heading NH-U12A SPECIFICATIONS VIDEOS REVIEWS SERVICE ACCESSORIES BUY The NH-U12A is the latest, 5th generation of Noctua’s award-winning NH-U12 series of 120mm size premium-quality quiet CPU coolers. Conceived to push the envelope of the 120mm form factor, it combines two of Noctua’s flagship model NF-A12x25 PWM 120mm fans with a completely redesigned heatsink featuring 7 heatpipes and an increased fin surface area for superior heat dissipation. This way, the NH-U12A can rival the performance of many 140mm size coolers while offering 120mm class case and PCIe compatibility. Topped off with the trusted, pro-grade SecuFirm2™ multi-socket mounting system, Noctua’s proven NT-H1 thermal compound and a full 6-year manufacturer’s warranty, the NH-U12A is a deluxe choice that combines top-tier performance with excellent compatibility and outstanding quietness of operation. ✕ Details Award-winning NH-U12 series First introduced in 2005, Noctua’s NH-U12 series has won more than 600 awards and recommendations from leading international hardware websites and magazines. The NH-U12A is the latest addition to this prestigious series that has established itself as a benchmark for premium-quality quiet 120mm coolers. 140mm performance in 120mm size Thanks to its completely revised, thoroughly optimised 7 heatpipe layout, 37% more fin surface area (as compared to the NH-U12S) and a dual fan push/pull configuration that uses the new, state-of-the-art NF-A12x25 fans, the NH-U12A pushes the performance envelope in the 120mm class and can actually match or even outperform many 140mm sized coolers. 100% RAM compatibility on LGA115x and AM4 Due to its asymmetric design, the NH-U12A does not overhang the RAM slots on Intel LGA115x and AMD AM4 based motherboards, which ensures easy access to the modules and 100% compatibility with tall heat-spreaders. On LGA2066, the rear fan will overhang the RAM slots on the left-hand side of the socket, so RAM modules should not exceed 42mm in height.* Classic 120mm tower size for excellent case and PCIe compatibility Standing 158mm tall, the NH-U12A 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 most standard ATX or Micro-ATX motherboards, ensuring optimum compatibility with multi-GPU setups. Dual NF-A12 120mm fans The NF-A12x25 is a highly optimised next-generation 120mm fan that integrates Noctua’s latest innovations in aerodynamic engineering in order to achieve an unprecedented level of quiet cooling performance. Using this elite-class fan in a push/pull dual fan configuration is one of the cornerstones of the NH-U12A’s commanding performance and acoustic efficiency. PWM support and Low-Noise Adaptors The NF-A12 120mm fans supplied with the NH-U12A support PWM for convenient automatic speed control through the motherboard: Full performance under load, virtually silent at idle! In addition, maximum fan speed can be reduced from 2000 to 1700rpm using the supplied Low-Noise Adaptors for even quieter operation. SecuFirm2™ multi-socket mounting system Noctua’s SecuFirm2™ mounting systems have become synonymous with quality, safety and easy installation. Supporting Intel LGA115x (LGA1150, LGA1151, LGA1155, LGA1156) and LGA20xx (LGA2066, LGA2011-0, LGA2011-3), as well as AMD AM4, AM3(+), AM2(+), FM2(+) and FM1, the SecuFirm2™ mounting included with the NH-U12A is straightforward to install, provides perfect contact pressure and will stand the test of time even under heavy use. Compatibility with past and future sockets Thanks to Noctua’s SecuFirm™ ecosystem, the NH-U12A can be made compatible with the older LGA1366 and LGA775 sockets using the optional NM-I3 mounting kit, which is provided free of charge. If technically possible, Noctua will also provide upgrade kits for future sockets, which makes the NH-U12A a safe long-term investment. NT-H1 thermal compound Noctua’s much-acclaimed NT-H1 is a pro-grade TIM solution that provides minimum thermal resistance, excellent ease of use and outstanding reliability. Chosen again and again by overclockers and enthusiast users worldwide, it has established itself as a benchmark for premium-quality thermal compounds. Soldered interface between heatpipes and fins With many heatsinks, the fins are press-fitted to the heatpipes. Due to the different thermal expansion coefficients of copper and aluminium, this fit can loosen over years of thermal cycling, which may lead to reduced performance. By contrast, the NH-U12A’s fins are soldered to the heatpipes in order to guarantee a superior thermal interface that doesn’t deteriorate even after many years of usage. 