM2+?

As the hole spacing for CPU cooler installation on FM2+ is the same as on AM2, AM2, AM3(+), FM1 and FM2, the cooler is fully compatible with FM2+ out of the box and doesn’t require any modifications or upgrades.

Which Noctua coolers are compatible with LGA1150?

The mounting is identical on all LGA115x sockets (LGA1150, LGA1155, LGA1156). The following coolers are thus compatible with LGA1150 out of the box and don’t require any upgrades in order to be used on this platform: NH-C12P SE14, NH-C14, NH-D15, NH-D14, NH-L12, NH-L9i, NH-U14S, NH-U12S, NH-U12P SE2, NH-U9B SE2. In addition, all older models which have been upgraded with the NM-I3 kit can also be used on LGA1150 without any further upgrades.

The following coolers can be made compatible to LGA1150 using the NM-i115x Upgrade-Kit and are eligible for Noctua’s free mounting kit offer: NH-C12P, NH-U12, NH-U12F, NH-U12P, NH-U12P SE1366, NH-U9, NH-U9F, NH-U9B.

The following coolers can be made compatible to LGA1150 using the NM-i115x Upgrade-Kit but are not eligible for Noctua’s free mounting kit offer: DX-Series Xeon coolers, NH-D14 SE2011.

The following coolers are mechanically incompatible with the NM-i115x Upgrade-Kit and can not be made compatible with LGA1150: DO-Series AMD Opteron coolers, NH-L9a.

How big is the NH-U12S and how much clearance does it provide for RAM and chipset coolers?

Please refer to the following drawing for the exact measurements and clearance for RAM and chipset coolers:

U12S

Why is the cooler’s contact surface slightly convex?

As the Integrated Heat Spreaders (IHS) of today’s CPUs are slightly concave, the cooler’s contact surface has been deliberately designed to be slightly convex in order to ensure optimal contact. This way, more contact pressure will be applied at the centre of the IHS directly above the DIE, which results in better heat transfer and improved overall performance.

Is the cooler compatible with LGA775 and LGA1366?

The cooler does not support LGA775 and LGA1366 out of the box, but can be made compatible using the NM-I3 mounting kit. Noctua provides the NM-I3 kit free of charge if a proof of purchase (scan, photo or electronic copy of the invoice) of the cooler and an LGA775 or LGA1366 motherboard or CPU are presented. In order to install the cooler using the NM-I3 kit, please first unscrew the center screw of the original one-piece fastening bracket (you can reach through the fin stack using the long screw driver supplied with the cooler) and remove it. Then install the two fastening brackets of the NM-I3 kit as described in the NM-I3 installation manual.

I’ve used all the NT-H1 thermal compound that came with the cooler, can you send me more?

Please kindly note that the NT-H1 thermal compound supplied with our coolers is a consumable item so our manufacturer’s warranty does not include providing additional thermal compound. You can purchase NT-H1 from our resellers.

Which sockets are supported or can be supported using upgrade kits?

Please refer to our socket compatibility chart.

How can I determine which backplate revision I’ve got?

Please refer to following drawing for how to identify the different backplate revisions:

backplate revisions

Some mainboards pose compatibility problems with the first version of the NM-IBP2 backplate included with the cooler. Please verify to use a revision 1.5 or revision 2 backplate when installing the cooler on these mainboards. All coolers manufactured since April 2013 already include the new revision backplates. Owners of coolers with rev. 1 backplates can request a new backplate from Noctua’s customer service free of charge.

Is the cooler compatible with the LGA2011-3 socket?

Yes. Due to the heatsink mounting mechanism being identical on LGA2011-0 and 2011-3, the cooler supports both types of LGA2011-3.

Is it a problem that the CPU heatspreader is not covered completely by the heatsink base on LGA2011-3?

No. Depending on the orientation of the cooler, 1-2mm at the outer edge of the heatspreader may not be covered by the heatsink base. As the heat is concentrated at the center of the CPU and the outermost parts are irrelevant for heat-transfer, this is no problem at all.

My Noctua PWM fan starts to spin when the PC boots but then stops, what is wrong?

Some mainboards feature 4-pin fan headers that actually don‘t use a PWM signal on Pin 4 to control the fan speed but rather reduce the voltage on Pin 2 (like a standard 3-pin fan header). In this case, it may occur that the mainboard reduces the voltage so much that the fan stops. Please refer to your mainboard manual to check whether or not your mainboard has 4-pin fan headers that control the fan speed by reducing voltage on Pin 2 rather than by changing the PWM duty cycle on Pin 4:

4 pin fan header types

Note that mainboard manufacturers use different terms to indicate that Pin 4 is not being used for PWM control (e.g. “+5V”, “VCC” or “NC”), but if one of these terms is used, you can be sure that the fan header does not support PWM. If Pin 4 is described as “Speed Control” or “PWM” or the like, you can be sure that the fan header supports PWM.

