Product discontinued. Successor model: NH-U12P SE2

The NH-U12P continues the legacy of Noctua's classic NH-U coolers, which won over 150 awards and recommendations from leading international websites and magazines. While retaining the successful design and the well-proven SecuFirm™ mounting system, the newest revision has been reworked for enhanced main board compatibility and now comes with Noctua's NT-H1 pro-grade thermal compound. Fitted with the new NF-P12 premium fan, the NH-U12P brings its predecessors' much-acclaimed quiet cooling performance to a whole new level!
4 dual heat pipes

4 dual heat pipes

4 dual heat pipes, soldered joints and widely-spaced aluminium cooling fins guarantee optimal heat dissipation even at low fan speeds.
Award winning NH-U design

Award winning NH-U design

Noctua's NH-U coolers allow for perfect airflow direction and have received more than 150 awards and recommendations from leading international websites and magazines.
NF-P12 premium fan

NF-P12 premium fan

The NF-P12 has been specifically developed for applications like CPU cooling and brings the performance of the NH-U12 to a whole new level. Thanks to psycho-acoustic optimizations and Noctua's premium-grade SSO-bearing, the NF-P12 achieves exceptional quietness and long-term stability.
Improved compatibility

Improved compatibility

Thanks to its raised fin-stack, the NH-U12P offers improved compatibility with main boards featuring very high chipset coolers.
SecuFirm™ multi-socket mounting system

SecuFirm™ multi-socket mounting system

Noctua's professional SecuFirm™ mounting system for LGA 775, AM2, AM2+ and AM3 provides superior reliability and contact pressure.
Incl. Noctua NT-H1 high-end thermal compound

Incl. Noctua NT-H1 high-end thermal compound

Noctua's NT-H1 is a pro-grade TIM solution that provides minimum thermal resistance, excellent ease-of-use and long-term stability.
Cooler Specification
Intel Socket LGA 775, AMD AM2, AM2+ & AM3
Height (without fan)
158 mm
Width (without fan)
126 mm
Depth (without fan)
71 mm
Height (with fan)
158 mm
Width (with fan)
126 mm
Depth (with fan)
95 mm
Weight (without fan)
600 g
Weight (with fan/s)
770 g
Copper (base and heat-pipes), aluminium (cooling fins), soldered joints & nickel plating
Intel all frequencies, AMD all frequencies
Fan compatibility
120x120x25mm / 120x120x38mm (2 fans can be installed)
Scope of Delivery
  • NF-P12 premium fan
  • Mounting-clips for 2 fans
  • Ultra-Low-Noise-Adaptor (U.L.N.A.)
  • NT-H1 high-grade thermal compound
  • SecuFirm™ mounting kits for LGA & AM2(+)
6 Years
FAN Specification
Blade Geometry
Rotational Speed (+/- 10%)
1300 RPM
Rotational Speed with L.N.A. (+/- 10%)
1100 RPM
Rotational Speed with U.L.N.A. (+/- 10%)
900 RPM
Acoustical Noise
19,8 dB(A)
Voltage Range
12 V
> 150.000 h
01.02.2008 // Computerbase.de

NH-U12P Review

Alles in allem muss man Noctua zugestehen, eine der am besten abgestimmten und komplettesten Kühlerofferten des Marktes anzubieten. Kühlkörper, Lüfter, Wärmeleitpaste und Zubehör sind keine abgespeckten Bundle-Versionen, sondern das Beste, was Noctua zur Zeit zu bieten hat. Der Kunde erhält also keine Mogelpackung, sondern eine Premium-Combo, deren üppig anmutender Verkaufspreis von über 50 Euro unter diesen Gesichtspunkten als durchaus fair angesehen werden darf.
Test verdict: "Noctua bereichert den Markt mit dem NH-U12P um eine Kühlercombo höchster Güte. In allen wichtigen Belangen, vom Lieferauftritt bis hin zur Performance, weiß Österreichs Aushängeschild in Sachen Prozessorkühlung ordentlich zu punkten. So finden wir im gesamten Drehzahlspektrum eine Kühlleistung auf dem Niveau der Spitzenkühler vor, die der hochwertigen Towerkonstruktion inklusive des Heatpipe-Quartettes beste Funktionalität bescheinigt." (Martin Eckardt, Computerbase.de)
21.01.2009 // LegitReviews.com