6-year manufacturer’s warranty Noctua products are renowned for their impeccable quality and outstanding longevity. True to this legacy, the NH-U12A heatsink is built to last, and like all Noctua fans, the supplied NF-A12x25 units feature an MTTF rating of more than 150,000 hours. The entire package comes with a full 6-year manufacturer’s warranty. * In cases with more than 158mm CPU cooler clearance, the rear fan can be moved upwards to make room for memory modules taller than 42mm. See all 65 reviews for this product See all 55 reviews for this product Cooler Specification Socket compatibility Intel LGA1150, LGA1151, LGA1155, LGA1156, LGA2011, LGA2066 and AMD AM4, AM3(+), AM2(+), FM1, FM2(+) Height (without fan) 158 mm Width (without fan) 125 mm Depth (without fan) 58 mm Weight (without fan) 760 g Height (with fan) 158 mm Width (with fan) 125 mm Depth (with fan) 112 mm Weight (with fan) 1220 g Material Copper (base and heat-pipes), aluminium (cooling fins), soldered joints & nickel plating Max. TDP see CPU compatibility list Fan compatibility 120x120x25 Scope of delivery 2x NF-A12x25 PWM 120mm fan2x Low-Noise Adaptor (L.N.A)4-pin PWM y-cableSecuFirm2™ mounting system for Intel and AMDNT-H1 thermal compoundNoctua Metal Case-Badge Warranty 6 Years FAN Specification Model Noctua NF-A12x25 PWM Bearing SSO2 Max. rotational speed (+/- 10%) 2000 RPM Max. rotational speed with L.N.A. (+/- 10%) 1700 RPM Min. rotational speed (PWM, +/-20%) 450 RPM Max. airflow 102,1 m³/h Max. airflow with L.N.A. 84,5 m³/h Max. acoustical noise 22,6 dB(A) Max. acoustical noise with L.N.A. 18,8 dB(A) Voltage range 12 V MTTF > 150.000 h 17.05.2019 // Hexus.net NH-U12A Review We had a feeling the NH-U12A would perform well, but we didn't expect Noctua's 120mm solution to top the charts. Our overclocked Core i7-8700K has literally never been happier, and on LGA1151 at least, the NH-U12A proves that you can't judge a cooler on size alone. Heck, not only does it perform better than any of the liquid coolers on show, it's also quieter. You can't really hear it when the test platform is idle, and though the fans become noticeable under load, the resulting hum is smooth and far from off-putting. It's worth noting that adding the low-noise adapters resulted in only a one degree increase in temperature, while peak noise levels reduced to 34.4dB; not quite as muted as the be quiet! pair, but nonetheless impressive for a 120mm solution. Noctua continues to set the standard for air cooling and in the NH-U12A it has released not just one of the best compact solutions in its arsenal, but one of the best CPU coolers to date. Offering outstanding performance from a 120mm unit, this fifth-generation U12 Series offers ample clearance for memory and PCIe, exemplary build quality, and a pair of flagship fans whose fastidious design tells you everything you need to know about the Austrian company. Installation is as simple as ever, noise levels are kept down to a minimum, the bundle is comprehensive, and to top it all off there's a six-year warranty to help convince you that this is £90 well spent. Bottom line: if neither the colour scheme nor price tag are cause for concern, go ahead and buy an NH-U12A; you won't regret it. Test verdict: "...not just one of the best compact solutions in its arsenal, but one of the best CPU coolers to date." (Parm Mann, Hexus.net) 08.05.2019 // techPowerUp.com NH-U12A Review From a performance and quality standpoint, Noctua manages to surprise yet again. While the NH-U12A fails to beat the NH-D15 or NH-D15S, it does put up some decent numbers, coming in just 1–2 °C behind its larger brothers. Taking that into account and considering this is a single-tower design using 120 mm fans with no issues in regards to memory or graphics card clearance, it makes quite the showing indeed. Even noise levels, which were higher than expected, are still quite good. At low loads and lower fan speeds, the new cooler is very quiet, essentially inaudible. The only time you will notice the NH-U12A is when the fans are maxed out. At that point, it will hit 45 dBA and becomes somewhat noticeable; however, I would still consider its noise output easy to ignore even then. As is the usual with Noctua coolers, the NH-U12A is exceptionally easy to install with the SecuFirm2 mounting hardware remaining one of the best designs on the market. Not only does it work well and is compatible with current, past, and even future socket, but overall build quality is again amazing and covered by an exceptional 6-year warranty. Test verdict: "Overall, the NH-U12A is an exceptional cooler that has an impressively high price tag to match. Even so, looking at build quality, performance, noise levels, and warranty, I have no issue recommending the cooler." (Raymond Lemar, techPowerUp.com) 03.04.2019 // Vortez.net NH-U12A Review Now, onto the performance; this is where the Noctua takes the crown for the quietest cooler, thanks largely to those NF-A12x25 fans, once again they’re almost unbelievable in how quietly they operate, we saw idle noise levels as low as 25.5dB(A) and an average of 26. Even with the CPU overclocked to 4.4GHz, with an idle CPU power draw of roughly 70w, the fans didn’t nudge up by more than a single dB. While making a quiet cooler can be seen as relatively easy, you could just turn down the fan speed or reduce its size; maintaining decent CPU temperatures at the same time is what requires real expertise. Our Core i7 3930K didn’t peak any further than 63°C with our 4.4GHz overclock applied and stayed well below 60°C at stock clocks. Considering the 135W TDP, at stock, of this CPU, that result cannot be dismissed; there are coolers that are slightly better, but they all produce more noise in doing so. Pricing is somewhat of an Achilles heel of the Noctua NH-U12A, at currently around £20 more than the be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4, which we feel is this heatsink’s biggest rival. The be quiet! Is a little louder but just as capable at keeping our i7 cool. However, things like memory compatibility will likely suffer with the Dark Rock. If quietness is paramount, then an extra £20 shouldn’t be too big of a hurdle. Test verdict: "If you absolutely must have a quiet system, this cooler is 100% for you; we can’t think of anything we’d recommend instead." (Matthew Hodgson, Vortez.net) 02.04.2019 // SweClockers.com NH-U12A Review Med resultaten i hand levererar nya NH-U12A riktigt bra prestanda med bara en grad över storebror NH-D15 i samtliga lägen. Det innebär att temperaturen aldrig stiger över 60 grader i redaktionens testmiljö, vilken är helt klart godkänt. Kylaren fortsätter att imponera sett till ljudnivå under full belastning, där lägsta ljudnivån mäter in på 36,5 dBA för LNA-läget. Nästa steg är PWM-styrningen på 37,5 dBA och fortfarande under närmaste läge för storebror NH-D15 på 39 dBA. Med datorn i vila blir kylaren helt knäpptyst på 34 dBA – samma nivå som rummets bakgrundsbrus och vi kan inte göra annat än imponeras av ljudnivån. Test verdict: "Prestandan och ljudnivån för NH-U12A är inget annat än imponerande och kombinationen den erbjuder är i dagsläget svårslagen. Det som håller den tillbaka just nu är priset, men samtidigt får köparen otroligt mycket tillbaka i form av ren prestanda." (Kenneth Lindqvist, SweClockers.com) 13.05.2019 // ThinkComputers.com NH-U12A Review Noctua has always been our favorite when it comes to high performance CPU coolers. One thing we really like about them is that they are concerned with performance first. In the world of RGBs and everything else that we live in now it is great to see that Noctua is sticking to their roots and coming out with yet another impressive CPU cooler. As it stands this is the best performing cooler we’ve tested on our AM4 system. Not even the massive Scythe Ninja 5 could touch it! Another thing that I really like about this cooler was just how easy it was to install. Noctua has always been good with this implementing their SecuFirm2 mounting system. Anyone, beginner or experienced builder should have this cooler installed in minutes. Not only that you can totally install this cooler with your system already installed in a case. We’ve experienced so many difficult mounting systems when it comes to CPU coolers so it is great to see Noctua continue to be the easiest. Another thing you won’t have to worry about with this CPU cooler is clearance. It is actually quite impressive the cooling performance of the NH-U12A and the fact that you have 100% clearance for your memory and graphics card. So you don’t have to worry about if other components of your build will fit with the NH-U12A. There really is not much bad we can say about the NH-U12A, it is the best performing CPU cooler we’ve tested on our AM4 system, it is easy to install, and you won’t run into any clearance issues. Test verdict: "If you are looking for a high performance air cooler the NH-U12A is no doubt the best out there!" (Bob Buskirk, ThinkComputers.com) 10.05.2019 // CowcotLand.com NH-U12A Review Faisons simple et allons à l'essentiel : avec le NH-U12A, Noctua passe un nouveau