Unfortunately, the description of Pin 2 is not always a clear indication as some manufacturers use terms such as “Fan PWR” or “Power” for both types of fan headers. However, if Pin 2 is described as “Speed Control”, you can also be sure that the fan header does not support PWM based speed control. If Pin 2 is described as “+12V”, this is a clear indication that the fan header supports PWM.

Please also note that in some cases, the descriptions of the pin layouts in the mainboard manuals may not be correct and some models actually allow you to switch the fan headers from voltage control mode to PWM control mode in the BIOS even though the pin descriptions do not indicate PWM support. We thus recommend to look for these options in the BIOS before taking other measures. In case of doubt, please contact your mainboard manufacturer.



To resolve the issue, you can:

  1. Choose a higher fan speed profile in the BIOS (e.g. „normal“ instead of „silent“, etc.) or deactivate automatic fan speed control and use a Low-Noise Adaptor instead.

  2. Use the mainboard‘s fan speed control software or 3rd party tools like Speedfan to regulate the fan speed. Unlike BIOS based fan speed control, the supplied software usually checks whether the fan has stopped and increases voltage accordingly or at least offer more options to set up the fan properly.

  3. If your mainboard features other 4-pin fan headers that use PWM for speed control, you can run multiple fans from these headers using Y-split cables. Make sure not to exceed the specified maximum power draw of the fan headers (usually 10-12W) though.

My Noctua PWM fan runs at a much higher minimum speed than advertised, what is wrong?

The specified minimum speed refers to the speed at 20% PWM duty cycle. There can be several reasons why the fan doesn‘t go as low as indicated:

  1. Many mainboards do not go below 40%, 50% or even 60% PWM duty cycle on case fan headers. Please refer to your mainboard manual to verify whether the fan header actually goes down to 20% duty cycle. If that's not the case, in some cases you can use the fan speed control software supplied with your mainboard to overcome these limitations and reduce the fan speed even further. However, 3rd party tools like SpeedFan offer greater flexibility and better options to work around the limitations imposed by the mainboard vendors.

  2. Some mainboards feature 4-pin fan headers that actually don‘t use a PWM signal on Pin 4 to control the fan speed but rather reduce the voltage on Pin 2 (like a standard 3-pin fan header). As the fan speed at minimum voltage is usually higher than the speed at 20% PWM duty cycle, the fan can not reach as low minimum speeds under voltage control as under PWM control. Please refer to your mainboard manual to check whether or not your mainboard has 4-pin fan headers that control the fan speed by reducing voltage on Pin 2 rather than by changing the PWM duty cycle on Pin 4:

    4 pin fan header types

    Note that mainboard manufacturers use different terms to indicate that Pin 4 is not being used for PWM control (e.g. “+5V”, “VCC” or “NC”), but if one of these terms is used, you can be sure that the fan header does not support PWM. If Pin 4 is described as “Speed Control” or “PWM” or the like, you can be sure that the fan header supports PWM.

    Unfortunately, the description of Pin 2 is not always a clear indication as some manufacturers use terms such as “Fan PWR” or “Power” for both types of fan headers. However, if Pin 2 is described as “Speed Control”, you can also be sure that the fan header does not support PWM based speed control. If Pin 2 is described as “+12V”, this is a clear indication that the fan header supports PWM.

    Please also note that in some cases, the descriptions of the pin layouts in the mainboard manuals may not be correct and some models actually allow you to switch the fan headers from voltage control mode to PWM control mode in the BIOS even though the pin descriptions do not indicate PWM support. We thus recommend to look for these options in the BIOS before taking other measures. In case of doubt, please contact your mainboard manufacturer.


    If your mainboard features other 4-pin fan headers that use PWM for speed control, you can run multiple fans from these headers using Y-split cables. Make sure not to exceed the specified maximum power draw of the fan headers (usually 10-12W) though.

What Thermal Design Power (TDP) is this cooler recommended for and how much Watt (W) of heat can it dissipate?

Please refer to our TDP guide for information on maximum recommended TDP and heat dissipation.

Can I install a Noctua cooler in my system from Dell, HP or Lenovo?

Systems from Dell, HP or Lenovo often use motherboards which differ slightly from the specifications issued by Intel and AMD. While those changes are usually subtle, they can led to compatibility issues with coolers that where built to comply with these specifications.