NH-U12P Review

In the NH-U12P’s dual fan configuration it was clearly the winner with a 1.75*C gap between it and the closest competitor, the Monsoon III LT. The NH-U12P SE1366 cooled our i7-920 to a very nice 56.25*C under full load, and a whopping 17.75* under stock. [...] With the system overclocked to 3.5GHz and under full load the stock cooler starts to scream for mercy as the load temp climbed to 83.5*C. The Vigor Monsoon III LT dropped back 2 spots, and the NH-U12P is still in the lead, keeping our i7-920 to a toasty 67.5*C; a whole 16* cooler then stock. [...] the Noctua NH-U12P CPU Cooler is the winner in our testing. Either in its original single fan configuration or in its new SE1366 dual fan configuration it led the pack and did it quietly.
Test verdict: "The Intel Core i7 CPUs can get very toasty so the need of a quality cooler is a must. The Noctua NH-U12P is just that and will continue to be our King of Cooling." (Shane Higgins, LegitReviews.com)
12.06.2009 // The Tech Report

NH-U12P Review

Compared to the other air coolers, the $55 Noctua NH-U12P is a brilliant behemoth. Not only did it produce lower noise levels than the rest, it did so without sacrificing overclocking performance. Most importantly, the Noctua kept our overclocked Phenom's load temperature more than four degrees lower than the best our water cooler could manage.
Test verdict: "When you factor in the cooler's smart design, excellent craftsmanship, and impressively silent fan, Noctua's price premium looks well justified. This cooler is perfect for those who want excellent cooling performance without having to give up quiet computing." (Joshua Buss, The Tech Report)
21.03.2008 // AnandTech.com

NH-U12P Review

Noctua really has produced a top-performing cooler with incredibly low noise in the NH-U12P. The combination of staggered Vortex Control notches, SC Drive, and SSO bearings in a nine-blade design does the trick as promised. Paired with the venerable and continually refined Noctua heatsink, performance of the stock Noctua NH-U12P mirrors the top Thermalright all the way to 3.91GHz. Noise remains below our system noise floor throughout the entire range of testing. The Thermalright goes on to 3.94GHz with a single fan, indicating the design may be slightly more efficient. However, add a second NF-P12 to the Noctua and it also reaches 3.94GHZ and sets new records for cooling temperatures along the way. Even with two fans, noise remains below the noise floor - and you can reduce it even further with shunts if you choose. We saw no reason to do this as two fans at full speed were still as silent as we could measure in our system - with noise levels below a quiet suburban bedroom at night.
Test verdict: "There is no doubt the Noctua NH-U12P has joined the ranks of the best performing coolers ever tested at AnandTech. With two NF-12P fans in push-pull, it turns in the best cooling results at the highest overclocks we have ever seen." (Wesley Fink, AnandTech.com)
18.02.2008 // Puissance-PC.net

NH-U12P Review

Le Noctua NH-U12P est une magnifique révision du NH-U12F. Noctua a corrigé tous les points négatifs de sa première version, avec un ventilateur enfin adapté au refroidissement de radiateurs, une pâte thermique de qualité, une troisième vitesse de rotation disponible, et cerise sur le gâteau un radiateur également amélioré.
Test verdict: "Le Noctua NH-U12P est une réussite totale. Un excellent radiateur, surmonté d'un non moins excellent ventilateur, avec un bundle de qualité contenant des modules de régulation de vitesse et une pâte thermique à la hauteur de nos espérances." (David Sergent, Puissance-PC.net)
19.11.2007 // Overclock3D.net