cap dans la course au tarif élevé, mais pour quels résultats ! Entre mettre 100€ dans un système de refroidissement par air avec une garantie de six ans et un système de refroidissement liquide de type AIO en 240 mm avec une garantie moindre et un risque potentiel de fuite ou d'évaporation du liquide, notre choix est vite fait : NH-U12A. Impossible pour nous de ne pas le recommander tant les atouts et avantages sont nombreux face à la concurrence, qu'elle soit par air ou par liquide. Tout d'abord, un point commun à tous les produits Noctua : la garantie de six ans et le suivi des sockets. Actuellement, il est possible de récupérer une fixation pour un radiateur acheté il y a dix ans, simplement en montrant une preuve d'achat. Autant dire qu'une fois le ventirad acheté, on est tranquille pour de nombreuses années. Ensuite, son gabarit. Bien qu'avec deux ventilateurs, il n'est pas très haut et il ne bloque pas le premier slot mémoire. Un bon point qui devrait le rendre compatible avec de nombreuses configurations. En ce qui concerne les nuisances sonores, elles sont moins élevées qu'on pourrait s'y attendre en voyant la vitesse de 2000 rpm. Ca va vite, mais ça ne fait pas trop de bruit. Et les températures sont tellement bonnes que le PWM, avec sa vaste plage, pourrait ne jamais atteindre les 100 % selon le processeur et l'environnement. Test verdict: "Avec notre processeur à fond, le verdict est sans appel : le NH-U12A écrase les autres modèles de notre panel, watercooling compris. Cela faisait un petit moment que nous n'avions pas vu de ventirad tenir le processeur à ce niveau, et nous sommes plus qu'emballés." (Sébastien Vandeborre, CowcotLand.com) 02.05.2019 // bit-tech.net NH-U12A Review Noctua gets off to a brilliant start on the LGA 1151 test system, which uses an overclocked Core i5-7600K. Regardless of whether it’s using both fans at full speed or just a single fan operating with the low-noise adaptor cable in place, it outshines every other cooler, including multiple all-in-ones with large radiators, which really speaks to the efficiency of its heatsink design. We do suspect we are running into bottlenecks with this system (e.g. the CPU heatspreader, power output from the CPU) that prevent high-end coolers from differentiating themselves more clearly, hence why the different fan speed results make no real difference, and we therefore don’t think you should read too much into differences between the coolers with delta T results of between 40°C and 42°C/43°C, but either way it’s a fantastic result for Noctua, and if you are using the LGA 115x platform with a more demanding setup (e.g. Core i9-9900K with 5GHz+ overclock), the NH-U12A will clearly take it in its stride. Our LGA 2066 system is a whole different beast with its overclocked 18-core Core i9-7980XE, but Noctua still delivers a fantastic result for an air-cooler, one that’s on par with multiple mid-range 240mm-based AIO designs. More premium water-cooling solutions do flex their muscles more clearly here, and Noctua is reliant on keeping airflow up, as even dropping the fan speed by 15 percent with the LNA cables saw the temperature rise by 5°C. That still left Noctua outperforming the Dark Rock 4 by 7°C, though. If you’re keeping your LGA 2066 system at stock for stability purposes, the NH-U12A clearly fits the bill, but if you’re going the overclocking route you’ll want to stick with liquid-cooling. Lastly, our AM4 system sits at a mid-way point between the two Intel ones with its overclocked eight-core Ryzen 7 1800X. With both fans at full speed, the delta T is 49°C, which again keeps pace with many all-in-one coolers. Better yet, having only one fan or two fans with the LAN cables fitted only sees temperatures go up by 2°C, and even with a single speed-limited fan the NH-U12A posts a respectable result of 54°C, which is 4°C better than Be Quiet!’s Dark Rock 4. In terms of noise, the cooler is clearly audible when both fans are running at full whack, but it isn’t annoying or whiny. Using the LNA cables only knocks 300 RPM or so off the maximum speed, but this seems to have been carefully chosen, as noise drops noticeably. You’ll still hear it over an otherwise quiet system, but it hits a great balance of noise to performance, and the optimum setup in our opinion is to have both fans mounted and both LNA cables in place while using a PWM curve. Test verdict: "The NH-U12A is proof that Noctua’s sterling reputation in this industry has been and continues to be well earned. Its build quality is high from every angle, from the heatsink proper