Even in case the cooler is mechanically compatible and can be instaled, other issues can occur, e.g. proprietary fan connectors, BIOS errors due to a low fan speed, shutdowns, etc. Some of these problems can be avoided with some technical knowledge, but especially BIOS related can often not be resolved.

Due to the large number of possible issues with systems from Dell, HP and Lenovo, which can't be resolved with different mounting parts alone, Noctua does not officially support such machines.

I'm experiencing fan speed issues with my motherboard from Supermicro, what can I do?

The BIOS of many motherboard models from Supermicro expects a certain minimum fan speed (usually 700rpm), which is higher than the minimum fan speed that can be achieved with Noctua's PWM fan models. The BIOS may interpret the low minimum RPM of Noctua fans as a fan error and thus try to run the fan at 100% for a short period before going back to automatic control.. This can result in oscillating fan speeds and fan speed warnings in the BIOS or the fan management console.

Unfortunately there is usually no option to set a lower minimum value that would suit the low minimum speed of Noctua PWM fans.The issue can thus only be resolved by either disabling automatic fan speed control in BIOS, which will cause the fans to run at a constant speed, or by requesting a modified BIOS file from Supermicro, which takes the minimum fan speed of Noctua fans into account (charges might apply).

Is the cooler compatible with the LGA1151 socket?

Yes. Due to the heatsink mounting mechanism being identical on LGA1150, LGA1151, LGA1155 and LGA1156, the cooler also supports LGA1151.

Why doesn't the supplied backplate fit my LGA2011 motherboard?

The supplied backplate is for LGA115x only and there is no backplate required for installation on LGA2011. Please refer to the installation manual for how to install the heatsink on LGA2011.

My case supports CPU coolers of up to XXXmm height, which model should I choose?

Please refer to our TDP guide in order to select the cooler that offers the best cooling performance at a given height.

Why doesn't the base of Noctua coolers have a polished, mirror like finish?

As most of today's PC enthusiasts use high-viscosity thermal compounds, the contact surface of Noctua coolers is optimised for use with this type of pastes. The micro-grooves at the contact surface ensure that high-viscosity thermal compounds are dispersed to a uniform thin layer across the whole contact area and that no air pockets remain between the cooler and the CPU. With a polished, mirror like surface, the risk of uneven dispersion is much higher. As too thick layers of thermal paste and air pockets drastically deteriorate heat transmission, the micro-grooves are is of vital importance to the overall cooling performance of Noctua coolers when used with today's high-viscosity thermal pastes.

How to remove the base protection cover?

Noctua CPU coolers are shipped with a plastic protection cover at the bottom side of the cooler, which protects the contact surface against scratches and other damage.

The base of Noctua CPU coolers is made from hard-wearing nickel plated copper, so there's nothing to worry about if you buy a Noctua cooler from second hand or if your cooler didn't come with a protection cover. Please proceed with the installation as explained in the manual.

You can simply remove the cover as shown below:

Base Protection Cover

Can the cooler be installed turned by 90° on AMD sockets?

No. The new SecuFirm2™ mounting system for AM2, AM2+ and AM3 uses the same standardised hole spacing as the Intel system and thus allows for a much easier installation, but the cooler cannot be installed turned by 90°.

I have difficulties installing the cooler, can you help?

Please refer to the installation manual and our video installation guides for detailed instructions on how to install the cooler.

Should I take the cooler off before transporting my system?

As it is not possible to reliably calculate or control the forces that act upon a system during transport (e.g. in shipping), we generally recommend, due to safety reasons, to take off the fan from the heatsink in order to reduce the weight below 700g. Noctua cannot be held responsible for any damage that may arise due to excessive stress during transport if you keep the heatsink installed.

Are there any concerns using Noctua CPU coolers on Intel Skylake (LGA1151) CPUs?

Our SecuFirm2™ mounting systems undergo comprehensive compatibility tests before being approved for new platforms. We have neither detected any problem with regard to the Intel LGA1151 platform (“Skylake”) during these tests nor have we received any reports from our customers, sales partners and system integrators that would indicate any possible issue. Our SecuFirm2™ mounting systems (with the exception of some compact L-type models) rely on coil springs to create the required contact pressure, which gives a certain flexibility both with regards to tolerances in stackup height and shocks or other forces. Compared to spring-less mounting systems, which exclusively rely on the bending of the mounting brackets in order to create contact pressure, this allows to reduce the mechanical stress on CPU, socket and motherboard and thus helps to prevent possible damage from excessive forces. However, as it is not possible to reliably calculate or control the forces that act upon a system during transport (e.g. in shipping), we generally recommend, due to safety reasons, to take off coolers with a total weight of more than 700g (incl. fan).

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