NH-U12P Review

Here again the Noctua NH-U12P did extremely well, beating the other coolers at idle by 5°C, 4°C factoring in the change in room temperature. At load the three top performers closed in a bit, but the Noctua was still a 1°C ahead (again factoring in the 0.9°C temperature difference). That's pretty darn good results from Noctua. [...] As we have seen previously, the NF-P12 fans are pretty damn amazing and in a heatsink-fan situation this is no different. Not only does the fan produce a very good amount of airflow, it also is incredibly quiet, even when ramped up to it's top speed. On putting on one of the voltage fan extension cables provided, you quite simply could not hear any noise from the cooler.
Test verdict: "The Noctua NH-U12P performs very well, even against some of the top-rated heatsinks on the market. When I pulled the cooler out of the box I was initially impressed with build quality and then once it was in use I was highly impressed with it's cooling ability, as well as the performance of the excellent NF-P12 fans. Add in the fact that Noctua include some top-end thermal paste and we're onto a winner. " (Matthew Kemp, Overclock3D.net)
02.04.2008 // [H]ard|OCP

NH-U12P Review

Noctua has worked their magic with a tower-design processor heatsink yet again. It is amazing to see just how far Noctua have pushed it. This newest incarnation beats its predecessor by a few degrees, and offers better compatibility thanks to its better motherboard component clearance. As with many heatsinks, it comes down to the fan used, and thankfully Noctua does not disappoint here. Bundling its kit with the premiere NF-P12 fan shows off what this heat sink can do even while being nearly silent.
Test verdict: "The Noctua NH-U12P is a solid cooler that performs with the very best out there. Combine this with a strong fan that can be classified as 'silent,' and you have a complete package. For anyone in the market for a new processor cooler or if you are just looking to quiet your system down, this is one heat sink and fan combination that should be on your short list." (Marc Adams, [H]ard|OCP)
21.03.2008 // Hardwareluxx.de

NH-U12P Review

Mit großem Abstand kann sich der Noctua NH-U12P vor die Konkurrenz setzen und führt souverän das Feld an.
Test verdict: " Das beste Komplettpaket kommt in diesem Test aus dem Hause Noctua. Der Noctua U12P zeigt keine Schwächen in der Verarbeitung, der Qualität, der Montage, dem Lieferumfang oder bei der Kühlleistung, denn in allen Bereichen ist er mit an der Spitze, oder setzt Bestmarken. Abgerundet wird das Paket durch den sehr guten Lüfter mit einer höheren Förderleistung als normale Lüfter, was sich vor allem mit einer Spannung unter 7V bemerkbar macht. Eine klare Kaufempfehlung!" (Patrick Schubert, Hardwareluxx.de)
19.03.2008 // DragonSteelMods.com

NH-U12P Review

An out of the box choice to cool the Q6600 would have to be the Noctua NHU-12P, offering good performance and very low noise. (It's currently in use now cooling my Q6600.)
Test verdict: "As with my C2D heastsink roundup, I found that the Noctua NH-U12P offers the best choice overall for cooling performance and low noise. I personally have the NH-U12P on my C2Q at this moment as I type this." (Kristofer Brozio, DragonSteelMods.com)
27.02.2008 // techPowerUp!

NH-U12P Review

When the CPU is overclocked and the voltage is increased, the NH-U12P does even better than the rest of the air coolers. Amazingly, this is all done with a fan that is very quiet.
Test verdict: "The Noctua NH-U12P CPU heatsink performs excellently, and it does so with a very quiet fan. The design and construction are top-notch as one would expect from Noctua." (Todd Kracinski, techPowerUp!)

Installation Manual (PDF)

Information Sheet (PDF)

I've got 2 adapter cables with the cooler. What's the difference between these cables?

The Low-Noise-Adapter (L.N.A.) and Ultra-Low-Noise-Adapter (U.L.N.A.) reduce the speed of the fan to 1100 / 900 rpm:

Vibration Compensators Installation

Is the cooler compatible with socket AM2+ and AM3?

Yes. As AM2, AM2+ and AM3 are mechanically identical, the cooler is compatible with all three sockets.

Is the high weight dangerous for the CPU or socket?