through to the fans, mounting brackets, and even the cables. SecuFirm 2 continues to impress with its ease of installation, and the cooling performance is excellent for a cooler this size. Noise is well balanced as well, and the LNA cables are a solid addition for noise-conscious users." (Matthew Lambert, bit-tech.net) 30.04.2019 // FunkyKit.com NH-U12A Review Noctua NH-U12A is one of the best coolers we had a chance to test. It’s also the best air cooler. Besides high performance, it offers quiet work and full compatibility with modern motherboards, tall memory modules or standard ATX PC cases. A six-year warranty covers the NH-U12A. Since the manufacturer trusts it will work so long without issues, then we are sure of the high-quality of the product. Noctua NH-U12A is simply amazing, so it’s not a surprise it receives FunkyKit’s Editor’s Choice Award! Test verdict: "Once again Noctua delivered a top quality product which is just a masterpiece on the CPU cooler market." (Bartosz Waluk, FunkyKit.com) 18.04.2019 // eTeknix.com NH-U12A Review A reality of coolers is that despite AIO liquid coolers often presenting themselves very impressively, a good solid air cooler will usually have it beat in terms of all-round performance. In this regard, the Noctua NH-U12A represents, or in fact is, one of the best coolers currently on the market. Furthermore, possibly one of the best ever made. Yes, it doesn’t carry the best aesthetics, but if (like me) you care more about performance than having seizure inducing RGB effects, then this is without a doubt one of the best coolers on the market at the moment! Test verdict: "Put simply, the Noctua NH-U12A is one of the best air-coolers currently on the market! As can be seen in both our stock and overclocked performance figures, it easily handled everything that was thrown at it while keeping the CPU cool and itself surprisingly quiet!" (Mike Sanders, eTeknix.com) 16.04.2019 // Hardware.Info NH-U12A Review Ook maakt Noctua wat ons betreft zijn basisclaim - 14 cm koelprestaties in 12 cm form factor - waar. Weliswaar is het soms nek-aan-nek met de U14S, soms ligt die een neuslengte voor, dan weer een haarbreed achter, in de basis levert de NH-U12A exact wat er wordt beloofd. Dat is knap, want de recente jaren hebben we duidelijk gemaakt dat er niet veel rek meer zit in het perfectioneren van luchtkoeling. Ook in de grafieken is te zien hoe dicht de deelnemers bij elkaar liggen.Zeker bij relatief kleine hoeveelheden warmteproductie (65W, zoals een doorsnee mid-range processor levert) zit er amper 3 graden verschil tussen de nummer 1 en de nummer 17. Noctua kiest dan ook voor zo'n beetje de enige overgebleven manier om zich te onderscheiden (naast met montagegemak, afwerking en garantie), en dat is door dezelfde prestatie met een kleiner formaat te leveren. Test verdict: "De Noctua NH-U12A is zonder meer een technisch hoogstandje: voor zijn afmetingen is het de best presterende koeler die we hebben getest. Het rijtje 12cm-koelers dat hem überhaupt kan evenaren is beperkt: de Scythe Mugen 5 PCGH en Ninja 5, de Be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 - en alle zijn beduidend breder, waardoor je sneller tegen beperkingen bij het monteren aanloopt." (David van Dantzig, Hardware.Info) See all 65 reviews for this product NT-H2 10g Further improved second generation of the award-winning NT-H1 with even better thermal performance Not electrically conductive and non-corroding Excellent long-term stability (usage time on the CPU up to 5 years) 10g pack for around 9-60 applications (depending on CPU size, e.g. ~9 applications for TR4, ~60 for LGA1151) NT-H2 3.5g Further improved second generation of the award-winning NT-H1 with even better thermal performance Not electrically conductive and non-corroding Excellent long-term stability (usage time on the CPU up to 5 years) 3.5g pack for around 3-20 applications (depending on CPU size, e.g. ~3 applications for TR4, ~20 for LGA1151) NM-I3 Mounting-Kit The NM-I3 SecuFirm2™ Mounting-Kit makes Noctua CPU coolers compatible with Intel's LGA775 & LGA1366 sockets. You can either buy from our local sales partners or directly from us via our official Amazon and eBay stores: Amazon.comAmazon.caAmazon.co.ukAmazon.deAmazon.esAmazon.frAmazon.itAs an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. eBay.com eBay.de INSTRUCTIONS AND INFORMATION SHEETS (PDF) FAQs MAINBOARD COMPATIBILITY CASE COMPATIBILITY Installation Manual (PDF) Information Sheet (PDF) FAQs Should I take the cooler off before transporting my system? How big is the NH-U12A and how much clearance does it provide for RAM and motherboard heatsinks? 