No. Noctua coolers possess an extremely reliable SecuFirm™ mounting system. Thanks to the screw connection with the backplate on the rear side of the motherboard, the exceedance of the weight recommendations by Intel and AMD common among high-end coolers is completely unobjectionable.

Is it possible to mount fans with a greater height than 25mm?

Yes. The fan mounting clips grip to the screw holes in the lower edge of the fan frame and hence work with all fans regardless of their height. However, problems with the mounting of the fan can occur due to other parts within the case or fans with special frame designs, where the clips can't grip to the screw holes in the lower edge of the frame.

NH-U fan mounting

Is it possible to run two fans at a time?

Yes. Using the 4 supplied fan clips, you can mount two 120mm fans on the NH-U12(F/P) and two 92mm fans on the NH-U9(F/B).

Should the fan be mounted sucking away from the heat-sink or blowing onto the heat-sink?

Please install the fan blowing onto the heat-sink.

NH-U Airflow

If you're using two fans, please install them so that one blows onto the heat-sink and the other sucks the air away from the other side.

On which side of the heat-sink should the fan be installed?

Please install the fan so that the hot air can be disposed as good as possible either through the rear case fan (Airflow Option 1) or through the power supply (Airflow Option 2).

NH-U Airflow

Is it possible to cool my CPU without a fan (passive) using Noctua coolers?

Noctua coolers weren't originally designed for passive operation although the cooling performance is sufficient in many cases. Unfortunately, it is impossible for us to indicate whether a certain CPU can or cannot be cooled without a fan, as this depends on various factors such as case temperature, case ventilation or the orientation of the socket. Generally, we recommend using a fan in the first instance and then lowering RPM while constantly monitoring the temperature.

How to install the fan using the supplied steel clips?

First hook the clip into the notch of the heatsink:

Vibration Compensators Installation

Then hook the endings of the clips into the mounting holes of the fan:

Vibration Compensators Installation

How much clearance for RAM or chipset coolers does the NH-U12P provide?

The NH-U12P provides 40mm clearance for near-socket components:

Vibration Compensators Installation

What can I do if the fan blocks my RAM or chipset cooler?

In order to increase clearance, you can easily move the fan up a few fins as show below:

Vibration Compensators Installation

Which mainboards are compatible with the NH-U12P?

Please consult our mainboard compatibility list for information about compatible mainboards.

Can I use Noctua fans on my fan controller?

Our fans are compatible with the vast majority of fan controllers on the market. However, there is a compatibility issue with a few models such as the Zalman ZM-MFC2 and Bitfenix Recon, which apply Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) on the 12V line and use an unfavourable PWM carrier frequency. This can create an oscillation when used with certain fans, which will result in the fan speeding up and down. We therefore recommend not using the Zalman ZM-MFC2 or Bitfenix Recon with our fans.

I can’t spread the thermal compound by turning the cooler as described in the manual!

Due to the new LGA mounting bars with screw threads that facilitate the installation process, there's little room to turn the cooler as described in step 4 of the supplied manual. There's nothing to worry about though, as you can still turn the cooler by a few millimetres in order to help the thermal compound spread. We've also made the compound slightly less viscous so that the contact pressure of mounting system is wholly sufficient to spread it.

My fan doesn’t spin when I start up the PC - is it faulty?

If you've connected the fan directly (or using the supplied Low-Noise or Ultra-Low-Noise-Adaptors) to your mainboard, it's possible that the mainboard's automatic fan controller doesn't provide the required starting voltage due to the low CPU temperature. Please verify whether the fan starts spinning at higher CPU temperatures, remove any Low-Noise or Ultra-Low-Noise Adaptors, deactivate your mainboard's automatic fan controller in the BIOS or connect the fan directly to the power supply using the supplied 3:4-pin adaptor.

Can I run Noctua 3-pin fans on 4-pin PWM connectors and use my mainboard’s automatic fan controller?