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 Acer, Dell, HP or Lenovo? I'm experiencing fan speed issues with my motherboard from Supermicro, what can I do? Why doesn't the supplied backplate fit my LGA2066 / LGA2011 motherboard? I have difficulties installing the cooler, can you help? Can I keep using the backplate / mounting system of my previous Noctua cooler for my new one? How much torque should be applied when tightening the screws of a Noctua CPU cooler? Which Noctua fan or CPU cooler should I buy? How to choose the right model? How can I determine if the motherboard’s UEFI BIOS is overclocking my processor by default and deactivate this automatic overclocking? Can I upgrade my existing Noctua cooler to socket TR4 or SP3? Is it possible to use the cooler with vertical graphic cards? My Intel CPU is running too hot although my heatsink supports the specified TDP, what's the problem? My Noctua PWM fan runs at a much higher minimum speed than advertised, what is wrong? My Noctua PWM fan starts to spin when the PC boots but then stops, what is wrong? Which sockets are supported or can be supported using upgrade kits? I can't open the socket due to the mounting bars! Can the cooler be installed turned by 90° on AMD sockets? 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? How to remove the base protection cover? 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? 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? How can I check whether my case is wide/high enough for 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, for safety reasons, taking the cooler off. Noctua cannot be held responsible for any damage that may arise due to excessive stress during transport if you keep the heatsink installed. How big is the NH-U12A and how much clearance does it provide for RAM and motherboard heatsinks? Please refer to the following drawing for the exact measurements and clearance for RAM and motherboard heatsinks: Due to its asymmetric design, the NH-U12A does not overhang the RAM slots on Intel LGA115x and AMD AM4 based motherboards, which ensures easy access to the modules and 100% compatibility with tall heat-spreaders. On LGA2066, the rear fan will overhang the RAM slots on the left-hand side of the socket, so RAM modules should not exceed 42mm in height. In cases with more than 158mm CPU cooler clearance, the rear fan can be moved upwards to make room for memory modules taller than 42mm. What Thermal Design Power (TDP) is this cooler recommended for and how much Watt (W) of heat can it dissipate? Please refer to our CPU compatibility list for information on maximum recommended TDP and heat dissipation. Can I install a Noctua cooler in my system from Acer, Dell, HP or Lenovo? Systems from Acer, Apple, Dell, HP, Lenovo or other major brands often use motherboards which differ slightly from the specifications issued by Intel and AMD. While those changes are usually subtle, they can lead to compatibility issues with coolers that were built to comply with these specifications. Even in case the cooler is mechanically compatible and can be installed, 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 issues can often not be resolved. Due to the large number of possible issues that cannot be resolved with different mounting parts alone, Noctua does not officially support systems from Acer, Apple, Dell, HP, Lenovo or other major brands. 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 600 or 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 in the BIOS 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, by using 3rd party tools like IPMItool or IPMIutil, or by requesting a modified BIOS file from Supermicro, which takes the minimum fan speed of Noctua fans into account (charges might apply). Please note that any modifications performed with 3rd party tools are done at your own risk and that Noctua can not be held responsible for any possible issues. Why doesn't the supplied backplate fit my LGA2066 / LGA2011 motherboard? The supplied backplate is for LGA115x only and there is no backplate required for installation on LGA20xx (LGA2066, LGA2011-3, LGA2011-0). Please refer to the installation manual or our installation video for how to install the heatsink on LGA20xx. 