You can simply connect our fan's 3-pin connector to the 4-pin PWM sockets of today's mainboards so that the fourth pin that transmits the PWM signal is left blank (due to the shape of the connector, there's no danger of reversing polarity). Some mainboards (e.g. current Gigabyte models) are capable of controlling fans not only via PWM, but also by adjusting the supplied voltage. In some cases, this may require you to change BIOS options like "Fan Control Mode" from "PWM" to "Voltage" or "Analog". Please consult your mainboard's manual in this regard. However, some mainboards use an "auto" setting by default that automatically chooses PWM or voltage based regulation according to the connected fan. Automatically controlling the fan speed may not possible on mainboards that pulse the power rather than lowering the fan voltage.


How can I connect 2 fans?

When using 2 fans, please connect one of the fans to the CPU-Fan header and the second fan to one of the Case-Fan headers of your mainboard. Alternatively, you can also use a 3-pin Y-cable in order to run both fans via the CPU-Fan header. Such cables are available in specialised retail stores.

The fan doesn’t start with the Ultra-Low-Noise Adaptor (ULNA)!

Unfortunately, many Gigabyte mainboards use a special control circuit that can lead to start-up problems in conjunction with the Ultra-Low-Noise Adaptor (ULNA). This control circuit remains active even when automatic fan control is disabled in the BIOS. In these cases, please use the fan without the ULNA or connect it directly to the power supply (or an external fan controller) in order to ensure reliable operation with the ULNA.

How can I determine if the motherboard’s UEFI BIOS is overclocking my processor by default and deactivate this automatic overclocking?

Most motherboard vendors allow their overclocking-enabled products (e.g. those with Intels X- or Z-series chipsets) to run the processor at increased clock speeds by default, without requiring any user action at all. Since TDP (Thermal Design Power) limits are usually also disabled by default, this leads to the CPU exceeding the rated TDP to a varying degree, depending on the used applications and their workloads. Due to the increased heat output of the CPU, you may see higher CPU temperatures than expected.

In order to find out if your motherboard is overclocking your processor by default, please enter the UEFI BIOS and select the “advanced” or “overclocking” menu. There you should be able to find options such as “MultiCore Enhancement” (options: enabled/disabled), “CPU Ratio Apply Mode” (options: all/per core) or similar. To disable the automatic overclocking, adjust the settings either to “disabled” or “per core” and make sure that the individual multipliers match the original specifications.

In doubt, please contact your motherboard vendor for detailed instructions on how to disable this feature.

My unlocked Intel CPU is running too hot although my heatsink supports the specified TDP, what's the problem?

Intel's unlocked CPUs (K, X and C suffix) can dissipate more heat than indicated by the TDP specification if
  1. the TDP limits are extended or disabled in the motherboards' BIOS.
  2. the motherboard applies automatic overclocking by default, e.g. by raising the supply voltage of the CPU and using higher Turbo-Mode multipliers.
  3. some software creates untypical loads, e.g. Prime95 with AVX2 support and a) and/or b) apply.

This can lead to temperature issues, especially when using smaller coolers or compact cases.

The actual power draw of the processor can be monitored with software provided by the motherboard vendor or with 3rd party tools like HWInfo or HWMonitor.

If you encounter temperature issues (>90°C) and notice a higher than specified power draw, please ensure that no automatic overclocking is applied and limit the TDP to the specified value by choosing appropriate BIOS settings.

For Kaby Lake CPUs, it may also help to lower the CPU clock speed for applications that heavily use the AVX instruction set, which can lead to higher loads and power draw. This option is usually referred to as “AVX offset” and makes it possible to lower the multiplier specifically for AVX based applications without reducing performance when using other instruction sets. Depending on the quality of the CPU and the programs being used, a reduction of 2-3 steps usually gives very good results.

Please contact your motherboard vendor for details if you have trouble finding the appropriate settings in the BIOS.

All our TDP recommendations are based on thorough testing with the default values specified by Intel using popular applications such as Asus Realbench and prime95. Please note, however, that prime95 creates a particularly high load that goes beyond typical application scenarios and this leads to elevated temperatures. We thus recommend using other programs such as Realbench for checking the stability and temperatures of the CPU in realistic scenarios.

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