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. Can I keep using the backplate / mounting system of my previous Noctua cooler for my new one? Most Noctua SecuFirm™ mounting parts are cross-compatible, so if you’re replacing one Noctua cooler with another, it is usually possible to keep the original backplate and/or mounting system in place in order to re-use it for the new cooler. If you had your previous Noctua cooler installed on an Intel LGA115x (LGA1156, LGA1155, LGA1151, LGA1150), LGA2011 (LGA2011-0, LGA2011-3) or LGA1366 system and replace it with an NH-U14S, NH-U12S or NH-U9S, you only need to replace the original mounting bars with the NM-IMB3 ones supplied with the new cooler. For all other models, you can keep the entire mounting system in place on the aforementioned Intel sockets. On AMD AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, FM1, FM2, FM2+, you only need to replace the original mounting bars with the ones supplied with the new cooler. How much torque should be applied when tightening the screws of a Noctua CPU cooler? All screws should be tightened gently until they stop without using excessive force. Please do not exceed the following values for maximum tightening torque: Screw typeMax. torque NM-SSC1 screws for fixing the fastening brackets to the base of the heatsink0.5 Nm NM-ITS1 thumb screws for fixing Intel mounting bars0.5 Nm NM-ALS1 screws for fixing AMD mounting bars0.6 Nm Spring-loaded screws for fixing the heatsink to the mounting bars0.6 Nm Which Noctua fan or CPU cooler should I buy? How to choose the right model? Not sure which Noctua product to buy? Our detailed buying guides for fans and CPU coolers help you to choose the model that works best for you. 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. Can I upgrade my existing Noctua cooler to socket TR4 or SP3? Unfortunately, it is not possible to upgrade existing Noctua heatsinks to support the AMD TR4 and SP3 sockets for Ryzen Threadripper (X399) and Epyc CPUs. TR4/SP3 CPUs have much bigger heatspreaders (as compared to e.g. LGA2066 or AM4 processors) and the contact surfaces of standard Noctua heatsinks would cover only about half of these heatspreaders, which would result in insufficient cooling performance. On top of that, the heatpipes of bigger cooler models like the NH-D15 or NH-D15S would completely block the RAM slots on many TR4/SP3 motherboards. For this reason, Noctua has introduced the new NH-U14S TR4-SP3, NH-U12S TR4-SP3 and NH-U9 TR4-SP3 cooler models that feature bigger contact surfaces and have been tailored to fit TR4 and SP3 systems. Please choose these models for AMD Ryzen Threadripper and Epyc systems. Is it possible to use the cooler with vertical graphic cards? Depending on the chassis, card and motherboard being used, installing PCIe cards in a vertical position using riser cards may cause compatibility issues with CPU coolers. Whether there will be a problem or not depends on the exact position of the card (which is determined by the PC case and/or optional vertical GPU holder bracket), the width of the card as well as the position of the CPU socket on the motherboard. In order to verify that there is sufficient space for the cooler, please measure the distance between the centre of the CPU socket and the top of the PCI card in order to make sure that the cooler fits. My Intel CPU is running too hot although my heatsink supports the specified TDP, what's the problem? Current processors from Intel, especially the unlocked models with the suffixes C, K, X or XE (e.g. Core i7-8700K, Core i9-7900X oder Core i9-9900K) can dissipate noticeably more heat than indicated by the TDP specification. While many motherboard models stick to the recommended power levels and clock speeds settings from Intel, there are models where the UEFI BIOS is configured in such a way that: the TDP limits are extended or disabled. the motherboard applies automatic overclocking by default, e.g. by raising the supply voltage of the CPU and using higher Turbo-Mode multipliers. Depending on the load scenario and CPU configuration settings, the actual power draw can be 1.5-3 times as high the stated TDP value. This can lead to temperature issues, especially when using smaller coolers, compact cases or cases with poor airflow, when some applications create very high loads, e.g. Prime95 with AVX2 support, 3D-rendering or simulation software. 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. You might also want to limit the TDP to either the specified value by Intel or a value that is 5-10W below the value previously read out from the CPU. This can be done in BIOS by setting the “Long Term Duration Power” manually instead of “Auto”. Furthermore, 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. The option to set an AVX-offset value is usually available for the following CPU generations: LGA1151:7th, 8th and 9th generation (Kaby Lake, Coffee Lake) LGA2011-3: 6th generation (Broadwell-E) LGA2066: 7th and 8th generation (Skylake-X) 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 most 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. Please also note that CPUs that use thermal paste instead of soldering between the DIE and the heatspreader generally run hotter. Due to the thermal bottleneck created by the thermal paste, temperatures can be high even at the specified TDP. 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: 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. 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: 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. 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: 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: 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. 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. 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. Which sockets are supported or can be supported using upgrade kits? Please refer to our socket compatibility chart. 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. 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°. 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 email@example.com. 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 independently 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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). 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: 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: 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. Do not use water to clean the cooler. 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. 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. How can I check whether my case is wide/high enough for the cooler? Most case manufacturers provide specifications for maximum CPU cooler height/clearance. Please refer to these specifications in order to verify that the cooler will fit the case. If no specifications are available, please contact the case manufactuer or 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. Do you have a question concerning one of our products? Please use this form to pose a question! Disclaimer:We create and update our compatibility lists with the utmost care. Unfortunately, mainboard manufacturers tend to change certain components and heatsinks without pointing it out by using corresponding revision names. If you run into problems while installing our coolers on one of the mainboards listed as being compatible, please don't hesitate to contact our support team at email@example.com.Please also keep in mind that other components such as narrow or small cases as well as memory modules with special (higher) heat-spreaders can cause compatibility-issues.For use in systems from Dell, HP or Lenovo, please note this FAQ. Our case compatibility list helps you to quickly identify which PC cases offer sufficient clearance for which Noctua CPU coolers. The compatibility indication is based on the height of the coolers (including fans) as well as the maximum CPU cooler height specification given by the chassis manufacturer. Caution: Please note that the fans of some tower coolers (especially larger models with 140mm fans, e.g. NH-D15 or NH-U14S TR4-SP3) may overhang the RAM slots and that this can cause compatibility issues if RAM modules taller than 32mm are used. While the fans can be moved upwards to increase RAM clearance, this will increase the total height of the cooler and thus requires additional clearance inside the chassis. As a rule of thumb, if the fan overhangs the RAM, the maximum CPU cooler height specification of the case must be at least the size of the fan plus the height of the RAM minus 7mm (accounting for the height of the socket and CPU). For example, if a cooler uses a 140mm fan that overhangs the RAM and 46mm tall RAM modules are used, the max. CPU cooler height specification should be at least 179mm (140+46-7=179). For further information and instructions on how to move up the fan for each cooler model, please click the height specification link. Disclaimer: We create and update our compatibility lists with utmost care. However, case manufacturers sometimes change parts or details of their products without prior notice or explicitly indicating a revision. Therefore, Noctua cannot accept any liability, nor in any other way be held responsible, for the following compatibility information.